indulge in “the sentiment” that it was better for me to waste the lives and blood of brave soldiers, “than, through prudence even,” to spare them; and therefore intended to make such close and careful examination of the enemy's lines as might enable me to estimate the probability of our being able to break them; and, should the chances of success seem to justify it, attack in the hope of breaking them, and rescuing the army invested in Vicksburg
There was no hope of saving the place by raising the siege.
In providing the means necessary for this expedition, I had looked to the employment of at least three days in reconnaissance, and thought it necessary to provide food and wagons for the Vicksburg
troops, who, if the attempt to extricate them should prove successful, might be expected to join us with no other supplies than the ammunition in their cartridge-boxes.
Reconnaissances, to which the 2d, 3d, and 4th of July were devoted, convinced me that no attack upon the Federal
position, north of the railroad, was practicable.
They confirmed the previous reports of our scouts, that the besieging army was covered by a line of field-works, extending from the railroad-bridge to the Yazoo
; that the roads leading to this line had all been obstructed with felled trees, and that strong bodies of Federal infantry and cavalry observed and guarded the river.
This observation of ours, however, was not extended below the railroad.
I determined to move on the morning of the 5th, by Edwards's Depot
, to the south of the road-thinking, from the reports of the officers who had reconnoitred on that side, that the Federal