spirited skirmishing, with slight cannonading, continuing throughout the day. This was kept up, with varying intensity and but little interruption, until the period of our evacuation. Hills, commanding and encircling the town within easy cannon range, offered favorable sites for batteries. A cross fire of shot and shell reached all parts of the town, showing the position to be entirely untenable against a powerful artillery. On the eleventh I telegraphed the President: If the position and works were not bad, want of stores, which could not be collected, would make it impossible to stand a siege. If the enemy will not attack, we must, or at the last moment withdraw. We cannot attack seriously without risking the army. On the twelfth, besides the usual skirmishing, there was a heavy cannonade from the batteries near the Canton and south of the Clinton roads. The missiles reached all parts of the town. An assault, though not a vigorous one, was also made on General Breckinridge's line. It was quickly repelled, however, principally by the direct fire of Cobb's and Slocum's batteries, and flank attack of the skirmishers of the First, Third, and Fourth Florida, and Forty-seventh Georgia regiments. The enemy's loss was two hundred prisoners, nearly the same number killed, many wounded, and the colors of the Twenty-eighth, Forty-first, and Fifty-third Illinois regiments. By the thirteenth, the enemy had extended his lines, until both his flanks rested on Pearl River. I telegraphed the President on the fourteenth, that a large force lately left Vicksburgh to turn us on the north. This will compel us to abandon Jackson. The troops before us have been intrenching and constructing batteries since their arrival. On the fifteenth I telegraphed the President: The enemy is evidently making a siege which we cannot resist. It would be madness to attack him. The remainder of the army, under Grant, at Vicksburgh, is, beyond doubt, on its way to this place. On the sixteenth of July information was received that a large train from Vicksburgh, loaded with ammunition, was near the enemy's camp. This, and the condition of their batteries, made it probable that Sherman would, on the next day, concentrate upon us the fire of near by two hundred guns. It was also reported that the enemy had crossed Pearl River in the rear of their left flank. The evacuation of Jackson that night was, therefore, determined on. Our withdrawal was effected on the night of the sixteenth. All public property, and the sick and wounded, except a few not in a condition to be moved, had been previously carried to the rear. The right wing retired toward Brandon by the new Brandon road, and the left wing by the old Brandon road. The cavalry remained to destroy the bridges over Pearl River, and observe the enemy. The evacuation was not discovered by the enemy until the next day. Our loss during the siege was estimated at seventy-one killed, five hundred and four wounded, and about twenty-five missing. The army retired by easy marches to Morton, distant about thirty-five miles from Jackson. Desertions during the siege and on the march were, I regret to say, frequent. Two divisions of the enemy, with cavalry, drove our cavalry through Brandon on the nineteenth, returning to Jackson the next day. Their object seemed to be to destroy the railroad bridges and depots. Colonel J. L. Logan, commanding a mounted force around Port Hudson, reported three successful engagements with detachments of the enemy. On the twelfth of July I received information from Colonel Logan of the surrender of Port Hudson on the ninth. Subsequently the report of Major Jackson, Assistant Adjutant-General, was received, informing me of the surrender. That officer stated that provisions were exhausted, and that the position of the enemy rendered it impossible for the garrison to cut its way out. But two thousand five hundred of the garrison were fit for duty at the time of surrender. The enemy advanced against Yazoo City, both by land and water, on the thirteenth. The attack by the gunboats was handsomely repulsed by our heavy battery, under the command of Commander Isaac N. Brown, of the navy. The De Kalb, the flag-ship of the hostile squadron, an iron-clad, mounting thirteen guns, was sunk by a torpedo. To the force advancing by land no resistance was made by the garrison, commanded by Colonel Greasman, of the Twenty-ninth North-Carolina regiment. [Here follows a review of some minor points in the orders, and General Johnston then proceeds.] The time to strike the enemy, with the best hope of saving Vicksburgh, was when he was landing near Bruinsburgh. To do this with any prospect of success, a rapid concentration of all the forces should have been made and an attack. Under this conviction I telegraphed to General Pemberton, on May first, from Tullahoma: “If Grant's army lands on this side of the river, the safety of Mississippi depends on beating him. For that object you should unite your whole force.” And again, on May second: “If Grant crosses, unite the whole force to beat him; success will give back what was abandoned to win it.” These instructions were neglected, and time was given to Grant to gain a foothold in the State. At Ports Gibson and Raymond detachments of our troops were defeated and driven back by overwhelming numbers of the enemy. On the thirteenth, when I learned that there were four divisions of the enemy at Clinton, distant twenty miles from the main body of General Pemberton's forces, I gave him orders to attack them, and notified him that we could cooperate. This order General Pemberton disobeyed, and so reported to me in his letter of the seventeenth. It directed him to move twenty miles to the east, to cooperate with me in attacking Sherman. He
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.