previous next

[339] laid under the lower river battery. This, in fact, consisting of a single pivot gun, was the key to the whole position, as it commanded both the river and the land approaches, and against this the heaviest guns of the enemy, and their most vigorous efforts by land and water, were directed. Their story, however, is somewhat doubted.

But if the enemy mined, the garrison countermined and succeeded in blowing up the works in front of the First Mississippi.

Some time between the twentieth and thirtieth of June, a singular circumstance occurred one night about eleven o'clock, after a heavy fire. The water commenced running up-stream, and in half an hour rose six feet. In one place about twenty feet of the bluff disappeared, carrying away one of our river batteries. The roar of the water could be heard like distant thunder. If this were an earthquake — and it is difficult to give any other explanation — it must have “rolled unheededly away,” so far as the enemy was concerned, for no notice of it has appeared in any of the Yankee papers.

We are obliged to omit incidents generally, including the brilliant sortie and spiking of the enemy's guns, but merely remark that the story about Banks's capturing fifteen prisoners on that occasion, and sending them back, for whom Gardner liberated, a like number of Yankee prisoners, is merely a Yankee romance — in short, a lie.

On Tuesday, July seventh, salutes were fired from the enemy's batteries and gunboats, and loud cheering was heard along the entire line, and Yankees who were within conversing distance of our men, told them that Vicksburgh had fallen. That night, about ten o'clock, General Gardner summoned a council of war, consisting of General Beale, Colonels Steadman, Miles, Lyle, and Shelby, and Lieutenant-Colonel Marshal J. Smith, who, without exception, decided that it was impossible to hold out longer, considering that the provisions of the garrison were exhausted, the ammunition almost entirely expended, and a large proportion of the men sick, or, from exhaustion, unfit for duty. A communication was sent to General Banks, stating what had been heard from the men, asking for official information as to the truth of the news, and stating if it were, that General Gardner was ready to negotiate terms of surrender. General Banks's reply was received just before day, inclosing a letter from General Grant, announcing the fall of Vicksburgh. General Banks asked General Gardner to appoint commissioners to arrange with those on his part the terms of surrender, and Colonels Miles and Steadman, and Lieutenant-Colonel Smith were appointed.

General Banks demanded an unconditional surrender, as in the first instance, but finally agreed that officers and soldiers should retain their private property (in which negroes were not included.) A demand for a parole of the garrison was refused. General Banks said he would grant such terms with the greatest pleas. ure, but the orders of the Secretary of War forbid it.

The surrender was fixed to take place at seven o'clock on the morning of the ninth. At six o'clock the garrison were drawn up in line, and two officers of General Gardner's staff were sent to conduct the Federal officer deputed to receive the surrender. This was General Andrews, who entered the lines shortly after seven o'clock, on the Clinton road. General Gardner met him at the right of our line and delivered up his sword, observing that he surrendered his sword and his garrison since his provisions were exhausted. General Andrews replied that he received General Gardner's sword, but returned it to him for having maintained his defence so gallantly.

Meantime the enemy's infantry moved down in front of our line, both wings resting on the river, and completely encircling the little garrison, as if to cut off any attempt to escape. About that time our informant succeeded in passing through the lines, and evading the enemy's outposts. A great many of the garrison — probably several hundred--had made an attempt to escape the previous night, but the guard of the enemy was so strict that they could not pass out.

The number of the garrison which surrendered was between five thousand and six thousand, of whom there were not more than two thousand effective men for duty. During the siege about two hundred had been killed and three hundred wounded, besides several deaths from sickness. Among the officers killed were Colonel Pixley, of Arkansas, Captain Boone, of Louisiana, and Lieutenant Simonton, of the First Mississippi, besides a few others with whose names our informant was not familiar.

The universal feeling in the garrison is, that General Gardner did every thing in his power to foil the enemy and protract the siege, and only succumbed to the direst necessity. The garrison, too, have made a noble record. Even the enemy's accounts, upon which we have been entirely dependent for nearly two months, bear testimony to heroism unsurpassed during the war; but much yet remains to be told, and not a word of it but will reflect the greatest honor upon those devoted men.

Creative Commons License
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.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Frank Gardner (8)
N. P. Banks (6)
Steadman (2)
Marshal J. Smith (2)
W. N. Miles (2)
Andrews (2)
Simonton (1)
Shelby (1)
Pixley (1)
Lyle (1)
Ulysses S. Grant (1)
Boone (1)
Beale (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
July 7th (1)
June 30th (1)
June 20th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: