The Bugler

Bugler Newsletter

The Vicksburg Campaign

One hundred and fifty years ago this month the battles to break the lock that the Confederates held on Vicksburg began. This article will be one of two Buglers remembering this historic period. Just for context, Major General Ulysses S. Grant had failed in March expeditions to take Vicksburg, so he embarked on a new plan where his men would march south through Louisiana down the western side of the Mississippi River past Vicksburg and then his troops would ultimately be marched back north to begin the battles. This famous battle and the running of the batteries on April 16, 1863 were remembered by artists and authors alike.

Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Blockade at Vicksburg April 16, 1863 by Currier & Ives

Herman Melville and the Civil War

Most people know Herman Melville by his most famous work, Moby Dick. He is also considered one of America's finest poets alongside Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. His portrayal of the night is beautifully seen in his poem that he wrote about his experience from the Anchorage above Vicksburgh (sic), April 1863. So for a moment shrug off your high school dislike of poetry and by end of this work you will be part of the "running:"

Running the Batteries

A moonless night - a friendly one;
  A haze dimmed the shadowy shore
As the first lampless boat slid silent on;
  Hist! and we spake no more;
We but pointed, and stilly, to what we saw.

We felt the dew, and seemed to feel
   The secret like a burden laid.
The first boat melts; and a second keel
  Is blent with the foliaged shade -
Their midnight rounds have the rebel officers made?

Unspied as yet. A third - a fourth

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