Company K First Alabama Regiment
THREE YEARS IN THE CONFEDERATE SERVICE
The initiatory steps of the siege of Port Hudson may be reckoned from May 20th, 1863, when Gen. Augur, with his own and Gen. Shermans division, advanced from Baton Rouge. Gen. Banks, who had been campaigning in the Teche country, embarking his troops at Shreveport, landed at Bayou Sara, five miles above Port Hudson, on the 21st. His forces consisted of the divisions of Gens. Grover and Emory, Gen. Weitzel’s brigade of sappers and miners and two regiments of negro troops. A junction was effected with Gen. Augurs command on the 22d, thus closely investing the position. Gen. Banks then assumed command, his forces consisting of four divisions, one brigade and two unattached regiments, numbering from twenty-five to thirty-thousand men. To resist this army, Gen. Frank Gardner had Beale’s brigade, consisting of the First and Twenty-ninth Mississippi regiments, the Tenth and Fifteenth Arkansas and the Forty-ninth Alabama; Lieut.-Col. Miles Legion; the First Alabama acting as heavy artillery ; DeGournay’s battalion of heavy artillery; a Tennessee company of heavy artillery; several companies of Mississippi light artillery, and some dismounted cavalry—all told, about six thousand men. Col. DeGournay, in an account of the siege, also mentions the Twelfth, Sixteenth, Eighteenth and Twenty-third Arkansas regiment, First Arkansas battalion, Ninth Louisiana battalion, a battalion of Texans from Maxey’s brigade; but he places the number fit for duty at the beginning of the siege at only five thousand, the Arkansas regiments being skeletons.
On the 21st, Gen. Gardner sent out Col. Miles, with 400 cavalry and a battery, to reconnoitre in the direction of Plains Stores. About four miles from Port Hudson they encountered Gen. Augur’s advance, and a severe skirmish of two and a half hours followed. The Confederate loss was thirty killed and forty wounded. At the same time Col. Powers cavalry, 300 strong, had a skirmish on the Bayou Sara road, and, being cut off, did not return to Port Hudson. When night fell the other forces were recalled within the fortifications. From Saturday, the 23d, to Tuesday, the 26th, the enemy were engaged in taking positions, the close investment being completed on the 24th. The First Alabama, with the exception of detachments at the guns, went to the front on the 23d, and were stationed on the northern line, at that time unfortified. Col. Steadman having been assigned to the command of the left wing of the garrison, Lieut.-Col. Locke commanded the regiment. Gen. Beale had command of the centre, and Col. Miles of the right. On the 24th there was heavy skirmishing, the First Alabama being engaged. The same day an order was issued for the brass rifle to be taken to a redan near the Jackson Road. Lieut. Frank, with a detachment of the sick and cooks the only men of the company in camp went with the gun and opened fire at long range upon a battery of the enemy, which was soon silenced. This gun remained at the Jackson road redan during the entire siege, the gunners suffering severely, and the gun being several times dismounted. On the 25th the First Alabama was again heavily engaged skirmishing, keeping back the enemy, while at the same time hurriedly fortifying, and lost twelve or fifteen men in killed and wounded. On the 26th the 30-pound Parrott was sent down to Battery No. 11 with a detachment of Co. K, under command of Lieut. Pratt, Sergt. Williamson, gunner, and a 24-pounder, rifled, was transferred from Battery No. 2 to No. 1. Lieut. Tuttle was in charge of Battery No. 1, and Lieut. Frank remained at the Jackson redan with the brass gun. Most of the 24-pounders were transferred from the river batteries to the fortifications, their places being supplied with Quaker guns. On the 26th there was but little firing, both armies preparing for the work of the following day.
Early on the morning of the 27th the enemy opened a heavy fire from both the land batteries and the fleet, and at 6, a. m., the Federal troops advanced to the assault. The heaviest attack was directed against the Confederate left, the assaulting column consisting of Grovers and Emory’s divisions, Weitzel’s brigade and the two regiments of negro troops. On the extreme left the negroes, supported by a brigade of whites, crossed Sandy Creek and assaulted the position held by Col. Shelby with the Twenty-ninth Mississippi. They advanced at a double-quick till within about 150 yards of the works, when the 24-pounder in Battery No. 1, manned by Co. K, and two pieces of light artillery on Col. Shelby’s line, opened on them; at the same time they were received with volleys of musketry from the Mississippians. The negroes turned and fled, without firing a shot. About 250 of them were killed and wounded in front of the works; but the Federal reports stated that 600 were killed and wounded. If this were correct, they must have been shot down by the white brigade in their rear; and, indeed, volleys of musketry were heard in the direction of their flight. The First Alabama, Lieut.-Col. Locke, and the Tenth Arkansas, Col, Witt, engaged the enemy outside the entrenchments in the thick woods, and fought most gallantly; but were compelled, by the heavy force brought against them, to fall back across Sandy Creek. Col. Johnson, with the Fifteenth Arkansas, 300 men, occupied and fortified a hill jutting out from the line, and held it till the close of the siege, though desperate efforts were made to dislodge them; on the 27th they repulsed a very heavy assault, the enemy’s dead in front of the position numbering eighty or ninety. Gen. Beale’s command in the centre, and Col. Miles on the right, were assailed by Augurs and Shermans divisions about 2, p. m., but the enemy was everywhere repulsed with heavy loss. At the Jackson Road the detachment of Co. K, Lieut. Frank commanding, who were serving the brass rifle, were, with but one exception, killed or wounded. While ramming a charge home, Private Henry Smith was mortally wounded by a sharp-shooter; Corp. Fergerson promptly stepped to his place, and was instantly fatally shot. In the meantime Private Hayes had been stricken down. Private Sears was busy attending the wounded and Lieut. Frank and Sergt. Ellis fired the gun themselves several rounds, the former pointing and the latter loading. While doing this Lieut. Frank fell, pierced by a Minieball; by his request, Sergt. Ellis carried him out of the battery to Gen. Beale’s headquarters, and gave him some water from the Generals canteen. Sergt. Ellis then asked for more men, and the General sent his courier to the rear for a detachment, which came under Lieut. Tuttle’s command. Lieut. Frank and Corp. Fergerson died that night; Private Smith lingered until July 10th; Private Hayes wound was slight. Near the camp, Private Winslett was instantly killed by a shell while on his way to Battery No. 11 with the Parrott gun. The final effort of the day was made about 3, p. M., when the enemy, under cover of a white flag, made a dash on a portion of our lines, but they were easily repulsed. All day the fleet kept up an incessant firing upon the lower batteries, but did no damage. The Confederates had about 5,500 muskets at the breastworks; and had the men been evenly distributed, they would have been about three feet apart. Fortunately, the nature of the ground enabled Gen. Gardner to leave long stretches of the works defended only by pickets; and, as the charges were not simultaneous, troops were hurried from one point to another where most needed. The fortifications, as previously stated, consisted of an ordinary field earthwork, over any portion of which, at the beginning of the siege it was materially strengthened during the 48 days at exposed points a fox hunter could have leaped. In some places, in fact, as in front of the First Alabama, there were no breastworks. Against this small force and weak defences Banks hurled nearly his whole army of 25,000 men, who fought bravely, but were badly handled. Gen. Banks loss was 293 killed and 1,549 wounded; the Confederate loss was about 200 killed and wounded. The Confederates picked up outside the works the following night a considerable number of Enfield rifles. These guns, with others subsequently captured, were retained at the works, and ere the close of the siege most of the men were armed with two guns each a musket loaded with buck and ball for use at close quarters, and a rifle for sharp shooting. As the fixed ammunition for the Enfields became exhausted, the men used the powder from musket cartridges, and for lead picked up Minieballs fired into the place by the enemy. These Yankee leaden missiles were also used instead of canister and were so thick on the surface of the ground within our lines, that it was but the work of a few minutes to pick up enough to charge a 12-pounder gun.
During the bombardment, on the 27th, a rifle shell from the fleet struck in Battery No. 5 disabling the 10-inch Columbiad carriage and killing a private of Co. G, First Alabama. A squad from Co. K worked in that battery on the nights of the 27th and 28th in dismounting and remounting, after the repair of the carriage, this 10-inch gun, which was ready for service again on the 29th. The man who was killed was standing on the carriage and was literally torn to pieces.
On the 28th there was a cessation of hostilities at the breastworks for the purpose of burying the dead. Gen. Banks did not deem it worth while to bury the colored troops who fought nobly, and their bodies lay festering in the sun till the close of the siege, when the colored regiments gathered the bones of their unfortunate brothers-in-arms and buried them.
At 7 p. M. the truce ended and the enemy made a furious rush upon the position held by the First Alabama. The fighting lasted nearly an hour, but the enemy were gallantly repulsed. The armistice did not embrace the river batteries and fleet, and the firing from the latter was unusually heavy. As previously mentioned Lieut. Pratt had received orders to take the 30-pounder Parrott, with a detachment from Co. K to Battery No. 11. An old 24-pounder, rifled, manned by a. detachment from Col. DeGournay’s battalion was also ordered to report to him at the same battery. His orders were to open upon the enemy’s fleet at daylight, but owing to the darkness of the night and the road being torn up by shells, it was after sunrise when the guns were got into position. The battery was very small, having been built for one gun only, and the parapet was but little over knee-high. About 6 A. m., everything being in readiness, Lieut. Pratt opened fire with the two guns upon the Essex anchored one mile or more distant. Within ten minutes the little battery was receiving the concentrated fire of the fleet including the six mortar-boats. The Essex, owing to her position, was the most accurate in her fire; three shells from her nine-inch guns exploded on the platform of the battery, and one struck a canteen hanging on the knob of the cascable of the Parrott. Private Joe Tunnell was slightly wounded by this shell; he was thrown upon his face and it was supposed he was killed, but he got up and brushing the dirt from his face exclaimed, Well, boys they liked to have got me. His wound though not serious disabled him, and Lieut. Pratt, in addition to his own duties as commander, had to assist in serving the gun. Lieut. Pratt was himself wounded during the action, but did not leave the battery; he was standing on the parapet watching the effect of the fire, when a shell exploded in the earth under his feet, and threw him into the battery, while fragments of the shell struck him on the hand and hip. Never did men act with more coolness than those at these guns, nor has artillery often been more ably served. There were fired from Co. Ks gun 49 shot and shell, and from the other piece 50. The enemy’s vessels were struck repeatedly; one shell from the Parrott was seen to enter a port-hole of the Essex, after which she closed her ports and, without firing another shot, retired out of range. The Genesee was also struck, and it was thought partially crippled. In addition to the casualties in Co. K, one man at the other gun was wounded.
The enemy made no more general assaults upon the works until June 14th, but in the meantime were approaching by parallels and planting batteries of heavy siege and naval guns. A steady fire was kept up day and night both by the fleet and the land batteries. There were about eighty siege pieces in these latter. An eight-inch howitzer so planted as to enfilade a portion of the southern line of defences, caused much amusement as well as annoyance to the Confederates. It was fired with light charges so as to make the shell ricochet and was, in consequence, christened Bounding Bet by the men, who speedily sought cover whenever they saw a puff of smoke from it. The deadly missile would go rolling and skipping along the inside of the line of works, finally exploding; one, that failed to burst, was opened and found to contain 480 copper balls of less than half an inch in diameter.
The sharp shooters were constantly engaged, and a man could scarcely show his head above the breastworks, at the more exposed points, without its being made a target. On May 31st the Parrott gun in Battery n fired a few rounds at the fleet. Soon after this Co. K was given a 24-pounder siege gun on the south side of the works named, by the company that had formerly used it, Virginia, and the Parrott was transferred to DeGournay’s battalion.
On the 3rd of June an election was held in Co. K to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Lieut. Frank. N. K. Adams received 37 votes, W. L. Ellis 7, scattering 4, and Lieut. Adams was duly commissioned. Hot weather had now set in, and this, coupled with constant exposure in the trenches, caused much sickness among the troops ; camp fever, diarrhoea, chills and fever soon reduced the number able to report for duty nearly one-third, and many of Co. K were among the sick. The company now served only at the artillery; Lieut. Pratt had charge of the Virginia, on the south side of the fortifications, Lieut. Tuttle had The Baby, brass rifle, at the Jackson Road, Lieut. Adams remained at Battery No. 1, occasionally relieving Lieuts. Pratt and Tuttle. Capt. Whitfield was placed in command of the Batteries 1, 2, 3 and 5, manned by detachments from Cos. K, A, G and B, respectively. The detachments of Co. K, at the Virginia and Baby, were daily relieved by the men held in reserve at Battery No. 1. The fire of the enemy’s land batteries was now very annoying, and the Confederate artillery could not fire a gun without having the fire of a dozen pieces concentrated upon it. Co. Ks brass gun was in this way several times silenced, and during the siege had two or three sets of wheels cut down. Finally the artillerists were compelled to withdraw their guns from the batteries and only run them in when a charge was made. In a measure to meet this emergency, the ten-inch Columbiad in Battery No. 4, on the river, was turned around and brought to bear by calculation on the batteries giving the most annoyance, and fire opened, apparently with considerable effect as the enemy’s fire slackened. Quite a number of eight and nine-inch guns were landed from the fleet, and placed in positions where they did much damage to the Confederate works. A battery of seven of these guns were located in front of Gen. Beale’s centre, one of six guns to the right of the Jackson Road, in front of Co. Ks brass gun, and one of seven guns in front of Col. Steadman’s command. From all of these a constant fire was kept up.
A singular phenomenon occurred on the night of June 13th; after a heavy cannonading an immense wave, at least six feet in height, rushed up the river, and at the same time Battery No. 6 caved into the river, one gun being lost. Whether the wave caused the bluff to cave in, or the bluff caving caused the wave, was a disputed question in camp, the general opinion, however, was that not a sufficient mass of earth fell to cause such a disturbance of the river.
About 3 a. m. on the 11th, after a heavy bombardment, the enemy made an attempt to storm the south-east angle of the works, but were repulsed. On the morning of the 13th a tremendous bombardment was opened, and a show of force was made. The firing then ceased and Gen. Banks sent in a flag of truce, demanding the surrender of the place. He complimented the garrison and commander in high terms; their courage, he said, amounted almost to heroism, but it was folly for them to attempt to hold the place any longer, as it was at his will, and he demanded the surrender in the name of humanity, to prevent the sacrifice of lives, as it would be impossible to save the garrison from being put to the sword when the works should be carried by assault; his artillery was equal to any in extent and efficiency, and his men out numbered the garrison five to one. Gen. Gardner simply replied that his duty required him to defend the post.
Before day on the morning of June 14th the enemy’s land batteries and the fleet opened fire with unusual rapidity, and about daylight the assault began. From the north-east angle to the Jackson Road the fighting was the most severe; the line between these points was defended by the First Mississippi and Forty-ninth Alabama and three or four pieces of artillery, including Co. Ks brass rifle at the Jackson Road. Gen. Banks plan of attack was as follows: two regiments of sharp shooters were ordered to advance as skirmishers, these were followed by a regiment with hand grenades, while another rolled up cotton bales to fill the ditch. Weitzel’s brigade and two brigades commanded by Cols. Kimball and Morgan, all under command of Gen. Weitzel, formed the storming party. On the left of this command was Gen. Emory’s division under command of Gen. Paine.
The Federals advanced, through their parallels, to within three hundred yards, and then, under cover of the dusk of the early morning and the smoke of their artillery, formed their line of battle, and advanced to the assault, in many places approaching to within ten feet of the works. They were received, however, with so deadly a fire of buck and ball that they were everywhere driven back with heavy loss, or crouched in the ditch for protection. By mere physical pressure of numbers some got within the works, in front of the First Mississippi and Forty-ninth Alabama regiments, but were instantly shot down. Co. Ks brass rifle did good execution; Lieut. Tuttle was in command and Sergt. Royals was gunner. In the midst of a terrific shower of rifle balls, it was served with coolness and deliberation. The enemy’s hand grenade experiment proved an unfortunate one for the assailants, as very few exploded when thrown int hey were percussion grenades but when thrown back by the Confederates, from the slightly elevated works, into the midst of the Federals below, they exploded, carrying death to their former owners. The fight lasted, with great severity, for about two hours, when the infantry fell back, but a heavy artillery fire was kept up all day. About one hundred prisoners were captured in the ditch near the Jackson Road, being unable to retreat. Among the Federal troops, who especially distinguished themselves here, were the Eighth New Hampshire and Thirty-eighth Massachusetts regiments. The fighting was very severe in front of the First Alabama, but the enemy did not get so near the works. On the right a feint was made, but the enemy did not approach to within close musketry range. In front of the 24-pounder, Virginia, manned by Co. K, they approached near enough for shrapnel, and Lieut. Pratt sent a few shell into their ranks, but they soon withdrew. The enemy’s official report of the losses, was 203 killed, 1,401 wounded, 201 missing, total 1,805. Probably many of those reported missing were killed, as there were 260 Federal dead buried in front of the centre alone, while the number of prisoners taken was but about 100.
After this repulse, Gen. Banks sent no flag of truce for the purpose of burying the dead or removing the wounded for three days. On the 17th Gen. Gardner sent out a flag and requested the Federal commander to bury his dead; but he replied that there were no dead to bury. Gen. Beale, at Gen. Gardner’s request, then sent a flag to Gen. Augur, who commanded in his front, calling his attention to the unburied dead. Gen. Augur replied that he did not think there were any there, but would grant a cessation of hostilities to see. Parties of Confederates were detailed to collect and pass over to the Federals the dead near our lines, and, as above stated, 260 were thus removed. Among the dead was found a wounded officer a Captain who had been lying exposed to the sun for three days without water, and was fly blown from head to foot. At the close of the siege the writer was informed that this man recovered. During the three days many wounded must have perished on the field, as they could be heard crying piteously for help. A Confederate, more tender-hearted than Banks, was shot by the enemy while carrying a canteen of water to a wounded Federal who lay near the works. In front of Col. Steadman’s position the dead were not buried, and their bodies could seen from the breastworks, at the time of the surrender, twenty-five days after the fight.
On June 15th Co. K removed a 42-pounder, smooth bore, barbette carriage, from Battery 2 or 3 to Battery No. 1, to replace the 24-pounder siege piece which had been sent to the land defences.
During the remainder of the month, there was an incessant fire of sharp shooters and artillery. To the left of the Jackson Road, the enemy built up a tower of casks filled with earth, two or three tiers in height, from which their sharpshooters were able to over look the Confederate works, and keep up an annoying fire. It was not more than 60 yards from our lines, but the two or three pieces of artillery which could be brought to bear on it, were commanded by a score of the enemy’s heavy guns, and could not be used to batter it down. At other portions of the line the enemy rolled bales of cotton to within close range, and surmounted them with sand-bags, arranged with narrow loop-holes, for the sharpshooters. On the 25th, Corp. L. H. Skelton, of Co. F, First Mississippi regiment, crawled out and placed port-fires in the bales of cotton and fired them; the first attempt failing, he went out a second time and succeeded in burning a number of bales. On the night of the 26th, 30 men made a sortie near the south-east angle, spiked the guns of one of the enemy’s batteries, and captured seven prisoners.
Co. K began about the last of June to make an excavation, partially behind the Jackson Road redoubt, in which to place their brass rifle, with a view of battering down the sharp shooters tower. It was intended to be so constructed as to be protected from the enemy’s artillery, but as the work could only be done at night, it was not completed in time to be of essential service. J. McCarty was killed at the brass gun, on June 23rd, by a fragment of a shell. This was the last casualty in the company during the siege. While these events were in progress in the centre, the enemy had been busy, on the extreme right, preparing to assault Battery No. n, which was the key to the Confederate works. They erected a battery containing 17 eight and nine-inch smooth bore guns and 20-pounder Parrotts, on the opposite side of the ravine and distant only 150 yards. On the opposite bank of the river, Parrott guns, manned by United States Regulars, were planted. Lieut. Schurmer, of DeGournay’s battalion, was in command of Battery 11, and its defense could have been entrusted to no more gallant gentleman. Gen. D. H. Hill, in a letter to the writer, said, I knew Schurmer well at Yorktown, and in a subsequent number of his magazine related the following incident connected with the siege of that place, where Schurmer was under his command : Schurmer was in charge of a 42-pounder, and especially distinguished himself by the accuracy of his fire. It was regarded as remarkable, even in the Federal army, and one of the French princes, on McClellan’s staff, made mention of it in a report of the operations at Yorktown. When Yorktown was evacuated he remained in Fort Magruder firing the 42-pounder all night, thus contributing essentially to the deception of the enemy. He attempted to escape the next morning on foot, but, exhausted, fell asleep by the wayside and was captured.
In Battery No. 11 was the 30-pounder Parrott formerly in Battery No. 1. On Friday morning, June 26th, the fleet and land batteries opened a terrific fire on the earth work, and in a few minutes Co. Ks old gun was forever silenced. One shell exploded in the muzzle, breaking off about a foot of it, while the carriage was struck by five or six shots and cut down. Three times during the day the Confederate flag was shot away, falling outside the works, and each time Schurmer, regardless of the storm of shot and shell, replaced it. Without intermission by day or night, the enemy kept up this fire until the 30th, and under cover of it advanced their parallels down through the ravine to within fifteen feet of the battery. Gallant Schurmer never relaxed his heroic devotion to duty, and on the 29th fell dead at his post. The next day while the Confederates were rolling ten-inch shells over the parapet into the enemy’s ditches, a storming party of some two hundred men made a rush for the battery. Its squad of defenders were hastily reinforced and the assailants were driven out, leaving sixteen dead inside our lines. On July 4th the Federal sappers were driven out of their ditches by hand grenades, but they claimed, after the surrender, that they had mined Battery 11 and had 3,000 pounds of powder under it ready to explode had the siege been further prolonged. The enemy’s batteries, on the west bank of the river, occasionally opened but were always silenced by Batteries 3, 4 and 5. On the centre of the south side the enemy kept quiet, and the detachment of Co. K, at the 24-pounder, had but little to do. A few shots were fired on the 2nd of July.
At the north-east angle the enemy, during the latter part of June and the first of July, were very busy mining, but the Confederates were no less industrious. An inner line of works extending across the angle was thrown up, the enemy’s mine was countermined, and on the 4th blown up. The enemy’s sappers were also constantly annoyed by rolling ten-inch shells into their ditches. On July 4th the enemy fired salutes from all their batteries with shotted guns, making it a warm day within our lines.
On the night of the 6th Co. K completed the sunken redoubt for the brass rifle, and on the following morning opened fire on the sharpshooters castle; but the embrasure was incorrectly laid off, and the gun could not be brought to bear on the tower without firing so close to the side of the embrasure as to cause the earth to cave in; so that, after firing three shots, the gun could no longer be brought to bear on the mark. Owing to the fire of the sharpshooters, nothing could be done to correct the mistake till night. The necessary changes in the earthwork were made that night, and on the morning of the 8th the detachment was at the gun ready to open fire, when the flag of truce was raised.
The condition of the garrison was now such as to limit further resistance to a few days. Early in June the enemy’s shells had fired the commissary building and mill, destroying several thousand bushels of grain and the chief means of grinding what was left. Fortunately, the only locomotive of the Clinton and Port Hudson Railroad was at Port Hudson. This was blocked up, and furnished power to drive a portable mill. The corn, with the exception of two or three days rations, held in reserve for an emergency, failed the last of June, and the supply of meat failed about the same time. There still remained a considerable stock of field peas and mules. When the men of the First Alabama were asked if they would eat mule, they replied, Yes; give us dog if necessary. The same spirit animated the whole garrison. Mules were slaughtered, and the meat issued on the 29th or 30th of June; the peas were issued whole and also ground into meal. Those sick in camp and hospital were fed by their comrades upon rats, daintly served up as squirrels. In the pea diet there were some drawbacks ; the peas were stored in bulk on the floor of the church, and the concussion of the bombardment had broken in every pane of glass in the building. This, in comminuted form, was mingled with the peas; and it was no unusual incident to be made painfully aware of its presence in masticating the peas. There were some among the garrison who could not stomach the mule, and, to satisfy these, an unexpected discovery was made of sixty barrels of corn beef. Some wonder was expressed as to this windfall, but it was accepted, eaten in good faith and pronounced excellent. It was not until after the surrender that those who ate it knew that it was carefully corned mule.
The ammunition, although it had been economized, was so nearly fired away that another general assault would have exhausted the supply. Nearly every cannon on the land fortifications had been disabled, and in the river batteries there remained but nine or ten fit for use.
On the first day of the siege there were 5,500 men at the breastworks; some 600 had been killed and wounded; many had died of disease, and at least 2,000 were suffering from camp-fever and diarrhoea, many of them being unable, under any emergency, to fire a musket.
This was the situation when, on the 7th of July, salutes from the enemy’s batteries and fleet, and continued cheering all along their lines, announced some great event. The lines were so close that the garrison was not long kept in ignorance that Vicksburg had fallen. That night Gen. Gardner summoned a council of war, consisting of Gen. Beale, Cols. Steadman, Miles, Lyle and Shelby, and Lieut.-Col. Marshal J. Smith. They decided unanimously that it was impossible to hold out longer, inasmuch as the provisions were nearly exhausted; of ammunition there remained but twenty rounds per man, with a small supply for the artillery; and a large proportion of the garrison were sick or, from exhaustion, unfit for duty. A communication was at once sent to Gen. Banks, stating what had been heard in regard to the fall of Vicksburg, asking for official information and notifying him that, if the report was true, Gen. Gardner was ready to negotiate for terms of surrender. Gen. Banks reply, enclosing a despatch from Gen. Grant, announcing the fall of Vicksburg, was received before day. Gen. Gardner at once appointed Cols. Miles and Steadman and Lieut.-Col. Smith commissioners to arrange terms of surrender. To represent the Federals, Gen. Banks appointed Brig.-Gen. Chas. P. Stone, Brig.-Gen. Wm. Dwight and Col. Henry M. Birge. The following terms were drawn up and signed:
Article 1 Maj.-Gen. Frank Gardner surrenders to the United States forces, under Maj.-Gen. Banks, the place of Port Hudson and its dependencies, with its garrison, armaments, munitions, public funds and materials of war, in the condition, as nearly as may be, in which they were at the hour of the cessation of hostilities, namely, 6 o’clock, A. M., July 8, 1863.
Article II The surrender stipulated in Article I is qualified by no condition save that the officers and enlisted men comprising the garrison shall receive the treatment due to prisoners of war according to the usages of civilized warfare.
Article III All private property of officers and en listed men shall be respected, and left to the respective owners.
Article IV The position of Port Hudson shall be occupied tomorrow at y o’clock, a. m., by the forces of the United States, and its garrison received as prisoners of war by such general officers of the United States service as may be designated by Gen. Banks with the ordinary formalities of rendition. The Confederate troops will be drawn up in line, officers in their positions, the right of the line resting on the edges of the prairie south of the railroad depot, the left extending in the direction of the village of Port Hudson. The arms and colors will be conveniently piled, and will be received by the officers of the United States.
Article V The sick and wounded of the garrison will be cared for by the authorities of the United States, assisted, if desired by either party, by the medical officers of the garrison.
Chas. P. Stone, Brig-Gen. U. S. A.
W. N. Miles, Col. Com. Right Wing, C. S. A.
Wm. Dwight, Brig.-Gen., U. S . A.
I. G. W. Steadman, Col. Com. Left Wing, C. S. A.
Marshal J. Smith, Lt.-Col. & Chief of Art., C. S. A.
Henry W. Birge,
Col. Com. 5th Brig., Grover s Div., U. S. A.
N. P. Banks, Maj.-Gen.
Frank Gardner, Maj.-Gen.
On the morning of the 9th, the garrison was formed in line and two officers were sent, by Gen. Gardner, to conduct in the Federal officer deputed to receive the surrender. This was Gen. Andrews, who entered the lines on the Clinton Road shortly after 7 o’clock. Gen. Gardner met him at the right of the line and delivered up his sword, saying, General, I will now formally surrender my command to you, and for that purpose will give the command Ground arms. Gen. Andrews replied, that he received Gen. Gardner’s sword, but returned it to him for having maintained his defence so gallantly. Meanwhile the Federal infantry moved in, and the wings resting on the river cut off any attempt to escape. A few officers and men, including Maj. Knox, of the First Alabama, concealed themselves near the outer lines, prior to the surrender, and the following night made their escape. There were, all told, 6,233 prisoners surrendered, but this included many non-effectives, such as teamsters, commissary, quartermaster and ordnance employees. At no time were there more than 5,500 muskets at the works. There were also surrendered 5,000 stand of firearms and 51 pieces of artillery, the latter including a number of small cast-iron guns, not mounted, and a number of disabled guns. The small number of muskets surrendered is accounted for by the fact that many of the soldiers threw their guns into the river or broke them.
The casualties in the First Alabama regiment during the siege were as follows :
FIRST ALABAMA REGIMENT. 81
Co. A, Killed, 3, Wounded, 17, Died of disease, 4
Co. Ks casualties were as follows : Lieut. Frank, Corp. Fergerson and Private Winslett killed May 27th; Private McCarty, killed June 23 ; Private Henry Smith, mortally wounded, May 27th, died July 10th; Lieut. Pratt and Private Josiah Tunnell, wounded May 28th; Private Clark, wounded May 10th, at Troths Landing; Private Hayes, wounded May 27th and Sergt. Williamson, wounded during the siege. Private Boon, died June 29th, of disease, Private Scott, July 3d, Private Mills, July 5th, Private Holston, July 6th.
During the siege two or three private families remained in the town, but suffered no casualties excepting one accidental; a boy having found an unexploded shell was playing with it when it burst, seriously wounding himself and mother.