previous next

“ [578] works. Six men of the Forty-third Mississippi regiment, who were in the shaft countermining at the time of the explosion, were buried and lost. At dark the enemy had possessed himself of the ditch and slope of the parapet, and our troops retired to an interior line a few feet back. This point was now reinforced by Colonel Cockrell's brigade of Bowen's division, and work was resumed by the enemy, and by us, they mining, and we countermining.” From this time until the first, nothing of moment occurred. On that morning, however, the enemy sprung another mine, on the right of the Jackson road, which is thus spoken of by General Forney, in his report: “The result was the entire demolition of the redan, leaving only an immense chasm where it stood. The greater portion of the earth was thrown towards the enemy, the line of least resistance being in that direction. Our interior line was much injured. Nine men who were countermining were necessarily lost, and a large number of those manning the works were killed and wounded. The enemy, however, made no attempt to charge, seeming satisfied with having materially weakened the position. I understand that the amount of powder used by the enemy in this explosion was one ton. While all this was taking place on the Jackson road the enemy was by no means idle at other points. At the work on the Baldwin's Ferry road his sappers had nearly reached the ditch. At this place we sprung a countermine, which was, unfortunately a little premature.” From this time forward, our engineers were kept constantly and busily employed in countermining against the enemy, who was at work day and night countermining on the different portions of the line. About this time, our stock of bacon having become almost exhausted, the experiment of using mule meat as a substitute was tried, it being issued only to those who desired to use it; and I am gratified to say it was found, by both officers and men, not only nutritious but very palatable, and every way preferable to poor beef. I have already given in extenso, the several letters received from General Johnston up to this time, and my replies thereto. In this connection I take occasion to introduce General Johnston's letter of the twenty-seventh June, which was never received by me, but a copy of which General Johnston was kind enough to furnish:

June 27, 1863.
Your dispatch of the twenty-second received. General E. K. Smith's troops have been mismanaged, and have fallen back to Delhi. I have sent a special messenger urging him to assume direct command. The determined spirit you manifest, and his expected co-operation, encourage me to hope that something may yet be done to save Vicksburg, and to postpone both the modes suggested of merely extricating the garrison. Negotiations with Grant for the relief of the garrison, should they become necessary, must be made by you. It would be a confession of weakness on my part, which I ought not to make, to propose them. When it becomes necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my authority.

To preserve the continuity of the narrative, and that events may be mentioned in the order of their dates, I also give General Johnston's letter of July third, which was received by me on the tenth:

camp near Birdsong's Ferry, July 3, 1863.
Your dispatches of the twenty-eighth were destroyed by messenger. He states that General Smith's troops were driven back to Monroe. This statement, and his account of your condition, make me think it necessary to create a diversion, and thus enable you to cut your way out, if the time has arrived for you to do this; of that time I cannot judge; you must, as it depends upon your condition. I hope to attack the enemy in your front on the seventh, and your co-operation will be necessary. The manner and the proper point for you to bring the garrison out, must be determined by you, from your superior knowledge of the ground and distribution of the enemy's forces. Our firing will show you where we are engaged. If Vicksburg cannot be saved, the garrison must.

On the first of July I felt satisfied that the time had arrived when it was necessary either to evacuate the city and cut my way out, or to capitulate upon the best attainable terms. My own inclination led me to favor the former; with this view, therefore, I addressed to my division commanders, Generals Stevenson, Forney, Smith, and Bowen, the following communication:

headquarters Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, Vicksburg, July 1, 1863.
General: Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised, or supplies are thrown in, it will become necessary very shortly to evacuate the place. I see no prospect of the former, and there are many great, if not insuperable obstacles in the way of the latter. You are, therefore, requested to inform me with as little delay as possible as to the condition of your troops, and their ability to make the marches, and undergo the fatigue necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation. You will, of course, use the utmost discretion whilst informing yourself through your subordinates, upon all points tending to a clear elucidation of the subjects of my inquiry.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

J. C. Pemberton, Lieut.-General, commanding.

The next day I received a reply from each of these officers, which is herewith submitted:

headquarters Stevenson's division, Vicksburg, July 2, 1863.
General: Your note — confidential — of yesterday, requesting me to inform you as to the

Gen. John G. Parke.

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 People (automatically extracted)
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 3rd, 1863 AD (1)
July 2nd, 1863 AD (1)
July 1st, 1863 AD (1)
June 27th, 1863 AD (1)
July 3rd (1)
July 1st (1)
June 27th (1)
10th (1)
7th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: