previous next

Affairs at Vicksburg.

It is very hard to get anything reliable from Vicksburg, except what comes to the War Department. The accounts received through other sources are of that reckless, slashing, blood and thunder style that creates in the public mind great doubt as to their reliability. The Mobile Tribune, of the 2d, has some in formation from the enemy's camp, brought by Mr. Saunders, of Selma, Ala. The Tribune says:

‘ He has been inside the Yankee lines ever since Grant invested the place, and was allowed to leave by Gen. Grant, in order to bring away Mrs. Hundley, wife of Col. D. R. Hundley, of the 31st Alabama, who was wounded and taken prisoner at Port Gibson. He reports that in the big fight on Friday of week before last, the Yankees confess that they lost twenty thousand men.

On Thursday of the same week we sunk two of the enemy's gunboats, which shell the town every day, having set fire to some houses, and already killed a few women and children, but doing very little other damage. Thirty one of Vaughn's East Tennessean having deserted and taken the oath, state, that so far our losses in the city amount to only a thousand. Mr. Saunders reports that the Yankees lose from fifty to four hundred every day, our sharpshooters killing them off whenever they show themselves near their guns, which they are obliged to handle at night. One of our sharpshooters has already immortalized himself in the Yankee army. He tells them he is a one eyed man, and as he shoots a Belgian rifle, whenever the peculiar whistle of that weapon is heard the Yankees call out, "Look out, boys, there's old one eye!"

They say he can kill at one thousand yards, and never misses. One day two Yankee Captains were looking from behind a cotton bale, and old One Eye killed them both at one shot. Mr. Saunders also saw one other Captain with an amputated leg, which he owed to the same unknown man. Col. Hundley knows the man, says his name is Elliott, and that he belongs to the 30th Alabama. He is known in Alabama as the best marksman in the State.

Gen. Grant speaks very disparagingly of Johnston, and says he will whip him certainly if he comes to attack him where he is. He has received heavy reinforcements since the fall of Snyder's Buff. Among the killed of the Yankees since they have invested Vicksburg, are Maj. Gen. Kerr, Brig.Gens. Burbridge, Lay, Bowman, and one other, name forgotten.

The two gunboats sunk were the Natchez and the Nightingale. Grant says he will starve Vicksburg out in ten days, but this is known to be an idle boast.

Mr. Saunders states that the stench of the dead Yankees offended citizens six miles from the battle-field. Gen. Pemberton sent a flag of truce to Grant and demanded that he remove his wounded and bury his dead, which demand was complied with.

The Federals, when they approached Vicksburg, were perfectly sanguine of an immediate capture of our stronghold, and invited the ladies into Vicksburg to see their sweethearts, as the rebels were all to be sent North. Gen. Grant demanded a surrender of the city, and gave Pemberton three days to consider the proposition. The rebel General replied that he didn't want three minutes to consider the question, but invited Grant to open upon him as soon as he pleased.

After the terrible slaughter on Friday, Gen. Grant issued an order for new ladders to be made and the assault to be renewed on Saturday, at 2 o'clock, but the men refused to be led again to the "slaughter pen." The 20th Ohio sent up a petition to Gen. McClernand, and positively refused to participate again in the murderous work.

Mr. Saunders heard frequent conversations between the Federals and Col. Womack, chief of Grant's staff, expressed the opinion that Vicksburg would not be taken for six months, if ever. They imagine, now, that our force in Vicksburg is from 75,000 to 100,000 men.

The entire Federal loss around the entrenchment at Vicksburg is estimated by them at from 35,000 to 40,000. General Grant sent in to Pemberton to know why he fired railroad spikes and poisoned balls at them? The only answer Gen. P made to this cession was that the whole story was a d — d lie. The Federals are seizing upon all sorts of pretexts to account for their tremendous Losses.

’ A correspondent of the Mobile Register writing from Jackson, Miss., on the 29th, gives the following view of the position of affairs around the beleaguered city:

‘ The principal fighting at Vicksburg has lulled, and the enemy has fallen back and commenced fortifying among the bills in parallel lines with those of Pemberton. His assaults on the Vicksburg works have been terribly disastrous. More of the enemy have been slaughtered before the Vicksburg trenches than in any other battle of the war, being from 20,000 to 30,000. This is a great number of men to be put hors du combat in a single battle; for in this estimate I do not mean to include the enemy's losses at Grand Gulf. Raymond, Jackson, Baker's Creek, or Big Black; nor do I make the statement without the most careful inquiry. Suffice it that my information is correct.

I telegraphed you that Vicksburg was closely besieged. At the time I did so the enemy had command (and yet have) of the Mississippi river in his front, above and below the city, of the Yazoo river to Snyder's Bluff, where his right wing rested; of the Big Black river to the Southern Railroad bridge, where his left wing rested; his northern base of operations at Snyder's Gulf. The Big Black and Yazoo rivers flow from Northern Mississippi in a south westerly direction; the Yazoo discharges into the Mississippi a few miles above Vicksburg, and the Big Black at Grand Gulf, some eighty miles below. The enemy had massed his army--100,000 men — on a line from the bridge to the bluff, a distance of some twenty miles, being from river to river, while his gunboats and pickets held the rivers.

I have furthermore stated that reasonable fears were entertained for the safety of Vicksburg; and although the face of affairs has in a great measure changed, I see no good reason for an abandonment of those fears. True, the enemy have assaulted the works, and have encountered an extraordinary amount of slaughter; so great as to deter them for a while, at least, from a similar experiment; but they are still in front of our entrenchments, with an army believed to number 70,000 effective men. They have fallen back and commenced a series of fortifications parallel with those in their front, and communication with Vicksburg yet remains cut off, and can only be had by such means as it would be impolitic for me to mention. A want of water of necessity compels the enemy to fall back on the Big Black, which he has done, and he can only supply himself by hauling. Here his lines assume a convex form, having wheeled his left round on the Mississippi river, and, unless well protected by salients, his flanks are of necessity exposed.--The same want of water prevails from here to the Big Black. In dry weather the creeks dry up, there are few springs, and I have never yet seen a well — all are cisterns, which do not furnish but a bare supply for the families who sunk them. Now, until the way shall be cleared by driving off the enemy, it is impossible either to throw supplies or reinforcements into Vicksburg.

The enemy is evidently sick of the fight, and prefers to adopt the slow method of besieging and starving out the garrison. Sickness will exist in his camps to an alarming extent, but we must remember that the garrison of Vicksburg will suffer also. I hope that, in making these statements I will not be considered an alarmist. I am, however, sanguine of ultimate success, and hope for the best, but the truth might as well be told first as last.--Unless Vicksburg is relieved it must ultimately fall.

The movements of Gen. Johnston and others it is improper in me to mention, but from them I draw the most cheering inferences. The garrison of Vicksburg is better supplied than I at first supposed; for the planters, on the appearance of the enemy, drove most all of their hogs, sheep and cattle into the city, and also sent in 400 wagon loads of corn, which is an invaluable help at this time.

The movements of Grant show his consciousness in the strength of numbers, and his quick movements misled those high in authority, while it is believed he has received orders to take Vicksburg if he has to sacrifice his entire army. Banks is reported to have crossed with his main army at Bayon Sara, and is said to be moving up to Grand Gulf. If so, he is expected to operate against Warrenton, and on the New Orleans road. Banks and his forces are considered of but little consequence.

Gov. Pettus and Gen. Johnston have issued a joint appeal to the people of Mississippi to volunteer, as ninety days troops, as cavalry or infantry. There is no time for procrastination; they have but one choice — fight, or give up to the Yankee. No half-way measures will do; it is "neck or nothing." "I don't think the Yankees will ever come here," is a foolish remark or opinion from anybody west of the Bigbee river.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Grant (11)
Saunders (5)
Pemberton (4)
Johnston (3)
D. R. Hundley (3)
Banks (2)
Womack (1)
Snyder (1)
Raymond (1)
Pettus (1)
North (1)
McClernand (1)
Lay (1)
Kerr (1)
Andrew Jackson (1)
Gen (1)
Elliott (1)
Burbridge (1)
Bowman (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
29th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: