previous next
[336] hours rolled on, until the last hope of seasonable relief had all but faded into the deadly stupor of blank despair.

And still the besiegers worked on; losing some men daily by cannonballs and the more deadly Minie bullet of the sharp-shooter, but gaining ground foot by foot, until our saps on the right had been pushed up to the very line of the defenses; while on our left a mine had been prepared for a charge of thirty barrels of powder, where its explosion must have caused the destruction of “the Citadel.”

Even had the garrison been full fed and in healthy vigor, they could not have held the place a week longer, unless by successful sallies that virtually raised the siege; whereas, they were utterly exhausted, debilitated, and worn out by famine, overwork, and lack of sleep; until the hospitals were crowded with them, and not half their number could have stood up to fight through a day's earnest battle.

Suddenly, our batteries and gunboats shook1 the heavens with one tremendous salute, while cheer upon cheer rose from behind our works, rolling from the gunboats above to those below the defenses, and back again, in billows of unmistakable exultation. It was not “ the glorious Fourth,” but two days after it; and the sinking hearts of the besieged anticipated the tidings before our men shouted across to them, “Vicksburg has surrendered!” No one needed to be told that, if that was the truth, further resistance was folly — that reenforcements would soon be steaming down the river which would render holding out impossible.

That evening, Gardner summoned a council of his six highest subordinates, who unanimously decided that the place must be surrendered. Thereupon, he opened communication with Banks, asking if the news shouted across the lines was authentic. Banks, in reply, inclosed him Gen. Grant's letter, announcing the surrender; whereupon, Gardner applied for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to negotiations as to terms. This was declined. The Rebel commander then averred his willingness to surrender on conditions; when conferees were appointed on either side, and terms of capitulation finally agreed2 upon, whereby the garrison became prisoners of war; our forces entering and taking formal possession next morning; when thousands of the victors and the vanquished met and fraternized rather as friends who had been temporarily estranged, than as enemies so lately confronted in mortal strife.

Gen. Banks does not report his aggregate loss in this siege; but it can hardly have fallen short, in the entire 45 days, of 3,000 men; including, beside those already named, Cols. Bean, 4th Wise., Holcomb, 1st La., Smith, 160th N. Y. (Zouaves), Lt.-Cols. Lowell, 8th N. H., Rodman, 38th Mass., and other valued officers. Brig.-Gen. Paine was wounded in the assault of June 14th. Banks says the Rebels admitted a loss during the siege of 610 only; but he is confident that it could not have been less than 800 to 1,000; as he found 500 wounded in the hospitals — most of them severely in the head, by the

1 July 6.

2 July 8.

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)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Vicksburg (Mississippi, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

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.
N. P. Banks (4)
Gardner (2)
Melancthon Smith (1)
Rodman (1)
Halbert E. Paine (1)
Lowell (1)
Holcomb (1)
U. S. Grant (1)
Bean (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 8th (1)
July 6th (1)
June 14th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: