The Battle at Milliken's Bend

July 4, 1863, page 428

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Mr. Davis also sends us a sketch of the sharp fight at Milliken's Bend, where a small body of negro troops with a few whites were attacked by a larger force of rebels. A letter from Vicksburg says:

Twenty-second Day in Rear of Vicksburg, June 9, 1868. 

Two gentlemen from the Yazoo have given me the following particulars of the fight at Milliken's Bend, in which negro troops played so conspicuous a part.  My informant states that a force of about 1000 negroes and 200 men of the Twenty-third Iowa, belonging to the Second Brigade, Carr's Division (the Twenty-third Iowa had been up the river with prisoners, and was on its way back to this place), was surprised in camp by a rebel force of about 2000 men. The first intimation that the commanding officer received was from one of the black men, who went into the colonel's tent, and said: "Massa, the secesh are in camp." The colonel ordered him to have the men load their guns at once. He instantly replied: "We have done did dat now, massa." Before the colonel was ready the men were in line, ready for action. As before stated, the rebels drove our force toward the gun-boats, taking colored men prisoners and murdering them.  This so enraged them that they rallied and charged the enemy more heroically and desperately than has been recorded during the war. It was a genuine bayonet charge, a hand-to-hand fight, that has never occurred to any extent during this prolonged conflict. Upon both sides men were killed with the butts of muskets. White and black men were lying side by side, pierced by bayonets, and in some instances transfixed to the earth. In one instance, two men -- one white and the other black -- were found dead, side by side, each having the other's bayonet through his body. If facts prove to be what they are now represented, this engagement of Sunday morning will be recorded as the most desperate of this war. Broken limbs, broken heads, the mangling of bodies, all prove that it was a contest between enraged men; on the one side from hatred to a race, and on the other, desire for self-preservation, revenge for past grievances, and the inhuman murder of their comrades. One brave man took his former master prisoner, and brought him into camp with great gusto.  A rebel prisoner made a particular request that his own negroes should not be placed over him as a guard. Dame Fortune is capricious! His request was not granted.  The rebels lost five cannon, 200 men killed, 400 to 500 wounded, and about 200 prisoners. Our loss is reported to be 100 killed and 500 wounded; but few of this number were white men.

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