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"HEAD-QUARTERS, 13TH ARMY Corps,
"HOLLY SPRINGS, MISS., December 24th, 1862. "It is with pain and mortification that the General Commanding reflects upon the disgraceful surrender of the place, with all the valuable stores it contained, on the 20th inst., and that without any resistance except by a few men, who formed an honorable exception; and this, too, after warning had been given of the enemy northward, the evening previous. With all the cotton, public stores, and substantial buildings about the dépôt it would have been perfectly practical to have made, in a few hours, a defence sufficient to resist, with a small garrison, all the cavalry force brought against them until the reinforcements which the commanding officer was notified were marching to his relief could have reached him.
"The conduct of officers and men in accepting paroles, under the circumstances, is highly reprehensible, and, to say the least, thoughtless. By the terms of the Dix-Hill cartel each party is bound to take care of their prisoners and to send them to Vicksburg, or a point on the James river, for exchange, or parole, unless some other point is mutually agreed upon by the generals commanding the opposing armies.
By a refusal to be paroled, the enemy, from his inability to take care of the prisoners, would have been compelled either to have refused them unconditionally or to have abandoned further aggressive movements for the time being, which would have made their recapture, and the discomfiture of the enemy almost certain.
The prisoners paroled at this place will be collected in camp at once by the post commander, and held under close guard until their case can be reported to Washington for further instructions.
"Commanders throughout the department are directed to arrest and hold as above all men of their commands and all stragglers who may have accepted their paroles upon like terms. The General Commanding is satisfied that the majority of the troops who accepted a parole did so thoughtlessly and from want of knowledge of the cartel referred to, and that in future they will not be caught in the same way.
"By order of
"MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. Grant.
"JOHN A. RAWLINS, A A.-G.”
"HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss., January 8th, 1863. "I. The Major-General commanding the department takes just pride and satisfaction in congratulating the small garrisons of the posts of Coldwater, Davis's Mills, and Middleburg, for the heroic defence of their positions on the 20th, 21st, and 24th ultimo, and their successful repulse of an enemy many times their number.
"The Ninetieth Illinois, at Coldwater (its first engagement); the detachment of the veteran Twenty-fifth Indiana, and two companies of the Fifth Ohio cavalry, at Davis's Mills; and the detachment of the gallant Twelfth Michigan at Middleburg, are deserving of the thanks of the army, which was in a measure dependent upon the road they so nobly defended for supplies, and they will receive the meed of praise ever awarded by a grateful public to those who bravely and successfully do their duty.
"These regiments are entitled to inscribe upon their banners, respectively, Coldwater, Davis's Mills, and Middleburg, with the names of other battle-fields made victorious by their valor and discipline.
"It is gratifying to know that at every point where our troops made a stand during the late raid of the enemy's cavalry, success followed, and the enemy was made to suffer a loss in killed and wounded greater than the entire garrisons of the places attacked. Especially was this the case of Davis's Mills and Middleburg. The only success gained by Van Dorn was at Holly Springs, where the whole garrison was left by their commander in ignorance of the approach of danger.
"II. Colonel R. C. Murphy, of the Eighth Regiment Wisconsin infantry volunteers, having, while in command of the post of Holly Springs, Mississippi, neglected and failed to exercise the usual and ordinary precautions to guard and protect the same; having, after repeated and timely warning of the approach of the enemy, failed to make any preparations for resistance or defence, or shown any disposition to do so; and having, with a force amply sufficient to have repulsed the enemy and protect the public stores intrusted to his care, disgracefully permitted him to capture the post and destroy the stores-and the movement of troops in the face of an enemy rendering it impracticable to convene a court-martial for his trial-is therefore dismissed the service of the United States-to take effect from the 20th day of December, 1862, the date of his cowardly and disgraceful conduct.
By order of
MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
JOHN A. RAWLINS, A. A.-G.”
PREPARATIONS FOR THE ASSAULT ON VICKSBURG-CHANGES IN THE ARMY ORGANI
On the twentieth of December, 1862, General W. T. Sherman left Memphis with a large force, composed entirely of Western men, on an expedition towards Vicksburg, and on the following day he arrived at Friar's Point, about eighteen miles below Helena. A portion of his command
subsequently proceeded to Delhi and Dallas, on the line of the Vicksburg and Texas railroad, and removed the rails for the purpose of cutting off the retreat of the enemy; and on the twenty-sixth, his main forces landed at Johnston's Landing, near the mouth of the Yazoo, and prepared for an immediate assault upon the northern line of works at Vicksburg. By an order of the commanding-general, the following changes were made in the army organization:The troops in the Department of the Tennessee, including those of the Department of the Missouri operating on the Mississippi river, were divided into four army corps, as follows:
"HEAD-QUARTERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE, "HOLLY SPRINGS, MISS., Dec. 22nd, 1862.
"By directions of the General-in-Chief of the army, the troops in this department, including those of the Department of the Missouri operating on the Mississippi river, are hereby divided into four army corps, as follows:
"1. The troops composing the Ninth division, BrigadierGeneral G. W. Morgan commanding; the Tenth division, Brigadier-General A. J. Smith commanding; and all other troops operating on the Mississippi river below Memphis, not included in the Fifteenth army corps, will constitute the Thirteenth army corps, under the command of Major-General John A. McClernand.
"2. The Fifth division, Brigadier-General Morgan L. Smith commanding; the division from Helena, Arkansas, commanded by Brigadier-General F. Steele; and the forces in the District of Memphis,' will constitute the Fifteenth army corps. and be commanded by Major-General W. T. Sherman.
"3. The Sixth division, Brigadier-General J. McArthur commanding; the Seventh division, Brigadier-General I. F. Quinby commanding; the Eighth division, Brigadier-General L. F. Ross commanding; the Second brigade of cavalry, Colonel A. L. Lee commanding; and the troops in the 'District of Columbus,' commanded by Brigadier-General Davies, and those in the District of Jackson,' commanded by Brigadier-General Sullivan, will constitute the Sixteenth army corps, and be commanded by Major-General S. A. Hurlbut.
4. The First division, Brigadier-General J. W. Denver commanding; the Third division, Brigadier-General John A. Logan commanding; the Fourth division, Brigadier-General J. G. Lauman commanding; the First brigade of cavalry, Colonel B. H.
Grierson commanding; and the forces in the 'District of Corinth,' commanded by Brigadier-General G. M. Dodge, will constitute the Seventeenth army corps, and be commanded by MajorGeneral J. B. McPherson.
"District commanders will send consolidated returns of their forces to these head-quarters, as well as to the army head-quarters, and will, for the present, receive orders from Department head-quarters.
"By order of
"MAJOR-GENERAL U. S. GRANT.
"JOHN A. RAWLINS, A. A.-G."
The divisions of Generals McArthur and Quinby were subsequently transferred from the Sixteenth to the Seventeenth corps, and those of Generals Denver and Lauman, from the Seventeenth to the Sixteenth.
On the twenty-seventh of December, the "Right Wing of the Army of the Tennessee," as General Sherman's command was termed, advanced upon the enemy's works, and on the following day a general attack was made; but the enemy being reinforced, and the disgraceful surrender of Holly Springs having prevented General Grant from moving to General Sherman's support as had been ar ranged, the assault was repelled with heavy loss, as was also the case on the next day, and General Sherman was compelled reluctantly to re-embark his troops.
General McClernand arrived soon afterwards, and ranking General Sherman, gave orders to that officer to withdraw from the Yazoo river. Early in January, 1863, the "Right Wing of the Army of the Tennessee" had its title changed to that of "The Army of the Mississippi," and was divided into two corps-one to be commanded by General Sherman, and the other by General G. W. Morgan. These two corps, a week later, accompanied by gunboats, went up the Arkansas and White rivers, and a short but severe engagement took place, terminating in the fall of the rebel Fort Hindman at Arkansas Post. This work accomplished, the corps rejoined General Grant, who had his head-quarters at that time at Memphis.
THE WILLIAMS' CANAL-THE QUEEN OF THE WEST AND INDIANOLA.
On the twenty-ninth of January, 1863, a portion of the army was landed at Young's Point, Louisiana, where the commanding general established his head-quarters, and another portion at Milliken's Bend, and immediate preparations were made for an attack upon Vicksburg. To flank the works upon the south side of the city was considered the only plan which promised success, and a large force was placed at work to re-open the canal across the peninsula, on the Louisiana side of the river, first commenced by General Williams, a gallant officer, who was subsequently killed at Baton Rouge. The work was prosecuted energetically until the eighth of March, when unfortunately the dam at the end of the canal was broken in by the overflow of the river and the enterprise was abandoned.
Early in February, 1863, the ram Queen of the West, under command of Colonel Charles R. Ellet, ran past the batteries at Vicksburg, and proceeding up the Red and Atchafalaya rivers, destroyed a large amount of valuable stores and captured a steamer belonging to the rebels. On the evening of the fourteenth, he attacked three rebel steamers, but the pilot running the ram aground within easy range of the enemy's guns, it became so much damaged that her commander was compelled to abandon it. On the previous night the gunboat Indianola had also succeeded in running the gauntlet, but she was destined to meet with the fate of her consort, and on the night of the twenty-fourth, she was attacked and captured by the rebel fleet, and her hull so badly injured that she sunk before her captors could take possession.
To deceive the enemy as to his real intentions and at