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[346] of the battles of Baker's Creek and Big Black, and the consequent evacuation of Snyder's Mills. General Johnston wrote:
If Haines's Bluff is untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and can not be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, we must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the northeast.

Pemberton, in his report, remarks:

This meant the fall of Port Hudson, the surrender of the Mississippi River, and the severance of the Confederacy.

He recurs to a former correspondence with me in which he had suggested the possibility of the investment of Vicksburg by land and water, and the necessity for ample supplies to stand a siege, and says his application met my favorable consideration, and that additional ammunition was ordered. Confident in his ability, with the preparations which had been made, to stand a siege, and firmly relying on the desire of the President and of General Johnston to raise it, he ‘felt that every effort would be made, and believed it would be successful.’ However, he summoned a council of war, composed of all his general officers, laid before them General Johnston's communication, and desired their opinion on ‘the question of practicability,’ and on the 18th replied to General Johnston that he had placed his instructions before the general officers of the command, and that ‘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 service to the Confederacy.’ He then announces his decision to hold Vicksburg as long as possible, and expresses the hope that he may be assisted in keeping this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi River. He closes his letter thus:

I still conceive it to be the most important point in the Confederacy.

While the council of war was assembled, the guns of the enemy opened on the works, and the siege proper commenced.

Making meager allowance for a reserve, it required the whole force to be constantly in the trenches, and when they were all on duty it did not furnish one man to the yard of the developed line. On the 19th two assaults were made at the center and left. Both were repulsed and heavy loss inflicted; our loss was small. At the same time the mortar fleet of Admiral Porter from the west side of the peninsula kept up a bombardment of the city.

Vicksburg is built upon hills rising successively from the river. The

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