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[317] Big Black, near Canton, he directed1 Gen. Sherman, with five brigades, to oppose his farther advance. Sherman moved accordingly; and, being afterward reenforced, constructed a line of defenses from the Yazoo at Haines's Bluff to the Big Black, which could not have been carried even by a considerably larger force, save at a fearful cost. Johnston did not try it; but was operating farther down the Black, with probable intent2 to cut his way through our left and form a junction with Pemberton south of the city, when the latter, apprehending an assault on the 4th, surrendered his famished forces. That surrender had barely been effected when Gen. Grant impelled all that remained with him of Sherman's and McPherson's corps to reenforce Sherman on the Big Black; not even allowing the soldiers to enter the stronghold they had so hardly won. By 2 P. A. of the 4th, our columns were in motion; next evening, they had united with Sherman's former command, enabling him to cross the Big Black on the 6th with an army little less than 50,000 strong. His right, under Ord, crossed at the railroad; his center, under Steele, at Messenger's Ford, above+; his left, under Parke, still higher up the river; the latter alone encountering no serious resistance. Thus advancing over a region already wasted by war, and now parched to sterility by a fierce drouth, which maddened men and animals with heat and thirst, covering all with blinding dust, our army pressed back Johnston into Jackson, forcing him to take refuge3 within its intrenchments, wherein he was soon invested;4 Sherman opening upon the city and its defenders a concentric fire with 100 heavy guns on the 12th; while our cavalry advance on either flank was pushed forward to Pearl river.

Johnston says he had but 24,000 men — sufficient to resist an assault, but not enough to meet Sherman's force in pitched battle with any hope of success. Our guns, planted on the adjacent hills, commanded every part of the town. A gleam of good fortune transiently irradiated his somber prospect; Gen. Lauman, misapprehending an order, having advanced his division so close to the Rebel works that it was uselessly torn to pieces by a fire which in a few moments bereft us of 500 men, of whom 200 were captured, with the colors of the 28th, 41st, and 53d Illinois.

It being evident that to remain was simply to court destruction, Johnston — apprised that heavy trains of ammunition were coming up from Vicksburg to Sherman, who had thus far been constrained to economize his cartridges — having sent away whatever he could — his railroad eastward being still open — evacuated

1 June 22.

2 Gen. Hugh S. Ewing reports that he caught, on the 3d, a spy attempting to force his way through his lines into Vicksburg, on the strength of a pass from one of our Generals; who, when searched, was found to have passes also from Rebel Generals, and who was doubtless sent by Johnston to Pemberton with assurances that he would speedily advance to his rescue.

Johnston, in his report, confirms Ewing's suspicions, as follows:

On the night of the 3d, a messenger was sent to Gen. Pemberton with information that an attempt to create a diversion would be made, to enable him to cut his way out, and that I hoped to attack the enemy about the 7th.

On the 5th, however, we learned the fall of Vicksburg; and therefore fell back to Jackson.

3 July 7.

4 July 9-10.

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