previous
[615]

Chapter 23: siege and capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson.


An immediate assault upon the defenses of Vicksburg seemed to Grant an imperative necessity. His army was not strong enough to invest the post so absolutely as to make a sortie by Pemberton, for the purpose of joining his forces with Johnston, in Grant's rear, an impossibility. He was holding a line almost twenty miles in extent, from the Yazoo to the Mississippi at Warrenton, and so thin on its extreme left that it was little more than a series of pickets. Johnston was at Canton, receiving re-enforcements from Bragg's army, in Tennessee, for his five thousand troops with whom he fled from Jackson.1 He was making every exertion in his power. to collect a force sufficient to warrant him in falling upon Grant's rear, and endeavoring to compel him to raise the siege. That danger was imminent, and there seemed but one way to avert it and that was by a speedy capture of the post and garrison. If Grant could possess himself of Vicksburg immediately, he might turn upon Johnston and drive him from the State of Mississippi, and, holding all of the railroads, and practical military highways, effectually secure to the Nationals all territory west of the Tombigbee River, thereby saving the Government the sending of re-enforcements to him which were so much needed elsewhere. In view of impending danger,

Military operations abound Vicksburg.

and of the importance of the immediate capture of Vicksburg, and with the belief that in the then demoralized state of Pemberton's army, because [616] of recent reverses, the task would be comparatively easy, Grant resolved to attempt it. His troops were impatient to possess the object of their toils for months, and he was satisfied that, if an immediate assault should end in failure, they would work better in the trenches while prosecuting a regular siege, than they would do if denied an opportunity to capture the post by direct assault. Grant therefore prepared to storm the Confederate works on the day after the arrival of his troops before them, which had occurred on the anniversary of Farragut's advent there the year before. He made his Headquarters in his tent, pitched in a canebrake near an immense tree, in the edge of a wood on the farm of E. B. Willis, about three miles northeast from Vicksburg, and there he issued his orders for assault.

Grant ordered the attack to be commenced at two o'clock in the afternoon of the 19th.

May, 1863.
It was begun by Sherman's corps, which was nearest the works on the northeastern side of the city, which lay on both sides of the old Jackson road, the one on the right, in approaching the town, known as Fort Hill, and the one on the left as Fort Beauregard. The attack was directed upon the former. Blair's division took the lead, followed by Tuttle's as a support. As it moved, it occupied both side of the road. The ground was very rough, and was cleft by deep chasms, in which were trees standing and trees felled; and along the entire front of the Confederate works was such a tangle of hills and obstacles that the approach was excessively difficult and perilous.

Grant's Headquarters at Vicksburg.2

There had been artillery skirmishing and sharp-shooting all the morning: now there was to be close work. Both parties were nerved for the task. Steadily Blair's regiments moved on, and their first blow was given to General Schoup's Louisiana brigade, which struck back powerfully and manfully. After a slight recoil, Blair's troops moved on across the ditch to the exterior slope of the works, where the Thirteenth Regulars, of General Giles Smith's brigade, planted the flag of the Republic, but at the cost of seventy-seven of its two hundred and fifty men, its leader, Captain Washington, being among the fatally wounded. The Eighty-third Indiana and One Hundred and Twenty-seventh Illinois also gallantly gained the slope, but all were unable [617] to enter, in the face of the most determined resistance. Perceiving that they were exposed to destruction in detail, Sherman recalled them at dark to places of safety behind the hills, and the assault was abandoned. The other corps succeeded in getting into good positions nearer the Confederate works while this struggle was going on at the right, but did not participate much in the contest of the day.

Two days succeeding this attack were occupied in heavy skirmishing, in bringing up from the Yazoo and distributing supplies to the army, making roads, planting cannon, and otherwise preparing for another assault. Grant informed Admiral Porter of his intentions, and requested him to engage the batteries on the river front, on the night of the 21st,

May, 1863.
as a diversion, as he intended to storm their works on the land side with his entire army the following morning. Porter opened fire accordingly, and all night long he kept six mortars playing upon the town and the works, and sent the Benton, Mound City, and Carondelet to shell the water batteries and other places where troops might be resting. It was a fearful night in Vicksburg, but the next day was more fearful still. It dawned gloriously. The sky was unclouded, and the troops and citizens within the circumvallating lines of the Confederates were so encouraged by the failure of the assault on the 19th, that they had no doubt that the garrison could hold out until succor should arrive.

Grant ordered an assault by his whole line at ten o'clock on the morning of the 22d. That there might be perfect concert of action, the corps commanders set their watches by his, and at a proper time the chief took position near McPherson's front, where he might overlook much of the field of strife. At the appointed hour the storming columns all moved forward, while Porter's mortars and the cannon of his gun-boats were pelting the batteries and the city furiously with shot and shell, and receiving in return many a crushing reply from the mouths of “Whistling Dick,” on the main fort,3 and other heavy guns.

As on the 19th, so now, Blair's division formed the advance of Sherman's column, its van being the brigade of General Hugh S. Ewing, of the Thirtieth Ohio, with those of Giles Smith and T. Kilby Smith following in support. In the advance sharp-shooters were actively skirmishing, and with them was a small party carrying materials for bridging the ditches. At the same time five batteries (Wood's, Barrett's, Waterhouse's, Spoor's, and Hart's) were concentrating their fire upon Fort Hill, or the northeast bastion of the works at the designated point of attack.

Onward the van moved, with no signs of a foe on their front until they reached the salient of the bastion, and were near the sally-port, when there sprang up before them on the parapet, as if from the bosom of the earth, two rows of sharp-shooters, whose terrible volleys swept down the first line near them in an instant. The rear of the column then attempted to push on, but was repulsed with severe loss. Bending their course a little to the right, Ewing's braves crossed the ditch on the left face of the bastion, and, climbing the slope, planted the National flag near the top of the parapet, and there sheltered themselves from the sharp-shooters on their flank, in holes which [618] they burrowed in the bank for the purpose. Meanwhile Giles Smith's brigade had taken a position where it seriously menaced the parapet at another point, and that of T. Kilby Smith, deployed on an off slope of the spur of a hill, assisted Ewing in keeping the Confederates quiet within the works by firing at every head seen above the parapet. The storming party held their ground under cover of the artillery, but when, finally, the brigades of Giles Smith, in connection with that of Ransom, of McPherson's corps, attempted to carry the parapet by assault, they were repulsed with heavy loss.

While this struggle was occurring, Steele's division had been fighting at the Grave-Yard Bastion, half a mile farther to the right of Fort Hill, as desperately, and without gaining any visible advantage. It had pushed across deep chasms and ravines, and made its way up to the parapet in the face of a heavy fire. It failed to carry it, but held the hillside until dark, when it too was withdrawn. But while these struggles were going on, between twelve and one o'clock, Grant was encouraged by a dispatch from McClernand on the left, “stating positively and unequivocally that he was in possession of, and still held, two of the enemy's forts; that the American flag waved over them,” and asking him “to have Sherman and McPherson make a diversion in his favor.” 4 On the strength of this assurance, Sherman renewed the assault on his left front, by sending Tuttle forward. Mower's brigade charged up to the position from which Ewing had been repulsed, and the colors of his leading regiment (Eleventh Missouri) were soon planted by the side of those of Blair's storming party, which remained there. After heavy loss and no substantial advantage gained, this second storming party was withdrawn under cover of darkness.

Turning farther toward the left, we find McPherson's corps in the center,. vying with Sherman's in the spirit of its attacks, and sharing with it the calamities of heavy losses and the mortifications of defeat. It is believed that McPherson lost ten men to one of the assailed party, in his endeavors to carry the main fort, near the Vicksburg and Jackson railway. He gained some ground, but most of it was abandoned in the evening.

On the left McClernand assailed the works most gallantly, but with less positive success than he seems to have supposed. Precisely at the appointed hour his storming party, composed of the brigades of Lawler and Landrum, rushed impetuously upon the works southeast of the city, and within the space of fifteen minutes carried the ditch, slope, and bastion of the redoubt immediately on their front. Sergeant Griffith and eleven privates of the Twenty-second Iowa entered it as conquerors, but all were prostrated within it but Griffith, who escaped, and took with him thirteen prisoners. Meanwhile the colors of the Forty-eighth Ohio and Seventy-seventh Illinois had been raised on the bastion, and the brigades of Benton and Burbridge, inspirited by the success of Lawler and Landrum, had carried the ditch and slope of another strong earthwork, and planted their colors there. At the same time a gun of the fort had been disabled by shot from a piece of the Chicago Mercantile battery, which Captain White had dragged by hand to the ditch, and fired into an embrasure. [619]

Believing his winnings thus far to be permanent, McClernand sent the dispatch to Grant already mentioned, to which the latter replied by telling him to order up McArthur, of his own (McClernand's) corps, to his assistance. Before receiving this order McClernand had sent another dispatch similar to the first, and this was soon followed by a third, in which he said, “We have gained the enemy's intrenchments at several points, but are brought to a stand ;” and in a postscript informed Grant that his troops were all engaged, and he could not “withdraw any to re-enforce others.” Grant, who was in a commanding position, “could not see his possession of the forts,” he said, “nor the necessity for re-enforcements, as represented in his dispatches,” and expressed to both Sherman and McPherson his doubts of their correctness; yet, unwilling to allow any opportunity to capture the post to escape, he ordered Quinby's division of McPherson's corps to report to McClernand. He also made the diversion in his favor already mentioned, which, Grant said, “resulted in the increase of our mortality list full fifty per cent., without advancing our position or giving us other advantages.” 5 Two hours later, McClernand informed Grant that he had lost no ground; that some of his men were in two of the forts, which were commanded by the rifle-pits in the rear, and that he was hard pressed. He had really gained no substantial advantage. He attributed his failure to do so to a lack of proper support, McArthur being some miles distant when Grant's order came to call him up, and Quinby not arriving until twilight.6 Meanwhile Osterhaus and Hovey, on the left of McClernand, had been unsuccessful in their assaults. Porter had joined in the fight from the river with his mortars and gun-boats, increasing the horrors of the day in the city.7 Night closed in with positive defeat and heavy loss to the National [620] army,8 and at eight o'clock in the evening the troops were recalled from the more advanced and exposed positions, leaving pickets to hold the ground which had been absolutely gained.

“After the failure of the 22d,” Grant said in his report, “I determined upon a regular siege.” The post was completely invested. The Nationals held military possession of the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, and Admiral Porter, with his fleet and floating batteries (scows bearing 13-inch mortars and 100-pounder Parrott guns, moored under the banks securely, where they could throw shells into the city), firmly held the water in front of the town. The beleaguered garrison was composed of only about fifteen thousand effective men, out of about thirty thousand within the lines, as Grant was officially informed five days after the assault, with short rations for only a month, and their commander calling earnestly on Johnston for aid.9 But the latter was almost powerless to help. “I am too weak to save Vicksburg,” he wrote to Pemberton on the 29th,

May, 1863.
in reply to a dispatch that reached him. “Can do no more than attempt to save you and your garrison.” General Frank K. Gardner, at Port Hudson, to whom, so early as the 19th, Johnston had sent orders to evacuate that place and join Pemberton, was now also calling for help,
May 21.
and telling his chief that National troops were about to cross the Mississippi at Bayou Sara, above him, and that the whole of Banks's force at Baton Rouge was on his front. Johnston could only repeat his orders for the evacuation, and say, “You cannot be re-enforced. Do not allow yourself to be invested. At every risk save the troops, and if practicable move in this direction.”

Frank K. Gardner.

This did not reach Gardner, for before he could receive it Port Hudson was invested, and the sad fruits of Jefferson Davis's interference with Johnston's orders were fast ripening. And all that Johnston could do for Pemberton, at that time, was to send him, by smugglers, about forty thousand percussion caps.11

When the victory at Champion Hills was won, Grant declared that the capture of Vicksburg was then secured. Yet he relaxed no vigilance or efforts. Now, when he felt certain that the post must soon fall into his [621] hands, he made that event doubly sure by calling re-enforcements to his army. His effective men, after the assault, did not exceed twenty thousand in number, but to these were very soon added the divisions of General Lauman and four regiments from Memphis, with the divisions of Generals A. J. Smith and Kimball, of the Sixteenth corps. These were assigned to the, command of General Washburne. On the llth of June General Herron arrived with his division from the Department of Missouri, and on the 14th two divisions of the Ninth corps came, under General Parke. N~Tow the investment of Vicksburg was made absolute, with Sherman's corps on the extreme right, McPherson's next, and extending to the railway, and Ord's (late McClernand's) on the left, the investment in that direction being made complete by the divisions of Herron and Lauman, the latter lying across Stout's Bayou, and touching the bluffs on the river. Parke's corps, and the divisions of Smith and Kimball, were sent to Haines's Bluff, where fortifications commanding the land side had been erected to confront any attempt that Johnston might make in that direction.

Meanwhile Admiral Porter had made complete and ample arrangements for the most efficient co-operation on the river, and his skill and zeal were felt throughout the siege. While his heavier vessels and the mortars and great Parrott guns on the scows already mentioned were doing effective work in the immediate operations of the siege,12 his smaller vessels were patrolling the river, to keep its banks clear of guerrillas, who were gathering in strength on the western side, and to prevent supplies reaching Vicksburg. And so skillfully were his vessels handled during the close siege, that only one of them was badly disabled,13 and, with the exception of the casualties on that vessel, he lost only six or seven men killed and wounded.14

For a month General Grant closely invested Vicksburg. Day after day he drew his lines nearer and nearer, crowning hill after hill with batteries, and mining assiduously in the direction of the stronger works of his foe, with the intention of blowing them high in air. Day and night, with only slight intermissions, his heavy guns and those of Porter were hurling shot and shell with fearful effect into the city, and its suburbs within the lines, [622] making it hell for the inhabitants, and the soldiers too, who sought shelter for limb and life in caves dug in the steep banks where streets passed through the hills. In these the women and children of whole families, free and bond, found protection from the iron hail that perforated the houses, plowed the streets, and even penetrated to these subterranean habitations, where gentle

Caves near Vicksburg.

women were waiting and praying for deliverance, and where children were born.15 It was a terrible ordeal, and yet during that long siege very few persons, not in the army, lost their lives.

Pemberton's only hope for deliverance was in the ability of Johnston to compel Grant to raise the siege. With that hope he held out against a multitude [623] of temptations to yield.16 On the 14th

June, 1863.
Johnston sent him word that all he could attempt to do was to save the garrison, and suggested, as a mode of extrication and conjunction, a simultaneous attack upon Grant's line at a given point by his own troops without, and Pemberton's within. He asked the latter to designate the point of attack, north of the railroad (nearer Johnston's communications); and he then informed him that General Taylor (whom Banks, as we have seen,17 had, driven from the heart of Louisiana, and who was gathering forces there again) would endeavor, with eight thousand men from Richmond, in that State, to open communication with him from the west side of the river. Already that commander had sent between two and three thousand troops, under General Henry McCulloch (brother of Ben., who was killed at Pea Ridge), to strike — a blow. It was leveled at a little force, chiefly of colored troops, called the “African brigade,” stationed at Milliken's Bend, under General Elias S. Dennis, composed of about fourteen hundred18 effective men, of whom all but one hundred and sixty (the Twenty-third Iowa) were negroes.

McCulloch's blow fell first, though lightly, on the Ninth Louisiana (colored), commanded by Colonel H. Lieb, who went out on a reconnoissance from Milliken's Bend toward Richmond, on the 6th of June,

1863.
preceded by two companies of the Tenth Illinois cavalry, Captain Anderson. Lieb went within three miles of Richmond, where he encountered Taylor's pickets, and fell slowly back at first. It was evident that a heavy force was in his front. Very soon some of the cavalry came dashing back, hotly pursued, when Lieb formed his troops in battle order, and with one volley dispersed the pursuers. He continued to fall back, and the Confederates, in strong number, horse and foot, pursued nearly up to the earthworks at the Bend.

H. Lieb.

It was now night, and the Confederates lay on their arms, expecting to make an easy conquest of Dennis's force in the morning. The latter was on the alert, and when, at three o'clock,

June 7.
the Confederates [624] rushed to the assault, with the cry of “No quarter!” 19 they were met by a volley that made them recoil for a moment, but before the inexperienced blacks could fire more than another volley, they had rushed over the intrenchments. Then occurred a most sanguinary hand-to-hand fight for several minutes, with bayonets and clubbed muskets, the colored troops contesting every inch of ground with the greatest obstinacy, and answering the question often asked, “Will the negroes fight?” with a distinct affirmative, and in repetition of what had been done a few days before at Port Hudson.20 Combatants were found after the struggle close together, mutually transfixed, the white and the black face — the master and the slave-close together and equal in death. The Confederates drove the Nationals from their works to the levee, where a sharp contest was kept up until noon. Fortunately for the Nationals, Porter had received word the night before of the investment of Milliken's Bend, and had ordered the gun-boats Choctaw and Lexington to the aid of the garrison. This order was obeyed. They joined the troops in the struggle, and at meridian the Confederates were repulsed, and were pursued a short distance, with a loss estimated at one hundred and fifty killed and three hundred wounded. The National loss was one hundred and twenty-seven killed, two hundred and eighty-seven wounded, and about three hundred missing.21 A week later, the Confederates were driven out of Richmond by an expedition from Young's Point, composed of the command of General Mowry, and the marine brigade under General R. W. Ellet. Grant pressed the siege with vigor as June wore away. Johnston was beyond the Big Black, chafing with impatience to do something to save the beleaguered garrison, but in vain, for he could not. collect troops sufficient for the purpose, while Pemberton, still hoping for succor, fought on, and suffered with the heart-sickness of hope deferred. Finally, on the 21st
June, 1863.
, he sent a messenger to Johnston, who had moved out from Canton as far as Vernon, near the Big Black, recommending him to move north of the railroad toward Vicksburg, to keep the attention of the Nationals attracted to that side, while the garrison should move down the Warrenton read at the proper time, break through the investing line, and, crossing the Big Black at Hankinson's Ferry, escape. Evidently doubting the success of his proposed movement, Pemberton suggested to Johnston, the next day, the propriety of abandoning Vicksburg, and proposing to Grant the passing out of all the troops “with their arms and equipage.” Johnston declined taking this step, because he said it would be a confession of weakness [625] on his part, but told Pemberton that when it should become necessary to make terms, they might be considered as made under his authority. As Pemberton had assured him that he had sufficient supplies of short rations to last until the first week in July, Johnston hoped something might yet occur by which the garrison might be saved.

We have observed that Johnston moved out to Vernon. This was noticed by Grant's vigilant scouts, when he ordered Sherman

June 22, 1863.
to proceed with five brigades and oppose his further advance. With these, and some re-enforcements, Sherman constructed defenses from Haines's Bluff to the Big Black that defied Johnston, and he was obliged to look for another approach to Vicksburg to co-operate with Pemberton in an effort on the part of the latter to escape. He took position between Brownsville and the river, and on the night of the third of July he sent a messenger with a note to Pemberton, informing him that a diversion would be made to enable the latter to cut his way out. The message was intercepted by General Ewing,22 and two days afterward such news reached Johnston from Vicksburg that he fell back in haste to Jackson.

Toward the close of June the most important of Grant's mines was completed. It extended under Fort Hill Bastion, on the right of the old Jackson road, in front of McPherson, under whose direction it was constructed. The trench had been excavated in the usual zig-zag way, by work-men behind an immense gabion, which was rolled before as are protection, with a movable redoubt formed of gabions, behind them, armed with a cannon, and manned by artillerists and sharpshooters to keep the garrison behind their parapets. Mining and counter-mining

McPherson's sappers at Fort Hill.23

had been going on for some time, but this was the first that was ready for destructive work. Between four and five o'clock in the afternoon of the 25th
June.
it was fired. The explosion was terrific. The garrison, expecting the event, were partly removed, and but few were injured. But a great breach was made. A part of the face of the fort was thrown [626] down, and a bloody struggle ensued when the Nationals attempted to go in and the Confederates sought to keep them out. Hand to hand they fought, and backward and forward over the ramparts went murderous hand-grenades. Three days later.
June 28, 1863.
another face of Fort Hill Bastion was blown away, and another struggle ensued. Other mines were ready for infernal work, and Grant was preparing for another general assault. The long, gaunt fingers of Famine were busier than ever with the life-tissues of the beleaguered. Fourteen ounces of food had become the allowance for each person for twenty-four hours, and the flesh of mules had become a savory dish.24

Pemberton had now lost hope. For forty-five days he had been engaged in a fearful struggle, and he saw nothing but final submission. Reason and humanity demanded a cessation of hopeless strife, and so, at about eight o'clock on the morning of the 3d of July, he caused a white flag to be displayed on the crest of a hill above the camp of General Burbridge, of A. J. Smith's corps. It was borne by Major-General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery, of Pemberton's staff, who conveyed a letter from their chief to General Grant, in which he proposed the appointment of three commissioners on each side to arrange terms for the capitulation of the post. “I make this proposition,” he said, “to save the further effusion of blood, which must otherwise be shed to a frightful extent, able to maintain my position a yet indefinite period.” To this note General Grant replied, saying: “The effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course can be ended at any time you may choose, by an unconditional surrender of the city and

Interview between Grant and Pemberton.

[627] garrison. Men who have shown so much endurance and courage as those now in Vicksburg, will always challenge the respect of an adversary, and I can assure you will be treated with all the respect due them as prisoners of war. I do not favor the proposition of appointing commissioners to arrange terms of capitulation, because I have no other terms than those indicated above.”

General Bowen expressed to General Smith a strong desire to converse with General Grant. The latter declined this, but consented to meet General Pemberton between the lines in McPherson's front at any hour that afternoon which the Confederate commander might choose. The hour of three was appointed. The moment when the leaders approached the place of meeting was announced by a signal-gun fired by the Nationals, which was answered by the Confederates. Grant was accompanied by Generals McPherson, Ord, Logan, and A. J. Smith; Pemberton, by General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery. They met on the southern slope of Fort Hill, to the left of the old Jackson road; and after introductions and a few minutes conversation, the two chiefs withdrew to the shade of a live-oak tree, where they sat down on the grass and held a private conference.25 It ended by Grant promising to send Pemberton a proposition in writing before night, and both agreeing that hostilities should cease while the subject was under discussion.

Toward evening Grant sent General Logan and Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, of his staff, with a letter to Pemberton, in which he proposed that,

Monument at Vicksburg.

on the acceptance of his terms, he should march in one division as a guard and take possession the next morning at eight o'clock; that as soon as paroles could be prepared and signed, the vanquished should march out of the National lines, the officers taking with them their regimental clothing — the staff, field, and cavalry officers one [628] horse each, and the rank and file to be allowed to take all their clothing, but no other property. He consented to their taking from their own stores any amount of rations necessary, and cooking utensils for preparing them; also, thirty wagons (counting two two-horse or mule teams as one) for transportation.

At three o'clock on the morning of the 4th,

July, 1863.
General Legget, quartered at Fort Hill, received Pemberton's reply to Grant, and immediately forwarded it to his chief's Headquarters by Captain W. J. White, of his staff. Colonel Bowers received it and read it to the General. Pemberton accepted the terms proposed, in the main, but wished to amend, “in justice,” he said, “to the honor and spirit of his troops,” by having permission granted for them to march out with their colors and arms, and to stack them in front of the Confederate lines; also, that the officers should “retain their side-arms and personal property, and the rights and property of citizens be respected.” Grant instantly wrote a reply, refusing to accede to Pemberton's amendments in full. He declined subjection to any restraint concerning the citizens, at the same time giving assurances that they should not suffer undue annoyances. He consented to the marching out of the brigades, at ten o'clock in the morning, to the front of their respective positions, when, after stacking their arms, they should retire inside, and remain prisoners of war until paroled. Unwilling to suffer any further delay, he gave Pemberton to understand that if these modified terms were not accepted he should open fire upon him at nine o'clock.

Pemberton accepted the terms. McPherson's corps was immediately placed under arms as a guard during the ceremonies of surrender. At ten o'clock on that ever-memorable holiday of the nation,

July 4.
the brigades began to march out. In the course of three hours their arms were stacked, and they were again within their intrenchments.

McPherson had been commissioned to formally receive the stipulated surrender from Pemberton. When the work was finished, he was joined by Grant and Logan, and the three leaders, with their respective staff officers, and, accompanied by Pemberton and his staff, rode into the city in triumph at a little past noon. Already the National flag had been raised on the Court-House, while the joyous soldiers were singing the stirring song beginning--

Yes, we'll rally ‘round the flag, boys, we'll rally once again,
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom!
We'll rally from the hill-side, we'll gather from the plain,
Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom!

By three o'clock the possession of the post was absolute, and Porter's powerful fleet and the flotilla of transports were lying quietly at the levee. That evening, in commemoration of the National birthday, the soldiers regaled the citizens of Vicksburg with fire-works more harmless than those which, for more than forty nights, had coursed the heavens above them like malignant meteors, heralding war, pestilence, and famine. McPherson made his Headquarters at the fine mansion of Dr. Balfour, on the corner of Crawford and Cherry Streets, whence he issued a stirring congratulatory address to his soldiers, and Grant returned to his modest tent in the distant cane-brake26 [629]

Operations in Mississippi.

[630] for the night, the greatest conqueror of the war thus far. After they were duly paroled, and were supplied with three days rations, the vanquished soldiers were escorted
July 11, 1863.
across the Big Black River, and sent on their way rejoicing to Johnston at Jackson.

The spoils of the great victory were more important in character and number than any that had yet been won during the war.27 Its effect, in connection with the great National victory at Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania, won simultaneously, and which we shall consider presently, was most disastrous to the cause of the Conspirators.28 The Fourth of July, 1863, marked the turning-point in the war, and thenceforth the star of the Republic was evidently in the ascendant.

McPherson's Headquarters.

Notwithstanding his troops were much exhausted by forced marches, battles, and the long siege, and he had reported that they absolutely required a rest of.several weeks before they would be fit for another campaign, Grant [631] found it necessary to take immediate measures for driving Johnston from his rear, and for that purpose he dispatched Sherman, with a large force. The result will be noticed hereafter. He also prepared to send an expedition under General Herron to assist Banks in the reduction of Port Hudson, when he received intelligence of events at that stronghold which made the expedition unnecessary. Let us observe what those events were.

We left General Banks investing Port Hudson, or Hickey's Landing,29 late in May. His troops were commanded by Generals Weitzel, Auger, Grover, Dwight, and T. W. Sherman, and the beleaguered garrison were under the command of General Frank K. Gardner, as we have observed.30 The troops with which Banks cross-ed the river at Bayou Sara formed a junction on the 23d

May, 1863.
with those which came up from Baton Rouge under Auger and Sherman, and the National line on that day occupied the Bayou

The defenses of Port Hudson.

Sara road, about five miles from Port Hudson. At Port Hudson Plains, Auger, on his march, encountered and repulsed a force of Confederates under Colonel Miles, the latter losing one hundred and fifty men; and on the day of the investment

May 24.
the Confederates were driven within their outer line of intrenchments. Weitzel, who had covered [632] Banks's march from Alexandria, had arrived.and made the investment of the fort complete, for Admiral Farragut, with the Hartford, Albatross, and one or, two other gunboats above Port Hudson, and the Monongahela, Richmond, Essex, and Genesee, with mortar-boats under Commander C. H. B. Caldwell, below, held the river, and were shelling the Confederate works at intervals, day and night.

Banks was informed that the Confederates were withdrawing from the post, and on the 26th was told that very few were behind the works. The defenses were thoroughly reconnoitered without gaining positive information concerning the strength of the garrison, and he determined to develop it by a general assault. Orders were given accordingly, and on the morning of the 27th

May, 1863.
his artillery opened upon them with spirit, and continued firing during nearly the whole day. It was intended for the infantry to assail the works at the same time at all points, under the fire of the great guns, but unfortunately there was a miscarriage. At about ten o'clock, while the batteries were zealously at work, Generals Weitzel, Grover, and Payne, on Banks's right, made a vigorous attack, but it was long past noon before Auger in the center, and Sherman on the left, were fairly at work. The navy was fully up to time, and from the Hartford and Albatross above, and the Monongahela, Richmond, Essex, and Genesee below, and the mortar-boats, Farragut poured a continuous stream of shells upon the garrison (which was still in full force) with marked effect. Already his shells had driven them from their first battery on the river below, and now, by taking their landward batteries in reverse, while they were hotly engaged with the troops, several of the heavy guns were dismounted by the naval missiles. The battle was furious, and never did men fight with greater determination than Banks's little force against the odds of an equal number behind strong intrenchments, which were defended in front by rifle-pits, and approached only through thick abatis, over which swept, like a besom of destruction, the shells from Confederate guns.

On the National right the struggle was most severe; the First and Second Louisiana colored troops vying with their white companions-in-arms in deeds of valor, and in fortitude under heavy pressure. These made three desperate charges upon the batteries, losing heavily each time, and justifying by their courage and deeds the hopes of their commander, and winning his special commendation.31 The Nationals gained ground continually, as hour after hour wore away. They crossed Big Sandy Creek, and, at four o'clock, drove the Confederates through woods to their fortifications. On the left and center there was equal bravery; and along the whole line, at sunset, the Confederates,--who had fought gallantly, were behind the shelter of their works. The Nationals moved close up to these, and they and their antagonists held opposite sides of the parapet. The troops on the right continued to hold this position, but those on the left, exposed to a flank fire, withdrew to a belt of woods not far off. So ended the first general assault upon Port [633] Hudson, in which many a brave man passed away.32 The National loss was two hundred and ninety-three killed and fifteen hundred and forty-nine wounded. The Confederate loss did not exceed three hundred in killed and wounded.

Banks was not disheartened by this disastrous failure. He occupied the next day in burying his dead, under the protection of a truce, and then he went to work with a determination to reduce the post by a regular siege. Bravely his men worked in the hot June sun, exposed every moment to the bullets of the expert sharp-shooters of the foe. Day after day his cannon and Farragut's great guns shelled the works, disabling many of their guns, and giving the interior of their

Destruction in the works at Port Hudson.

fortifications the sad aspect of almost universal destruction. They disturbed the repose of the garrison [634] incessantly, day and night, and wore them down with fatigue and watching; while their provisions were becoming scarce, their medical, stores exhausted, and famine was threatened. They were completely hemmed in, and could receive nothing from the outer world but pure air, the sunlight, and the messengers of death from their foes. Banks's little army, then not exceeding twelve thousand effective men, was also closely hemmed in by a cordon of intensely hostile inhabitants; and since the raid of Grierson and his troop, Confederate cavalry had been concentrating in his rear, while General Taylor was gathering a new army in the regions of Louisiana, which the National troops had almost abandoned for the purpose of completing the task of opening the Mississippi. These might be joined by a force from Texas sufficient to capture New Orleans, while General Johnston might sweep down in the rear of Grant and fall upon Banks at. any moment.

There was peril before and peril behind, and Banks felt the necessity of a speedy reduction of Port Hudson. He accordingly planned another assault, and on the 11th of June

1863.
he attempted to establish a new line within easy attacking distance of the Confederate works, so as to avoid the dangers of a movement on their front over a broad space of ground. Under a heavy fire of his artillery the troops advanced at three o'clock in the morning, and made their way through the abatis, when the movement was promptly met by the garrison, and a severe struggle ensued. At first some of the Confederates were driven within their works, and the Nationals, under General Birge, attempted to scale them, but were repulsed. The only soldier who reached the parapet was the gallant young Connecticut officer, Lieutenant Stanton Allyn, who gave his life to his country not long afterward, when his body was buried in the soil of Louisiana.33 His men, accustomed to his courage and skill, followed him willingly in the desperate struggle; but the terrible fire from the works hurled them back, and the entire attacking force was driven beyond the abatis with heavy loss, a considerable number having been made prisoners.

This failure was followed three days later

June 14.
by an attempt to carry the works by storm. At that time Banks's army lay mostly in two lines, forming a right angle, with a right and left, but no center. The division of Grover, on the upper side of the post, extended nearly three miles, from near the mouth of Thompson's Creek into the interior, within supporting distance of General Auger's division, which extended from near that point about the same distance to the river below Port Hudson, and within hailing distance of the fleet. When the final disposition for assault was made, General Gardner was entreated to surrender and stop the effusion of blood,34 but refused, hoping, like General Pemberton [635] at Vicksburg, even while shot and shell were spreading death and destruction all around him,35 that Johnston would come to his rescue.

It was arranged for the main attack to be made by Grover and Weitzel on the extreme northeasterly angle of the Confederate works, while Generals Auger and Dwight should make a feint or a real attack, as circumstances might determine, on the right of the works. He was directed to press up stealthily through a ravine, and rush over the defenses simultaneously with the attack on their left.

On the National right two regiments were detailed as sharp-shooters (Seventy-fifth New York and Twelfth Connecticut), to creep up and lie on the exterior slope of the breastworks, followed by another regiment (the Ninety-first New York), each man carrying his musket and a five-pound hand-grenade, to throw over the parapet. A third regiment (Twenty-fourth Connecticut) was detailed to carry sand-bags full of cotton, with which to fill the ditch in front of the breastworks, and enable the storming party to pass easily. These were to be followed by the regiments of Weitzel's brigade, under Colonel Smith, of the One Hundred and Fourteenth New York, to be supported by the brigades of Colonels Kimball and Morgan, under the general command of General Birge, the whole forming the storming party on the right. In conjunction with these, and on their left, moved a column under General Paine, composed of the old division of General Emory. Both parties were under the command of General Grover, who planned the attack. Acting Brigadier-General Dudley's brigade, of Auger's division, was held in reserve. It was intended to have Weitzel's command36 effect a lodgment inside of the Confederate works, and thus prepare the way for the operation of Paine's division.37

This movement commenced just at dawn

June 14, 1863.
(first along a covered way to within three hundred yards of the works), and was met by a most determined resistance by the Confederates, who, informed of it, were massed at the point of attack. The skirmishers, making their way over rough and vine-tangled ground, in the face of an incessant fire in the front, reached the ditch, where they were terribly smitten by an enfilading one, that drove them back; and even the hand-grenades were made to plague their bearers, for they were caught up by the besieged and [636] sent back to explode among the assailants. Yet steadily the assaulting column moved up and made a series of vigorous attacks, but effected little, so heavily were the works manned at the point of the blow. Meanwhile, Dwight was fighting desperately on the left, but without effecting an entrance into the works, and Auger was as gallantly struggling, but to as little purpose. Success was with the Confederates. The Nationals were repulsed at all points, and at eleven o'clock in the morning the struggle ceased. Banks had lost in this assault about seven hundred men, and General Paine, whose division had borne the brunt of the battle, was among the wounded. Yet he had gained a decided advantage by the operation. Paine and Weitzel on the right had advanced much nearer to the Confederate works than they were before, where their men intrenched and began the erection of new batteries, while on the left General Dwight carried and held a hill which commanded the “citadel” --a vital point of the intrenchments — and he was thereby enabled a few days later to seize and hold another point on the same ridge with the “citadel,” within ten yards of the Confederate line.

Now again the siege went on in the usual way. There was mining and counter-mining. The shells from the army and navy poured upon the garrison, and fearfully increased the miseries of the worn. and half-starving troops. Gun after gun on the Confederate works was disabled, until at length only fifteen effective ones remained on the landward side; only twenty rounds to each man of the ammunition for small arms was left, and the garrison were beginning to subsist on mule-meat, and even fricasseed rats.38 At the same time, Banks had nearly completed a mine, by which thirty barrels of gunpowder would have been exploded under the “citadel.” The beleaguered garrison could have held out but a few days longer. Their gallant leader had begun to despair of aid from Johnston, and was at his wit's end, when he and his troops were suddenly startled by the thunder of cannon and loud cheering along the whole National line

July 7, 1863.
and upon the river squadron, followed by the shouts of pickets--“Vicksburg has surrendered!” This was the knell to Gardner's hopes. At midnight he sent a note by a flag to General Banks, inquiring if the report were true, and if so, asking for a cessation of hostilities, with a view to the consideration of terms for surrendering the position. Banks assured Gardner that he had an official dispatch from General Grant to that effect, dated on the 4th instant, but he refused his consent to a cessation of hostilities for the purpose named. Gardner then called a council of officers, composed of General Beale, Colonels Steadman, Miles, Lyle, and Shelby, and Lieutenant-Colonel M. J. Smith, when it was agreed to surrender, and the commander proposed to Banks the appointment of joint commissioners to arrange the terms. This was agreed to, and General Charles P. Stone, Colonel Henry W. Birge, and LieutenantColonel Richard B. Irwin were chosen for the purpose on the part of Banks. The terms agreed upon were the surrender of the post and its appurtenances, the officers and privates to receive the treatment due prisoners of war, and [637] to retain their private property; the garrison to stack their arms and colors in submission on the following day. The surrender was duly completed early in the morning of the 9th,
July, 1863.
when six thousand four hundred and eight men, including four hundred and fifty-five officers, became prisoners of war, and the National troops took possession of the post.39 The little hamlet of Port Hudson, within the lines, composed of a few houses and a small church, was in ruins. General Banks found comfortable quarters at the farm-house of Riley's plantation, not far distant, which had survived the storm of war. Farragut, with the veteran Hartford and the Albatross, moved down to Port Hudson, and received the cordial greetings of the troops.

Banks's loss in men during the siege of forty-five days was about three thousand, and that of Gardner about

Banks's Headquarters, Port Hudson.

eight hundred. The spoils of victory were the important post, two steamers, fifty-one pieces of artillery, five thousand small arms, and a large quantity of fixed ammunition for the latter and for cannon. Banks stated that his winnings for the campaign which then ended so gloriously for the National arms, amounted to ten thousand five hundred and eighty-four prisoners, seventy-three guns, six thousand small arms, three gun-boats, eight transports, and a large quantity of cotton, cattle, and other property of immense value.

This conquest gave the final blow in the removal of the obstruction to the free navigation of the Mississippi River by Confederate batteries, for which Fremont planned and worked so earnestly in the first year of the war, and for which the Western troops fought so gallantly and persistently. The first of these obstructions, as we have seen, was erected at Vicksburg,40 and there the finishing blow was really given, for the fall of Port Hudson was but a consequence of the siege and surrender of Vicksburg. The Mississippi was now open to the passage of vessels upon its bosom, from St. Louis to New Orleans, and its waters, as the President said, unobstructed by batteries or other impediments, now “went unvexed to the sea.” On the 16th of July the steamer Imperial, from St. Louis, arrived at New Orleans, making the first communication of the kind between those cities for two years. On the 28th of the same month she returned to her wharf at St. Louis, announcing the fact that the great highway of the commerce of the Mississippi Valley was again open, and was hailed with the welcoming shouts of thousands of citizens.

The capture of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, by which powerful portions of the Confederacy were severed and weakened, was hailed with the most [638] profound satisfaction by the loyal people of the Republic. Occurring at the moment when the aggressive power of the Confederates was fatally smitten at Gettysburg, it gave assurances of the final triumph of the Government over its enemies. It dismayed the conspirators, and destroyed the hopes of the ruling classes abroad, who, until that time, had believed they would speedily see an ignominious ending of the great experiment of republican government in America. It utterly confounded those prophets among the political leaders in the Free-labor States who sympathized with the conspirators, and who, at that very moment, as we shall observe hereafter, were prophesying, in apparent accordance with their own wishes, the speedy triumph of Jefferson Davis and his legions, civil and military. In the blindness of partisan zeal, they were unable to discover the great lights of eternal principles that were illuminating the pathways of those who were contending for the life of a great Nation and the Rights of Man. They and the conspirators seemed to forget that there is a God whose throne is established upon justice and mercy, whose ear is ever open to the cry of the oppressed, and whose arm is ever bared in the defense of the righteous.

The writer visited the theater of events described in this and the preceding chapter in April, 1866. He had spent a few days in New Orleans, where he had experienced the kind courtesies of Generals Sheridan and Hartsuff, and held interviews with several Confederate leaders, mostly temporary visitors there. Among these was General Frank K. Gardner, the commander at Port Hudson; who was residing in the city, and pursuing the business of a civil engineer, and from him the writer received interesting facts then, and afterward by letter, concerning the siege of Port Hudson, and also of Mobile, where Gardner was in command at a later period of the war.

The writer left New Orleans on the fine river steamer Indiana, on the afternoon of the 16th,

April, 1866.
intending to stop at Port Hudson that night. The weather was fine, and the Mississippi was full to the brim with the spring flood, so that from the main deck we had a perfect view of the country on both sides of the great river. Among the passengers was a short, stout man, a little past sixty years of age, who happened to be the first one whom the writer addressed. When the former found that the latter was from the North, he began to curse the “Yankees” furiously. Remembering the wisdom uttered by the sacred sage, that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” the author soon allayed the passions of his elder, and during the remainder of the voyage they journeyed pleasantly together. The wrathful man had been a major in Forrest's cavalry, and was a citizen of Vicksburg. He imparted to the author a great deal of information concerning the interior of the Confederate cavalry service, in which he was largely engaged, and of the leading men in that service. He said Forrest expressed his principles of action in that service by saying, “War means fight, and fight means kill--we want but few prisoners.” This major had been an imprisoned spy in Sherman's camp at Vicksburg, under sentence of death by hanging the next morning. He was confined in a shanty. A heavy rain-storm came up in the evening, and while the guard was engaged for a moment in taking measures to keep out the water, the prisoner sprang into the black night, and, being well acquainted with the region, escaped.

We passed Baton Rouge early in the evening, and just afterward we [639] glided by the roaring mouth of an immense crevasse, or breach in the levee, out of which a flood was pouring into the lower ground on the western side of the river, and submerging rich plantations over an area of hundreds of square miles. Informed that Port Hudson was a desolation, and then without a lodging-place, and that we should pass it at midnight, the writer concluded to omit his intended visit there, feeling little regret, for the kind hands of friends, the photographic art, and official records, had already given him more information concerning things and events there than he could possibly have learned by personal observation. Toward morning we passed the mouth of the Red River, and at sunrise were abreast the bluff, on the east side of the Mississippi, on which Fort Adams stood, a little north of the boundary-line between the States of Mississippi and Louisiana.

To the writer, who was. a voyager on the Mississippi for the first time, the scenery was most strange. On each side were wide clearings, on which now were the ruins of many rich plantations, bordered by swamps covered with cypress-trees, and lying lower than the river, for the Mississippi, like the Nile, is now running upon a ridge, the ground sloping gently to these morasses. Here and there an alluvial bluff was seen, breaking the monotony, and everywhere at that high-water season the green points that project into the river, and shores covered with cotton-wood, shrubs, and larger trees, were crumbling and disappearing in the flood. After a detention of some hours, because of an accident to our steamer, we passed up the river, and, at near midnight, landed at Vicksburg.

During the writer's visit at Vicksburg he was the recipient of the kindest courtesies from Major-General T. J. Wood (then the commander of the Department of the Mississippi) and his family, and from members of his staff, and other officers stationed there. General Wood offered the services of an ambulance, horses, and driver, and the company of one of his staff, in visiting the places of historic interest about Vicksburg. Fortunately for the writer, that companion was Captain W. J. White, who, as has been already observed, was a member of General Legget's staff during the siege and at the time of the surrender. We visited together every place and object of interest in the city and along the lines, from below the railway, on the Warrenton road, to Chickasaw Bayou, and finding here and there Union people, who had suffered much “in mind, body, and estate.”

The Shirley House.

Among these was the family of Mr. Shirley, who was a leading lawyer of Vicksburg. His house was on the old Jackson road, not far from Fort Hill, and was occupied by General Logan as his Headquarters. Being on a lofty eminence, overlooking much of the field of operations, it was the frequent resort of General Grant [640] and other commanders during the siege. It was also a target for Confederate shot and shell, by which it was much shattered. It was still in a dilapidated state when we visited it, and dined with Mrs. Shirley and her daughter. The husband and father, who was quite aged, had sunk under the operations of anxiety, privations, and exposure in the woods, ravines, and caves during the siege, and died soon after the city was occupied by the National troops. The accomplished daughter kept a diary during the siege, each day's record closing with a prediction that success would crown the efforts of the Unionists. “The wish was father to the thought,” and her patriotism was rewarded with the possession of the heart and hand of the gallant Colonel (afterward General) Eaton, of the National army. At the time of our visit she was a young bride.

From Mrs. Shirley's we rode to the Headquarters of General Grant, in the cane-brake, and then over the rough Walnut Hills to Chickasaw Bayou, passing on the way the house of Dr. Smith, who acted as guide to General S. D. Lee, in the fight with Sherman. He accompanied us to the theater of strife, and pointed out the various localities of interest connected with that conflict. After making a drawing of the battle-ground on the bayou, delineated on page 579, in the presence of the doctor, we left him and passed on to the Valley road, along the bottom, between the hills and the bayou, sketching the Indian Mound (see page 577) on the way, and rode into Vicksburg from the north through the deep cuts in the hills, just as a thunder-storm, which had been gathering for some time, fell upon the city. On the following morning the writer departed by railway for Jackson, and the region of Sherman's destructive march toward Alabama as far as Meridian, the stirring events of which will be considered presently.

1 See page 608.

2 this is a view of the place of Grant's Headquarters, as it appeared when the writer sketched it, on the 19th of April, 1866. he was accompanied to the spot by Captain White, of General T. J. Wood's staff, who was on the staff of General Legget during the siege, and was very often at Headquarters. There they found the insulator of Grant's telegraph, seen in the picture on the sapling between the large tree and the tent. The position and form of Grant's tent and its veranda., composed of a rude frame-work covered with cane-leaves, were given to the writer by Captain White, and a delineation of it, which he pronounced correct, was added to the sketch, and so restores the appearance of the Headquarters at the time of the siege.

3 See Note 2, page 584.

4 See General Grant's Report, July 6, 1868.

5 See Grant's Report, July 6, 1863.

6 In a congratulatory address to his troops, General McClernand reflected upon General Grant and the disposition of his troops at the time of the assault. The commanding-general, perceiving in this great danger to the harmony and efficiency of the army, and unwilling to allow such a phase of insubordination to become a precedent, relieved General McClernand from command, on the 15th of June, and assigned it to General E. 0. C. Ord.

7 Grant had requested Porter to shell the hill batteries at Vicksburg on the morning of the assault, from half-past 9 until half-past 10 o'clock, to annoy the garrison while the army should attack. Accordingly, in the morning the Mound City, Benton, Tuscumbia, and Carondelet were sent down the river, and made an attack at the prescribed time on the hill batteries, opposite the canal, and soon silenced them. Porter then. pushed three of them up to the water batteries, leaving the Tuscwnbia to keep the hill batteries still. They had a furious fight with the water batteries, and were repulsed after receiving several wounds. “This,” said the Admiral, “was the hottest fight the gun-boats had ever been under, the water batteries being more on a level with them than usual.” Yet he did not have a man killed, and only a few were wounded. His vessels, fighting bow on, were not much damaged.--Report of Admiral Porter to the Secretary of the Navy, May 28, 1863.

We have remarked that the day of the assault was a terrible one in Vicksburg. The following notice of it, from the diary of a citizen during the siege, from the 17th of May to the 4th of July, gives a vivid picture of those horrors: “Friday, May 22.--The morning of this day opened in the same manner as the previous one had closed. There had been no lull in the shelling all night, and as daylight approached, it grew more rapid and furious. Early in the morning, too, the battle began to rage in the rear. A terrible onslaught was made on the center first, and then extended farther to the left, where a terrific struggle took place, resulting in the repulse of the attacking party. Four gun-boats also came up to engage the batteries. At this time the scene presented an awfully sublime and terrific spectacle--three points being attacked at once, to wit, the rifle-pits, by the army in the rear; the city, by the mortars opposite; and the batteries, by the gun-boats. Such cannonading and shelling has perhaps scarcely ever been equaled, and the city was entirely untenable, though women and children were on the streets. It was not safe from behind or before, and every part of the city was alike within range of the Federal guns. The gun-boats withdrew after a short engagement, but the mortars kept up shelling, and the armies continued fighting all day. Several desperate charges were made in force against the lines, without accomplishing their object. It would require the pen of a poet to depict the awful sublimity of this day's work. The incessant booming of cannon, and the bang of small arms, intermingled with the howling of shells and the whistling of Minie balls, made the day truly most hideous.”

8 The National loss was almost 8,000 men.

9 On the 27th of May Pemberton sent out a courier with a dispatch to Johnston, in which he said:--“I have 15,000 men in Vicksburg, and rations for thirty days--one meal a day.9 Come to my aid with 80,000 men. If you cannot do this within ten days, you had better retreat. Ammunition is almost exhausted, especially percussion caps.” The courier (Douglas, of Illinois, who was tired of the Confederate service) carried this dispatch to Grant, by which the poverty and weakness of his antagonist were revealed.

10 In the Diary of a Confederate in Pemberton's army, then in the city, quoted in the Rebellion Record, the writer said, May 26th:--“We have been on half rations of coarse corn bread and poor beef for ten days.” On the 1st of June he wrote:--“We are now eating bean bread, and half rations of that.” He recorded that the beef gave out on the 10th of June, and that they were “drawing a quarter of a pound of bacon to the man.”

11 General Joseph E. Johnston's Report to S. Cooper, November 1, 1863.

12 For forty-two days the mortar-boats were at work without intermission. During that time they fired 7,000 mortar shells, and the gun-boats fired 4,500 shells.--Porter's Report.

13 The Cincinnati, Lieutenant George M. Bache commanding. She had been prepared with bales of hay and cotton, and sent to assist in silencing a troublesome water battery. After being fired at several times by “Whistling Dick,” as she moved down without being hit, she went on with a full head of steam toward the position assigned her, under the fire of all the river batteries. At length a ball entered her magazine, and caused. it to be drowned, and she began to sink. Shortly afterward her starboard tiller was carried away. Her commander ran her ashore at the peninsula, where she sank. In attempting to swim ashore from her, about fifteen of her people were drowned. Twenty-five were killed and wounded. The Cincinnati went down with her colors nailed to the stump of her mast She was afterward raised.

14 Report of Admiral D. D. Porter, dated “Black Hawk, July 4, 1863.” The printing-press on board the flagship was employed for other than official business. To while away the tedious hours of the officers and men, a journal was printed on a broad-side, entitled, The Black Hawk Chronicle, and contained notices of the events of the siege on land and water as it progressed, often in a strain of wit and humor that must have been agreeable to the readers. The first number, issued on the 8th of June, is before the writer. It is well printed on dull yellow paper, in two columns. “Terms, 2,000 dollars per annum in Confederate notes, or equal weight in cord-wood.” It informed the public, “that no special reporter belonged to the establishment,” and therefore nothing but the truth might be expected. The contents were composed generally of short items. In noticing the disaster to the Cincinnati, the editor said:--“On the morning of May 27, the gun-boat Cincinnati, packed with all kinds of fenders, went down to co-operate with General Sherman in an attack on a water battery and riflepits. Said battery, having grown during the night, sent some ugly customers after our gun-boat, which vessel retired on finding the place too hot for her, having first received three or four shots in her bottom. Not wishing to be annoyed by the enemy, she wisely sunk in three fathoms of water, out of reach of the enemy's shot, when the officers and crew coolly went in to bathe.”

15 The streets of Vicksburg are cut through the hills, and houses are often seen far above the street passengers. In the perpendicular banks formed by these cuttings, and composed of clay, caves were dug at the beginning of the siege, some of them sufficiently large to accommodate whole families, and in some instances communicating with each other by corridors. Such was the character of some made on Main Street, opposite the house of Colonel Lyman J. Strong, for the use of his family and others, and of which the writer made the accompanying sketch, in April, 1868. The caves were then in a partially ruined state, as were most of them in and around Vicksburg, for rains had washed the banks away, or had caused the filling of the caves. In this picture the appearance of the caves in their best estate is delineated, with furniture, in accordance with descriptions given to the writer by the inhabitants.

Cave-life in Vicksburg.

A graphic account of events in these crypts is given in a little volume entitled, My Cave-Life in Viceksbur, by a Lady, published in New York in 1864. It was written by the wife of a Confederate officer who was in the besieged city, and lived in one of these caves with her child and servants.

The picture in the text above gives a good idea of the external appearance of these caves, in the suburbs of the city. It is from a sketch made by the writer on the old Jackson road, where the Second Mississippi regiment was stationed during a portion of the siege. In the view the spectator is looking down toward Vicksburg. A plain, and the bluffs on the border of the Mississippi, are seen in the distance.

16 The misfortunes of Pemberton, before he was driven into Vicksburg by Grant, had been construed by some into crimes. He was even accused of treasonable intentions — of “selling Vicksburg.” These charges reached him. Stung by them, he took a public occasion to repel them. After the failure of Grant's assault on the 22d, he made a speech to the citizens and soldiers. “You have heard,” he said, “that I am incompetent and a traitor, and that it was my intention to sell Vicksburg. Follow me, and you will see the cost at which I will sell Vicksburg. When the last pound of beef; bacon, and flour — the last grain of corn, the last cow and hog, and horse and dog, shall have been consumed, and the last man shall have perished in the trenches, then, and only then, will I sell Vicksburg.”

17 See page 600.

18 These were the Twenty-third Iowa, white; and Ninth and Eleventh Louisiana and First Mississippi, colored.

19 It is asserted, upon what seems good authority, that orders went out from the chief conspirators at Richmond, after the promulgation of the President's Proclamation of Emancipation, to give no quarter to colored troops, and the officers commanding them. That certainly was the practice in several instances. In the fight here just recorded, the Confederates seem to have made it their special business to kill the officers commanding the colored troops. The casualties among them showed this.

20 Up to about this time there had been no good opportunity to try the mettle of the negroes in open battle. Those upon whom this first trial fell were, like all the others, inexperienced and raw recruits, having had very little time for discipline or drill. The valor with which they fought here, and at Port Hudson a few days before, satisfied the loyal public, and the Confederates, that the negro henceforth would be a power in military operations. The writer met Colonel Lieb at Vicksburg in April, 1866, who informed him that his experience at Milliken's Bend at the time we are considering, and ever afterward, with negro troops, satisfied him that there is no better material for soldiers than they. Colonel Lieb had held distinguished rank in military service in Europe, and had much experience in the discipline of troops.

21 See Report of General Elias S. Dennis to J. A. Rawlins, Assistant Adjutant-General, June 16, 1863.

22 This message (the original), written on a small piece of paper, was, until lately, in possession of the writer. It was found on the person of the spy, folded into a small space, and concealed between the cloth and the lining of the breast of his coat.

23 this little picture illustrates the manner of approach to the Fort by the sappers and miners. The ground is given as it appeared when the writer visited the spot, in April, 1866, and made a sketch from the ditch. The men and their implements have been introduced to illustrate the subject. To the reader, uninformed in military terms, it may be proper to say that gabion is a French name given to cylindrical baskets of various sizes, made of small branches of trees, open at both ends, and used to revet the interior slopes of batteries, the cheeks of embrasures, and to form the parapet of trenches.--the baskets, when used, are filled with earth. For an illustration, see the tail-piece on page 376 of this volume.

24

“This day,” wrote a citizen of Vicksburg in his diary, under date of June 30, “we heard of the first mule-meat being eaten. Some of the officers, disgusted with the salt junk, proposed to slaughter some of the fat mules as an experiment; as, if the siege last, we must soon come to that diet. The soup from it was quite rich in appearance and taste. Some of the ladies ate of it without knowing the difference.”

25 The live-oak tree under which Grant and Pemberton held their private conference was very soon afterward hewn down, and converted into the forms of canes and other objects by the officers and soldiers, as mementoes, and on its site a handsome commemorative monument was erected, which is delineated in the above engraving, as it and its surroundings appeared when the writer sketched it, in April, 1866. The monument was of white veined marble, about twelve feet in height, composed of an obelisk and base, and surmounted by a sphere. It was very much mutilated by having pieces knocked off of every edge, and also of the devices, by relic-seekcrs, and the lettering obliterated by the rebellious, it is said. It was difficult to determine the character of the devices on it, or decipher the inscription. I was informed that they were as follows: On one side of the obelisk was an eagle bearing the Goddess of Liberty on its wings, as it hovered over a group of implements of war, and holding in its talons a shield, and in its beak a ribbon, with the National motto, E Pliuribus Unum. The monument bore the inscription, “To the Memory of the Surrender of Vicksburg, by Lieutenant-General J. G. Pemberton, to Major-General U. S. Grant, U. S. A., on the 4th of July, 1863.”

It was evident that no monument of stone could long endure the vandalism of relic-seekers, so the mutilated one was removed toward the close of 1866, and a new and appropriate one erected on its based, which will forever defy the destructive hand. It is an immense iron cannon, of.very nearly the proportions of the marble obelisk, and is surmounted by a huge shell, which takes the place of the sphere.

26 See page 616.

27 General Grant thus stated the result of the operations of his army from Port Gibson to Vicksburg :--“The result of this campaign has been the defeat of the enemy in five battles outside of Vicksburg; the occupation of Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, and the capture of Vicksburg and its garrison, and munitions of war; a loss to the enemy of thirty-seven thousand (37,000) prisoners, among whom were fifteen general officers; at least ten thousand killed and wounded, and among the killed Generals Tracy, Tilghman, and Green, and hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of stragglers, who can never be collected and reorganized. Arms and munitions of war for an army of sixty thousand men have fallen into our hands, besides a large amount of other public property, consisting of railroads, locomotives, cars, steamboats, cotton, &c., and much was destroyed to prevent our capturing it.”

He summed up his loss, in the series of battles known as Port Gibson, Fourteen Mile Creek (skirmish), Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hills, Big Black railroad bridge, and Vicksburg, at 9,855, of whom 1,223 were killed, 7,095 wounded, and 537 missing. “Of the wounded,” he said, “many were but slightly wounded, and continued on duty; many more required but a few days or weeks for their recovery. Not more than one-half of the wounded were permanently disabled.” --General Grant's Report, July 6, 1863.

The 37,000 prisoners were not all captured at Vicksburg. The number there paroled, including 6,000 of the sick and wounded in the hospitals, was 27,000, of whom only 11000 were reported fit for duty. The generous terms of surrender, and the paroling of the prisoners, was complained of. Of this Grant said, in his report; “These terms I regard more favorable to the Government than an unconditional surrender. It saved us the transportation of them North, which at that time would have been very difficult, owing to the limited amount of river transportation on hand, and the expense of subsisting them. it left our army free to operate against Johnston, who was threatening us from the direction of Jackson; and our river transportation to be used for the movement of troops to any point the exigency of the service might require.”

28 The blow was unexpected to the Conspirators. They knew how strong Vicksburg was, and were confident that the accomplished soldier, General Johnston, would compel Grant to raise the siege. Even the Daily Citizens, a paper printed in Vicksburg only two days before the surrender (July 2) talked as boastfully as if perfectly confident of success. In a copy before the writer, printed on wall-paper, the editor said: “The great Ulysses —— the Yankee generalissimo surnamed Grant — has expressed his intention of dining in Vicksburg on Saturday next, and celebrating the Fourth of July by a grand dinner, and so forth. When asked if he would invite General Joe Johnston to join him, he said, ‘ No I for fear there will be a row at the table.’ Ulysses must get into the city before he dines in it. The way to cook a rabbit is, ‘first catch the rabbit,’ &c.” In another paragraph, the Citizen eulogized the luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten.

When the National troops entered the city, they found the forms of this issue of the Citizen standing, when some soldier-printers, taking out a paragraph at the bottom of the fourth column. inserted the following in its stead, and printed a few copies on the wall-paper found in the office: “Two days bring about great changes. The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. General Grant has ‘ caught the rabbit,’ he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The ‘ Citizen ’ lives to see it. For the last time it appears on wall-paper. No more will it eulogize mule-meat and fricasseed kitten — urge Southern warriors to such diet never more. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we find them.”

Johnston sent the astounding news of the surrender of Vicksburg to the Conspirators on the 7th. It was a staggering blow, and Jefferson Davis and his friends endeavored to blind the people to the fact that the disaster was mainly due to his incompetence to direct, and his mischievous interference with the military movements in Mississippi, by trying to cast the blame on Johnston, who was not only unable, on account of his wounds, to perform active service in the field, but was denied sufficient troops to act efficiently, and was trammeled with the orders of his incompetent official superior in Richmond. “The news of the fall of Vicksburg,” wrote John R. Thompson from Richmond to the Atlanta Appeal, “has awakened here the bitterest sorrow, not unmingled with surprise . . . . The Sentinel, the Government organ, holds General Johnston mainly responsible for the result, and the immediate representatives of the Administration are said to blame him in unmeasured terms.”

29 See page 598. We have before observed that Port Hudson was on a high bank or bluff, on the east side of the Mississippi, at a sharp bend. Its fortifications were well arranged for defense. Below the landing known as Hickey's, the first batteries were on a bluff about forty feet above high-water mark. There three series of batteries extended along the river above Port Hudson to a point on Thompson's Creek, the whole continuous line being about three miles in length. Above the creek was an impassable marsh, making an excellent flank defense. From the lower battery began a line of land fortifications of a general semicircular form, about ten miles in extent, and terminating at Thompson's Creek. The guns with which these works were armed were very heavy, and there were light batteries that might be moved to strengthen any part of the line.

30 See page 620.

31 This first important trial of the mettle of negro troops, repeated a few days later at Milliken's Bend (see page 624), produced a profound impression in the army and throughout the country. “The position occupied by these troops,” said General Banks in his report, “was one of importance, and called for the utmost steadiness and bravery in those to whom it was confided. It gives me pleasure to report that they answered every expectation. In many respects their conduct was heroic. No troops could be more determined or more daring. They made, during the day, three charges upon the batteries of the enemy, suffering very heavy losses, and holding their position at nightfall with the other troops on the right of our line.”

The Confederates and their friends in the Free-labor States had sneered so much and so persistently at the idea of negroes fighting, or being disciplined into efficient troops, that the intelligence of these tests was received by the loyal people with the most generous enthusiasm.

“Niggers won't fight,” ah, ha!
“Niggers won't fight,” ah, ha!
“They are no good for war,
One in a hundred.”
Let Mississippi's shore,
Flooded with negro gore,
Echo back evermore--
“See our six hundred!”

said a writer in the Albany Evening Journal, in imitation of Tennyson's “Charge of the six hundred” at Balaklava; and George H. Boker, of Philadelphia, wrote that noble tribute to the valor of the Second Louisiana, which closes with:--
Hundreds on hundreds fell;
But they are resting well.
Scourges and shackles strong
Never shall do them wrong.
O, to the living few,
Soldiers, be just and true!
Hail them as comrades tried,
Fight with them side by side;
Never, in field or tent,
Scorn the black regiment.

32 Among the slain were Colonels Clark, of the Sixth Michigan, D. S. Cowles, of the One Hundred and Twenty-eighth New York, Payne, of the Second Louisiana, and Chapin, of the Thirtieth Massachusetts. General T. W. Sherman was very seriously wounded, but finally recovered with the loss of a leg, and General Neal Dow, of Maine, was slightly wounded. Colonel Cowles, of Hudson, New York, one of the noblest men in the army, was wounded in the thickest of the fight by a bayonet thrust, and died half an hour afterward.

33 It was afterward removed to his native State.

34 Banks sent a note to General Gardner on Saturday, the 18th, demanding an unconditional surrender of the post. He complimented the commander and his garrison for their courage and fortitude, and demanded the surrender in the name of humanity. He assured him of the overwhelming force of the Nationals in men and cannon, and that Gardner's dispatch to Johnston, telling of his straits and the dangers of starvation, had been intercepted, and the weakness of the post made known.

35 It appears from the diary of a captured Confederate soldier (J. A. Kennedy, of the First Alabama), that. one of Banks's heavy guns had been named by the besieged, as we have observed one of the Confederate cannon at Vicksburg was--“Whistling Dick,” and that it was the means of great destruction. Under date of “June 9,” he wrote: “Whistling Dick is at work to-day, tearing our camps all to pieces. Our sick have been removed to the ravine. It is difficult to get something to eat. The Yankee artillery is playing upon us all round . . . . The Hessians burned our commissary with a shell to-day.”

36 Weitzel's command was composed of his own brigade (Eighth Vermont, Twelfth Connecticut, and Seventy-fifth and One Hundred and Fourteenth New York), and the Twenty-fourth Connecticut and Fifty-second Massachusetts, of Grover's division. The Seventy-fifth New York and Twelfth Connecticut, forming a separate command under Colonel Babcock, of the first-named regiment, were detailed as skirmishers.

37 Paine's column advanced to the assault in the following order: In the advance, as skirmishers, the Eighth New Hampshire and Fourth Wisconsin.. Behind these were five companies of the Fourth Massachusetts, One Hundred and Tenth New York, and four companies of the Third Brigade. Closely upon these followed tho Third Brigade, under Colonel Gooding, composed of the Thirty-first, Thirty-eighth, and Fifty-third Massachusetts, and One Hundred and Fifty-sixth and One Hundred and Seventy-fifth New York. Then a part of the Second Brigade, under Colonel Fearing, composed of the One Hundred and Thirty-third and One Hundred and Seventy third New York, the remainder of the brigade being detailed as skirmishers. After the Second Brigade followed the First, under Colonel Ferris, composed of the Twenty-eighth Connecticut (his own), Fourth Massachusetts, and four companies of the One Hundred and Tenth New York. Nimm's battery and pioneers accompanied the column.

38 The garrison's supply of meat gave out on the 30th of June, when Gardner ordered mules to be slain for food. “Many of the men, as if in mockery of famine, caught rats and ate them, declaring that they were better than squirrels.” --Narrative of a Confederate writer, dated Mobile, July 20, 1863.

39 General Banks deputed General George L Andrews to receive the surrender. To him General Gardner offered his sword. Andrews received it, but immediately returned it to the general, complimenting him fox maintaining the defense of the post so gallantly.

40 See page 164, volume I.

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