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[356] the army from its position with such morale and materiel as to be of further service to the Confederacy. While the council of war was assembled, the guns of the enemy opened on our works and Vicksburg was besieged. General Pemberton determined to hold the place, hoping that he would receive assistance in maintaining this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi river.

At the time of the investment, the garrison of Vicksburg was eighteen thousand strong—scarcely sufficient to man the trenches, and affording no force for reserve. The amount of provisions on hand was estimated at forty days rations, the full ration however being considerably reduced. General Pemberton has been censured for not provisioning Vicksburg for a protracted siege; and to this cause is attributed, as we think erroniously, the fall of that city.

Vicksburg did stand a protracted siege of forty-eight days. It was not provisioned for an indefinite siege nor could be. It has been stated that General Pemberton assumed command of this department in October, 1862; it has further been shown against what difficulties he had to contend in the organization of his department. Some time must necessarily elapse between such organization, and the time when its effects could be felt, before contracts could be made, and supplies begin to come in.

The sources from which Vicksburg could be supplied, were from the country west of the Mississippi via Red River and Big Black; from Yazoo River via Haines' Bluff (the supplies in this case consisting almost exculsively of corn, and being drawn from the section of country on Sunflower and Tallahatchie Rivers, Deer Creek, &c.;) and lastly, from the interior of the State of Mississippi—in which which case they must be transported over long lines of railroad. Port Hudson could be supplied only from the Mississippi River; being distant sixty miles from the nearest depot on the New Orleans and Jackson railroad.

Large standing garrisons were to be supplied at each of these points, at the one varying from ten to twenty thousand, and at the other from eight to fifteen thousand. To accumulate at these points, was evidently a difficult undertaking, considering the daily consumption to be met, and the small number of boats at Government disposal. As soon as the wet season set in, and navigations became practicable, supplies of beef cattle, bacon, corn, and salt were forwarded by Government agents purchasing in the Trans-Mississippi department. But in the midst of this occupation, early in February, the enemy's gunboats, Queen of the West and Indianola, succeeded in

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John C. Pemberton (3)
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