: This drawing by Lt. Henry O. Dwight depicts the confrontation between his unit, the 20th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and the veteran 7th Texas Infantry Regiment on May 12, 1863, during the Battle of Raymond (Mississippi). Dwight, an amateur artist, titled his drawing "A Question of Right of Way - 20th Ohio VS. 7th Texas." In the foreground, Ohio soldiers lie on the ground in a row, firing at the Texans, who are barely visible behind a curtain of smoke, trees, and brush. The body of one casualty from the Ohio unit lays face down (lower right foreground). Two men from the 20th each have taken cover behind a tree. The figure that commands the viewer's attention, however, is that of the Ohio officer who calmly refills his meerschaum pipe while standing in clear view of the enemy.
Dwight later wrote a compelling account of the battle that was published in the "New York Semi-Weekly Tribune" on November 19, 1886. In this article he recalls the episode of the pipe-smoking officer:
"All this time we were hanging on to the bank of the brook with those fellows pouring gun smoke in our faces and we answering back so fast that the worst game of football is nothing to the fatigue of it. As for the noise of that discussion between the 20th Ohio and the 7th Texas, a clap of thunder is nowhere. It was more like a sheet of thunder, a wicked roar with no separation between the bolts, and all the time the Johnnies made it hot for us in flank and rear as well as in front.
"The Johnnies seemed rather to like it. We could see them tumble over pretty often, but those who were left didn't mid it. One officer, not more than thirty feet from where I stood quietly loaded up an old meerschaum [pipe] and lit a match. His pistol was hanging from his wrist. When he got his pipe agoing, he got hold of his pistol and went on popping away at us as leisurely as if he had been shooting rats."
The Battle of Raymond was one episode in the Vicksburg Campaign, whose success was a major victory for the Army of the Tennessee, commanded by Maj. General Ulysses S. Grant. The Union Army thus gained control of the Mississippi River, and the Confederacy was split in two.
View on Ohio Memory.
: AL06950 Subjects
: Drawings (visual works); Civil War 1861-1865; United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Pictorial works; Dwight, Henry Otis, 1843-1917; United States. Army. Ohio Infantry Regiment, 20th (1861-1865); Battlefields Places
: Raymond (Mississippi)