answered June 27th, and conveyed the discouraging news that Gen. Kirby Smith
, who was expected to assist on the west side, had fallen back.
felt encouraged to hope that something might yet be done to save Vicksburg
But he refused to open negotiations with Grant
, saying: ‘Negotiations with Grant
for the relief of the garrison, should they become necessary, must be made by you. It would be a confession of weakness on my part which I ought not to make to propose them.
When it becomes necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my authority.’
On the 28th Pemberton
received a communication signed ‘Many Soldiers,’ containing these words: ‘Our rations have been cut down to one biscuit and a small bit of bacon per day, not enough scarcely to keep soul and body together, much less to stand the hardships we are called upon to stand.
If you can't feed us, you had better surrender us, horrible as the idea is, than suffer this noble army to disgrace themselves by desertion.
This army is now ripe to mutiny unless it can be fed.’
This communication probably did not represent ‘many soldiers’ in truth, but it is valuable as indicating one of the factors of the situation.
On July 1st another mine was exploded under the same redan, which resulted in its complete demolition, leaving only a vast chasm.
Nine men who were countermining were lost, and a large number of those manning the works were killed and wounded.
But no attempt was made to enter the works.
The report of General Stevenson
presents a faithful picture of what the Confederate
soldiers endured during this period.
‘I cannot find words sufficiently strong to express the pride and gratitude afforded me by the dauntless spirit with which officers and men encountered all the dangers, and by the unmurmuring endurance with which they bore up for forty-seven sleepless days and nights under all the hardships incident to their position.