Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We Will Lose Thousands Of Men

On December 29th 1862 a frontal assault was fought as part of the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou.

Part of the opening engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign, the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou or Battle of Walnut Hills was fought December 26th - 29th 1862. Three Union divisions under the command of Major General William Tecumseh Sherman disembarked at Johnson’s Plantation on the Yazoo River. A fourth division landed upstream. On December 27th 1862 the Union troops moved through the swamps toward Walnut Hills. Several attempts were made to get around these defenses on December 28th 1862.

Sherman ordered an artillery bombardment on the morning of December 29th 1862 of the Confederate defenses on Walnut Hills under the command of Lieutenant General John C Pemberton. After four hours of bombardment the Union infantry deployed in line. Sherman said at the time, "We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and may as well lose them here as anywhere else." At noon the Union troops moved forward. They crossed water barriers and carried the Confederate advance line by sheer numbers. When the Union soldiers came up against the main Confederate line they fell under heavy fire, and had to retreat back into the bayou. Sherman then ordered an attack against the center of the Confederate line on Chickasaw Bayou; the Indian Mound area defended by the men of Confederate General John Gregg. Five attempts were repulsed by the Confederates defending the Indian Mounds.

That night Sherman said he was "generally satisfied with the high spirit manifested" within his men, even though their attacks had failed. Sherman decided that further attacks on the Confederate position would be futile. The Union lost 1,776 killed, wounded or missing. Confederate casualties were 207.

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