JUNE 2018

JUNE 2018
FOX NEWS during the 1890's


Saturday, July 29, 2017

VICKSBURG Chapter Twenty-Nine

Brigadier General John Stevens Bowen  (above) knew what was coming,  even as the tattered remnants of the 23rd Alabama fell back to their former positions around the Foster Farm. They had bought with their lives and souls nothing more than a few precious minutes. And now it was up to the 32 year old Georgian to give their sacrifice meaning. He grabbed a fresh horse and raced back down the Rodney Road, looking for more men.
John Bowen knew what was coming up that road because he knew 41 year old Lieutenant General Ulysses Simpson Grant, personally. They had graduated West Point a decade apart, (Lt. Grant, above) but had briefly bonded in 1858 when Lieutenant Bowen and his new wife, Mary Kennerly had been assigned to Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. 
Grant (above) was then working for his Missouri in-laws, having just resigned from the army because it separated him from Julia. The couples' time together was brief, but long enough for John to witness Grant's stubbornness and his pathological inability to retrace his steps. which contributed to his failure in business. 
Later, when transferred to Texas, John Bowen also resigned from the Army because he missed his wife. Afterward, he returned to St. Louis, as Grant had done. And in 1861 Bowen had been part of the failed effort to carry Missouri firmly into the Confederacy.  But at Shiloh in April of 1862, the Confederate  General Bowen had seen how that same streak of stubbornness now contributed to General Grant's  (above) growing success.
Bowen had no doubt that the Illinois native would throw every soldier and gun he could lay his hands on at the Confederate line blocking his way to Port Gibson and across the south fork of Bayou Pierre. Port Gibson was the cork in the bottle. If the rebels could hold that cork in place, the Yankees would be trapped against the Mississippi flood plain. But to do that, Bowen needed more men, and he needed them right now.
Almost the instant after Bowen galloped off in search of reinforcements,  at about 10:00am, Friday morning, 1 May, 1863, 10,000 men of the 10th Division under 48 year old Brigadier General of Volunteers Andrew Jackson Smith, and the 12th Division, Hovey's Babies, under 41 year old Indiana pro-union democratic lawyer Brigadier General Alvin Peterson Hovey. slammed into General Green's exhausted brigade. The Federal assault (above), with about 7 men per yard, simply swamped the rebel defenders of one man every 2 yards, sending them running for the rear. They Yankees captured 200 prisoners, 2 cannon, 3 caissons and 3 ammunition wagons. It took them less than 30 minutes.
Political glory hound, 50 year old Union Major General John Alexander McClernand (above) called a halt after sweeping the rebels from the Foster House ridge, ostensibly to reorganize. But like a bad actor genuflecting for his audience's approval - and with an impressionable visitor in 48 year old Illinois Governor Richard Yates standing next to him - McClernand could nor resist launching an extended bandiloquent blovoiation.  Luckily for the Federal cause Lieutenant General Ulysses Grant, also a Yates favorite, was keeping a close eye and ear on McClernand. After listening to the smug supercilious sycophancy spewing from his subaltern, Grant pointedly suggested the rebels were not beaten but merely retreating to stronger lines. He then pointedly ordered McClernand push his men forward, toward Port Gibson and the vital bridge over the south fork of Bayou Pierre.
But after advancing less then 2 miles, at about noon, the Yankees ran into the 1,000 man brigade of 35 year old Columbus Mississippi bookstore owner, Brigadier General William Edwin Baldwin. 
Having learned from the demoralizing Federal cannon fire the  mistake of fighting on the ridge tops, Bowen sheltered Baldwin's men in the maze of the 8 foot tall canebrake (above) along the bottoms of Willow Creek.  On their right were the 1,500 men of Colonel Francis Marion Cockrell's Missouri brigade, having forced marched from Grand Gulf.  Bowen was stronger at this moment than he had been at any time before - with more than 6,500 men and 16 cannon in line of battle. But they were still facing more than 24,000 Federal troops, with more still arriving every hour.
The Yankee's advance would be slowed by the canebrake, but General Bowen had no doubt Grant would keep pushing. He sent a telegraph to General Pemberton, expected to arrive shortly in Vicksburg. It read in part, "We have been engaged in a furious battle ever since daylight; losses very heavy...the odds are overpowering." 
And as if to confirm this, at about 2:00pm, on the Brunisburg road, 3 divisions of Grant's XVII corps under the popular 34 year old of Union Major General James Birdseye McPherson begin pounding the Alabama brigade, now commanded after Colonel Edward Tracy's death, by 46 year old Colonel Isham Warren Garott, The new commander asked General Martin Edwin Green for instructions, but received a confusing mish-mash of language in return. Garott had no choice but to begin a grudging slow retreat, forcing Green's entire command to follow his lead. The Rebel left collapsed.
At the same time McClernand was extending his line eastward. Just 1,200 yards through the woods was the rough road of the old Natchez Trace, leading around the rebel left. Colonel Cockrell threw the 3rd and 5th Missouri regiments at the Yankees, trying to force them to consolidate.  But there were too many Yankees, and about 5:30pm General Bowen was forced to send a final message from the Port Gibson telegraph office. "I am falling back across Bayou Pierre.  I will endeavor to hold that position until reinforcements arrive.…"  He then sent the bitter message to the gunners still defending Grand Gulf to prepare to spike their guns and destroy the ammunition magazines before withdrawing to Warrenton.
It was at just this moment that General Bowen was superseded by the arrival of the disruptive argumentative and profane one armed Floridian, the 5 foot 9 inch tall Brigadier General William Wing "Old Blizzards" Loring (above).   Dispatched from Edward's Station, the one armed argumentative general arrived as the troops were retreating back across the Bayou, and quickly came to the conclusion that this time he was too late. 
Port Gibson could not be defended. Loss of Port Gibson meant the line of the south fork of Bayou Pierre could not be held.  Loring knew from personal observation, that the north fork of the stream would be easily breached. After that Grand Gulf would be taken in the rear. The only militarily rational choice was to abandon Grand Gulf and Port Gibson and the entire Bayou Pierre line, and pull back through Willow Springs 30 miles to Harkinson's Ferry over the Big Black River.  And that is what Loring ordered the bloodied troops under General Bowen to do, burning the bridge over the south fork of Bayou Pierre behind them. There they would meet his overstrength division, marching south. 
The day delaying the Yankees at Port Gibson had cost Bowen's little army about 70 killed, more than 350 wounded and 384 captured - or almost 17% of his original force engaged.  Yankee losses were about the same, but suffered by a much larger force.  Grant did not press the rebels too hard.  He was just pleased to have escaped the malaria and mud of the Mississippi floodplain. As McClernand's  men worked overnight, dismantling buildings in Port Gibson, to rebuild the burned bridge, McPherson prepared his men to ford the \south fork of Bayou Pierre upstream of the town.
Come the dawn, Saturday 2 May, 1863, two thirds of Grant's army would be across the south fork of Bayou Pierre, and when Sherman's Corps - the remaining third - arrived, they would be able to transfer directly across the Mississippi to Port Gibson, saving them a 2 day march.   
The only positive for the Confederacy on that Friday evening, 1 May, 1863, was that the Commander of the Army of Mississippi,  Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton (above), had finally transferred his headquarters to Vicksburg (below).  But that change of perspective, which once might have salvaged the campaign for the rebels, had been converted by time and events into a recipe for disaster.
The nature of that disaster threw its first shadow across the strong point of Port Hudson, 200 river miles south of Vicksburg. This narrow choke point in the Mississippi, had been bypassed by Grant's capture of Grand Gulf and Port Hudson. So General Pemberton wired the commander of that post, 41 year old New Yorker,  Major General Franklin Kitchell Gardner, to bring his 2,000 man garrison  to Vicksburg, as quickly as possible.  It was the militarily sensible choice. With Vicksburg directly threatened, every man and gun would be needed to defend that vital point.
But a thousand miles away in Richmond, Virginia, 64 year old Confederate President, Jefferson Finis Davis (above), countermanded that order. He reminded  Pemberton, "To hold both Vicksburg and Port Hudson is necessary to a connection with the Trans-Mississippi."  Gardner and his 2,000 men would remain right where they were. Davis was right, of course. The South needed both points to stitch the Confederacy together. 
But it was also insanity.  The 2,000 man garrison was not strong enough to hold Port Hudson. But 2,000 more men might have made the difference at the upcoming battle of Champion's Hill (above).  Over the next 2 weeks President Davis would  frantically jam another 5,000 men into the trenches around Port Hudson.  If those 7,000 men had gone to Vicksburg, they might have held the place, freeing the rest of Pemberton's army to remain mobile, and block a siege. The conundrum has given birth to an endless game of what if's, which would keep armchair generals busy for the next 200 years.
But the core of the issue is that Port Hudson (above) could not stand on its own.  If Port Hudson fell, a fortified Vicksburg, with a mobile field army to ward off a siege, might remain standing, even if isolated.  But if Vicksburg fell, Port Hudson was doomed. Pemberton knew that. Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston, knew it. But by the time anyone had time to do anything about Port Hudson in May of 1863, it was too damn late. 
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Friday, July 28, 2017

VICKSBURG Chapter Twenty-Eight

The 400 "Allerbammer yallerhammers" burst from the woods shrieking the rebel yell like banshees. They were met at once by a volley of cannon fire that plowed gaping bloody lanes in their ranks. But the men of 23rd Alabama had something to prove - to themselves, to their fellow rebels, and to the damned Yankees. They kept coming. One hundred yards short of the Federal line the butternuts disappeared into a narrow defile and struggled against the canebrake grasses. And as they burst free, momentum held them suspended for the Federal musketry and cannon grapeshot which butchered them with a cruel volley. They were staggered by the violence. 
But in a final burst of will, they threw their bayonets into the thin Yankee line. After a brief struggle, the Yankees fell back. The sons of Dixie had captured the guns. And for a brief moment it was a lovely, bright May Day morning of 1863. There were only 2 dozen Yellowhammers still standing atop the Magnolia Church Ridge.
Arguably, 32 year old Brigadier General John Stevens Bowen  (above) was the best Confederate division commander in Mississippi that summer. After telegraphing details of the 1:00pm repulse of the Federal ironclads at Grand Gulf on Wednesday, 29 April, 1863, Bowen warned his boss Lieutenant General John Clifford Pemberton back in Jackson, "When they cross again, they may move to Rodney" - the little port town 30 miles down the Mississippi river from Grand Gulf. Bowen was telling Pemberton - again - that his entire army was about to be outflanked.
To his credit, Pemberton responded immediately - finally - ordering 2 more brigades of infantry to Grand Gulf. Within hours, 1,000 men under 29 year old lawyer and Colonel Edward Dorr Tracy left Warrenton, 40 miles to the north. And from Vicksburg another thousand men under 35 year old bibliophile, William Edwin Baldwin set off about 7:00pm. None of these men would reach Bowen before Thursday evening at the earliest. In the meantime, if the Yankees had landed on the Mississippi shore, the key to the defense of Grand Gulf would shift 12 miles inland, to the town on the south fork of Bayou Pierre - Port Gibson.  The two brigades rushing to Bowen's support would have to cross that bridge over the south fork in Port Gibson. That town and the bridge had to be secured as soon as possible.
Bowen's best brigade, lead by 29 year old Colonel Francis Marion Cockrell (above), had just returned from the Louisiana shore and were still getting reorganized. 
So Bowen turned to his second brigade, commanded by 62 year old Brigadier General Martin Edwin Green (above). And although Green was a little old for field duty, his drive was beyond question. The year before, on the second day of the Battle of Corinth, Green's attack had plunged deep into the Yankee defenses, capturing 40 cannon and had come within yards of capturing the Federal commander, Brigadier General William Rosecrans. But the bloody, hand-to-hand assault had also decimated his battalion. And by afternoon,  Green had been forced to give back most of what he had captured.
On the morning of Thursday, 30 April, Green marched his men via the Old Mill Road to Port Gibson and secured the vital bridge. Then Green climbed the forested ridge lines south of town, looking for a good defensive position. A half mile out he crossed the junction with the Bruinsburg road.
The Brunisburg Road (above) led west before following the circuitous levee along the main stream of the Bayou Pierre south, until that stream entered the Mississippi. Eventually the road reached Buinisburg Landing. But Bowen was expecting the Yankees to land at Rodney, although a scout had reported about 3,000 blue bellies coming up the  road from Brunisurg.  So General Green continued along the sinuous crest of the Rodney Road for another 3 miles until the trees opened up on a plateau called Thompson Hill, just wide enough for a couple of small farms.
General Green set his skirmish line across the southern crest of Thompson Hill -  over looking Widow's Creek. They were supported by The Arkansas Sharpshooters under Lieutenant William Tisdale, dug in around the junction of a north/south farm road and the white 2 story house of A.K. Shafier.  Just 100 yards north of this was a low ridge, topped by the tiny Magnolia Church  (above) and the Shafier house.
However Green drew his main battle line 300 yards further north (above), around the house and barn of a man named Foster (a).   In the center, north/south across the Rodney Road, were the 200 picked men of the elite 12th "Arkansas Battalion".  To their left, extending toward Widows Creek, were the 21st and the 15th Arkansas regiments. Right of The Battalion were the 12th Arkansas and the 6th Mississippi Regiments. Anchoring the center of the Foster Farm line were the two 6 pound and two 4 pound cannon of Captain Alfred Hudson's battery.
General Bowen briefly inspected Green's dispositions that afternoon. Then he returned to Grand Gulf, where he still expected the primary federal assault to land. And after a 40 mile forced march in just 27 hours, at about 10:00pm that Thursday evening, Colonel Tracy's exhausted brigade reached the battlefield, "jaded...and without provisions". They staggered onto the far right flank of Green's line, straddling the Bruinsburg road where it joined the Shafier road.  Between them Green and Tracy now had about 2,500 men on the field. Two hours later, the weary Alabamians were awakened by the blind collision between Green's battalion and General Osterhouse's division coming up the Rodney Road.
General Bowen came rushing back to Port Gibson, reaching the plateau about 7:30 the morning of Friday, 1 May, 1863.  He found the battle had already resumed and now realized the Foster farm position was vulnerable to the massed Yankee cannon atop the Magnolia Church ridge. In fact his 2,500 men were up against the 23,000 men of General McClernand's entire corps. Bowen sent word back to Grand Gulf for Colonel Cockrell's entire brigade to come at once. 
And to stabilize the immediate situation he pressed Colonel Tracey on the Bruinsburg Road, to shift a regiment to the Foster Farm. The regiment picked by the reluctant Tracy was the eager 23rd Alabamians, under the 49 year old politician Colonel Franklin King Beck (above).
The 23rd Alabama volunteer infantry had been formed in Montgomery in November of 1861 with 672 men. During their first 2 months of service near Mobile they lost 88 men to sickness. They were then transferred to Tennessee, where they were ravaged by an epidemic of typhoid fever. After a year of marching back and forth across the state without facing combat, in December of 1862 they were transferred to Vicksburg, and folded into Colonel Tracy's brigade, but too late to aid in the battle of Chickasaw Bayou.
This morning it took the sleep deprived Alabamians 90 minutes to cover the 8 miles of unfamiliar, crowded road. By the time they reached the left flank on the Foster Farm, the 23rd Alabama numbered only about 400 men, but they were anxious to prove themselves. This time they had arrived just in time.  
Bowen realized the gathering Federal artillery was preparing the way for an assault. So as soon as the "Yellowhammers" arrived - nicknamed after the yellow trim worn on some Alabama cavalry uniforms, which resembled the Yellow-shafted flicker - Bowen prepared to launch them in a preemptive assault with the 6th Mississippi and the 12th Arkansas.
The 6th Mississippi had earned the title of "The Bloody 6th" at Shiloh, on 6 April, 1862. During 30 horrific minutes that Easter Sunday morning (above) the 425 men of the 6th had charged 3 times uphill against the battle line of the 53rd Ohio infantry supported by artillery. As one of the Mississippi officers wrote later, "Again and again the Sixth Mississippi, unaided, charged the enemy's line, and it was only when the regiment had lost 300 officers and men killed and wounded....that it yielded and retreated in disorder over its own dead and dying." Slowly rebuilt, a year later the Bloody Sixth supplied 540 men for General Bowen's attack.
Just six months after their formation the 600 plus men of the 12th Arkansas Volunteer Infantry, were forced to surrender at Fort Donelson, Tennessee in February of 1862. 
Six months later, after being quickly paroled and exchanged, the Razorbacks were then assigned to defend Island Number 10 at the New Madrid Bend in the Mississippi River, where - six months later - they were again forced to surrender on 7 April, 1862.  Paroled a second time, most of the disgusted razorbacks simply went home. Those few who remained became an orphaned regiment, not being exchanged until November, when they were dispatched to Vicksburg under the scion of a powerful family, Colonel Thomas J. Reid, Jr.   
And in a cruel fate, six months later, on 1 May, 1863, as the 500 Sad Sacks of 12th were forming the right flank of General Bowen's attack,  they inadvertently presented their naked flank to the 400 hidden muskets of 47th Indiana Volunteers. Three brutal volleys broke the 12th before they had even launched their assault.
On horseback, his saber sparkling in the light over his head, and shouting "Follow me! Let's take that battery!",  General Bowen lead the Mississippi men across the 200 yards of young green corn. Again the massed Yankee artillery slashed corridors of blood through their ranks. And still the Mississippians came one. 
Then 100 yards from the Magnolia Church Ridge  the Iowan battery let loose double canister rounds, butchering the Mississippians. The line of rebels shuddered at the impact and their will dissolved in the smoke. Bowen, unable to approach the line on horseback, because of the Canebrake, did not press the attack. Instead he shepherded his men back to the Foster house.
The Choctaw Confederate, 35 year old Captain William Clyde Thompson, bleeding from a bad head wound, still remembered,  “As we went back we were amazed and shocked to see how many of our men were lying dead or wounded in the path of our advance.” Almost 20% of the Bloody Sixth fell that day.
Only the men of the 23rd Alabama captured the guns. But they could not use them. The artillerymen who had accompanied the attack, intending on turning those cannon on the retreating Yankees, had all been killed or wounded.  Private Martin Calk told his sister it was, "...the fight the Alabama 23rd has been long hunting and at last we found it. I tell you it was a hot one. I Saw many fall and heard many cries and groans of the dying and wounded. But the Lord was good and merciful to me."  After a stubborn 30 minutes pinned down under a merciless musketry and without any support, the Yellowhammers staggered back to their starting point.
The assault had proved of little value, because more Yankees were pushing up the Rodney Road every minute, driven by a determined, quiet man in the worn blue uniform,
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Thursday, July 27, 2017

VICKSBURG Chapter Twenty-Seven

It was no accident that they paid the battle hardened men of the 12th Division at 5:00am, Thursday, 30 April, 1863. And then they fed them breakfast. It put the troops in a good mood, and it did small harm. They had little opportunity to gamble or buy alcohol as they then went through the tedious procedure of being loaded on the 6 transports. A private in the 33rd Illinois Volunteers, Charles Wilcox,  described the morning in extraordinary terms.  "The sun arose throwing an impressive splendor....Every heart here is full of anxiety and emotion; wondering eyes... not altogether tearless, gaze upon the...troops whose courage and valor are sufficient...to redeem this lovely valley of the Mississippi from fiends and traitors who are desecrating it.” By 8:30am the entire division was steaming south on the Mississippi River. About 11:00am, they arrived off the run down dock of the "ghost town" of Bruinsburg Landing. It was an extraordinary moment in American history.
As 30 year old Lieutenant Commander James Agustin Greer guided the 200 foot long, 633 ton ironclad USS Benton (above) to the landing,  there was not a rebel in sight. Wirt Adam's cavalry, which ought to have been picketing the place in strength, was 80 miles away trying to ambush the Illinois cavalry of Colonel Greirson.   In there place were one or two scouts. Meanwhile, here  in the mile wide Mississippi river floated six ironclads and six riverboat transports loaded with 40 year old Brigadier General Peter Joseph Osterhauser's 4,000 men.
There was no preliminary bombardment. That would have simply alerted General Bowen in Grand Gulf 12 miles upstream.  There was however a band, playing "The Red, White, and Blue " - "Thy mandates makes heroes assemble, When liberty's form stands in view; Thy banners make tyrants tremble,When borne by the Red, White and Blue." The first men to step off the gangplank were Germans of the 46th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. These Hoosiers had formed up in Logansport in December of 1861, and had proven their bravery by carrying enemy works during the Arkansas Post expedition of January, and against Fort Pemberton in March.
They were followed by the 24th Indiana Volunteers, organized in the old territorial capital and Wabash River town of Vincennes , back in September of '61. They had proved their courage during the second day of Shiloh, in April of 1862, where their beloved Lieutenant-Colonel John Gerber was killed by a cannon ball. Said fellow Hoosier from Crawfordsville, General Lew Wallace, "Nobody died a more glorious death than Gerber. Yet, at Shiloh so many brave men died, and still so many glorious deeds were performed!”
But next off the USS Benton was the commander of Army of the Tennessee, Lieutenant General Ulysses Simpson Grant (above). His precipitous action betrayed his anxiety. He had reached the fulcrum of his gamble. If there was no road up the bluffs to Port Gibson and Grand Gulf as reported, then Grant's gamble had gone bust. Usually when under stress Grant was afflicted with migraines. He had one this morning. But a slave watching the federal army rush ashore confirmed the story. There were two roads that climbed the bluff, the left one led directly to Grand Gulf and to the right, the Rodney Road, led 20 miles north to Port Gibson on Bayou Pierre.
The 1,300 Hoosiers climbed the bluffs before pausing  to eat their lunch under the shade trees in the front yard of perhaps the most magnificent and expensive planter's home in the south, Windsor House (above). The crown of a 2,500 acre plantation, the 4 story, 25 room Italianate and Gothic mansion had been constructed by slaves under the direction of artisans. It even had indoor plumbing, with a rain filled rooftop storage tank. And every room had its own fireplace.
This pinnacle of antebellum southern wealth, resting on the labor of thousands of human slaves, was the home of Smith Coffee Daniel II, and his wife and cousin Catherine Skinner Freeland. It had taken 3 years to build, and within months of its completion in 1861, the war exploded and Smith Coffee Daniel had died. He was just 34 years old. His widow and 3 children were still living here, when the Union Army landed on their doorstep. They retreated upstairs, leaving the first floor to the Federals. But it turned out, they Yankees were not staying long.
Behind the Hoosiers, the rest of General Osterhaus' division was unloaded, while one steamboat returned to Disharoon to pick up 2 days rations for the men. It seems the corps commander, Major General McClernard,  had forgotten to issue rations before boarding his troops,  Not until the hard tack and biscuits were distributed, about 4:30 that afternoon, did the march resume, This time the men of the 21st Iowa regiment were  in the lead. When they reached the small white Bethel Church, the column took the southern road, which led toward Port Gibson.

One soldier from Illinois remembered the road led, “...by quiet farmhouses and cultivated fields, through pretty wooded groves and up quiet lanes, all bearing the marks of peace."  At about 7:00pm, with darkness falling, two companies of  the 21st Iowa were sent forward  under Lieutenant Colonel Cornelius W. Dunlap, as a screen for the regiment, which followed close behind with artillery. 
Just four years earlier the young Mr. Dunlop had been the editor of the new "Mitchell Gazette". The newspaper proved successful, but in 1861 Cornelius felt compelled to leave town. The young man then volunteered to defend the union.  And his orders this night were to keep his men moving toward Port Gibson and the bridge over Bayou Pierre or "until fired upon."  
Just about midnight, Friday, 1 May, 1863 the column crossed Willow Creek, and began a long climb up the slope of Thompson's Hill. As they neared the crest  a 5 minute break was called and the weary Hawkeyes fell back on their packs in a narrow road cut.  Standing in the road, the regimental surgeon, Dr. William L. Orr , was talking quietly with Colonel Samuel Merrill. Their conversation was cut short by a sudden crack of muskets from the crest of the hill. Instantly, Merrill threw his men into a quick line, and returned fire. They then pushed up the road at the double quick, They rebels had disappeared, but as the ground leveled out, they came upon a white 2 story farm house     
It was the home of  Abram Keller  "A.K." Shaifer. Born in Maryland in 1774, he had once been a Justice of the Peace in Tennessee, a "trader" up and down the big river, and one time county sheriff. The old man had died in April of 1860, at the age of 89.  His 60 year old widow Elizabeth still lived in the home with 5 children, the eldest of whom, 26 year old Abram Keller junior, was away serving in the Confederate army. 
As the soldiers came stomping into the clearing, four women ran out of the front door and  threw themselves into a carriage, before rushing off toward  Port Gibson. And for the next 3 hours, Federal and rebel soldiers exchanged shots and artillery shells in the dark,  Commanders on both sides fed men into the fight, extending battle lines, leading charges and retreats because of perceptions rather than tactical knowledge. The fight was confused, loud and deadly, complicated because most of the men involved had no idea what their battlefield looked like. It was not until after 3:00am that things began to quiet down, and Colonel Merrill and Lieutenant Colonel Dunlap and their Hawkeyes could get their first sleep in 24 hours.
Meanwhile, back on the river, the transports returned to Disharoon to load the men of 34 year old Brigadier General Eugene Asa Carr's division. By nightfall they would be joined in Mississippi by the division of 41 year old lawyer and Brigadier General Alvin Peterson Hovey - putting a total of 17,000 soldiers and 60 cannon ashore in a single day. It was a record not to be equaled by the U.S. Army until the invasion of French Morocco and Algeria in November of 1942.   But after being constrained for so long, Grant rushed the transfer of men and equipment to Bruinisburg, ordering that operations continue even after night fall.
At about 3:00am on Friday, 1 May, 1863, just as the shooting was quieting down around the Shaifer house,  the 315 ton, 150 foot long steamboat Horizon, captained by Richard Calhoon, was heading downstream for Bruinsburg, carrying the Swedes of Captain Frederick Sparrestrom's Battery G, 2nd Illinois Light Artillery, and towing a barge loaded with the batteries' ammunition caissons. At the same time, struggling upstream for Disharoon, was the empty 231 ton Monerator, captained by Mr. O. C. Williamson. Pressed into service despite her steering having been damaged by the Vicksburg guns on 22 April, the Monerator was barely being controlled against the swirling currents.  And because the shoreline between the two landings was still in rebel hands, both ships were operating without running lights. About halfway between the two landings, the inevitable occurred.
In a slight flog the two ships stumbled into each other with a shock and splintering of wood. The Horizon was the larger ship, and traveling close to 10 knots at the moment of impact. The limping Monerator, making perhaps 2 or 3 knots at best, but riding empty and high she suffered no fatal injury.  The heavily loaded Horizon was not so fortunate. Her engine compartment was breached and fire quickly spread throughout the ship 
The burning Horizon was able to run herself aground near the mouth of Bayou Pierre. The entire crew were able to escape, as did all the Iowa men except for two privates. Nicolas Carlson and Francis Linderbeck. They drowned when the current eventually pulled the Horizon into deeper water before rolling her over and sending her 30 feet to the bottom of the river  About 60 horses and mules also drown. Tents, cooking utensils, books, records and paperwork, cannons and caissons were all lost. After this disaster -  the deduction of 20% of Grant's ferrying capacity -  the remaining transports operated only during day light, slowing the buildup of Federal forces on the Mississippi shore.
But that did not stop Grant. He kept pushing his men north, against Port Gibson and Grand Gulf.
- 30 -

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