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June 28, 2013

Letter from James Madison Bowler to his wife, Elizabeth Caleff Bowler, then residing in Nininger, Minnesota, reporting on the siege of Vicksburg– June 28, 1863

Filed under: Civil War Daybook — Lori Williamson @ 9:00 am

Snyder’s Bluff, Miss, June 28, 1863
Sunday]
Dear Libby:
[…] It is very warm.  I never experienced anything like it before now.  […]
{Monday 29th} […] I have been down to the bayou and had a good wash this evening.  Saw one man get his leg bitten by an Alligator.  Quite a number have been bitten since we came here, one man killed. […]
{Tuesday 30th}  Have had Regt. inspection and muster to-day, and now have to work hard for a few days making out muster and Pay Rolls, quarterly returns, monthly returns, &c., &c.  The weather is intensely warm.  The 25th Wis. returned to camp to-day from up river, so our brigade is whole again.  Dr. Pride is here again, as crazy as ever.  We have pretty exciting news about Lee’s being in Penn., stirring up the stay-at-home Dutchmen and Copperheads.  I am glad to hear it. It will do good in the end, besides the rebels in that direction will get a whipping for once and find out that an offensive movement is a little more risky than the defensive which they have been so long practicing.
{Wednesday, July 1, 1863}
[…] Grant blew up two rebel fortifications to-day in front of Vicksburg, gaining considerable advantage.  Three darkies were blown over to our men — one of them alive. […]
{Wednesday, July 2nd}
Heavy firing is going on to-night at Vicksburg.  Wish you could hear it.  We expect sonething to be done on the 4th to celebrate the day.  The rebels are building flat boats prepatory to an attempt to cross the river and escape to Louisiana one of these dark nights.  The 5th Regt. is among the troops they would have to meet on the other side if they attempt to cross.  […]
{Saturday, July 4th, morning}
There has been a death-like silence at Vicksburg since 6 P.M. yesterday.  It may be the calm which precedes the storm.  We expect to hear some heavy work before night.  A National salute is just being fired at Youngs Point.  It is cloudy and gives promise of a cool day.  I should like to know how you are celebrating the 4th in Nininger.  (10 A.M.)  The magic words are spoken Vicksburg is ours.  Every heart is glad.  Over 150,000 men are at this moment rejoicing over the event.  The gordian knot which has held this great army here so long, is now cut, and this army, released from the spell which has bound it, is at liberty to do something to avert disasters threatened elsewhere — to re-enforce Hooker and drive Lee back to Virginia; pursue Johnston; re-enforce Rosecranz; or assist Banks to take Port Hudson — anyone or all of these things, we can do, as our authorities shall decide.  The rebel flag was hauled down and the white flag run up at 9 o’clock this morning.  The negociations (sic) were made last night, and our troops are at this moment in possession of the long-coveted rebel works.  Regiments are out in line hurrahing and innumerable bands are playing patriotic tunes.  Our Band, within ten feet of my tent, has played Hail Columbia, Dixie, and Yankee Doodle while I have been writing this.  It seems as though they never played better than now.  This 4th of July will be long remembered by us.  (Evening, 10 p.m.)  Twenty-two thousand rebels stacked their arms and surrendered to-day, besides the many sick and wounded.  It is a glorious victory.  Port Hudson must soon fall, and then the Mississippi is once more open, opened by the strong arm of the Northwest.  Sherman’s corps passed out past here this afternoon for Black river, with Pontoons.  About 20,000 Cavalry are in the rebels rear and with this army in front Johnston will have work enough.  Well I must bid you good-night.  Madison.


Citation:  June 28, 1863, Letter from James Madison Bowler to Lizzie, Correspondence, undated, 1829-1865. Bowler, James Madison and Family, Papers. Minnesota Historical Society. [P1330 box 1]

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