Sergeant William S. Morris

31st Illinois Infantry

Passing rapidly to the right of the line, the brigade came to a front, looking across the Champion Hill farm house and the high ground where field batteries were in position to defend the extreme left of the Confederate line of infantry drawn up in double column. They crowned the hill, that with its abrupt northeastern face covered with timber, presented a formidable barrier to any force that might assail it. Behind the brigade was an open field; far off to the right the flat bottoms of Baker's Creek. The men here slung their knapsacks and lay flat upon the ground in line. Major Stahlbrand pushed his twenty-four pound Howitzers several yards in front of our position and opened at close range with shell and shrapnel, cutting his shell at a second and a half. The guns on the hill added their music and sent their missiles tearing across the narrow valley at Stahlbrand's guns. The Major observed from his position at the guns a line of infantry moving down the hill. He turned round and riding up to Gen. J. E. Smith, commanding the brigade, said: "Sheneral Schmidt dey are sharging you mitt doubled column. By damn it they vant mine guns." Smith looked to the right and left of his line and replied grimly. "Let'em come, we're ready to receive them." He commanded, "Attention brigade," and the line stood upon its feet. Again he looked steadily up and down the line and bawled out "Fix bayonets." The bayonets flashed from the scabbards and the jingle of the steel rattled along the line. Logan and McPherson dashed up. The corps commander smilingly rode along the line, saying: "Give them Jesse boys, give them Jesse." Logan straightened himself in his stirrups and said: "We are about to fight the battle for Vicksburg." Appealing to his old regiment he cried out: "Thirty onesters remember the blood of your mammas. We must whip them here or all go under the sod together. Give'em hell."


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