endeavor to hold out as long as we have any thing to eat. Can you not send me a verbal message by carrier, crossing the river above or below Vicksburg
, and swimming across again, opposite Vicksburg
I have heard nothing of you or from you since the 25th of May.’
In the same dispatch, he said: ‘nemy bombard day and night from seven mortars. . . . He also keeps up constant fire on our lines with artillery and musketry.’
On the 15th: ‘We are living on greatly reduced rations, but I think sufficient for twenty days yet. . . . Our men, having no relief, are becoming much fatigued, but are still in pretty good spirits.’
On the 19th: ‘On the Graveyard road, the enemy's works are within twenty-five feet of our redan, also very close on Jackson
's ferry roads.
I hope you will advance with the least possible delay.
My men have been thirty-four days and night in the trenches without relief, and the enemy within conversation distance . . . . We are living on very reduced rations, and, as you know, are entirely isolated.
What aid am I to expect from you?’
The prices of food in the town had, by this time, risen enormously.
Flour was five dollars a pound, or a thousand dollars a barrel (rebel money); meal was one hundred and forty dollars a bushel; molasses, ten and twelve dollars a gallon; and beef (very often oxen killed by the national shells and picked up by the butchers) was sold at two dollars and two dollars and a half, by the pound.
Mule-meat sold at a dollar a pound, and was in great demand.
Many families of wealth had eaten the last mouthful of food they possessed, and the poorer class of noncombatants was on the verge of starvation.
There was scarcely a building that had not been struck