c. 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014
July 6 Learning of the fall of Vicksburg and of the advance of General Sherman, the Lookout Artillery left camp at daylight and marched at a double quick for 5 miles, then on quick time until we had marched 15 miles in the direction of Jackson at 10 ½ a.m  July 7 Left at 6 a.m. and marched for Jackson [20 miles] – reached Jackson & went into camp at sunset

Capt. Barry recalls the retreat:  “After a hard march we were out of danger and a halt was called for rest and hardtack.  A widow living near by refused to let any of the men even drink from her cistern.  After a brief rest and such water as we could drink from a muddy stock pond, we marched on.  Three miles farther we passed another home, where the noble mistress of the plantation had every servant, young and old, drawing water for the weary men.  She was cheering them as best she could and many were the fervent prayers sent up by that famishing army that the God of Battle would care for her and shield her.”

 During the retreat, Amos Naman Bice falls of caisson and suffers a broken jaw.  Several of the men lag behind and are captured by Federal troops, including Overton Braden.  Capt. Barry succumbs to an apparent heat stroke.

 General Sherman recalls his pursuit of the retreating Confederates:  The next day (July 4, 1863) Vicksburg surrendered, and orders were given for at once attacking General Johnston. The Thirteenth Corps [including the 48th Ohio] (General Ord) was ordered to march rapidly, and cross the Big Black at the railroad-bridge; the Fifteenth by Mesainger’s, and the Ninth (General Parker) by Birdsong’s Ferry-all to converge on Bolton. My corps crossed the Big Black during the 5th and 6th of July, and marched for Bolton, where we came in with General Ord’s troops; but the Ninth Corps was delayed in crossing at Birdsong’s. Johnston had received timely notice of Pemberton’s surrender, and was in full retreat for Jackson. On the 8th all our troops reached the neighborhood of Clinton, the weather fearfully hot, and water scarce. Johnston had marched rapidly, and in retreating had caused cattle, hogs, and sheep, to be driven into the ponds of water, and there shot down; so that we had to haul their dead and stinking carcasses out to use the water. On the 10th of July we had driven the rebel army into Jackson, where it turned at bay behind the entrenchments, which had been enlarged and strengthened since our former visit in May. We closed our lines about Jackson; my corps (Fifteenth) held the center, extending from the Clinton to the Raymond road; Ord’s (Thirteenth) on the right, reaching Pearl River below the town; and Parker’s (Ninth) the left, above the town.

Arriving in Jackson late at sunset, July 7, rained like old rails all night.  Was ordered out on Picket at 3 a.m. and reached the outpost breast works. July 8, the Lookout Artillery takes its position in the breastworks, and at 7:45 a.m. July 9, “firing commenced”.   Capt. Barry recalls:  Gen’l Featherstone placed the Battery with his own brigade “to the great vexation of General Adams.   At Jackson General Joseph E. Johnston twice in person complimented the Battery upon its heroic work.  The battery was in constant action with harness on horses from Wed the 8 of July, to Thurs, the 16th.”  July 10 & 11 skirmishing and cannonading continue.

MAPS OF JACKSON SIEGE: http://usgwarchives.org/maps/mississippi/civilwar/jacksonbattle1863.jpg  and  http://www.usgwarchives.org/maps/mississippi/civilwar/jackson1863a.jpg

Letter between Lt. Armstrong’s sisters, Evie Armstrong Watkins to Amelia Armstrong:  Mac [Lt. Armstrong] and Dick [Lt. Watkins] are ordered to Jackson, MS.  Mr. Powell says it’s a healthier place than they were in Vicksburg.  He knows all about those places.  Brother sent up some of his clothes.  They are at the warehouse now.  Mr. Jones just now called to tell me to send after them which I will after dinner.  Brother was mighty proud of his box of provisions Mother sent him.  Dick carried the bundle of things you sent.  I sent him a mosquito bar and a pocket hankerchief… 

11th Rain very hard. Fighting all along the lines.  Rather got the best of the Yanks all day firing ceased at dusk.  Our battery was engaged today with no loss to us. 12th Firing began at daybreak continued with small arms until about 7 a.m. when there was a heavy artillery duel took place which lasted about one hour – 40 minutes still continued all day with no loss yet to our Battery [Scott diary]. and firing continued with an occasional charge from the enemy. [Brown Diary]

July 13 heavy skirmishing. [Brown Diary]   Firing still continued all day some loss on both sides but none to our Battery, except 3 horses wounded.  Pickets kept firing all night. [Scott diary]

Union Account:  There had been a sharp fight off to our right a day or two before our tro[o]ps were closing in around the rebel works and a good many were killed on both sides. During that day the rebels asked for a truce to bury their dead which was granted and during the truce we left our trees and took a look around and talk[ed] with the rebel pickets. After a little some of the fool yanks who had more curiosity than discretion sountered off towards the rebel lines when the rebs fired off their guns to warn them off. When nor knowing what they meant by firing on us during the truce, every man jumped to his tree and let it fly at the rebs.and it sounded for a little while like all pondimonium had broke loose and the bark from the trees was flying until the air was full of it. Our officers got us to hear the orders to cease and when all was quiet again we crawled out from behind our trees and called out to the rebs, say Johnie what the thunder did you mean by that? Well says the Johnies back, we don’t want you damned yankeys coming over here till after the truce and then let them come all they want to. http://www.48ovvi.org/oh48hd8.html%5D

14th  Firing continued from 4 a.m. until noon, then a cessation of hostilities, ask for by the Yanks for 4 hours on account of the death of Mag. Genl. Susterhaus.  Firing began at 4 p.m. the enemie shelled the City all night… [Scott diary]

 Lt. Armstrong writes:    

Jackson, Miss
July 14, 1863
Dear Sister   I wrote to you yesterday a hasty letter because I was on special duty all day – and all night.  We hauled 60 cotton bales last night and put them in our breastworks, 30 in each & 2 guns.  In each place digging dirt & setting posts, until we got our works pretty secure.  The Feds did not shoot many cannon shots at us yesterday.  Constant skirmishing on both sides all day & night.  One man was shot through the breast.  He did not die but was expected to.  Several men wounded.  None of our men were hurt yet.  This is the 7 day since we have been in the breastworks with the harness on our horses all the time.  All communication is cut off & we get no letters from anywhere.  I have not had a letter from home in a month.  I hope all is well.  I am very certain you are in a more desirable place than I am in.  The federals made a charge on our left (Gen Breckenridge’s command) when they got close to our works our boys stormed them took 250 Prisoners, three Regimental stand of colors & killed a large number.  I do not know the exact casualties.
            Sunday the 13 about 9 o’clock in the morning the enemy commenced shelling the town & for ½ an hour there was the most terrific cannon duell I ever heard.  Our batteries replying promptly but not so rapidly as theirs.  They were too far off to do any damage or to shoot with any accuracy.
            I do not know the design of General Grant for his delay.  Time will tell.  The city is a perfect waste.  All the citizens gone.  Their fine fences have been torn down for shelters and all the gardens is our common pasture.  A great many houses have been broken open & ransacked by our men & everything that is valuable taken away.  I am perfectly disgusted with such conduct.  The citizens say they were not ½ so much damaged by the federals while they stayed here.  12 or 14 …our…has been here only 7 days yesterday.  There was no casualties of importance.  Up to this hour (10 o’clock) all is quite except sharp shooting which keeps the air filled with smoke of powder.  Occasionally our guns send a shell at squads of men digging fortifications & at squads of sharp shooters.  I will write again this evening.  Farewell to all at home.
                                                                                                J. M. Armstrong.
                                                                                                3:40 o’clock PM
An armistice of 4 hours from 12 to 4 under a flag of truce was sent to Gen Johnson & agreed to this morning to bury the body of Maj Gen Austrahaus, 2nd in command to Grant on the Federal side.  It appears like Sunday to what it has for 7 days.  O that this flag of truce was for all time to come.  There has been no very hard cannonading all day.  During the armistes we buried a Picket who was killed Saturday and the federals buried several.
                I would like to have a letter from home but cannot see how I will get one.  Remember me in kindness to all my friends.  I will write again tomorrow.  Capt. Barry is rather unwell from so long & continued exposure to the sun in want of rest.  We have a trench to dig 75 yds long 18 inches wide & 2 ft deep to carry ammunition up to our guns this night.  No sleep for us.
            Farewell to all at home.  I am perfectly well.  I remain as ever – your true brother
                                                                                    J.M. Armstrong
The signal Gen announces the armistes closed & the ball opens again.
                                                                                    Farewell JMA

  July 14 heavy skirmishing & cannonading all along the lines [Brown Diary]  15th heavy firing, enemy charged our brigade on left and Maxeys Brigade on right. [Brown Diary] and Firing all along the lines all day – worked on our fortifications at night was molested all the time with sharp shooters, we also dug a ditch 80 or 100 yards long for the purpose of heaving ammunition through it. [Scott diary]  16th  Firing commenced early in the morning & continued until 12 o’clock when the Yanks made a charge in 2 columns.  We poned the shot & shell into them and made them scheedadle with considerable loss to them, then we shelled the neighboring woods & 3 or 4 Reg  made a charge into the enemy killing, wounding & capturing a great no. – firing still kept up 40 minutes by use & slowly until night then we evacuated at 8 o’clock at night & marched all night. [Scott diary] and heavy skirmishing all along the entire lines,  at dark we began to withdraw from the fortifications, travelling all night, and getting to Brandon about 8 o’clock a.m. July 17. [Brown Diary]

 Another recollection, “A few nights later, along toward midnight, as our pickets were popping away in front, we were ordered out of the ditches.  To press close to the man next in front was the only way to keep together in the dark.  We were giving up Jackson[W. Bailey, Vol. 22 Conf Vet]

 Lt. Armstrong writes: 

       We lay in the ditches around Jackson from Wednesday 8 to Thursday 16.  At dark we rec’ orders to roll our pieces back from battery by hand & hitch in as quietly as possible – All was done in so quiet a manner that the federals did not know we had evacuated the city until next morning.  Traveled all night and got to Brandon 12 miles off – then all day  – are now 18 miles North East of Brandon
Gen Grant had made an effort to surround us and call off our retreat but Johnson has out-Generaled him day to day.  The progress of the Bombardment – except the 2 last – Wednesday the 15 was stirring times. – all the men were as usual in their ditches many of them asleep – when all at once the Federals deployed and their line of battle was sure to approach at a rapid march for our works at once 30 or 40 cannons opened on them still they came double quick until they got within 200 yds where they halted for a moment then turned and fled in confusion.  We all knew that this was a mere sham to draw us out of our trenches but we did not take the bate.  Our fire was destructive & we killed many of them Thursday.  We made considerable show of resistance & shot many good shots at them and closed the day without making any dash on them or they on us.  The troops moved off as silently as a man slipping off from an anaconda.  All came off to this place without any confusion & we are resting today – and making a recruit – & return of casualties – several men of this company lagged back & fell into the hands of federal cavalry & the Mississippians are leaving the army in crowds and going home.  O shame – 500 left the Brigade night before last.  Our horses are very much reduced by standing in harness so long without property care and attention.  We are all moving in the direction of Meridian Miss – but I do know where we will stop.  We had no man killed only one wounded – slightly.
        There is nothing in the history of my life that grieves me so much as to surrender the state of Miss – but it is gone.  Brag has fallen back to Chattanooga – Johnson fallen back somewhere – Boregard Stopped at Charleston & Lee in VA – This appears as if we were about whipped but there is hope as long as there is ground.  I will write to you again soon.  Please write to me at Meridian Miss. & I May get it.  (The Rolls got home safely)  I am very well.  Give love to all.  I remain your devoted
                                                                                                            J. M. Armstrong

July 17th   Capt. Barry and the artillerymen reached Brandon, MS, at 6 a.m., a distance of 19 miles.  They “unhaulster” the horses –the first time in over a week – and feed the horses – then march another 4 miles before bivouacking for the night.   Absalom Roberts, Robert L. Cate/Cates & John Morrisy (also shown as Morris or Morrison) captured at Jackson, MS, this day.  Roberts galvanizes while Morrisy and Cates later die at Camp Morton. July 18 begin marching at 6 a.m., travelling a distance of 15 miles, before bivouacking in an old field for the night.  Heavy rain begin late in the evening.  The artillerymen are without shelter; their tents and all gear and personal belongings left at Canton in June are lost.  They remain in the old field for two days, then 4:30 am on July 21st, commence to march again.  Seven miles distant they camp for the night, and remain the following day.  July 23rd they move on to Foster Springs.  Daybreak the following day (24th) they depart and continue another 3 miles and turn into camp.

 Lt. Armstrong writes: 

Morton, Scott Co., Miss .July 25/63  we have stopped our retreat & can sleep as long as we wish – I gave $4 for leg of mutton this…Capt Barry has recovered usual health [has apparently suffered heat stroke] Lt. Watkins is well – I learn just now that we will stay here 1 month…Please call Pa’s attention to a fact I spoke to him about some time ago.  That I am desirous of having a pair of boots and wish him to procure a nice calf skin & the requisite amt of sole leather to make up the same.  It does not make any difference what it costs as I am bound and compelled to have them.  We receive the most strenuous orders about leaving camps.  Cannot go into the interior to get washing done unless we get an approved permission from Gen Loring.  A very great many of the Mississippians are deserting the army and going home.  I do not know whether they are coming back or not.
I do not think I am desirous of coming home under such circumstances although I am as anxious for a furlough as anyone.  A large amount of the baggage belonging to the company was left at Canton & consequently has fallen into the hands of the Yankees.  Among my goods was my clarinet and white shirts and several small articles of dress together with my comforter the most desirable of all paraphanalia especially when one desires to sleep.
Fortunately I sent my great coat to Chattanooga from Pollard and can order it up when it gets cold.  I have nothing more of importance to communicate. Please write soon & often & I remain your affectionate brother.                       J. M. Armstrong.

 Lingering at this camp until July 28 “done nothing, but got paid off for two months wages” [Brown Diary],

on 29th Rec’d marching orders at 9 a.m. and started at 11 a.m. marched 9  miles at North-East course passed through Forest a small town about 47 miles from Jackson on the Jackson and Meridian R.R  [Scott diary]  July 30 to Aug 10 laid still at Forest resting our stock [Brown Diary]

[Forage received August 1863 Aug 1-31 in the field for 62 horses + 26 mules = 88 total]

At 6 a.m., morning of August 11, commence march 9 miles to Lake Station where they bivouac for the night; daybreak on 12th continue marching 10 miles to Newton Station, halting 2 p.m..  Receive 1 horse and 5 mules from Maj. J. B. Billips.  Remain at Newton Station, performing guard duty.  Rained night of 18th, receive orders to march at daylight; order countermanded.  Receive stationery including 5 quires letter paper; 7 quires foolcap paper; 100 envelopes; 18 steel pens; 1 pen holder; 5 cedar pencils; 8 muster & pay rolls; 2 quire QMasters blanks; 1 quire Abstract paper.  Battery remains at Newton Station through the end of August, with a Brigade review on 31st We built us a comfortable shed during the time [Brown Diary].  Hearing news of the Federal bombardment of Chattanooga, what of their families?  And their homes?