c. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

Captain Barry recalls, “When Grant landed his forces at Vicksburg, the Battery was ordered to Jackson, Miss, and a few days after the battle of Baker’s Creek, we joined General Loring’s Division.  He assigned us for duty to a brigade commanded by Gen. Abe Buford, who remained only a short time, being relieved by Brigadier General (Wirt) Adams, of Tennessee.  This brigade consisted of the 6th, 15th, and 20th of Mississippi Regiments, as brave a brigade as ever faced an enemy.”

The Lookout Artillery departed Pollard, AL, the morning of 26th, arriving Tensas (assumed Tensas Landing) at 4 pm, a distance of 52 miles, where they boarded the steamer JEFF DAVIS at 6 pm, for a two hour trip to Mobile.  The following morning, May 27, boarded rail cars bound for Meridian, MS, 135 miles distant.  May 28th, 8 am, departed Meridian on train to Jackson. Four miles from Brandon Station, the train derailed with no injuries, arriving Brandon at 8 pm, a distance of 90 miles.  May 29th The Battery marched the remaining 5 miles to Jackson, where it was attached to Brigadier Gen’l Buford’s Brigade of Major Gen’l Lorings Division, Johnson’s Army.

   [ Link to 1865 map of Mississippi showing the locations mentioned:  ihttp://www.loc.gov/resource/g3980.cw0259700/  ]

With Buford’s Brigade, they continue on by rail to Canton, MS; about one mile from town, they establish their encampment, which includes digging a well and clearing the land.  The next few days are spent drilling.  Pvt. James Knox Polk Douglass is promoted to the rank of Corporal.  On June 3, Capt. Barry read a sentence of Court Martial, likely against Pvt. Maynard Lakey as he is noted on the Company muster roll for the period as “Absent – at work on fortifications at Mobile by sentence of Court Martial.”  Later in the afternoon, General Loring reviewed the Division.

On the evening of June 4, the Battery is ordered to prepare to march, taking two (2) days’ rations in haversack, three (3) in wagon, and leaving all baggage and tents behind.  They are 40 miles from Vicksburg, but canhear every shot distinctly – the earth fairly trembles under the heavy terrific fire from 13 m mortars.”   Departing Canton, MS, at 6:00 am, June 5, they march 17 miles before bivouacking for the night.  At the time, Milo Scott estimates the number of Confederate troops to be 12,000 to 15,000 strong.  June 6, they march another 7 miles to Big Black River and cross the river on a raft.  Zeke Hannah is sent to the hospital for measles.   Leaving camp at daylight on June 7, they arrive at Benton, MS, some 10 miles from Yazoo City.

Lt. Armstrong reports the conditionsIn all this distance not a rainy day – wells mostly dry – use cistern water & from pools with green scum & tadpoles – I counted 8 heavy guns in Junction of Vic in ½ … dust 3 to 6 in…Mrs. Hulsey from Chatt is our cook. [This could be the wife of John T. Hulsey or the wife of Bryant Hulsey.]

The sound of heavy guns firing rapidly can be heard from Vicksburg.  June 9 – counter-marched back toward Big Black River; June 10th Started at daylight in the direction of Big Black River- powerful dusty – heavy rain came up we all got wet.  Stopped at Black River on North side no tents, had to take the rainThe next several days are spent much the same.

June 20th Transferred to Adams Brigade ordered to drill 4 hours each day went out this morning on drill – drilled 2 hours with Limber chest taken off – came back to camp and rec’d 2 letters – heavy firing in the direction of Vicksburg   JUNE 21, 1863 Arrived at BEATY’S BLUFF where the Battery remains, drilling, reviews by Gen. Loring and Gen. Adams until June 30.  Clayborne Edwards enlists on June 27.

Lt. Armstrong describes Beaty’s Bluff:

For the last 10 days we have been stationed at Baties Bluff on Big Black River.  One of the most beautiful encampments that I expect to fall to my lot for all the time I remain in the field.  The River afforded ample water for horses & men to swim in & we had over 3 five springs on all sides of the brigade.

            The forest timber in the bottoms rose to an immense height & over all this vast forest the long moss hung in rich festoons from innumerable boughs.  When nature tries his hand the richest and most costly arbors fade into utter insignificance before these giant and beautiful structures.

            I had some sport fishing, but not much success.  I do not recollect whether I have told you about the beautiful farms down here – on Big Black – the farms are level ones as productive as Pa’s Bottom and they are from 5 to 10 miles wide and then the land becomes not so productive but very fine.  Where these bottoms are not cleaned up they are covered with cane breaks 30 ft high & large timber intermixed. 

            I have seen large fields & plantations of corn in Tenn, Ga & SC, but until I came to Miss I never saw immense oceans of corn before.  Frequently the eye fails to see the farther side of a level field of corn – divided by 8 & 10 huge [high?] fences.  I think this state will produce enough corn to supply the southern army.  (no growing cotton).

June 30, Johnston’s army begins moving toward Vicksburg. Within the besieged city are close relatives of the Lookout Artillery.  Pvt. Albert Jarnagin, older brother of Gus Jarnagin, is with the 5th Arkansas Battery (originally Memphis Appeal Battery).  Also under siege in Vicksburg, is Capt. Emmons P. Douglass, Co. C, Third (Lillard’s) Reg. Mounted Infantry, father of Cpl. J. K. P. Douglass.

On July 1, an optimistic Lt. Armstrong writes,

Yesterday Gen Johnson moves up his rear brigades & this morning his whole immense army is moving west.  One of the citizens near the ferry says Gen Grant moved 40,000 men toward Grand Gulf yesterday.  If this is true we will relieve the garrison at Vicksburg without firing a gun.  If not true, we may be onto a fight at Edwards Station or near there in a few days.  The army have every confidence in the ability of Gen Johnson to whip the fight.  One thing is very certain, the federals bombarded Vicksburg within our hearing for 12 or 15 days & lost many of their men & effected nothing.

I hope all may yet be well with our army in & out of Vicksburg.  The federal supplies are cut off at Hellena.  Gen E. Kirby Smith is watching him on the south.  They cannot get out by our army nor via Vicksburg and his only chance is to fight, surrender or flee via Grand Gulf where his gun boats lie. 

July 1, 1863, the Lookout Artillery, part of Gen. Joseph Johnston’s army, commence their march to save the Confederates entrenched within the city of Vicksburg.  They depart camp one mile Northeast of Vernon, MS, and march 8 miles in a southwest course and bivouac for the night.  At daybreak June 2, they continue on.  After 13 miles they camp at or near Cainey Creek (also called Byrdsongs Pond); the infantry force is still accumulating; it appears to the Lookout Battery there are 200 pieces of artillery.   Two p.m. they are ordered to silence their horns for the remainder of the day and night.  June 3 Lay still at this place all day.  Heavy firing in direction of Vicksburg.  As the percussion of the Vicksburg guns echo through camp, Lt. Armstrong writes,: ”I do not think it would be right and I would chide myself during the rest of my days if we were to stay here in hearing of the besieged garrison & not attempt its relief?  No other but us cut our way to them and make a combined effort & cut our way out.  I will be willing to do as Gen. Johnson thinks best. The entire army have the utmost confidence in his ability.  When we move from here it will be on the enemy.”  

Capt. Barry recallsOn the night of July 4, the battery was ordered to lie upon the bank of the Big Black River, to lead the advance of Grant’s forces for relief of Vicksburg.  Gen. Joe Johnston was then in command of our army there.  Our order was to cross over when General Adams’ Brigade came to support us.  Gen. Adams’ Brigade never came, and we remained there, awaiting their arrival, til late in the day.  The army had learned of the fall of Vicksburg and of the advancing forces of Grant’s army, and we retreated, and thus managed to get through without being captured.  After a hard day’s march [15 miles July 6 and 20 miles July 7] we were enabled to reach Jackson, Miss., a few hours before the enemy…”