Big Black, near Canton
, he directed1 Gen. Sherman
, with five brigades, to oppose his farther advance.
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.
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
, 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
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
, who had thus far been constrained to economize his cartridges — having sent away whatever he could — his railroad eastward being still open — evacuated