John Calvin Seay
John Calvin Seay was born in Hall County, GA the 29th day of Dec 1843. At the age of 19, John and his twin brother,
William left home and went to Vicksburg, Mississippi to join up with the 52nd Georgia Infantry Regiment Volunteers.
Unfortunately, on the 16th day of May 1863, William lost his life and John was wounded in the head and captured during the battle of Vicksburg. A roster of
the prisoners was taken and John was released to go home. John continued to fight with the 52nd and later in July of that same year was wounded in the right
arm during a battle of Atlanta. During the battle of Nashville, TN in 1864 John was again wounded, this time in the left shoulder just above the elbow.
Points of Interest
May 26 - July 3, 1863
Following the failure of the May 22 assault, Grant realized that Vicksburg could not be taken by storm and decided to lay siege to the city. Slowly his army established a line of works around the beleaguered city and cut Vicksburg off from supply and communications with the outside world. Commencing on May 26, Union forces constructed thirteen approaches along their front aimed at different points along the Confederate defense line. The object was to dig up to the Confederate works then tunnel underneath them, plant charges of black powder, and destroy the fortifications. Union troops would then surge through the breach and gain entrance to Vicksburg.
Union soldiers dug approach trenches towards the Confederate fortifications. Throughout the month of June, Union troops advanced their approaches slowly toward the Confederate defenses. Protected by the fire of sharpshooters and artillery, Grant's fatigue parties neared their objectives by late June. Along the Jackson Road, a mine was detonated beneath the Third Louisiana Redan on June 25, and Federal soldiers swarmed into the crater attempting to exploit the breach in the city's defenses. The struggle raged for 26 hours during which time clubbed muskets and bayonets were freely used as the Confederates fought with grim determination to deny their enemy access to Vicksburg. The troops in blue were finally driven back at the point of bayonet and the breach sealed. On July 1, a second mine was detonated but not followed by an infantry assault.
Throughout the weary month of June the gallant defenders of Vicksburg suffered under the constant bombardment of enemy guns from reduced rations and exposure to the elements. Reduced in number by sickness and battle casualties, the garrison of Vicksburg was spread dangerously thin. Soldiers and citizens alike began to despair that relief would ever come. At Jackson and Canton General Johnston gathered a relief force which took up the line of march toward Vicksburg on July 1. By then it was too late as the sands of time had expired for the fortress city on the Mississippi River.
Here is an abstract from Rev. William Asbury Parks, Chaplain of the 52nd Infantry:
The Seige and Fall of Vicksburg:
How Grant Succeeded and Pemberton Failed.
Rev. W.A. Parks
Webmasters note: While this article is titled "The Seige and Fall of Vicksburg", it actually describes the fighting at the battle of Baker's Creek (Champion Hill) which took place on 16 May 1863. Stevenson's Division was on the crest of Champion's Hill. This was the extreme left side of the Confederate line. Barton's Brigade was at the right side of Stevenson's Division, but in order to keep the Yankees from turning the left flank, they were later moved to the extreme left end of the line. The left end of Barton's Brigade was resting on Baker's Creek, next to the bridge. The main Federal assault was against these troops. 25,000 Federal soldiers attacked Stevenson's Division of a mere 6,500 men. When this line finally broke, the Union victory at Champion's Hill was assured.
"The 52nd Georgia, commanded by Col. Charles Phillips of Marietta, Ga. was in the thickest of the fight, and most of his men were killed or captured. Colonel Phillips himself was captured - this writer remembering well with what sadness he led the Colonel's horse back to Vicksburg, for a man's horse is most intimately associated with the soldier. Capt. "Gus" Boyd of Dahlonega fell in this battle while gallantly leading his company. The commander of the 43rd Georgia, Col. "Skid" Harris, and the gallant General Lloyd Tilghman, both fell in this engagement. By a mishap not necessary to be explained, the writer found himself on the deserted battle-field after the Confederates had all fled. The Blue-coats were advancing in line but a short distance away. The only chance of escape was along a lane parallel with the advancing line. Rapid flight was the only hope. A new pair of spurs was brought into vigorous requisition. At least a dozen dead battery horses had to be leaped in that lane. Suddenly the lane turned at left-angles, and stretched a half-mile down towards Baker's Creek. Down this lane with race-horse speed the rider flew, while minnie-balls whizzed around too close to the ear to be musical, and raising the dust on the ground before the rider. But thanks to good fortune both rider and horse escaped."
The remainder of the 52nd was captured, a roster of the soldiers captured was created, and the soldiers were then released to go home.