Bygones of Monroe:
From the 6th Mich. Infantry
We have before us two private letters from Col. T.S. Clark of the 6th Regiment, now before Port Hudson, one of them dated June 16th and the other June 21st, and although neither of them, nor any of their contents were intended for publication, yet we take the liberty of giving a synopsis of the news contained, knowing that it will prove of much interest to our readers.
On Sunday June 14th, another attempt was made to take Port Hudson by storm; and in this attack as in the one of May 27th Col. Clark was placed in the advanced, being given the command of the 1st Brigade, embracing five regiments of Infantry and one battery of light artillery. Col. Clark led the charge with three of his regiments, and opened the fight, but was soon compelled to fall back and find shelter from the enemy’s destructive volleys of grape and canister. Out of these three regiments 150 were killed and wounded, and the loss on the line was about the same as in the previous fight. From the 22nd of May up to the 16th of June, 5,000 men had been killed and wounded before Port Hudson, and about half that number had been sent back from exhaustion.
Some three weeks had been spent in building regular approaches to the enemy’s works, and the letter of June 21st states that a fortification for 20 large guns, within 250 yards of the enemy’s strong bastion called the Malakoff, was nearly completed. The 6th was on duty in front of Malakoff and only three quarters of a mile from the village. Not a shot was fired between them and the rebs, owing to an understanding not to fire at each other until their work should be completed. The letter remarks that it is a curious sight to see 500 of our men throwing up an earthwork, and about 200 rebs strengthening theirs, and not a shot fired, but on the contrary the soldiers talking to each other, and asking when they will have their guns mounted so they can go to killing each other. The 6th is relieved from all fatigue duty. Gen. Banks and Gen. Dwight have both expressed the opinion that it is the best Regiment of Infantry they ever saw. This is quite a compliment for our Michigan boys.
In this connection we may perhaps be pardoned for a few words concerning Col. Clark and his military career. There are few Colonels in the service who have enjoyed the confidence and esteem of their superior officers in as great a degree as Col. Clark and few, if any, who have more uniformly acquitted themselves with credit and honor in all positions. For a long time before leaving New Orleans he was in command of a brigade, and his expedition to Pontchatonia was performed in such a manner as to merit and receive the thanks of Gen. Sherman and Gen. Banks. In the first assault upon Port Hudson he was among those chosen to lead the charge, and our readers know with what heroic bravery it was done. In the second assault he was given the largest and best brigade in the entire division, and was ordered to lead the charge and open the fight, which was done in gallant style, but the enemy’s works were found too strong for them. His behavior in all positions has been alike meritorious, brave and honorable.
(Monroe Commercial, July 16, 1863, Page 2, Column 1 & 2)