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Appendix to chapter IX.

Congratulatory order of General McClernand.

General orders, no. 72.

headquarters, Thirteenth army corps, battle-field in rear of Vicksburg, May 30, 1863.
comrades: As your commander, I am proud to congratulate you upon your constancy, valor, and successes History affords no more brilliant example of soldierly qualities. Your victories have followed in such rapid succession that their echoes have not yet reached the country. They will challenge its grateful and enthusiastic applause. Yourselves striking out a new path, your comrades of the Army of the Tennessee followed, and a way was thus opened for them to redeem previous disappointments. Your march through Louisiana, from Milliken's bend to New Carthage and Perkins's plantation, on the Mississippi river, is one of the most remarkable on record. Bayous and miry roads, threatened with momentary inundation, obstructed your progress. All these were overcome by unceasing labor and unflagging energy. The two thousand feet of bridging which was hastily improvised out of materials created on the spot, and over which you passed, must long be remembered as a marvel. Descending the Mississippi still lower, you were the first to cross the river at Bruin's landing, and to plant our colors in the state of Mississippi below Warrenton. Resuming the advance the same day, you pushed on until you came up to the enemy near Port Gibson, only restrained [668] by the darkness of night. You hastened to attack him on the morning of the 1st of May, and, by vigorously pressing him at all points, drove him from his position, taking a large number of prisoners and small-arms, and five pieces of cannon. General Logan's division came up in time to gallantly share in consummating the most valuable victory won since the capture of Fort Donelson.

Taking the lead on the morning of the 2d, you were the first to enter Port Gibson, and hasten the retreat of the enemy from the vicinity of that place. During the ensuing night, as a consequence of the victory at Port Gibson, the enemy spiked his guns at Grand Gulf, and evacuated that place, retiring upon Vicksburg and Edward's station. The fall of Grand Gulf was solely the result of the victory achieved by the land forces at Port Gibson. The armament and public stores captured there are but the just trophies of that victory.

Hastening to bridge the south branch of Bayou Pierre, at Port Gibson, you crossed on the morning of the 3d, and pushed on to Willow springs, Big Sandy, and the main crossing of Fourteen-mile creek, four miles from Edward's station. A detachment of the enemy was immediately driven away from the crossing, and you advanced, passed over, and rested during the night of the 12th, within three miles of the enemy in large force at that station.

On the morning of the 13th, the objective point of the army's movement having been changed from Edward's station to Jackson, in pursuance of an order from the commander of the department, you moved on the north side of Fourteen-mile creek towards Raymond.

This delicate and hazardous movement was executed by a portion of your numbers under cover of Hovey's division, which made a feint of attack, in line of battle, upon Edward's station. Too late to harm you, the enemy attacked the rear of that division, but was promptly and decisively repulsed.

Resting near Raymond that night, on the morning of the 14th, you entered that place—one division moving on to Mississippi springs, near Jackson, in support of General Sherman, another to Clinton, in support of General McPherson—a third remaining at Raymond, and a fourth at Old Auburn, to bring up the army-trains. On the 15th, you again led the advance towards Edward's station, which once more became the objective [669] point. Expelling the enemy's pickets from Bolton the same Day, you seized and held that important position.

On the 16th, you led the advance in three columns upon three roads, against Edward's station; meeting the enemy on the way in strong force, you heavily engaged him near Champion hills, and, after a sanguinary and obstinate battle, with the assistance of General McPherson's corps, beat and routed him, taking many prisoners and small-arms, and several pieces of cannon.

Continuing to lead the advance, you rapidly pursued the enemy to Edward's station, capturing that place, a large quantity of public stores, and many prisoners. Night only stopped you.

At day-dawn, on the 17th, you resumed the advance, and early coming upon the enemy strongly intrenched in elaborate works, both before and behind Big Black river, immediately opened with artillery upon him, followed by a daring and heroic charge at the point of the bayonet, which put him to rout, leaving eighteen pieces of cannon and more than a thousand prisoners in your hands.

By an early hour on the morning of the 18th, you had constructed a bridge across the Big Black, and had commenced the advance upon Vicksburg.

On the 19th, 20th, and 21st, you continued to reconnoitre and skirmish until you had gained a near approach to the enemy's works.

On the 22d, in pursuance of the order of the commander of the department, you assaulted the enemy's defences in front, at ten o'clock A. M., and within thirty minutes had made a lodg ment, and planted your colors upon two of his bastions. This partial success called into exercise the highest heroism, and was only gained by a bloody and protracted struggle. Yet it was gained, and was the first and largest success achieved anywhere along the whole line of our army.

For nearly eight hours, under a scorching sun and destructive fire, you firmly held your footing, and only withdrew when the enemy had largely massed their forces and concentrated their attack upon you.

How and why the general assault failed, it would be useless now to explain. The Thirteenth army corps, acknowledging the good intention of all, would scorn indulgence in weak regrets [670] and idle criminations. According justice to all, it would only defend itself. If, while the enemy was massing to crush it, assistance was asked for, by a diversion at other points, or by reenforcement, it only asked what in one case General Grant had specifically and peremptorily ordered, namely, simultaneous and persistent attack all along our lines until the enemy's outer works should be carried; and what, in the other, by massing a strong force in time upon a weakened point, would have probably insured success.

Comrades, you have done much, yet something more remains to be done. The enemy's odious defences still block your access to Vicksburg. Treason still rules that rebellious city, and closes the Mississippi river against rightful use by the millions who inhabit its sources and the great Northwest. Shall not Our flag float over Vicksburg? Shall not the great Father of Waters be opened to lawful commerce? Methinks the emphatic response of one and all of you is, ‘It shall be so!’ Then let us rise to the level of a crowning trial! Let our common sufferings and glories, while uniting us as a band of brothers, rouse us to new and surpassing efforts! Let us resolve upon success, God helping us! I join with you, comrades, in your sympathy for the wounded and sorrow for the dead. May we not trust-nay, is it not so—that History will associate the martyrs of this sacred struggle for law and order, liberty and justice, with the honored martyrs of Monmouth and Bunker Hill!

John A. McCLERNAND, Major-General commanding.

General Sherman to Colonel Rawlins.

headquarters Fifteenth army corps, camp on Walnut hills, June 17, 1863.
Lieutenant-Colonel J. A. Rawlins, A. A. General, Department of the Tennessee:
sir: On my return last evening from an inspection of the new works at Snyder's bluff, General Blair, who commands the second division of my corps, called my attention to the enclosed publication in the Memphis Evening Bulletin of June 13th instant, entitled ‘Congratulatory Order of General Mc-Clernand,’ with a request that I should notice it, lest the [671] statements of facts, and inference contained therein, might receive credence from an excited public.

It certainly gives me no pleasure or satisfaction to notice such a catalogue of nonsense, such an effusion of vain-glory and hypocrisy; nor can I believe General McClernand ever published such an order officially to his corps. I know too well that the brave and intelligent soldiers and officers who compose that corps will not be humbugged by such stuff.

If the order be a genuine production, and not a forgery, it is manifestly addressed, not to an army, but to a constituency in Illinois, far distant from the scene of the events attempted to be described, who might innocently be induced to think General McClernand the sagacious leader and bold hero he so complacently paints himself.

But it is barely possible the order is a genuine one, and was actually read to the regiments of the Thirteenth army corps, in which case a copy must have been sent to your office for the information of the commanding general. I beg to call his attention to the requirements of General Orders No. 151, of 1862, which actually forbids the publication of all official letters and reports, and requires the name of the writer to be laid before the President of the United States for dismissal.

The document under question is not technically a letter or report, and, though styled an order, is not an order. It orders nothing, but is in the nature of an address to soldiers, manifestly designed for publication for ulterior political purposes. It perverts the truth, to the ends of flattery and selfglorifica-tion, and contains many untruths, among which is one of monstrous falsehood.

It substantially accuses General McPherson and myself with disobeying the orders of General Grant, in not assaulting on the 19th and 22d of May, and allowing, on the latter day, the enemy to mass his forces against the Thirteenth army corps alone. General McPherson is fully able to answer for himself; and for the Fifteenth army corps I answer, that on the 19th and 22d of May, it attacked furiously at three distinct points the enemy's works, at the very hour and minute fixed in General Grant's written orders; that, on both days, we planted our colors on the exterior slope and kept them there till nightfall; that from the first hour of the investment of Vicksburg until now, my corps has been far in advance of General McClernand; [672] that the general-in-chief, by personal inspection, knows this truth; that tens of thousands of living witnesses beheld and participated in the attack; that General Grant visited me during both assaults, and saw for himself, and is far better qualified to judge whether his orders were obeyed than General McClernand, who was near three miles off; that General McClernand never saw my lines; that he then knew, and still knows nothing about them, and that from his position he had no means of knowing what occurred on this front.

Not only were the assaults made at the time and place, and in the manner prescribed in General Grant's written orders, but about three P. M., five hours after the assault on the 22d began, when my storming-party lay against the exterior slope of the bastion in my front, and Blair's whole division was deployed close up to the parapet, ready to spring to the assault, and all my field-artillery were in good position for the work, General Grant shewed me a note from General McClernand, that moment handed him by an orderly, to the effect that ‘he had carried three of the enemy's forts, and that the flag of the Union waved over the stronghold of Vicksburg,’ asking that the enemy should be pressed at all points, lest he should concentrate on him. Not dreaming that a major-general would at such a critical moment make a mere buncombe communication, I ordered instantly Giles A. Smith and Mower's brigades to renew the assault, under cover of Blair's division, and the artillery deployed as before described, and sent an aide to General Steele, about a mile to my right, to convey the same mischievous message, whereby we lost needlessly many of our best officers and men.

I would never have revealed so unwelcome a truth had General McClernand, in his process of self-flattery, confined himself to facts in the reach of his own observation, and not gone out of his way to charge others for results which he seems not to comprehend.

In cases of repulse and failure, congratulatory addresses by subordinate commanders are not common, and are only resorted to by weak and vain men to shift the burden of responsibility from their own to the shoulders of others.

I never make a practice of speaking or writing of others, but, during our assault of the 19th, several of my brigade commanders were under the impression that McClernand's corps [673] did not even attempt an assault. In the congratulatory order I remark great silence on that subject. Merely to satisfy inquiring parties, I should like to know if McClernand's corps did or did not assault at two P. M. of May 19th, as ordered. I don't believe it did, and I think General McClernand responsible.

With these remarks I leave the matter where it properly belongs, in the hands of the commanding general, who knows his plans and orders, sees with an eye single to success and his country's honor, and not from the narrow and contracted circle of a subordinate commander, who exaggerates the importance of the events that fall under his immediate notice, and is filled with an itching desire for ‘fame not earned.’

With great respect,

Your obedient servant,

W. T. Sherman, Major-General commanding.

General McPherson to General Grant.

headquarters Seventeenth army corps, Department of the Tennessee, near Vicksburg, Miss., June 18, 1863.
Major-General Grant, commanding Department of the Tennessee:
General: My attention has just been called to an article published in the Missouri Democrat of the 10th instant, purporting to be a congratulatory order from Major-General John A. McClernand to his command.

The whole tenor of the order is so ungenerous, and the insinuations and criminations against the other corps of your army are so manifestly at variance with the facts, that a sense of duty to my command, as well as the verbal protest of every one of my division and brigade commanders against allowing such an order to go forth to the public unanswered, require that I should call your attention to it.

After a careful perusal of the order, I cannot help arriving at the conclusion that it was written more to influence public sentiment at the North, and impress the public mind with the magnificent strategy, superior tactics, and brilliant deeds of 43 [674] the major-general commanding the Thirteenth army corps, than to congratulate his troops upon their well-merited successes.

There is a vain-gloriousness about the order, an ingenious attempt to write himself down the hero, the master-mind, giving life and direction to military operations in this quarter, inconsistent with the high-toned principle of the soldier sans peur et sans reproche.

Though ‘born a warrior,’ as he himself stated, he has evidently forgotten one of the most essential qualities, viz., that elevated, refined sense of honor, which, while guarding his own rights with jealous care, at all times renders justice to others.

It little becomes Major-General McClernand to complain of want of cooperation on the part of other corps, in the assault on the enemy's works on the 22d ultimo, when twelve hundred and eighteen men of my command were placed hors du combat in their resolute and daring attempt to carry the positions assigned to them, and fully one-third of these from General Quimby's division, with the gallant and accomplished Colonel Boomer at their head, fell in front of his own lines, where they were left, after being sent two miles to support him, to sustain the whole brunt of the battle, from five P. M. until after dark, his own men being recalled.

If General McClernand's assaulting columns were not immediately supported when they moved against the enemy's intrenchments, and few of the men succeeded in getting in, it most assuredly was his own fault, and not the fault of any other corps commander.

Each corps commander had the positions assigned to him which he was to attempt to carry, and it remained with him to dispose his troops in such a way as to support promptly and efficiently any column which succeeded in getting in.

The attack was ordered by the-major-general commanding the department to be simultaneous at all the points selected; and precisely at the hour, the columns moved, some of them taking a little longer than others to reach the enemy's works, on account of the natural and artificial obstacles to be overcome, but the difference in time was not great enough to allow of any changing or massing of the enemy from one part of the line to the other.

The assault failed, not in my opinion from any want of cooperation or bravery on the part of our troops, but from the [675] strength of the works, the difficulty of getting close up to them under cover, and the determined character of the assailed.

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

James B. McPHERSON, Major-General.

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