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[226] Pemberton's eyes to the fact that Grant was trying to kill two birds with one stone, viz., open the Mississippi river and shut up in Vicksburg Pemberton, and, what was of real consequence, the army he commanded.

Sherman had tried the same game when he made the attack on the north side of Vicksburg at Chickasaw bayou, but having more ambition and audacity in planning in the tent, than he had knowledge of the field of operation, he was beat off by a few troops of the line, and citizens armed with their shot-guns. The veriest tyro in war would have reasoned out the problem to this result—that concentration with General Johnston was the proper thing, and that a living and moving army in the field is better than a cramped and half dead army inside of a ring of earthworks. Earthworks are good in modern war only as a shield to active field troops. The bull hide shield of the ancient warriors is the prototype of the use that fortifications and breastworks are to the armies of to-day—of use only on occasions of active fight on an open field.

One quiet afternoon General Hebert informed me that Snyder's and Haynes's Bluffs were to be evacuated, and shortly after left with his command. My instructions were to get off all guns, on wheels, to Vicksburg; prepare powder trains to the service magazines, preparatory to blowing them up at midnight, if no further orders were received, and blow up all guns not moveable. Further orders to sink all steamboats in the Yazoo river completed the programme of destruction.

With the celerity born of necessity the road to Vicksburg was in a few hours jammed with munitions of war and guns—six-pounders, co-fraternals with the stylish twenty-four pound Parrott guns, wagons, mules, troops, camp-followers, with their loads of plunder, the menage of the camps they had lately occupied.

So crowded was the road to Vicksburg that daylight found us under the bluff where General Sherman got his quietus in the January preceding, and so close did the fire of the attack on our left sound that I expected the trains to be captured; but this idea was premature, for the wagons made several trips during the day to Haynes's Bluff to get corn from the piles of it that lay on the bank of the river, measuring thousands of bushels to the heap.

No doubt the collected breadstuff and horse-feed did the Federal quartermaster and commissary officers great service; it would have done us more service in Vicksburg if it had been there.


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