Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/552

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71
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

pletion. About the time the bombardment of Vicksburg began, the work of completing the boat was put in charge of Lieut. Isaac N. Brown, C. S. N., who had entered the United States navy from Mississippi in 1834, and since then had had a distinguished career as a naval officer.

The enemy’s fleet remained inactive for more than a week, during which time it was reinforced to ten gunboats, and Smith’s command was increased by the Twentieth and Twenty-eighth Louisiana volunteers, five companies of Starke's cavalry, Ridley’s battery of Withers' artillery, and four companies of the Sixth Mississippi battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Balfour. These troops were thrown forward toward Warrenton to resist a land attack. Later, two more Louisiana regiments arrived.

On May 21st, Commander Lee gave formal notice of the necessity of removing women and children within twenty-four hours, "as it will be impossible to attack the defenses without injuring or destroying the town, a proceeding which all the authorities of Vicksburg seem determined to require. I had hoped," Lee wrote, "that the same spirit which induced the military authorities to retire from the city of New Orleans rather than wantonly sacrifice the lives and property of its inhabitants would have been followed here."

This ingenuous suggestion failed to secure the abandonment of the batteries, and on the afternoon of the 26th the gunboats opened fire and continued it about two hours, apparently with the intention of getting our range. The batteries were ordered not to return the fire at long range, and very sparingly at short range, for the double purpose of saving the limited ammunition and keeping the men fresh for any assault that might be made. From that time until the middle of June the firing of the boats was kept up at intervals, and sometimes quite heavily, during the latter part of the time being directed at the town or localities where troops were suspected. From June 14th to 18th there was a cessation of the attack,