thousand men engaged in the defence of the position inside and outside the works. The operations in the Teche country, with the losses sustained in battle, and sickness occasioned by rapid and exhausting marches, had reduced my effective force to less than thirteen thousand, including Augur's command. Of these, twenty regiments were nine months men, whose terms began to expire in May, and all expired in August. This was not an adequate force for the capture of the place. There ought not to have been less than three to one for this purpose. The force that we had anticipated receiving from General Grant, promised in the several communications to which I have referred, would have enabled us on the twenty-seventh, beyond any question, to have completed the capture of the works and garrison, when we could have immediately moved to Vicksburg, to aid him in his attack on that place, without exposing New Orleans, or any other post on the lower Mississippi, to capture by the enemy. On the night of the twenty-seventh, the army rested within rifle-shot of the enemy's works, and commenced the construction of works of defence. The enemy's interior line extended from four to five miles, from river to river. The line occupied by us necessarily covered from seven to eight miles. Our greater length of line made the enemy equal, if not superior, in numbers, in any attack that could be made by us upon them. From the night of the twenty-seventh of May until the fourteenth of June we occupied this line. Another partially successful assault was then made. An incessant and harassing fire was kept up upon the enemy night and day, leaving him without rest or sleep. On the tenth of June a heavy artillery fire was kept up, and at three o'clock in the morning of the eleventh we endeavored to get within attacking distance of the works, in order to avoid the terrible losses incurred in moving over the ground in front of the works. But the enemy discovered the movement before daybreak. A portion of the troops worked their way through the abatis to the lines, but were repulsed with the loss of several prisoners. The fourteenth of June a second general assault was made at daybreak. A column of a division was posted on the left, under General Dwight, with the intention of getting an entrance to the works by passing a ravine, while the main attack on the right was made by the commands of Grover and Weitzel. Neither column was successful in fully gaining its object, but our lines were advanced from a distance of three hundred yards to distances of from fifty to two hundred yards from the enemy's line of fortifications, where the troops intrenched themselves, and commenced the construction of new batteries. On the left an eminence was gained which commanded a strong point held by the enemy, called the “Citadel,” and which later enabled us to get possession of a point of the same bluff upon which the Citadel was constructed, within ten yards of the enemy's lines. This day's work was of great importance; but it was now felt that our force was unequal to the task of carrying the works by assault, and the slower but more certain operations of the siege were commenced. The fighting had been incessant, night and day, for a period of twenty-one days and nights, giving the enemy neither rest nor sleep. During these operations, the nine months men, whose term had expired, or was about to expire, were dissatisfied with their situation, and unwilling to enter upon duty involving danger. Great embarrassment and trouble was caused by the conduct of some of these troops, one regiment — the Fourth Massachusetts--being in open mutiny. The siege operations were pursued with the greatest vigor. On the right we had completed our saps up to the very line of the enemy's fortifications. On the left a mine had been prepared for a charge of thirty barrels of powder, in such position as made the destruction of the “Citadel” inevitable. Communication had been regular with General Grant at Vicksburg during the progress of the siege, and on the sixth of July we received information of the surrender of that post. Major-General Frank Gardner, in command of the post, asked for an official statement of the report of the capture of Vicksburg, which had been circulated throughout his command, and I sent him a copy of that portion of the official despatch of General Grant relating to the surrender of Vicksburg, and received, on the night of the sixth of July, a request that there might be a cessation of hostilities, with a view to an agreement of terms of a surrender. This was declined. He then made known, officially, his determination to surrender the post and garrison. A conference was appointed to agree upon the terms, which resulted in the unconditional surrender of the works and garrison, which was formally executed on the eighth of July, and our troops entered and took possession of the works on the morning of the ninth. General Gardner, in commending the gallantry of his men for their unwearied labors in the defence, which all our troops readily acknowledged, stated emphatically, as if he desired it to be understood, that his surrender was not on account of the fall of Vicksburg, or the want of ammunition or provisions, but from the exhaustion of his men, who had been without rest for more than six weeks, and who could not resist another attack. Though they might have held out a day or two longer, the attempt would have been at the expense of a useless effusion of blood. During the investment and siege of Port Hudson, the enemy west of the Mississippi had been concentrating, and on the eighteenth of June, one regiment of infantry, and two of cavalry, under command of Colonel Major, captured and burned two of our small steamers at Plaquemine, taking sixty-eight prisoners, mostly convalescents, of the Twenty-eighth Maine volunteers. The same force then passed down the river and Bayou Lafourche, avoiding Donaldsonville, and attacked
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Foreign accounts of the fight.
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