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[119] within him; his men, living upon fast diminishing food, had not yet complained. He still had mules. An excel. lent thought Would the men consent to eat horse-flesh? Jokes passed from mouth to mouth at the new fare; but some agreed to try the gastronomic novelty. Decidedly, Port Hudson was not ready to surrender.

On July 7th, thunderous salutes of artillery came from the gunboats in the river. No shell had as usual, come shrieking over the works. What is that? asked each gunner of his neighbor, all peering riverward. Cheering broke forth from the gunboats. It was a chorus of war with the voices of the fleet and the armies supporting the batteries. Suddenly, the firing ceased as quickly as it had begun. Only mighty cheering had taken the place of shelling. Some report had come in from Vicksburg. What was it? A party of the enemy drew near within talking distance. Asked the news, they freely gave it—gave it with a subtone of triumph. Vicksburg had surrendered! Men fraternize easily under great news. The men of Port Hudson were largely native Americans. Most of them came from the extreme South. Louisianians, Mississippians and Alabamians contended, like the young Athenians, for the prize of courage. They were enthusiastic over the long and memorable defense which their valor and their constancy had maintained between May 27th and July 9th, 1863.

Thus Vicksburg had, in surrendering, confided her defense to history. Gardner heard it with indignation, not to add perplexity. Something, however, had to be done. Vicksburg was no longer ‘about to fall,’ she had fallen! The conditions had changed for evacuation and looked toward surrender. The victorious fleet which had swept from the upper Mississippi past the batteries of Vicksburg would be coming down to Port Hudson within a day. For once his resolute nature could see no road of escape from his responsibility. That night he summoned a war council. To explain the situation was not needed. It lay like an open book before each soldier in the Port.

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