ON WALNUT HILLS, ABOVE VICKSBURG,
May 19, 1863.
We made a full circuit, entered Jackson first, destroyed an immense quantity of railroad and Confederate property, and then pushed for this point which secures the Yazoo and leaves [us] to take Vicksburg. We assaulted yesterday, but it is very strong. We estimate its present garrison at 15,000 or more, and Johnston is hovering about with reinforcements. We had a heavy fight yesterday. Regulars suffered much — Capt. Washington killed, five officers wounded Charley in the hand. He saved the colors. He is now in the midst of shells and shot. Hugh is also under fire, and had a hard time yesterday. We reached the very parapet, but did not enter the works. We are now encircling the town. I am on the right, McPherson centre, and McClernand left. We are all in good health and spirits at this moment, and, having reached and secured the Yazoo, will soon have plenty to eat. I must again go to the front amid the shot and shells, which follow me but somehow thus far have spared me. Charley's wound is in the hand, slight, and he now commands the battalion. Keep easy and trust to luck. This is a death struggle and will be terrible. Thus far success has crowned our efforts and we are on high ground, on a level with the enemy, but they are fortified and we must attack, quicker the better. Grant is off to the left with McClernand who did not push his attack as he should. Bang, pop, go the guns and muskets, and I must to the front. I have slept on the ground the last two nights to Hill's1 disgust, and he hangs around me like a shadow with a canteen. He is very faithful, but came up to me yesterday under fire with great reluctance!
1 Sherman's body-servant.
SOURCES: M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 261-2. A full copy of this letter can be found in the William T Sherman Family papers (SHR), University of Notre Dame Archives (UNDA), Notre Dame, IN 46556, Folder CSHR 2/04.