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630

THE SPOILS AND EFFECTS OF VICTORY.

brake' for the night, the greatest conqueror of the war thus far. After they

were duly paroled, and were supplied with three days' rations, July 11, the vanquished soldiers were escorted across the Big Black .

River, and sent on their way rejoicing to Johnston at Jackson. The spoils of the great victory were more important in character and

number than any that had yet been won during the war. Its effect, in connection with the great National victory at Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, won simultaneously, and which we shall consider presently, was most disastrous to the cause of the Conspirators. The Fourth

of July, 1863, marked MCPHERSON'S HEADQUARTERS.

the turning-point in the war, and thenceforth the star of the Republic was evidently in the ascendant.

Notwithstanding his troops were much exhausted by forced marches, battles, and the long siege, and he had reported that they absolutely required a rest of several weeks before they would be fit for another campaign, Grant THE INVESTMENT OF PORT HUDSON.

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1 See page 616.

General Grant thus stated the result of the operations of his army from Port Gibson to Vicksburg :“ The result of this campaign has been the defeat of the enemy in five battles outside of Vicksburg; the occupation of Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and the capture of Vicksburg and its garrison, and munitions of war; a loss to the enemy of thirty-seven thousand (37,000) prisoners, among whom were fifteen general officers; at least ten thousand killed and wounded, and among the killed Generals Tracy, Tilghman, and Green, and hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of stragglers, who can never be collected and reorganized. Arms and munitions of war for an army of sixty thousand men bave fallen into our hands, besides a large amount of other public property, consisting of railroads, locomotives, cars, steamboats, cotton, &c., and much was destroyed to prevent our capturing it."

He summed up his loss, in the series of battles known as Port Gibson, Fourteen Mile Creek (skirmish), Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, Big Black railroad bridge, and Vicksburg, at 9,855, of whom 1,223 wero killed, 7,095 wounded, and 637 missing. “Of the wounded,” he said, “ inany were but slightly wounded, and continued on duty; many more required but a few days or wocks for their recovery. Not more than one-half of the wounded were permanently disabled.”—General Grant's Roport, July 6, 1563.

The 37,000 prisoners were not all captured at Vicksburg. The number there paroled, including 6,000 of the sick and wounded in the hospitals, was 27,000, of whom only 15,000 were reported fit for duty. The generous terms of surrender, and the paroling of the prisoners, was complained of. Of this Grant said, in his report: “These terms I regard more favorable to the Government than an unconditional surrender. It saved us the transportation of them North, which at that time would have been very difficult, owing to the limited amount of river transportation on hand, and the expense of subsisting them. It left our army free to operate against Johnston, who was threatening us from the direction of Jackson; and our river transportation to be used for the movement of troops to any point the exigency of the service might require."

3 The blow was unexpected to the Conspirators. They knew how strong Vicksburg was, and were confident that the accomplished soldier, General Jolinston, would com pel Grant to raise the siege. Even the Daily Citizen, a paper printed in Vicksburg, only two days before the surrender (July 2) talked as boastfully as if perfectly confident of success. In a copy before the writer, printed on wall-paper, tho editor said: "The great Ulysses-the Yankee generalissimo surnamed Grant-has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg OR Saturday next, and celebrating the Fourth of July by a grand dinner, and so forth. When asked if he would invite General Joe Johnston to join him, he said, “No! for fear there will be a row at the table.' Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook a rabbit is, 'first catch the rabbit,' &c." In another paragraph, the Citizen eulogized the luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten.

When the National troops entered the city, they found the forms of this issue of the Citizen standing, when some soldier-printers, taking out a paragraph at the bottom of the fourth column. inserted the following in its stead, and printed a few copies on the wall-paper found in the office: "Two days bring about great 6 May 24. and on the day of the investment the Confederates were driven within their outer line of intrenchments. Weitzel, who had covered

631

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found it necessary to take immediate measures for driving Johnston from his rear, and for that purpose he dispatched Sherman, with a large force. The result will be noticed hereafter. He also prepared to send an expedition under General Herron to assist Banks in the reduction of Port Hudson, when he received intelligence of events at that stronghold which made the expedition unnecessary. Let us observe what those events were.

We left General Banks investing Port Hudson, or Hickey's Landing, late in May. His troops FiBAYOU SARA were commanded by Generals Weitzel, Auger, Grover, Dwight, and T. W. Sherman, and the beleaguered garrison were under the command of General Frank K. Gardner, as we have observed. The troops with which Banks crossed the river at Bayou Sara formed a junction on the 23d"

a May, 1863 with those which came up from Baton Rouge under Auger and Sherman, and the National line on that day occupied the Bayou Sara road, about five miles from Port Hudson. At Port Hudson Plains, Auger, on his march, encountered and repulsed a force of Confederates under Colonel Miles, the latter losing one hundred and fifty men;

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THE DEFENSES OF PORT HUDSON.

changes. The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. General Grant has caught the rabbit," he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The Citizen' lives to see it. For the last time it appears on wall-paper. No more will it eulogize mule-meat and fricasseed kitten-urge Southern warriors to such diet never more. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we find them."

Johnston sent the astounding news of the surrender of Vicksburg to the Conspirators on the 7th. It was a staggering blow, and Jefferson Davis and his friends endeavored to blind the people to the fact that the disaster was mainly due to his incompetence to direct, and his mischievous interference with the military movements in Mississippi, by trying to cast the blame on Johnston, who was not only unable, on account of his wounds, to perform active service in the field, but was denied sufficient troops to act efficiently, and was trammeled with the orders of his incompetent official superior in Richmond. • The news of the fall of Vicksburg," wrote John R. Thompson from Richmond to the Atlanta Appeal, “ has awakened here the bitterest sorrow, not unmingled with snrprise... The Sentinel, the Government organ, holds General Johnston mainly responsible for the result, and the immediate representatives of the Administration are said to blame him in unmeasured terms."

1 See page 598. We have before observed that Port Hudson was on a high bank or bluff, on the east side of the Mississippi, at a sharp bend. Its fortifications were well arranged for defense. Below the landing known as Hickey's, the first batteries were on a bluff about forty feet above high-water mark. There three series of batteries extended along the river above Port Hudson to a point on Thompson's Creek, the whole continuous line being about three miles in length. Above the creek was an impassable marsh, making an excellent flank defense. From the lower battery began a line of land fortifications of a general semicircular form, about ten miles in extent, and terminating at Thompson's Creek. The guns with which these works were armed were very heavy, and there were light batteries that might be moved to strengthen any part of the line.

: See page 620.

632

ASSAULT ON THE CONFEDERATE WORKS.

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Banks's march from Alexandria, had arrived and made the investment of the fort complete, for Admiral Farragut, with the Hartford, Albatross, and one or two other gunboats above Port Hudson, and the Monongahele, Richmond, Essex, and Genesee, with mortar-boats under Commander C. H. B. Caldwell, below, held the river, and were shelling the Confederate works at intervals, day and night.

Banks was informed that the Confederates were withdrawing from the post, and on the 26th was told that very few were behind the works. The defenses were thoroughly reconnoitered without gaining positive information concerning the strength of the garrison, and he determined to develop it by a general assault. Orders were given accordingly, and on

the morning of the 27tho his artillery opened upon them with May, 1863.

spirit, and continued firing during nearly the whole day. It was intended for the infantry to assail the works at the same time at all points, under the fire of the great guns, but unfortunately there was a miscarriage. Ai about ten o'clock, while the batteries were zealously at work, Generals Weitzel, Grover, and Payne, on Banks's right, made a vigorous atiack, but it was long past noon before Auger in the center, and Sherman on the left, were fairly at work. The navy was fully up to time, and from the Hartford and Albatross above, and the Monongahela, Richinond, Essex, and Genesee below, and the mortar-boats, Farragut poured a continuous stream of shells upon the garrison (which was still in full force) with marked effect. Already his shells had driven them from their first battery on the river below, and now, by taking their landward batteries in reverse, while they were hotly engaged with the troops, several of the heavy guns were dismounted by the naval missiles. The battle was furious, and never did men fight with greater determination than Banks's little force against the odds of an equal number behind strong intrenchments, which were defended in front by rifle-pits, and approached only through thick abatis, over which swept, like a besom of destruction, the shells from Confederate guns.

On the National right the struggle was most severe; the First and Second Louisiana colored troops vying with their white companions-in-arms in deeds of valor, and in fortitude under heavy pressure. These made three desperate charges upon the batteries, losing heavily cach time, and justifying by their courage and deeds the hopes of their commander, and winning his special commendation. The Nationals gained ground continually, as hour after hour wore away. They crossed Big Sandy Creek, and, at four o'clock, drove the Confederates through woods to their fortifications. On the left and center there was equal bravery; and along the whole line, at sunset, the Confederates, who had fought gallantly, were behind the shelter of their works. The Nationals moved close up to these, and they and their antagonists held opposite sides of the parapet. The troops on the right continued to hold this position, but those on the left, exposed to a flank fire, withdrew to a belt of woods not far off. So ended the first general assault upon

Port

This first important trial of the mettle of negro troops, repeated a few days later at Milliken's Bend (see page 624), produced a profound impression in the army and throughout the country. “ The position occupied by these troops," said General Banks in his report, " was one of importance, and called for the utmost steadiness and bravery in those to whom It was co' fided. It gives me pleasure to report that they answered every expecta

CLOSE SIEGE OF PORT HUDSON.

633

Hudson, in which many a brave man passed away. The National loss was two hundred and ninety-three killed and fifteen hundred and forty-nine wounded. The Confederate loss did not exceed three hundred in killed and wounded.

Banks was not disheartened by this disastrous failure. He occupied the next day in burying his dead, under the protection of a truce, and then he went to work with a determination to reduce the post by a regular siege. Bravely his men worked in the hot June sun, exposed every moment to the bullets of the expert sharp-shooters of the foe. Day after day his cannon and Farragut's great guns shelled the works, disabling many of their guns, and giving the interior of their fortifications the sad aspect of almost universal destruction. They disturbed the repose of the garrison

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DESTRUCTION IN THE WORKS AT PORT HUDSON,

tion. , In many respects their conduct was heroic. No troops could be more determined or more daring. They made, during the day, three charges npon the batteries of the enemy, suffering very heavy losses, and holding their position at nightfall with the other troops on the right of our line."

The Confederates and their friends in the Free-labor States had sneered so much and so persistently at the idea of negroes fighting, or being disciplined into efficient troops, that the intelligence of these tests was received by the loyal people with the most generous enthusiasm.

“Niggers won't fight," ah, ha!
"Niggers won't fight," ah, ha!
" They are no good for war,

One in a hundred."
Let Mississippi's shore,
Flooded with negro gore,
Echo back evermore-

“See our six hundred !"

said a writer in the Albany Evening Journal, in imitation of Tennyson's “Charge of the Six Hundred " at Balaklava; and George H. Boker, of Philadelphia, wrote that noble tribute to the valor of the Second Louisiana, which closes with :

"Hundreds on hundreds fell;

But they are resting well.
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
0, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just an 1 true!
Hail them as comrades tried,
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment."

1 Among the slain were Colonels Clark, of the Sixth Michigan, D. S. Cowles, of the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York, Payne, of the Second Louisiana, and Chapin, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts. General T, W. Sherman was very seriously wounded, but finally recovered with the loss of a leg, and General Neal Dow, of Main , was slightly wounded. Colonel Cowles, of Hudson, New York, one of the noblest men in the arıny, was wounded in the thickest of the fight by a bayonet thrust, and died half an hour afterward.

634

A SEVERE STRUGGLE.

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incessantly, day and night, and wore them down with fatigue and watching ; while their provisions were becoming scarce, their medical stores exhausted, and famine was threatened. They were completely hemmed in, and could receive nothing from the outer world but pure air, the sunlight, and the messengers of death from their foes.

Banks's little army, then not exceeding twelve thousand effective men, was also closely hemmed in by a cordon of intensely hostile inhabitants; and since the raid of Grierson and his troop, Confederate cavalry had been concentrating in his rear, while General Taylor was gathering a new army in the regions of Louisiana, which the National troops had almost abandoned for the purpose pleting the task of opening the Mississippi

. These might be joined by a force from Texas sufficient to capture New Orleans, while General Johnston might sweep down in the rear of Grant and fall upon Banks at any moment.

There was peril before and peril behind, and Banks felt the necessity of a speedy reduction of Port Hudson. Ile accordingly planned another assault,

and on the 11th of Junehe attempted to establish a new line

within easy attacking distance of the Confederate works, so as to avoid the dangers of a movement on their front over a broad space of ground. Under a heavy fire of his artillery the troops advanced at three o'clock in the morning, and made their way through the abatis, when the movement was promptly met by the garrison, and a severe struggle ensued. At first some of the Confederates were driven within their works, and the Nationals, under General Birge, attempted to scale them, but were repulsed. The only soldier who reached the parapet was the gallant young Connecticut officer, Lieutenant Stanton Allyn, who gave his life to his country not long afterward, when his body was buried in the soil of Louisiana.' His men, accustomed to his courage and skill, followed him willingly in the desperate struggle; but the terrible fire from the works hurled them back, and the entire attacking force was driven beyond the abatis with heavy loss, a considerable number having been made prisoners. This failure was followed three days later by an attempt to carry the

works by storm. At that time Banks's army lay mostly in

two lines, forming a right angle, with a right and left, but no center. The division of Grover, on the upper side of the post, extended nearly three miles, from near the mouth of Thompson's Creek into the interior, within supporting distance of General Auger's division, which extended from near that point about the same distance to the river below Port IIudson, and within hailing distance of the fleet. When the final dis

, position for assault was made, General Gardner was entreated to surrender and stop the effusion of blood, but refused, hoping, like General Pemberton

June 14.

2

!

1 It was afterward reinoved to his native State.

? Banks sent a note to General Gardner on Saturday, the 13th, demanding an unconditional surrender of the post. lle complimented the commander and his garrison for their courage and fortitnde, and demanded the surrender in the name of humanity. He assured him of the overwhelming force of the Nationals in men and cannon, and that Gardner's dispatch to Johnston, telling of his straits and the dangers of starvation, had been intercepted, and the weakness of the post made known.

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