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Battle of Chickasaw Bayou
December 27 - 29, 1862
As Described in Harper's Weekly
March 7, 1863
Web Author's Notes:
The following article from the editors of Harper's Weekly, appearing March 7, 1863, is a loose follow-up from their previous article describing the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou published on January 31, 1863.

This article gives us insight as to the dissatisfaction and general mood of the nation after Sherman's failure at Chickasaw Bayou, two months earlier. It should be noted that the description is highly embelished or, at least, based on incorrect or misinterpreted information. Sherman's troops never reached the bluffs, as stated below, and were held down on the flat ground and in the bayou below the bluffs. It could be that the author mistook stories of the soldiers climbing up the bayou walls and fighting their way across the open fields toward the bluffs for them achieving the high bluffs of Walnut Hills, or that, in the interest of patriotism and national spirit, chose to exaggerate the exploits of the Union troops in what was otherwise a demoralizing defeat. See the sketch of the action associated with this article to better understand the author's inaccurate view of the battle.


We illustrate on pages 152 and 153 a scene in the four days' battles before Vicksburg. These famous battles, which have caused so much distress throughout the West, and done so much to create dissatisfaction with the Government, really developed an amount of courage and self-devotion on the part of our troops which have rarely been paralleled during the present war. Rarely has an attempt been made to storm intrenchments under so great difficulties. The enemy were in all probability more numerous than their assailants under Sherman, and they had the advantage of a superior position, elaborate earth-works, and countless batteries of cannon. Our brave fellows had to scramble up bluffs under a terrible fire, positively working their way on their hands and knees, and pulling themselves up the smooth heights with their nails. At every step of the way they were shot down by concealed foes: when the decimated remnant reached the crest of the bluff they found themselves opposed to a superior force, fresh, confident, and well armed. A storming party under similar circumstances is usually covered by a heavy artillery fire. The assailants under Sherman had no such ally. The memory of their repulse will nerve the remainder of the army to wipe out the disgrace when the assault is renewed.

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