« PreviousContinue »
SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.
ceeded in planting their flags on the In addition to all this steady working, outer slopes of the enemy's bastions, Grant had taken care to secure, at an and maintained them there until night. early day, large reinforcements, so that The assault was gallant in the extreme he was in a condition not only to push on the part of all the troops, but the forward the siege with fixed determi. enemy's position was too strong, both nation, but also to keep a watch upon naturally and artificially, to be taken Johnston, and be ready to repulse any in that
At every point assaulted, effort he might venture to make for the and at all of them at the same time, relief of Vicksburg. T'he position of the enemy was able to show all the Grant's army, resting on the Yazoo and force his works could cover. The supported by the gun boats, was so assault failed, I regret to say, with strong that the rebels were soon aware much loss on our side in killed and of the hopelessness of attempting to wounded; but without weakening the raise the siege. confidence of the troops in their ability
The state of things in Vicksburg, to ultimately succeed."
meanwhile, was far from cheering or It having become evident that Vicks- encouraging. The women and chilburg was not to be taken by assault, dren, in order to escape the terrible Grant began a regular series of siege bombardment, sheltered themselves in operations. They were commenced and caves excavated in the hill sides; carried on with vigor and perseverance,
houses and streets were ploughed by it being certain that, sooner or later, shot and shell; provisions were becom. this rebel Gibralter must be surren ing more and more scarce; mule and dered to our arms.
Day by day, dog meat, bean meal and corn coffee, during the month of June, the works were in demand; and unburied corpses were pushed closer to the enemy's for and the stench of dead animals, in the tifications. Batteries and rifle-pits streets and elsewhere, tried the nerve were erected along the entire front. and patience of the garrison to the utMines were constructed at several most. One only hope remained, and points, especially in McPherson's front, that was the hope that Johnston might with great secrecy and under careful yet bring relief; but all such hope watch ; while from the peninsula oppo failed, and the end drew nigh. Sursite the doomed city, mortar batteries render, or starving to death, was the poured in, day and night, without ces- alternative.* sation, thousands of sbots and shells.* In carrying forward the siege opera.
* On the 6th of June, an attack was made by the
rebels upon the garrison
, under Gen. Dennis, at Milli * Pollard denounces this as untrue : “ The statement
ken’s Bend. After a sovere contest, on the morning that the garrison of Vicksburg was surrendered on ac of the 7th, which was kept up until noon, the rebels count of an inexorable distress, in which the soldiers were repulsed. A week later, they were routed out of had to feed on mules, with the occasional luxury of Richmond by an expedition from Young's Point, con- rats, is either to be taken as a designing falsehood or sisting of Mowry's command and the marine brigade as the crudities of that foolish newspaper romance so under Gen. R. W. Ellet. The town itself was com. common in the war. In neither case does it merit re pletely destroyed.
futation," etc.—“Third Year of the War," p. 68.
tions, when the first mine was all of the city, etc. Grant's reply was in readiness, Grant ordered its explo- brevity itself: "unconditional surrension, and also certain parties of troops der.” It seemed very hard to the rebel to be prepared to storm the rebel line commander, and though he solicited a at the right moment. At three o'clock personal interview, which was granted, in the afternoon of June 25th, the match yet the result was substantially the was applied, and speedily a terrific ex. same as at first named.* Grant was plosion took place. Our troops rushed willing to allow something to assuage bravely to the charge; a bloody con. the wounded feelings of a defeated foe; test ensued with the half-starved gar- he permitted them to march out and rison, and the loss was heavy on both stack their arms in front of their lines, sides ; but Vicksburg was not yet and then returning to the city, he retaken. On the 1st of July, a second quired them to remain as prisoners mine was sprung on the right of the until properly paroled. This course, Jackson road, which resulted in the en. as Grant said, “ saved us the transportire demolition of the redan, the detation of the rebel prisoners North, stroying a number of men who were which, at that time, would have been countermining, and wounding others in very difficult, owing to the limited the works, and leaving an immense amount of transportation on hand and chasm where the redan had stood. the expense of subsisting them. It left
The case was now hopeless.* Pem- our army free to operate against Johnberton concluded that it was better to ston, who was threatening us from the surrender than to continue the desper direction of Jackson, and our river ate defence, especially as, in any event, transportation to be used for the move he could not hold out more than a few ment of troops to any point the exi days. On the 3d of July, carly in the gency of the service might require.” morning, a flag of truce was displayed
Pemberton very gladly accepted the upon the works in front of Gen. A. J. terms finally settled upon by Grant, Smith. Two rebel officers, Gen. Bowen and at ten o'clock on the morning of and Col. Montgomery, were brought the 4th of July, the surrender was fully in under it blindfold, bearing with consummated. A week later, the parthem a letter from Pemberton proposing an armistice, appointment of com
* For the correspondence, and the interview between missioners to arrange for capitulation Campaigns,” pp. 186–190.
Grant and Pemberton, see Coppée's " Grant and his
Pemberton's reasons for selecting the Fourth of * There was no hope of relief from Johnston. It July as the day of his surrender, though censured by was all delusion. He had advised Pemberton (see note, Pollard as “a singular humiliation of the Confederacy, p. 313) not to try a siege, for he would certainly be are nevertheless not wanting in shrewdness.“ If it compelled to surrender; and Johnston at no time felt should be asked,” he said, “why the Fourth of July himself strong enough to venture an attack upon was selected as the day for the surrender, the answer Grant. Some 8,000 rebel troops on the west of the is obvious ; I believed that, upon that day, I should Mississippi were expected to be of service; but on obtain better terms. Well aware of the vanity of our June 27th, Johnston sent Pemberton word that these foes, I knew they would attach vast importance to the troops“ had been mismanaged, and had fallen back to entrance on the Fourth of July into the stronghold of Delhi.”
the great river, and that, to gratify their national van:
VALUE OF THIS GREAT CAPTURE.
oled officers and men marched out of ing; total, 8,925. Of the wounded, Vicksburg to the Big Black River, many were but slightly wounded, and whence they were distributed to dif- continued on duty; many more requirferent parts of the South. Vicksburg ed but a few days or weeks for their itself was immediately occupied by the recovery: Not more than one-half of divisions of Logan, J. E. Smith, and the wounded were permanently disHerron; and, much to the disgust of abled." * Pollard and men of his stamp, a large The part taken by the navy in the portion of the citizens signified their capture of Vicksburg was of course less cheerful acceptance of the change in the conspicuous than that of the army; state of affairs, which brought “the yet the operations of Porter formed an key of the Mississippi” again under the essential element in reaching the desir protection of the stars and stripes. ed end. As we have had occasion to
Gen. Grant, in his report sent to note, he was always ready to do his Washington a few days after the sur share; and in the active employment render, summed up the result of his of his fleet, for forty-two days, bomoperations as follows : “The result of barding the city with their heavy guns, this campaign has been the defeat of in mortar vessels, on scows, in guardthe enemy in five battles outside of ing the river, and in a detachment of Vicksburg, the occupation of Jackson, his force on shore, he reports an expenthe capital of the state of Mississippi, diture of ammunition from the mortars and the capture of Vicksburg and its of 7,000 shells and from the gun boats garrison and munitions of war; a 4,500.+ Truly, as Porter said in his loss to the enemy of 37,000 prisoners, dispatch,“ history has seldom had an among whom were fifteen general offi- opportunity of recording so desperate cers; at least 10,000 killed and wound- a defence on one side, with so much ed, and among the killed Generals courage, ability, perseverance, and Tracy, Tilghman and Green; and hun- endurance on the other; and if ever an dreds and perhaps thousands of strag- army was entitled to the gratitude of a glers, who can never be collected and re-organized. Arms and munitions of * On this same 4th of July, 1863, the works of Gen war for an army of 60,000 men have of rebels, some 9,000 in number, gathered by Holmes
Prentiss, at Helena, Arkansas, were attacked by a body fallen into our hands, besides a large Price, Marmaduke and others, at Little Rock. Gen amount of other public property, con o'clock in the afternoon, when the rebels were repulsed
Prentiss sustained the attack from daylight till three sisting of railroads, locomotives, cars, at all points, leaving 1,200 prisoners, and about 500 in steamboats, cotton, etc., and much was
killed and wounded.
+ Grant's chief of artillery, Colonel Duff, gives a destroyed to prevent our capturing it. statement of the artillery shots fired during the siege. “ Our loss in the series of battles From the time of crossing the Mississippi River, May nation, it is the Army of the Tennessee or less moment, followed this of Sherand its gallant leaders."
1st, till the surrender, July 4th, 18,889 solid shot, 72,314 may be summed up as follows: “1,293 shell, 47,897 case, 2,723 canister, were expended, mak killed, 7,095 wounded, and 537 missing a total of 141,823. This would be an average
653 shots for each cannon used. If to these tho musity, they would yield then what could not be extort- ketry be added, the reader can form some idea of the ed from them at any other time.”
vast amount of ammunition consumed.
man's; one, under Gen. Ransom, was We may mention, in the present con- sent to Natchez, about 100 miles benection, that, just before the capture of low Vicksburg, on the river, and was Vicksburg, Grant had made all his ar- particularly successful in securing 5,000 rangements to dispatch Sherman in pur- head of Texas cattle, and a large amount suit of the rebel Gen. J. E. Johnston, of ammunition, which had been crossed who was making threatening demon. for the benefit of the rebels under Kirby strations in the rear. Johnston, how- Smith. The army was allowed some ever, thought it best to retreat without needed rest, and proper supplies were venturing a battle, and Sherman, with furnished; after which Grant sent a strong force, promptly set out in pur- troops, under Steele, to co-operate with suit. Despite the fatigue the troops had Schofield against Little Rock, Arkanundergone before Vicksburg, they pur-sas, and also a force under Ord and sued the enemy for fifty miles and left Herron to New Orleans, to reinforce him in full retreat, destroying at the Gen. Banks. same time the great arteries of travel
Thus the labor and toil of our army in the state, and exhausting the coun- and navy were at last crowned with try. Jackson, the capital of Mississippi, success. Port Hudson, as we have narwas evacuated on the night of the 16th rated in the preceding chapter, followed of July. Our army entered it again, the fate of Vicksburg, and the Great and the city, beautifully situate on the River of the West thenceforth flowed Pearl River, and noted for evidences in its entire course without let or hinof taste and wealth, was doomed to en. drance from rebel obstructions or distire destruction. The railroads in every loyal interference.
There was direction for twenty-five and fifty miles good ground to hope and expect that, were torn up, the bridges were effec- ere long, rebellion and its terrible evils tually destroyed, and the ruin was com- would be stricken out of existence.* plete. Sherman's loss was less than * Secession writers can hardly find words to express 1,000; that of the rebels was much the surprise and consternation," and " the news fallgreater, Sherman having taken over upon the fall of Vicksburg. “ It compelled,” says Pol
ing like a thunder-clap from clear skies," consequent 1,000 prisoners during this brief cam- lard, “ as its necessary consequence, the surrender of paign.
other posts on the Mississippi, and cut the Confede
racy in twain. Its defence had involved exposure and Various other expeditions, of more weakness in other quarters. It had about stripped
Charleston of troops; it had taken many thousand
men from Bragg's army; and it had made such requi. * A naval and military expedition, under Lieut. sitions on his force for the newly organized lines in Walker and Gen. Herron, was sent, on the 13th of Mississippi, that that general was compelled or in. July, to Yazoo City. It was entirely successful. Four duced, wisely or unwisely, to fall back from Tullarebel steamers were burned, 300 prisoners taken, and homa, to give up the country on the Memphis and 800 horses and mules captured. The gun boat De Kalb Charleston Railroad, and practically to abandon the dewas destroyed by the explosion of a torpedo in the fence of Middle Tennessee.”—" Third Year of the War,"