Illustrations of the Civil War in AmericaThe Illustrated London News, vol. 43, no. 1216, p. 127.
August 8, 1863
I left Charleston with some of the regiments ordered to report to General Johnston in view of the immense operations about commencing in the south-west. The campaign in the valley of the Mississippi will, I believe, decide the duration of the war; and the battles that will be fought there, under the respective leaderships of General Johnston and General Grant (Federal), will, I think, be on a much larger scale than those of Virginia. The incident illustrated in the Engraving on the next page will give you an idea of the perils of travelling on a used-up military railroad. Three times the cars ran off the line, injuring many of the men; and on one of these occasions the carriage in which I was got smashed all to pieces, and for some time I was unaware of what had taken place until I shook myself together, and then I found that my arm was badly bruised. We can hear heavy firing in the direction of Vicksburg. The place still holds out bravely, with a loss altogether, so says a prisoner, of nearly 20,000 men. The dead are lying unburied between the besieged and besiegers. The town is completely invested, and we only get intelligence by an occasional courier, who runs the gauntlet of the Yankee lines.
Jackson for a short time was occupied by the Federal army under General Grant. The enemy entered the town in overwhelming force after a smart engagement with very inferior numbers, who were com-
Page 129pelled to retire on the army collecting under General Johnston for the relief of Vicksburg. During their occupation, which lasted two days, the Yankees were guilty of every kind of vandalism; they sacked houses, stole clothing from the negroes, burst open their trunks, and took what little money they had, besides which they drove off the stoutest and strongest, against their will, to work on intrenchments; and behaved, indeed, more like savages than civilized troops. I arrived here the day before yesterday with the reinforcements, a portion of which you see entering the town. I entered it with them. We found a large part of the place in flames, buildings being fired indiscriminately by the retreating enemy, who fled precipitately before our advance.