“  untenable, Vicksburg is of no value, and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, you must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the north-east.” That night I was informed that General Pemberton had fallen back to Vicksburg. On Monday, May eighteenth, General Pemberton informed me by letter, dated Vicksburg, May seventeenth, that he had retired within the line of intrenchments around Vicksburg, having been attacked and forced back from Big Black Bridge, and that he had ordered Haynes' Bluff to be abandoned. His letter concluded with the following remark: “I greatly regret that I felt compelled to make the advance beyond Big Black, which has proved so disastrous in its results.” It will be remembered that General Pemberton expected that Edwards' Depot would be the battle field before I reached Jackson. See his dispatch of the twelfth, already quoted, and that his army, before he received any orders from me, was seven or eight miles east of the Big Black, near Edwards' Depot. On Tuesday, May nineteenth, General Pemberton's reply, dated Vicksburg, May eighteenth, to my communication of the seventeenth, was brought me near Vernon, where I had gone with the troops under my command for the purpose of effecting a junction with him, in the event of his evacuating Vicksburg, as I had ordered, in which he advised me that he had “assembled a council of war of the General officers of this command, and having laid your instructions before them, asked the free expression of their opinion as to the practicability of carrying them out; the opinion was unanimously expressed, that it was impossible to withdraw the army from this position with such morale and material, as to be of further use to the Confederacy.” On receiving this information, I replied: “I am trying to gather a force which may attempt to relieve you. Hold out.” The same day I sent orders to General Gardner to evacuate Port Hudson. I then determined, by easy marches, to re-establish my line between Jackson and Canton, as the junction of the two commands had become impossible. On the twentieth and twenty-first May, I was joined by the brigades of Generals Gist, Ector, and McNair; the division of General Loring, cut off from General Pemberton in the battle of Baker's Creek, reached Jackson on the twentieth, and General Maxcey with his brigade, on the twenty-third, By the fourth of June the army had in addition to these been reinforced by the brigade of General Evans, the division of General Breckinridge, and the division of cavalry, numbering two thousand eight hundred men, commanded by Brigadier-General W. H. Jackson. Small as was this force — about twenty-four thousand infantry and artillery, not one-third of that of the enemy — it was deficient in artillery, in ammunition for all arms, and in field transportation, and could not be moved upon that of the enemy, already intrenching his large force, with any hope of success. The draft upon the country had so far reduced the number of horses and mules that it was not until late in June that draught animals could be procured from distant points, for the artillery and teams. There was no want of commissary supplies in the department, but limited transportation caused a deficiency for a moving army. On the twenty-third of May, I received a dispatch from Major General Gardner, dated Port Hudson, May twenty-first, informing me that the enemy was about to cross at Bayou Sara, that the whole force from Baton Rouge was in his front, and asking to be reinforced. On this my orders for the evacuation of Port Hudson were repeated, and he was informed “you cannot be reinforced ; do not allow yourself to be invested; at every risk save the troops, and if practicable move in this direction.” This dispatch did not reach General Gardner, Port Hudson being then invested. About the twenty-fourth of May, the enemy made such demonstrations above the Big Black and towards Yazoo City, that I sent Walker's division to Yazoo City with orders to fortify it, and the demonstrations being renewed, placed Loring's division within supporting distance of Walker's, and in person took post at Clinton. Dispatches arrived from General Pemberton, dated Vicksburg, May twentieth and twenty-first. In that of the twentieth he stated that the enemy had assaulted his intrenched lines the day before, and was repulsed with heavy loss. He estimated their force at not less than sixty thousand, and asked that musket-caps be sent, they being his main necessity. He concluded: “an army will be necessary to save Vicksburg, and that quickly; will it be sent?” On the twenty-first he wrote: “The men credit, and are encouraged by, a report that you are near with a large force. They are fighting in good spirits and their organization is complete.” Caps were sent as fast as they arrived. On May twenty-ninth I sent a dispatch to General Pemberton, to the following effect: “I am too weak to save Vicksburg, can do no more than attempt to save you and your garrison. It will be impossible to extricate you unless you co-operate and we make mutually supporting movements. Communicate your plans and suggestions if possible.” The receipt of this was acknowledged in a communication dated Vicksburg, June third, in which General Pemberton says: “We can get no information from outside as to your position or strength, and very little in regard to the enemy.” In a dispatch, dated June tenth, from General Gardner--the first received since his investment — he reported having repulsed the enemy in several severe attacks, but that he was getting short of provisions and ammunition. To
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Doc . 62 .-Hoisting the Black flag — official correspondence and reports.
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