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Home » War and Rebellion » Military and defensive sites » Battles

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  • In this letter, John describes the battle of Port Gibson.  This was a crucial battle and although the Union side suffered many losses, it ultimately led to their capture of Vicksburg.

John says that he has taken part in another terrible battle in a place called Grand Gulf, Mississippi.  It started on the 28th of April and the gun boats were firing from eight o'clock in the morning until three o'clock on that day.  John's regiment joined the battle at seven o'clock on the morning of the 30th of April. 

According to John Griffith Jones, the 23rd regiment took about fifty prisoners of war and approximately two thousand rebels were taken prisoners in total.  He describes the battle field

'In one regiment almost all the rebels were wiped out and the ground was strewn with corpses'.

He tells how two officers from the rebel side came to them with a 'flag of truce' and tried to gain permission to bury their dead the following day.  This request was refused.

According to John, they were the first into the town of Port Gibson, Mississippi.  They are now within thirty miles of Vicksburg and expect that they will be heading there next.

The rebels have burnt a number of bridges behind them, but John believes that this will not be a problem as they can build a 'floating bridge' in an hour or two.

He says that all the Welshmen got out alive and well and that there are many Welsh in the other regiments including about a hundred in the '56 Ohio' and a number in the Iowa regiments.
Letter from Corporal John Griffith Jones, from Willow Springs camp, to his parents in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, 6 May 1863 [page 1 of 2]
  • In this letter, John describes the battle of Vicksburg. The battle took place between May and July 1863 and most historians agree that the Union side's victory was a turning point in the civil war.

John apologises for not writing more often but says that he has been fighting for ten days in front of the walls of Vicksburg.  He has hurt one of his fingers but feels lucky that this is his only injury.

Many lives have been lost and the rebels have offered to give the place up if three captured men are returned.  But John writes that their side has replied that it is 'all or nothing'.

General Logon has dug a tunnel underneath one of the enemy forts and everything is ready for it to be blown up.  Another is almost ready to be destroyed.

Some of John's Welsh friends have returned to the ranks and he is glad of this although he says that only he and J. W. Jones have faced the rebels through the 'fire and water' and have lain, many a night, on their guns beneath the rebels.

He says that there are three or four regiments of black soldiers being drilled and that they are learning excellently.  They are called the Mississippi Federals.

He once again advises every lad under the age of eighteen to stay at home because he believes this to be hard enough work for strong men and he has seen many young ones lying in heaps on the ground.
Letter from Corporal John Griffith Jones, from a camp near Vicksburg, to his parents in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, 29 May 1863 [page 1 of 4]
  • John describes his part in the battle of Carrion Crow, Bayou.  He believes that this was the bloodiest battle of the season.

He opens his letter by saying that he's highly honoured to be alive and is in good health.

He goes on to say that the rebels attacked them at five o'clock in the morning but that the battle really started at two o'clock in the afternoon.  John says that their brigade was the only one fighting and he goes on to list the regiments.   He says that the rebels had two brigades of infantries and fifteen hundred cavalries.  

The reinforcements came half an hour too late for the Union side and they had to retreat back to the woods.  But, sometime later, the attacked again and pushed the rebels back, forcing them to the ground.  By now they only had five left in the G Company.
Letter from Corporal John Griffith Jones, from Vermillion, Louisiana, to his family in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, 6 November 1863 [page 1 of 4]
A newspaper cutting showing the battle line on the Somme front
Newspaper cutting showing cannons, dead horses and soldiers on the front line during the First World War
  • The frieze was created for the first Picton monument, designed by John Nash, and completed in 1828.  The frieze is the work of  E. H. Bailey.  This section shows the death of General Picton at Waterloo in 1815.  Picton is seen falling from his horse into the arms of a soldier of the Highland Division.  General Sir Thomas Picton was born at Poyston, Pembrokeshire in 1754.  Commissioned into the army in 1771, he became Governor of Trinidad in 1796.  Picton made his reputation as an able commander during the Spanish Peninsular Campaign, under Wellington.  Following the defeat of Napoleon's Army in 1814 he returned to Iscoed, Ferryside, Carmarthenshire, only to be recalled to the colours on Napoleon's escape from Elba.  Although Picton had been wounded two days previously at Quatre Bras he remained in command of his men at the Battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815.  He was killed leading his men against an enemy assault.
Bas-relief scene from the Picton Monument, Carmarthen [image 1 of 3]