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The defenders of Vicksburg. [from the Memphis (Tenn.) appeal-advance, April 27, 1893.]

A monument to their memory unveiled at Vicksburg, Mississippi, April 25, 1893.

Exercises on the occasion, with Addresses by Lieut.-General Stephen D. Lee, and ex-governor M. F. Lowry.

While the South was still bleeding and impoverished, and at a time when the horrors of war were still fresh in the memories of all, the patriotic women of Vicksburg organized the Confederate Cemetery Association, and securing a large and beautiful plat in the city cemetery, northeast of the city, began removing the remains of such of their gallant defenders as had fallen during the siege to this hallowed place of interment. This work was continued for years, in fact, is still in progress, for whenever the relics of a departed soldier are found they are taken from the place where they were hastily interred and laid to rest among the thousands of comrades already sleeping there.

At the same time this noble sisterhood formed the design of erecting a fitting monument to the dead, a design which was cherished for many years, money was slowly accumulated, as could be spared from more pressing necessities, and last spring the association let the contract. This was secured by the Hill City Marble Works, whose design for the structure was also accepted. A few months later the corner-stone was laid by the Masonic order of the State in the presence of a great assemblage. [184]

The execution of the association's order was a work of some magnitude, and progressed slowly. It was necessary to have the statue carved in Italy, which caused some delay, and, moreover, the designer, Mr. A. A. Menezes, regarded the work as his masterpiece, and was desirous of having it as perfect as possible. The new year, therefore, was well advanced before the work was done and the finished monument placed on the site, a tribute to the Southern men who defended the city through those terrible days of siege, erected by the women who saw their heroism, and who had fed them when hungry, nursed them in sickness and when wounded, and, in many instances, closed their eyes when death had claimed them. Together they had borne the horrors of the siege, even more horrible, perhaps, to the non-combatant than to the soldier; for both shared the same privations, and neither age nor sex was safe from the iron shower that poured down, night and day, into the beleagured city. Having done what they could to comfort them while living, and having mourned them dead, the latest care of these devoted women was to adorn the last resting place of those who wore the gray.

Preparations for the event had long been in progress. Major-General S. D. Lee, by request, issued a general order inviting all Confederate veterans to attend. Special rates were obtained from railroads and steamboats. Distinguished speakers were secured to address the audience, and numerous committees gave their attention for weeks to the details that make success.

The result abundantly justified these patriotic efforts, the attendance being gratifyingly large and the enthusiasm displayed immeasurable. The program was singularly appropriate, and no ceremonies could have been more impressive. A large and brilliant assemblage, able and popular speakers, a considerable military display, one of the finest bands of music in the South and a large and thoroughly trained choir—all lent their aid to render the event a memorable one.

At noon, by special invitation of the ladies, the veterans and the visiting military assembled in the rotunda of the Vicksburg Hotel, where a collation, spread for a thousand guests, awaited them. This was a very happy feature of the program, and was served by the ladies, who were assiduous in attention to their guests.

It was fully 3 P. M. before the procession was formed, and the march to the cemetery, a mile and a half distant, was commenced.


The monument. Description of the shaft that commemorates Southern valor.

The body of the monument is of white Italian marble, adorned with four reversed cannon, and as many piles of balls of Tennessee marble. The statue of a Confederate soldier which crowns its summit was carved at Carrara, Italy, and is singularly life-like in pose and feature. The hands rest on the old familiar rifle; the head is bent forward; the feet are placed somewhat apart, as if firmly planted on rugged surface. It is a typical figure, and such a one as might have been seen on a thousand battle-fields during the war. The statue faces the South.

On the disc of the monument appears the following inscription:

Front-In memory of the men from all States of the South who fell in defence of Vicksburg during a siege of forty-seven days—May 18 to July 3, 1863—a defence unsurpassed in the annals of war for heroism, endurance of hardships and patriotic devotion.

We care not whence they came,
     Dear in their lifeless clay,
Whether unknown or known to fame,
     They died, and they wore the gray.


Here rest some few of those who, vainly brave,
Died for the land they loved, but could not save.


Our dead are mourned forever!
     Through all the future ages, in history and in story,
Their fame shall shine, their name shall twine; they need no greater glory.
     Tenderly fall our tears over their lifeless clay:
Here lie the dead who fought and bled and fell in garbs of gray.
     Ours the fate of the vanished, whose heartaches never cease.
Ours regrets and tears; theirs the eternal peace.

Before the unveiling. Assembled Veterans Entertained—March to the monument.

The morning dawned cloudy and threatening, A heavy shower fell, but the storm center soon passed away. Visitors had arrived in large numbers during the previous night, among them General S. D. [186] Lee and S. W. Ferguson, with several delegations of veterans. The Jeff Davis Volunteers also arrived from Fayette and met a hearty welcome. To-day two trains from Jackson and Meridian brought large accessions to the gathering, which was additionally recruited by large arrivals by steamers from Natchez, Greenville and points along the river. The day having been declared a holiday, the entire population of the city was out to receive the visitors, and the streets were thronged.

Ex-Governor Lowry, State Treasurer Evans and Auditor Stone, arrived by the early train from Jackson, and were received with a salute by the artillery, and with unbounded enthusiasm, both being very popular here.

During the morning the survivors of the First Mississippi Artillery held an interesting meeting, and there were many other events of a similar nature.

At noon the visiting veterans assembled at the Vicksburg Hotel for luncheon. The beautiful rotunda had been draped with flags and bunting, and adorned with a wealth of flowers. Tables were spread over its entire extent, and 600 persons were provided for simultaneously.

The generous Ladies.

Nothing more creditable to the hospitality of Vicksburg ladies was ever seen than this spontaneous offering to the heroes of the war. Fifty lovely girls, the daughters of veterans, served the veterans, and besides many matrons officiated. In the center of the rotunda a cross-shaped table was surrounded by the more distinguished guests.

It was 2 P. M., and the feast was over when the signal was given to form the procession, and the marshal and his aides began their arduous duties. Finally, the procession was formed and took up its march to the cemetery, a mile and a half away. It was the largest and most impressive scene witnessed here in many years. Some of the veteran organizations carried their old battle-flags, conspicuous among them being that of Swett's battery, which only yesterday draped the casket of the gallant Pegram. In the procession, on a float draped with flags and bunting, rode fifteen beautiful girls, representing the Southern States. After a tedious march the Confederate Cemetery was reached, and breaking ranks, the procession gathered around the monument. The assemblage was immense, and there were few vacant spots to be seen anywhere.


The Exercises begin. Rev. Father Picherit, a veteran, Delivers the prayer.

Suddenly the hum of voices ceased, and mounting the rostrum, the Rev Father H. A. Picherit, himself a veteran and chaplain of a Confederate regiment throughout the war, delivered the following prayer:

Almighty God, master of life and death. I thank thee that, in thy mercy, thou hast permitted me to live long enough to see this day! And here, on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, above which bold Vicksburg lifts her haughty brow to catch the sun's first rays or the shower's first kiss; a city consecrated by the blood of the martyred dead whose ashes make sacred our country to the God of Liberty; for so many weary months the battlefield of the fiercest conflicts; ennobled by her historical recollections, and so often reddened by the blood of our brothers who fought for her freedom and died for her glory; I bless thee, O Lord, that I can once more meet my comrades and pay a last tribute of honor and gratitude to the Confederate soldiers who lie buried in this holy spot!

May my right hand lose its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if ever I forget thee, Historic City, that hast gathered into thy motherly bosom the sacred bones of my brothers and guardest the precious dust of my people! City of martyrs and heroes, land of chivalry, be thou ever happy and prosperous!

I praise thee, O, God of might, and I thank thee for the exalted patriotism which thou didst infuse into the hearts and souls of our gallant soldiers, the bravest of the brave, who threw themselves fearlessly between the enemy and our women and children, determined not to surrender nor retreat! Dear departed comrades, well did you redeem your pledge with the forfeit of your lives, falling, the chosen sacrifice of Vicksburg's freedom!

I pray thee, O God, grant that our children may never lose the memory of these our city's defenders, a nobler band than the Spartans who fell at Thermopylae. For us they shed their blood, for our constitutional rights they poured out their lives! Noble band of martyrs, your souls went out in the cause of our city and of our country! You may be without a name in the world, but each of you has a place from which no one can ever dislodge you: the heart of a grateful Vicksburg!

I pray thee, O God, to bless the declining years of the old Confederate [188] soldiers, many of them still bearing the scars of hard-fought battles, who, holding with the majority of American people the doctrine of State sovereignty, committed no treason, being guilty of no rebellion, who yielded only to superior numbers and resources, beaten but not disgraced, proving themselves in war and defeat what they are—real Americans! May their deeds of valor be ever held as the most precious inheritance of our reunited country!

I thank thee, O God, who teaches mercy and forgiveness, that thou hast given us, the survivors of a just though lost cause, greatness of mind and generosity of heart—such as to enable us to fold tenderly in the bosom of our consecrated soil the mortal remains of our conquerors, who now lie side by side with our conquered fathers and sons, the Mississippi river chanting a peaceful though solemn requiem over both.

Under the sod and the dew,
     Waiting the judgment day,
Under the laurel the blue,
     Under the willow the gray.

I thank thee, O God of might, that thou hast also given us the grace and the strength, if not to forget, at least to forgive the wrongs done to us! I bless the God of peace for that boon, that in brotherly love we now clasp each other's hands across the dark chasm of an unfortunate past, and the same dear old flag floats over our heads, Confederates and Federals paying a common homage to its sacred folds! I thank the God of mercy that his holy angels have stolen the bitterness of defeat from the vanquished and the memory of victory from the conquerors!

I pray thee, O Almighty God, who, through Jesus Christ, hast revealed thy glory to all nations to preserve forever the unity of our country! I pray thee, O God of wisdom and justice, through whom authority is rightly administered and laws enacted, assist, with thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude, our beloved President Cleveland, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to the people over whom he presides. May the light of thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, and may perpetuate the blessings of equal liberty!

Finally, I pray thee, O God of goodness, bless, oh bless with a bountiful hand the patriotic and devoted women of Vicksburg, who, [189] with fearless courage, braved the dangers and sufferings of our immortal siege, shared their crumb of bread with the starving soldiers, with imploring looks and cheerful words strengthened their enfeebled arms and nerved them to deeds of heroism unparalleled in history; and who, now at last, after years of perseverance and toil, have succeeded in erecting this beautiful monument to the memory of our comrades who laid down their lives in defense of their honor and of their liberty!

To the God of the fearless and free I dedicate this monument. May its marble statue of a private soldier speak, to endless generations, of the patriotism of Vicksburg women, and the heroism of the men who died for us that we might be free! Amen.

General S. D. Lee's address. A splendid tribute paid to the defenders of Vicksburg.

An involuntary burst of applause followed Father Picherit's impassioned deliverance and had scarcely subsided when General S. D. Lee, the hero of Chickasaw Bayou, was presented to the audience, amid cheers which made the hills ring again. His address, which was frequently interrupted by cheering, occupied about half an hour, and was as follows:

My Friends: It is with pride and pleasure we meet to-day in your city!

Already there are two Vicksburgs—the busy commercial center of the present—and the ‘heroic city’ of the past.

Charleston! Vicksburg! Richmond! These three are the immortal cities of the South. The deeds of daring, of heroism and disaster, that were such every day occurrences in the ‘sixties,’ are crystalized into history, and even we, the survivors, can see the halo of glory that environs them.

There is many a veteran here to-day that wore a gray jacket and carried a musket in the trenches, and can point out just where this comrade fell or where that assault was made. I was here myself, and can recall with the feeling of an eye witness all that occurred in those days. It seems almost a dream, in this calm sunlight, that once these hills were covered with trenches and campfires; that the air resounded with the call of the bugle and the roll of the drum; [190] of the sharpshooter. Where is the dark cloud of blue uniforms that that night and day we heard the boom of the cannon and the crack fringed the horizon like a cloud of ill omen—75,000 men encircling the city? And where are the 20,000 gray uniforms that resisted? The gunboats that thundered by the batteries—the mortars that lit up the darkness with fiery meteors? Seventeen thousand Federals rest in yonder National Cemetery. Who can find the unknown graves where the Confederates rest in the trenches? This is holy ground—every hero laid down his life conscientiously as a sacred duty. We, the survivors, and this glorious assembly, meet to-day to unveil a monument in their honor, to commemorate the invincible courage with which they endured hardships into danger and death. Nobler men never drew breath than those whom the green grass covers from sight. Memory recalls those stirring scenes to the survivors of those bloody days. Many here recollect Baker's Creek, Port Gibson, and Chickasaw Bayou. And how the circle narrowed around us, until the entire force was entrenched in the city of Vicksburg. Then began the siege that gave her hills a world-wide fame, which will go ringing down the ages. For forty-seven days and nights the Confederates lay in the trenches, slowly starving on scanty rations that diminished with no hope of replenishing; when shot and shell were poured into the doomed city, and our ammunition was giving out, and no more to be had; when the slain were buried where they fell, and no reinforcements to take their places.

War times recalled.

July 4th, 1863—nearly thirty years ago. Can you realize it? We, their comrades, were then young, ambitious, anxious for glory and promotion. Now gray hairs crown our heads, and we scan these scenes with calmer pulses. All we recall is gone—vanished utterly! We stand again upon the soil of Vicksburg, glorious in her past and present. Once she was a wealthy commercial centre—noted for refinement and cultivation, wealth and hospitality—a queen enthroned upon the hills. Now, ennobled by her misfortunes, almost destroyed by shot and shell, scarred by battle, she stands the ‘heroic city’ of the South. Shattered almost to extinction, see how she has revived. Energy and brains have more than restored her former glory. She gave herself a willing sacrifice on the altar of her country. She has risen from her ruins again a queen. Suppose we [191] refresh our memories by glancing over the records of those days; let us look back to May 1, 1862.

The Confederacy was appalled to hear that the great fleet under Farragut and the large army under Butler had entered the Mississippi river at the mouth; had reduced Forts Jackson and St. Philip, and had arrived at New Orleans, and taken possession of the defenseless city. The Mississippi, which split the Confederacy in twain, was open to them as far up as Memphis and Fort Pillow—the only two points left held by the Confederates. Vicksburg on the hills at once loomed up as the only defensible point between Memphis and New Orleans, but no garrison was there, no forts, but few defenses of any kind, save the high bluffs and hills. A few regiments were hurried there on receiving news of the fall of New Orleans, as also heavy guns and ammunition. They had scarce arrived there, and had not exceeding six batteries mounted, when the Federal fleet and transports made their appearance, on the 18th day of May.

Three mighty efforts were made by the United States government to capture Vicksburg. This was the beginning of the first attempt. The fleet and flotilla consisted of the sloops of war, gunboats and mortar-boats, which had captured the strong forts at the mouth of the river, and numbered thirty-five vessels, including eighteen or nineteen mortar-boats for throwing shells, and transports bearing an army of 3,000 men. And, as if to add to the calamities of the Confederates, Fort Pillow and Memphis also fell soon after their arrival below Vicksburg, and the entire Mississippi gunboat squadron from the upper river began to arrive, consisting of ironclads, wooden gunboats, mortar-boats, rams and other vessels, making in the aggregate, above and below the city, near 200 heavy guns on the water. The few regiments and batteries at Vicksburg were not reinforced until about June 28th, when General Van Dorn arrived with General Breckinridge's division.

Critical period.

Previous to his arrival, which was the most critical period in the history of the city, General M. L. Smith, the accomplished soldier and engineer, did all that mortal man could do with the means at his disposal, but he had little with which to do anything. From the 18th of May to the 18th of July, two months, these two grand naval squadrons almost uninterruptedly bombarded and shelled the apparently doomed city. On June 28th, a supreme effort was made to take the city. The [192] sloops of war and other vessels steamed up near the city, and, in its front, delivering broadside after broadside in quick succession of shot, shell and grape, depending upon their distance; Farragut passing above the city with eight vessels, the few Confederate batteries replying, and the sharp-shooters along the banks keeping up an incessant fusillade. The scene on this occasion was grand beyond description, lasting two hours; the roar of cannon was continuous and deafening. Loud explosions shook the city to its foundation. Shot and shell went hissing and tearing through the trees and walls, scattering fragments far and wide in their terrible flight. Men, women and children rushed into the streets; and amid the crash of falling houses, left the city for the country for safety.

Again, on July 15th occurred one of the most brilliant naval feats recorded in the annals of naval warfare. The Confederate iron-clad gunboat Arkansas, commanded by Capt. Isaac N. Brown, ran out of the mouth of the Yazoo river and single-handed attacked the whole Federal fleet, including Farragut's squadron of eight vessels and Admiral Davies' gunboat fleet of twelve vessels, nearly every one of which carried heavier metal. The very audacity of the exploit confounded the fleet. The Arkansas fought and butted its way through all the vessels under one of the most concentrated cannonades ever centered on a single vessel, and drew up at the wharf at Vicksburg under protection of its batteries, having lost one-half its crew. This brilliant act capped the climax, and necessitated immediate action on the part of the two fleets, above and below the city. At dark on the same day the vessels of Farragut's fleet, eight vessels, which had passed up the river on the 28th of June, began their descent to strengthen the fleet south of the city. Again the cannonade was deafening and continuous, and these vessels in a passing of one hour poured broadside after broadside into the city and into the single Confederate gunboat at the wharf. This time, however, the broadside of the Arkansas supplemented the land batteries. On July 18th two of the Federal vessels steamed down the river to the Arkansas in front of the city and tried to cut her out or destroy her. It was a most gallant attempt, but failed, one of the attacking vessels being sunk.

This closed the first attempt to take Vicksburg, and the fleets disappeared July 26th for some time. Singular to say, only seven Confederates were killed and fifteen wounded, and one lady killed (Mrs. Gamble), during the whole attack.


To the glory of Vicksburg.

Let it now be recorded, to the glory of the citizens of Vicksburg, that when the Federal vessels hove in sight on the 18th day of May, 1862, that without exception, men and women, old and young, rich and poor, with one voice said: ‘The city must be defended, even if all our houses and property are destroyed.’ This decision and this spirit lasted to the end, July 4, 1863, when the city fell. The ladies and their families who remained in the city during this terrible ordeal lived most of the times in holes or openings dug in the hills, known as rat holes, near their houses, and never was a murmur heard from one of them or a complaint of a hardship.

The second attempt was a more formidable one, and began in November, 1862. This time an army of 35,000 men, accompanied by the Mississippi gunboat squadron, attempted to take the city unprepared, and by a dash down the river from Memphis, while General Grant, at Oxford, Miss., with 50,000 men, confronted the Confederate army of only 21,000 effective men at Grenada. He caused General Sherman to organize his army at Memphis and move down the Mississippi river to Vicksburg, leaving Memphis about the 18th of December, 1862. These two large armies were to act in conjunction, Grant moving down what is known as the Illinois Central railroad, and attacking the Confederate army in his immediate presence, so no reinforcements could be sent to the relief of Vicksburg, while Sherman was to go in boats with his army, and land and take the city before its small garrison could be reinforced. The gunboat fleet which accompanied the transports bearing Sherman's army, and including them, made up the large number of about 120 river boats.

It looked as if the city could not escape this time, as these two large armies moved from different directions, co-operating with each other, and toward Vicksburg as the objective point. But the compaign was a short and decisive one, and both movements were defeated. Before Sherman started the Confederate cavalry, under General Forest, about December 11th, destroyed sixty miles of railroad between Jackson, Tenn., and Columbus, Ky., and soon after Sherman left Memphis the Confederate cavalry, under General Van, Dorn, dashed around the flank of Grant's army, attacked and seized his depot of supplies for his army at Holly Springs, burned them up or utterly [194] destroyed them (December 20th), necessitating the falling back of Grant's army to Memphis for supplies.

Sherman appears.

Sherman appeared in the Yazoo river on Christmas day, his transports, guarded front, flank and rear by Porter's gunboat fleet, disembarked his army on the banks of the Yazoo at the mouth of Chickasaw Bayou, eight miles from Vicksburg. When he landed General Smith did not have 5,000 effective men in the city, including the troops manning the heavy batteries. The infantry brigade, 2,500 men, protecting the batteries, was at once pushed out of the city to confront Sherman's army of 33,000 men and sixty guns, covering a line of thirteen miles, between the city and Snyder's Bluff, on the Yazoo river, where not a spade full of dirt had been thrown, nor were there fortifications of any kind, except at Snyder's Bluff.

By the morning of the 27th, three infantry brigades had arrived to assist in defending the city, and were moved out to cover the ground from the race course to Chickasaw Bayou. No others arrived till December 29th. The bayous and low lands where Sherman was operating presented great obstacles to his progress, but on December 29th he attacked the Confederates, the main attack being delivered at Chickasaw Bayou, six miles from Vicksburg, by two of his divisions numbering 20,000 men. This attack was signally repulsed by one Confederate brigade and eight light guns, with a loss to Sherman of 1,439 killed, wounded and missing, and seven stands of colors. This single trial decided the second attempt, as Sherman imagined he saw the bluff's fortifications, where none existed, but really only a few rifle pits hurriedly thrown up by the troops after arrival on the ground.

He re-embarked his army on his transports, and disappeared from before Vicksburg about the 3d of January, 1863. His loss in the several days' fighting was 2,200 men killed, wounded and missing, and a loss to the Confederates of less than 200.

The third and successful attempt to take the city was at once inaugurated by General Grant himself, who, early in January, 1863, moved part of his army which had been in the vicinity of Oxford (but had fallen back from Oxford to Memphis), down the Mississippi river, and uniting with Sherman's army, landed at Young's Point on the Louisiana side, not far above Vicksburg. These two united armies numbered 50,491 effective men, as shown by the returns, and [195] at the surrender of the city was about 75,669 men. Co-operating with Grant's army was the Mississippi river gunboat fleet under Admiral Porter, which with the transports and supply boats must have numbered 200 vessels—one of the grandest armies and flotillas combined that the world had ever seen. To this powerful military and naval force the Confederate Government could only oppose about 22,000 effective men at and in the vicinity of Vicksburg, with about thirty-seven siege guns in position on the river front. This is all the Confederates had till after grant landed in the vicinity of Port Gibson on the Mississippi side.

Grant groped to success.

Grant with his great army and flotilla groped to success through many failures. He realized that Vicksburg could not be taken by gunboats or any armament on water. He attempted for several months to reach the high lands above the city with boats through Steele's Bayou, Deer Creek, Yazoo Pass, Coldwater and Tallahatchie rivers, and other bayous in the Yazoo Delta, and failed. He then tried cutting a canal opposite and below Vicksburg on the Louisiana side, so as to reach the high lands below Vicksburg with his boats. He failed in this also. He then adopted the bold plan of running gunboats and transports by the batteries of Vicksburg April 16th and 22d, and moved his great army down the river on the Louisiana side, and rapidly crossed it over opposite Port Gibson with the boats which had run by the batteries. After doing this he displayed good and bold generalship. General Pemberton was not prepared for this movement, and Grant soon ran over a small division of Confederate troops near Bayou Pierre under General Bowan, and marched a compact army of 50,000 men to Jackson, fifty miles east of Vicksburg, defeated and drove off about 6,000 men collected there to reinforce General Pemberton, under General Johnston, destroyed the railrords, and then turned and marched directly towards Vicksburg. General Pemberton only had the garrison of Vicksburg to operate against Grant after he crossed. He could only take 20,000 effectives out of the city to fight a battle, and the alternative was presented to him of either giving up the city, or taking the chances of fighting a battle with the greatest odds against him in the open field. He determined to take those chances, but the rapid and bold movements of Grant, after landing, really prevented a union of Pemberton's [196] forces and the small reinforcements being collected by General Johnson, distant about fifty miles, with Grant's army virtually between them. Grant's movements were more rapid and decisive than those of the Confederate generals.

Pemberton marched his army to Edwards Depot, with his total effective force of 17,000 men, after leaving two small divisions in the city for its protection against a force operating on the Yazoo river. Pemberton was embarrassed by having no cavalry to observe and report movements of Grant's army. During all this time the rest of Grant's army continued to cross the river and join him from the Louisiana side. He came upon Pemberton unexpectedly near Baker's Creek, on May 16th, where his army had started to attack a column of Grant's at Dillon's, and at once overwhelmed and defeated him, and drove him into Vicksburg, inflicting considerable loss of men and material, appearing before the entrenchments of the city May 18th. He attempted to take the city by assaulting the entrenchments on two occasions immediately after his arrival, the most formidable assault being on May 22d; Admiral Porter's fleet on the river and Grant's field batteries preceded the assault by a cannonade of several hours. He was signally repulsed on both occasions with a loss of 4,000 men.

The memorable siege.

Then began the memorable siege of Vicksburg, lasting forty-seven days and nights, and which terminated by the surrender of the city July 4th, Grant's army being gradually reinforced by the arrival of four full divisions, from 50,000 to 75,000 men, and encircling the city on land side with about 220 guns in position. On the river front was Admiral Porter's fleet of gunboats and mortar-boats, virtually surrounding the city with a sheet of bayonets and fire.

In the doomed city were 17,000 effective Confederate—troops, every man being in the trenches and at the guns, with one small reserve brigade to move from one endangered point to the other. General Johnston was at Jackson, fifty miles off, slowly collecting a small army of 25,000 men from Confederate armies pressed elsewhere, with which he hoped to relieve Pemberton, but which he knew he could not do. His force and Pemberton's, could they have been united just before the surrender, would not have exceeded 40,000 men, but Grant, with 75,000 was between them. [197]

During the long siege Porter's fleet showered into the city day and night the largest shot known in modern warfare. Small rifle guns were in deep pits opposite the city, firing down the streets from the Louisiana side upon every one who was visible. The entrenched army on the land side, exposed to the continuous fire day and night of Grant's besieging infantry and artillery, their ranks being constantly thinned by shot and shell, not a man to spare from his place in the trenches, exposed to the burning sun and drenching rains and heavy dews, without shelter and rations—first reduced to one-half and then to one-quarter, and lastly to eating mule meat, growing less and less every day. Not even the size of a hand could be exposed without drawing the fire of many sharpshooters on either side.

As the siege advanced, sickness began to make its inroads, and finally, July 4th, the men being utterly worn out and exhaused, and sick from improper food and cramped position in the trenches, 8,000 men being on the sick report, the city surrendered. Twenty-nine thousand men were paroled, but of this number those in the trenches were scarcely fit for duty. Large numbers were quartermaster, commissary and hospital employees and attaches of the army.

The losses in this campaign, from General Grant's landing on the Mississippi side to the day before surrender, were 9,362 Federals, killed, wounded and missing, (Federals killed 1,514), and 9,059 Confederates, (killed I,260).

Vanquished by starvation.

Vanquished by starvation and overwhelming odds, both on land and water, reduced to a handful of men for duty, with scarce a supply of ammunition, the city was surrendered. No men ever failed more nobly. The press of England, prejudiced as it was against slave owners, loudly applauded the endurance and heroism of the defence, placing it equal to any siege in history, and never surpassed in the heroism of its defenders.

My friends, the Confederates not only fought the people of the Northern States, but the Federals had the world to back them. The sentiment of Europe was against slavery, and as a consequence ‘hands off’ was the motto of the great powers, who might have recognized the Confederacy. The blockade of our coast by nearly 600 armed vessels, and the gunboats in every river, had an untold power of deprivation; withheld everything—food, clothes, ammunition, [198] arms, and medical supplies. The Confederates had an army in front and rear, and an exhaustion of all supplies to contend with, and odds in proportion of 2,778,404 enlisted men as against our 600,000 enlisted men, as admitted by the record. No human mind can tell what additional supplement was given in favor of the odds against the Confederacy by the blockading of vessels along the coast from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, and the gunboat fleets in the rivers, running into the heart of the seceded States, for only a few vessels and gunboats (a drop in the bucket), could oppose the Union armament afloat.

A patriotism and heroism that could stand for years against such odds, that could stand cold and hunger, and was always ragged and shoeless, was hard to conquer. We dared the experiment of making a nation. Do you wonder that the Confederacy failed? Read for yourselves the war records now being honestly and fairly published by our government. Read for yourselves the statistics of the pension bureau.

The ‘private soldier’ needs no other monument than his record. The Confederate armies failed, but they accomplished incredible results. With such tremendous odds on land and water, they kept back for four long years the invading armies, and disputed, almost foot by foot, territory as it was yielded, fighting on over 2,000 battlefields, and losing in the mighty struggle 325,000 men, over half of those they had enlisted against their opponents. They left ten per cent. actually engaged in battle slain on the field, as against five per cent. of the Federals, slain in battle opposing them; and when the final collapse came, the Federals gave terms, ‘of men willing to quit,’ and conceding an admiration for valor, of which they, as brothers, were proud.

The South's honor untarnished.

We are here to-day to unveil a monument erected by our lovely women of Vicksburg to those worthy of commemoration. It is a loyalty to our past that welds us together. A knowledge of having passed through a ‘fiery furnace,’ with honor untarnished, makes us uncover our heads with a reverence to a people who sacrificed so much to create a nation that perished in its infancy. How can the South forget, when her destruction and her ruins are ever before her eyes? When on the hillsides rest the cemeteries filled with loved [199] ones from every hearthstone? Is there a single family that did not lose one member? How few there are that lost only one.

The gray blends not with the blue,
Graves sever them in twain.

A grateful government has collected the bones of her soldiers, and placed them in splendid national cemeteries; 275,000 of 359,528 men who died for it, lie buried beneath the sod of the South. I honor a people who have thus honored those who died for them. But while this is the case, the comrades and descendants of those who fell on the Confederate side of the ‘War between the States,’ would be cravens if they forgot the tender memories of the dead and buried past. Who can forget that?

The folded flag is stainless still, the broken sword is bright.
No blot is on thy record found, no treason soils thy fame.

Macaulay, the historian, says: ‘A people which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestry, will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants.’

My friends, it is a duty to preserve the record and honor of such sacrifices, such privations, such patriotism, such endurance of hardship. This is why we raise monuments to our honored dead. While we live, nothing is needed to keep alive the memories of our comrades who fell on the field of battle, but we wish to make our lost cause consecrated forever to the hearts of our descendants. We wish to hand down to our posterity a feeling of reverence for their heroic forefathers, who risked their lives and lost their fortunes for their country. Defeat and poverty cannot check our homage to their memory. And we unveil a monument this day which commemorates their valor. But this is not all. If I had my way, on the cornerstone would be an inscription to remind all who see it, that its erection was due to the energy and devotion of the lovely women of Vicksburg. They, and all of our Southern women, cannot be too highly honored; the greatest patriots of the war were those who carried on the silent struggle at home; their endurance, their endeavors was the vital spirit of the Confederacy. Great as were the privations of the soldiers in the field, theirs were greater at home. They had none of the excitement, all of the anxiety.


The noble women.

Wives, with their husbands and sons in the army, girls with their lovers, suffered all the agonies of apprehension, the calmer waiting for calamity, which might come at any moment, of which the soldiers knew nothing.

Who was it that ran the plantations and farms to make bread and meat for the soldiers in the field? Who nursed the wounded! Who denied themselves gladly to help the cause? Every gray jacket was a hero in their eyes; it was a passport into every house, and the best was his by right. Hands unused to toil were put to knitting socks and weaving cloth ‘for the soldiers.’ Everything was the ‘soldiers’—for once the men ruled the roost.

They were the inspiration of valor; the soldiers were fighting for them. To be worthy of such women was enough to inspire the most sluggish to deeds of heroism. In truth, a coward would have had a hard time with the Yankees before him and the women behind him.

The noble women were the genius of the cause, of its consecration to liberty.

And since the war they have borne defeat and humiliation nobly. They have encouraged and helped with unflinched courage; but for them the South might have sunk under depressing disasters. With such women to live for, even poverty and reconstruction could be endured.

All honor to the women of the South, past and present—our mothers, our wives, our daughters—God bless them. God bless those here to-day, for it is mainly to their efforts that the shaft before us has been erected. Too much cannot be said in their praise. Where so many deserve it, it is invidious to call the names of any. Let me make an exception of one so advanced in age and honors as Mrs. Eggleston. She was one of the Mothers of the Confederacy, who had sons and grandsons in the army. She was one of the first presidents of this association. Much is due to the lamented Mrs. Wright, who cared for the neglected state of the graves, and had headboards put up. And to the present president, Mrs. Stevens, who has carried on the work to completion. All honor to the ladies of Vicksburg! Those who have nobly contributed their united efforts. We unveil it before them, and leave it in their hands, to keep for posterity.


The unveiling. Grandchildren of Mrs. Wrigrh, draw the Drapery from the monument.

When General Lee closed, Master Allen Wright and little Elmira Wright, the beautiful grandchildren of the deceased president of the association, Mrs. E. D. Wright, unveiled the monument, which was immediately saluted by the guns of the Warren Light Artillery and by repeated cheers, hardly less loud.

Major W. T. Walthall, as proxy for Miss Sallie M. Adams, daughter of the late General Wirt Adams, who was unavoidably absent, then read the following poem, written for the ceremony by

J. E. Battaile:
     Shades of our heroes dead,
Sleeping in glory,
     Here, where your blood was shed,
Carve we your story!
     Marble must sink in dust,
Fame lives forever.
     Though your true blades be rust,
Forget we? Never!

Yon sculptured sentinel
     Watches your sleeping.
Tells how you fought and fell,
     Loyally keeping
Life's trust. You met death's hour
     Stern and undaunted.
Ours 'tis to nurse the flower
     Your valor planted.

Here, 'neath the giant hills,
     Rest warriors, rest ye!
Lulled by the murm'ring rills,
     None shall molest ve!
Fanned by our south wind's breath,
     Sleep, soldiers weary!
Yours was no fameless death,
     Darksome and dreary.

[202] Sleep well! The strife is past;
     No war-drum's rattle
Breaks forth, nor bugle's blast.
     Hushed is the battle.
Wrapt in your native earth,
     Sweet be your slumber!
When shall we match your worth?
     When your deeds number?

Strewn be this sacred sod,
     Soldier's fit pillow.
Whence your souls sprang to God,
     With sorrow's willow!
Many a youth shall bring
     Many a maiden,
Tribute of balmy spring
     Here, flower-laden.

Sleep on; but not for aye!
     Should war's red chalice
Dash out its gory spray
     Over our valleys,
Come! In the battle's crest
     Flash your proud lances,
Lead where our bravest, best
     Column advances!

The beautiful memorial service of Vicksburg Camp, Confederate Veterans, preluded by music by the band, was then read by the camp's chaplain, Rev. Nowell Logan, the responses being recited at the same time by the veterans with grand effect. A chorus of fifty singers rendered the hymn used in this service. At its close thirty lovely little flower girls led the way to decorate the graves. ‘The Bivouac of the Dead’ was then recited by Mr. John McQuade, with dramatic fervor and eloquence. The band played another national air, and the Weaver Light Artillery fired a second salute.

At this point in the proceedings indications of a storm became so threatening that the conclusion of the program was adjourned until 8 o'clock at the Opera House.


Ex-Governor Lowry's address. Touchingly he Dwells upon the cause for which the South fought.

Here another large audience assembled, and ex-Governor Lowry delivered the oration of the day, with one of the finest efforts that has distinguished his career as a public speaker. He spoke in part as follows:

Comrades, Ladies and Fellow Citizens.—I accept the invitation to address you to-day, for Vicksburg could make no request of me to which I would not endeavor to respond, and for the further reason that I desired to be present on this interesting occasion, as it affords the opportunity of meeting old and valued comrades, and participate in paying a deserved tribute to our fallen heroes, who gave up their lives in defense of the Southern cause in this heroic and historic city. I cannot imagine anything more gratifying, more in keeping with the fitness of things, a truer index to the human heart than for Southern soldiers to meet together annually, grasp hands, and talk over scenes that have a green place in the heart of every veteran.

Grant's tribute to the Confederates.

True it is that we failed to establish a separate nationality, but the greatness of our effort drew from the great military captain of the Union forces this merited tribute: ‘Hope for perpetual peace and harmony with the enemy from whom, however mistaken, the cause drew forth such herculean deeds of valor.’ Well, could General Grant have voiced this truth? At Columbus, Shiloh, Missionary Ridge, the Wilderness, and on these historic hills, he witnessed the high bearing and valor of Southern soldiers. It was so in the contest for the nation's birth. Washington commanded the forces of the struggling colonies against Great Britain, and, although the conflict was protracted, the great Master of the Universe blessed the gifted Virginian and his decimated army, and enabled them to usher into existence a new-born nation, the United States. Fresh from the fields of victory, inspired with lofty patriotism, they sought to organize and put into operation what was destined to become a powerful nation. The struggle between the States was gigantic, the devotion to the cause, the marshal powers of its followers, the uncomplaining sacrifices [204] made by men and women, stand unsurpassed in the world's history, and, to add to the grandeur, the Confederate soldier, after the restoration of peace and during the transition state, maintained his self-respect, and is honored by every civilized nation under the sun, and by none more than by his gallant adversary who met him on the field of strife.

The memorable seige of Vicksburg will be read by generations to come, and the memories of those who fell in defense and who for forty-seven days held at bay many times their number, and again and again repulsed them, will be perpetuated, and neither blind partisanship nor sectional prejudice can cloud the grandeur of the heroic defence.

A tribute to Davis.

Nearly sixty years have passed since a young man had served his country on its Western frontier, and for eight years was a student and recluse. These years were devoted to the study of history and the science of government, and after careful preparation for a life of action, he leaped into the arena, ‘Like Pallas, from the brain of Jove full armed.’ He succeeded to the National House of Representatives, resigned to accept the command of a Mississippi regiment in a foreign land, which added new honors and greener laurels to a Mexican soldier. He was afterward commissioned to the Senate, and later as chief of the War Department of the nation, and again to the Senate, where he was the peer of the oldest and proudest, where he remained until 1861, when, in a speech worthy of its author, he bade the Senate of the United States a final adieu, and in the following autumn was, with great unanimity, chosen President of the Confederate States. Thus your neighbor, countryman and fellow citizen, Jefferson Davis, became the chief of the Confederate cause, and for four weary years, with less than 600,000 men, battled against 3,000,000, and Vicksburg against like odds made a defence worthy of the cause and its principles-principles that underlie governments, that proclaim the doctrine that freemen have a right to choose their own form of government, and be sustained in their choice by the fundamental law. The forms that sleep in the little mounds upon which our fair countrywomen to-day scatter rare and fragrant flowers, lived when dark clouds overshadowed the Confederate sky, and they stood firmly and unflinchingly by their colors, and died with arms in their hands, facing the enemy, exhibiting a love of liberty, devotion to the cause and a [205] dauntless courage unsurpassed in the annals of war, either in ancient or modern times.

Passing of the Veterans.

Comrades: The years that remain to us are fast fleeting away, and the curtain of time descends upon the participants in that tremendous and unequal struggle. The last great leader has but lately answered to the final roll call. Like the leaves of autumn, the old veterans are silently dropping by the wayside, but as the buds of spring are put forth in new vigor, so the memory of their valor will be transmitted to posterity. We have assembled in the performance of a sad but sweet duty.

In conclusion, I might be allowed to say that if it were possible that the heroes, whose memories we honor to-day, and who fell in defence of this city, could be resurrected and brought to life, they would look with amazement at its restoration from the ordeal through which it passed, with its now enterprising, intelligent and progressive population, its bright hopes and possibilities.

The closing Exercises. A beautiful Poem by Mrs. Montgomery is recited.

More music was followed by a beautiful poem written for the occasion by Mrs. Elizabeth R. Montgomery, and recited with perfect modulation by Miss Lillie Hicks. The poem was as follows:

This stone shall be a witness,
     As Joshua said of old,
Lest ye deny your faith! It stands
     A monument 'fore all the lands,
A hallowed one, and bold.

Not trait'rous hands have raised it,
     But loyal hearts and true
To those who fought a val'rous fight
     For us and native home and right,
The gray against the blue.

The conflict's o'er, the grass has greened
     Above the battle scars,
And bravest victors help to lay
     Above the vanquished flowers to-day,
Under the stripes and stars.

[206] They loved us and laid down their lives,
     What greater can men do?
This sentiment marble, reared with tears,
     Shall tell to all the future years
They died for me and you.

Vibrating with the morning's beams
     'Twill speak, in plaintive tone,
As Memnon's statue thrilled of old,
     A witness if our hearts are cold,
Or we've unthankful grown.

A symbol 'tis of love to wreathe
     With blossoms ev'ry spring.
An inspiration, for all high
     And noble aims, to live and die
This monument shall bring.

A grand anthem by the chorus closed the ceremonies, and was followed by the benediction, pronounced by Rev. Nowell Logan.

It was a glorious day for Vicksburg, one unmarred by any unpleasant incidents. Many of the visitors have already departed, and most of them will leave by the trains to-night.

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