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Fighting Guerillas on the Mississippi River After the Fall of Vicksburg – Sgt. W. Jewett Likely, 33rd Wisconsin Infantry



William Jewett Likely, a resident of Clyde, Wisconsin enlisted on August 8th, 1862 into Company A of the 33rd Wisconsin Infantry.  In this June 1st, 1864, 4-page letter in ink to his cousin. Here is the content:  

  • Camp of the 33rd Wis. Vol. Memphis, Tenn. June 1st, /64.  Dear Cousin Ellen, I will try to write you a few lines once more. I am well and hope that these few lines will find you enjoying the same blessing since you heard from me last. I have travailed quite a considerable. We left Vicksburg on the 10th of March, went down the River to the mouth of Red River. We started up the river and turned off in the Old River and landed near to Bayou D’Blaise. From this place we marched across the country to Red River, some 40 miles from the mouth to Derussy and took that Fort on the 14th.
  • We were not in the charge but were within a mile of the Fort and heard it all. We took the boats here again and went up to Alexandria. We stopped there several days waiting for Gen. Banks and his Army. We marched from here through to the River some 30 miles across and 60 miles by the River.
  • There was a rapids above Alexandria that the boats had to cross. That was the reason that we had to march. We had to wait here several days for the boats. From here we went to Grande Ecore. Here we landed and had the boats cleaned.
  • Then our Army Corps was ordered to go up with the fleet to guard it. There was only one Division amounting to about one thousand men, and we had some 20 transports to guard.
  • We started up the River. It was so low that we had to run very slow. There was small parties of the Rebels on both sides of the River, but they kept at a good distance. After Banks was wiped out at Pleasant Hill we went on up one day and came to where the Rebels had blockaded the River by sinking a boat across it.
  • This was what saved us, I believe, for if it had not been for this we would have kept on up the River. We stopped there to take the boat out and a dispatch came from Banks that he was falling back so we had to fall back, too.
  • THE RIVER WAS SO NARROW THAT SOME OF THE LARGE BOATS HAD TO RUN BACKWARD TILL WE GOT TO WHERE IT WAS WIDER. THE SECOND DAY WE WERE FIRED INTO BY A SQUAD OF GUERRILLAS.
  • They did not kill anyone on our boat, wounded one or two. The next day the Rebels had a Battery planted and fired into our boats. The Gun Boats got into position and began to shell them. They silenced the Battery so that the Transport got by. The next day we were not so lucky.
  • They had a Battery planted on a bluff, so that the Gun Boats could not affect them. Some of the boats got aground, and  the Rebels charged up to the bank and fired onto them. THEY DID KILL MANY OF OUR MEN, WOUNDED QUITE A NUMBER.
  • THE GUN BOATS GAVE THEM SHELL AND CANISTER AND SOON MADE THEM RETREAT. We sent down to Banks for reinforcements. We had to wait for them to come up. They got there just at night.
  • We got down to Grand Ecore where the rest of the troops were. We were landed here. The troops marched down by land. I was sick and went down on the boat. The Army had some fighting coming down. There was three killed in our Regt. and 12 wounded from Alexandria.
  • We marched to Fort Derussy from there to where we got off the boats. The Rebels were pressing our rear all the time. WE FOUGHT THEM EVERY DAY AS SOON AS WE TURNED ON THEM THEY WOULD RUN.
  • The day before we left the 16th Army Corps had quite a fight with them, killing and wounded some 400 men, took prisoners 300. After that we had no more trouble. We marched to the ship and got on the transports and come up to Vicksburg and from there to this place. We are pretty well used up. I will write again soon. I have not heard from home for three months, not any one. Write soon and give all the news. I remain your cousin, Jewett Likely

Fine condition.  Buy both Likely letters and take 10% off. 

#L6-1-64WI – Price $195










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