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[355] greatly to be regretted that the railroad bridge across Pearl River was not so repaired that the large equipments of the Central road might have been removed for use elsewhere and at other times. One of the serious embarrassments suffered in the last two years of the war was from the want of rolling stock, with which to operate our railroads, as required for the transportation of troops and supplies. On July 12th a heavy cannonade was opened, and the missiles reached all parts of the town. An assault was also made on Major General Breckinridge's position on our extreme left. His division, with the aid of Cobb's and Slocum's batteries, repulsed it, inflicting severe loss and capturing two hundred prisoners, besides the wounded, and taking three regimental colors. On the 15th General Johnston was assured that the remainder of Grant's army was moving from Vicksburg to Jackson, and on the night of the 16th he, having previously sent forward his sick and wounded, successfully withdrew his army across the Pearl River, moved toward Brandon, and continued the march as far as Morton, about thirty-five miles from Jackson. The enemy followed no farther than Brandon, which was reached on the 19th, and manifested no higher purpose than that of arson, which was exhibited on a still larger scale at Jackson.

Thus, within the first half of July, our disasters had followed close upon the heels of one another. Though not defeated at Gettysburg, we had suffered a check, and an army, to which nothing was considered impossible, had been compelled to retire, leaving its opponent in possession of the field of battle. The loss of Vicksburg and Port Hudson was the surrender of the Mississippi to the enemy. It was true that gunboats had run by our batteries, but not with impunity, and some of them had been sunk in the attempt. Transports for troops, supplies, and merchandise could not, except at great risk, use the river while our batteries at those two points remained effective, and gunboats cruising between them would have but a barren field. Moreover, they needed to be very numerous to prevent intercourse between the two sides of the river; which, thus far, they had never been able to effect.

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