Let it now be recorded, to the glory of the citizens of Vicksburg
, that when the Federal
vessels hove in sight on the 18th day of May, 1862, that without exception, men and women, old and young, rich and poor, with one voice said: ‘The city must be defended, even if all our houses and property are destroyed.’
This decision and this spirit lasted to the end, July 4, 1863, when the city fell.
The ladies and their families who remained in the city during this terrible ordeal lived most of the times in holes or openings dug in the hills, known as rat holes, near their houses, and never was a murmur heard from one of them or a complaint of a hardship.
The second attempt was a more formidable one, and began in November, 1862.
This time an army of 35,000 men, accompanied by the Mississippi
gunboat squadron, attempted to take the city unprepared, and by a dash down the river from Memphis
, while General Grant
, at Oxford, Miss.
, with 50,000 men, confronted the Confederate army of only 21,000 effective men at Grenada
He caused General Sherman
to organize his army at Memphis
and move down the Mississippi river
, leaving Memphis
about the 18th of December, 1862.
These two large armies were to act in conjunction, Grant
moving down what is known as the Illinois Central railroad, and attacking the Confederate army in his immediate presence, so no reinforcements could be sent to the relief of Vicksburg
, while Sherman
was to go in boats with his army, and land and take the city before its small garrison could be reinforced.
The gunboat fleet which accompanied the transports bearing Sherman
's army, and including them, made up the large number of about 120 river boats.
It looked as if the city could not escape this time, as these two large armies moved from different directions, co-operating with each other, and toward Vicksburg
as the objective point.
But the compaign was a short and decisive one, and both movements were defeated.
started the Confederate cavalry, under General Forest
, about December 11th, destroyed sixty miles of railroad between Jackson, Tenn.
, and Columbus, Ky.
, and soon after Sherman
the Confederate cavalry, under General Van
, dashed around the flank of Grant
's army, attacked and seized his depot of supplies for his army at Holly Springs
, burned them up or utterly