to receive accessions which soon increased it to eighty thousand, according to the reports of our scouts in observation along the Mississippi
It is unlikely that this is an exaggeration; for General Grant
had a hundred and thirty thousand men at his disposal for the siege.1
Before my little force was in condition to take the field, the besiegers were as strongly intrenched as the besieged.
And more than half their number, under General Sherman
, were charged with the defense of the works covering the operations of the siege against attack from without.
's army and mine were nearly equal.
His was enabled by its fortifications to repulse all the assaults of the enemy, and Vicksburg
was reduced by blockade.
It is certain, therefore, that some twenty thousand Confederates could not have stormed intrenchments as strong as those of Vicksburg
, and defended by more than twice their number of soldiers.
It is equally certain that failure would have brought ruin upon us, for an unfordable river in the rear would have barred retreat.
The opinions of Governor Pettus
and four other prominent Southern gentlemen who were in Jackson
, and, having the same sources of information, knew as well as the Administration the relative forces of the belligerents in Mississippi
, were in full agreement with mine.
I give their opinions as expressed by themselves, in a telegram dated Jackson
, June 18, 1863: