his fealty to the cause which he espoused was beyond all peradventure of suspicion; that he did the very best he could; that he acted in accordance with his orders from Richmond
; and that he departed no further from his immediate orders than did General Loring
at Edwards' Depot
, an act of independence for which General Johnston
warmly lauds the latter.
The effect of the surrender, North and South, was immense.
At Washington Mr. Seward
, in response to a serenade, was ready to swear that even old Virginia
would soon be asking forgiveness on her knees.
He never saw Virginia
in that posture; but it may be doubted whether, after Vicksburg
and the twin tragedy of Gettysburg
, there was ever any vital hope in the Southern
heart except among the soldiers.
The army kept its high crest and stern front to the last, and died only with annihilation; but many a Vicksburg prisoner, gone home, spread the tale of disaster and the influence of dismay among simple folk whose faith never rallied.
There were desperate battles afterward, and occasional victories, but their light only rendered deeper the advancing and impending shadow of ultimate failure.
The world is familiar with the story.
Magnifying, as they deserve to be, the heroism of the garrison, and the community of Vicksburg
, and the “vindictive tenacity” with which Pemberton
held it till the last spark of hope had faded, I believe that the surrender was the stab to the Confederacy
from which it never recovered; and that no rational chance of its triumph remained after the white flag flew on the ramparts of the terraced city, and the dumb guns around it no longer spoke defiance to its foes.