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Doc. 46.-the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi.


Lieutenant-General Pemberton's report

headquarters Gainesville, Alabama, August 2d, 1863.
General S. Cooper, A. and I. G., Richmond, Va.:
General: At the earliest moment compatible with the performance of other and very pressing duties, I have the honor to present the following report of the operations of the troops of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, preceding and during the siege resulting in the capitulation of Vicksburg. The enemy, after long continued and strenuous efforts to reach the right flank of Vicksburg by forcing a passage through the upper Yazoo River, finally relinquished his design, and on the night of the fourth and fifth of April, re-embarked his troops, and before daylight was in rapid retreat. About the same time a heavy force of the enemy which had been collected at Baton Rouge, was mostly withdrawn, and transferred to. Western Louisiana, leaving but one division to occupy that place. After consultation by telegraph with Major-General Gardner, commanding Port Hudson and the Third military district, deeming the garrison at Port Hudson more than sufficient under existing circumstances, and to save supplies at a point so difficult to provide — the navigation of the Mississippi River being then obstructed to us, and the mouth of the Red River, from whence large quantities of subsistence stores were drawn, being blockaded by one of the enemy's gunboats — I ordered Rust's brigade and two regiments, under Brigadier-General Buford, to proceed immediately to Jackson, Mississippi, with the then view of employing them against raids of the enemy in Northern Mississippi, my great deficiency in cavalry leaving that portion of the department almost without protection.

About the eleventh March, fearing that the enemy might succeed in opening a canal, practicable for the passage of transports across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, I deemed it necessary to occupy Grand Gulf, near the mouth of the Big Black, and assigned Brigadier-General Jno. S. Bowen, with his Missouri brigade, to that point, with instructions to construct batteries for the protection of the mouth of the Big Black, and as a secondary obstacle to the navigation of the Mississipp iRiver. General Bowen was also directed to look well to the approaches by the Bayou Pierre. He subsequently informed me that he had prepared for the defence on both sides of the Bayou. On the twenty-second, five heavy guns were mounted and ready for service; two of these were removed from the batteries at Vicksburg, and three intended for gunboats being built in the Trans-Mississippi Department, were detained by my order, it being impracticable to obtain them elsewhere. At the same time the enemy commenced his movement to reach Vicksburg by the Hushpuccana and Deer Creek; another expedition was also attempted through Steel's Bayou, via Rolling Fork and the Sunflower, the object of both being to enter the Yazoo River, above Haynes' Bluff; in these designs he was completely baffled. Many of our smaller boats, which were also fitted for the navigation of these streams, and which were employed in the tranportation of supplies for Vicksburg, were necessarily diverted from this purpose to transport troops to meet and repel these expeditions. The same interruption in the transportation of supplies [558] was also of constant occurrence during the protracted expedition via the Yazoo Pass.

On the seventh of April I received a telegram from the President, inquiring as to the practicability of sending reinforcements to General Bragg, in Middle Tennessee, and directing me to send them if existing circumstances in the department would admit of it.

On the same day I informed the President by telegram, that in my judgment it was not safe to diminish the forces in this department at that time. On the ninth of April I telegraphed General S. Cooper, A. and I. G., as follows: “I am confident that few reinforcements, if any, have been sent to Rosecrans from Grant; no troops whatever are reported to have gone above the mouth of the Yazoo Pass. I endeavor to keep General Johnston advised of any movement which may affect his army. The enemy is constantly in motion in all directions; he appears now to be particulary engaged with Deer Creek, by land from Greenville. I have forces there to meet him. It is reported, but hot yet confirmed, that a movement under McClernand, in large force by land, is in progress west of the river and southward; I doubt it. My operations west of the Mississippi must greatly depend on the movement of the enemy's gunboats. I have several regiments now near New Carthage. I will inform you promptly of anything important, and if I ascertain that part of Grant's army is reinforcing Rosecrans, will dispatch troops to General Johnston as rapidly as possible.”

On the eleventh of April, I again telegraphed General Cooper, A. and I. G., and General J. E. Johnston, at Tullahoma, as follows: “A scout from Austin reports that forty transports, loaded down, but without troops, passed up the Mississippi River, on the third and fourth instant.” Brigadier-General Chalmers reports that “Ellett's marine brigade passed up the Mississippi on the seventh. The same evening, three gunboats and nineteen transports, loaded with troops, passed up — the last ten boats from Tallahatchie, twenty miles up Cold Water, on Wednesday, going up. I think that most of Grant's forces are being withdrawn to Memphis.”

On the same day I again telegraphed General Johnston as follows: “The following report just received: Scout Kemp reports: ‘Near Byhalia on the tenth; the enemy is strengthening his guard on the Memphis and Charleston Railroad. Twelve thousand troops passed Memphis going up the river, on the seventh. The same day, fifty pieces of artillery were landed at Memphis, and taken to the Memphis and Charleston depot. Part of Grant's army reported to be going to Corinth, and down the Mobile and Ohio Railroad--the balance to reinforce Rosecrans.’ Lawson reports, near Memphis, tenth: ‘Marine brigade gone up Cumberland River; also, fourteen transports and two gunboats passed up the river on the night of the seventh. A corps of engineers reached Memphis from below.’ ” Acting on these and other corroborating reports, I said to General Johnston, in closing my dispatch: “I am collecting troops here, and can send you four thousand (4,000) at once, if absolutely necessary ;” and, accordingly, the brigades of Generals Tilghman, Rust, and Buford, were, on the thirteenth of April, placed under orders to move with dispatch to Tullahoma, while General Vaughn's brigade, of East Tennesseans, was ordered to be held in readiness to move at short notice. Major L. Mims, Chief Quartermaster, was instructed to furnish the necessary transportation as speedily as possible; and the following dispatch, dated April twelfth, was transmitted to General Johnston: “I will forward troops to you as fast as transportation can be furnished, about eight thousand men. Am satisfied Rosecrans will be reinforced from Grant's army. Shall I order troops to

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