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[358] Vicksburg, and even Port Hudson, as rapidly as they could be accumulated. The necessity for constantly moving troops to various parts of the department, as they might be threatened, was a serious inconvenience, and impeded the transportation of supplies. That portion of the Southern railroad between Jackson and Vicksburg was in a miserable and even dangerous condition. Accidents occurred almost daily, engines being broken up, and there being a lamentable scarcity of any species of cars. This, the great thoroughfare to Vicksburg, was entirely out of repair and almost impassable. The obstruction offered to transportation by such a thoroughfare can easily be imagined. Notwithstanding all these difficulties, Vicksburg was sufficiently provisioned to hold out for forty days, and Port Hudson sustained a siege of seven weeks.

As above stated, the effective garrison of Vicksburg numbered eighteen thousand. This small force, directed by the untiring vigilance of the Lieutenant-General commanding, and defended by his engineering skill, were enabled to repel the repeated assaults of an enemy flushed with success and numbering, at the lowest estimate, some sixty thousand men. All confess that the defence of Vicksburg was resolute and gallant. Soon after the investment Grant attempted to carry the place by two general assaults, apparently bringing his whole army to the attack. His columns, hurled upon the resolute garrison, were as often hurled back with heavy loss, and leaving five stands of colors in our hands, and the field for miles strewn with his dead, he was compelled to fall back and sit down to a formal investment of the place.

During the siege, the enginerring skill of the commander and his fertility and expedients, were conspicuously displayed. Works which under the unceasing and concentrated fire of hundreds of guns were demolished, reappeared in improved forms which could be suggested only by consummate ingenuity. Works built to withstand guns used in ordinary warfare, were found wholly inadequate to resist the heavy metal of the enemy, and subjected to incessant and galling fire of musketry, the artillery could with difficulty be worked. Here it was particularly that the ingenuity of the Commanding General was exhibited. The position of the pieces was constantly changing; embankments disappeared under the fire of the enemy's guns, but the artillery would still be found in position, and stronger than before. No difficulty could occur for which an expedient was not at hand.

But energy and ingenuity although tending to postpone, could

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