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1863 June 13: News From Port Hudson

June 15, 2013

From the June 13, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.


CAIRO June, 6.

We have Port Hudson dates to the 29th, A. M.  At that time Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] had entirely invested the position, resting his two wings on the river above and below the Fort.

Our gunboats were bombarding the fortifications from the river, and Gen. Banks was thundering with his artillery in the rear.  This rebel garrison is said to be 15,000 strong, and was entirely hemmed in with no chance of escape.—Gen. Banks had built two lines of circumvallation¹ to protect his rear, and was in excelent [sic] spirits and hopeful of success.

On the 24th, aftr [sic] a furious cannonade, the rebels offered to surrender if they could be allowed to march out with the honors of war.²

Gen. Banks desired unconditional surrender. Subsequently he sent a flag of truce renewing his command, while the enemy replied that they would hold the position while enough remained to man the guns.

Details of the Fight.

New York 9.

Advices from Port Hudson, vis New Orleans, says the contest on the 27th was a very bloody one, the rebels fighting with most reckless courage, and our men being not a whit behind in daring and pluck.

Our informant corroborates the good accounts heretofore given the conduct of the colored soldiers. These able warriors provoked most frenzied hatred on the other side, and the rebels bent all their energy to the annihilation and since the fight they have missed no chance to kill negro pickets.  In one stance they pounced upon a single black sentry, captured and forthwith hung him.  This bloody instruction was quickly improved, for almost within an hour some negroes got hold of a rebel picket and swung him up in full sight of their murdered companion.

The stories about [Confederate General] Kirby Smith coming to the relief of Port Hudson is probably erroneous.  Smith is no doubt in Texas somewhere, or possibly in western Louisiana, certainly nowhere near Port Hudson, nor could he get across if he were opposite.

Col. Grierson [Benjamin H. Grierson] is slashing around and was at last accounts up between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, tearing up railroads, destroying bridges, hunting for confederate stores and canvassing the State generally.

It is understood that Joe Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston] was at Jackson on the 27th, but he has no force worth bringing against Grant [Ulysses S. Grant].

We regret to learn that Gen. Sherman [Thomas W. Sherman] wounded at Port Hudson, is hardly expected to live.

The weather is terribly hot and the place very dry and dusty.

1.  A rampart or other defensive entrenchment.
2.  Their arms and their colors (regimental flags).

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