Letter from an unidentified Union soldier during the Siege of Vicksburg
May 28 1863,
The battle of Vicksburg still progresses with no decisive results. Yesterday the gunboats made another desperate effort to silence the formidable batteries on the bluffs above and below the city. Our gunboat and 8-10 mortar boats made the attack from above and 5 gunboats from below. I was at the lower end and had a splendid view of the city and lower batteries. The attack was made about 8 oclock. Between 9 and 10 the gunboat attacking the upper batteries was sunk with 150 men on board, I have not heard how many of the crew were saved. About 10 oclock the lower gunboats withdrew and drifted down the river out of range, for what reason I have not learned. It is difficult for the gunboats to do much for this reason. The bluffs are so high that the rebels can shoot down on the decks of the boats and right through men while if they struck the sides of the boat they would glance off and do no damage. At the same time, the guns on the boats can not be elevated sufficiently to do much damage to the rebel works. Vicksburg must be taken by the land forces and I am confident we shall do it. We are gradually going ground on them. About 100 men from our division were taken prisoners last night while out on picket. They were paroled and sent over the river this morning by the rebels. One or two deserters came over who report the rebels are down to quarter rations already. My firm trust in god and hope of soon seeing my loved ones at home cheers me up. Do not cease to hope.
Source: Nate Sanders online auction