If you have journeyed through all of the installments of this series, just one more to go and you will have completed a selection from the great works of five thousand words. Congratulations!
Previously in Fall of Vicksburg.
Time: July 4, 1863
Place: Vicksburg, Mississippi
McPherson’s mine in front of Logan’s division was exploded at 4 P.M. on June 26th, throwing a number of Confederates and a large column of earth high into the air, shaking the ground for several hundred yards like an earthquake and levelling the salient of Fort Hill. In anticipation of this effect Grant had issued orders for a demonstration along the lines, with an immediate assault upon that part of the front shaken by the explosion. The assault was made by John E. Smith’s brigade, but was un successful, and after suffering severe loss the troops were withdrawn.
By this time the heads of saps at various points had been pushed close up to the enemy’s works, and in several instances even into the very ditches. Orders were issued that they should be widened and connected so as to permit them to be used for the protection of troops for a general and final assault.
It was known from deserters, and confirmed by voluntary information from the Confederate pickets, that their provisions were nearly exhausted. Having completed all the necessary arrangements, Grant directed that the attack should be made on the morning of July 5th; but early in the morning of the 3d the Confederate General sent out a flag of truce with a proposition for the appointment of commissioners to arrange the terms of capitulation. Grant declined to leave the matter to commissioners or to allow any other terms than those of “unconditional sur render” and humane treatment to all prisoners of war, but signified his willingness to meet and confer with General Pemberton in regard to the arrangement of details. This meeting took place between the lines, in front of McPherson’s corps, and gave rise to the following ultimatum, submitted in writing by General Grant:
In conformity with the agreement of this afternoon, I will submit the following propositions for the surrender of the city of Vicksburg, public stores, etc. On your accepting the terms proposed, I will march in one division as a guard, and take possession at 8 A.M. to-morrow. As soon as paroles can be made out and signed by the officers and men, you will be allowed to march out of our lines; the officers taking with them their regimental clothing, and staff, field, and cavalry officers one horse each. The rank and file will be allowed all their clothing, but no other property. If these conditions are accepted, any amount of rations you may deem necessary can be taken from the stores you now have, and also the necessary cooking-utensils for preparing them, and thirty wagons also, counting two two-horse or -mule teams as one. You will be allowed to transport such articles as cannot be carried along. The same conditions will be allowed to all sick and wounded officers and privates as fast as they become able to travel. The paroles of these latter must be signed, however, while officers are present authorized to sign the roll of prisoners.”
Pemberton answered as follows:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this date, proposing terms for the surrender of this garrison and post. In the main, your terms are accepted; but, in justice both to the honor and spirit of my troops, manifested in the defense of Vicksburg, I have the honor to submit the following amendments, which, if acceded to by you, will perfect the agreement between us. At ten o’clock to-morrow I propose to evacuate the works in and around Vicksburg, and to surrender the city and garrison under my command, by marching out with my colors and arms and stacking them in front of my present lines—after which you will take possession; officers to retain their side-arms and personal property, and the rights and property of citizens to be respected.”
Grant rejoined, declining to fetter himself by any stipulations in regard to citizens; limiting Confederate officers to their private baggage, side-arms, and one horse each to mounted officers, and giving him till nine o’clock to consider the matter.
On these terms the surrender took place early on July 4th. By three o’clock our troops had taken possession of the city and all public stores, the gunboats and transports had landed at the levee, and the troops charged with keeping order had gone into their camps. The Confederates were retained as prisoners for six or eight days, till their paroles could be made out and properly delivered, during which time they drew their subsistence from the National stores.
Grant’s losses during the entire campaign were 943 killed, 7,095 wounded, and 537 missing; total, 8,575, of whom 4,236 were killed or wounded before Vicksburg. The Confederates sur rendered 21,000 effective men, and 6ooo wounded in hospital, besides more than 120 guns of all calibers, with many thousand small-arms.
As soon as it was known that Vicksburg would surrender, Grant reinforced Sherman, and sent him to drive off Johnston. The march was begun promptly, and pushed with celerity to Jackson, whither Johnston fled. He was dislodged from there, however, in a short time, and continued his retreat toward Meridian. Sherman did not follow him further, on account of the exceedingly hot weather and the great scarcity of water in the country east of Pearl River. Grant, therefore, permitted Sher man to return to the Black River, and to go into camp with his own corps, sending the rest of his forces to their respective corps.
Immediately after the fall of Vicksburg, Grant sent Herron’s division to reinforce Banks at Port Hudson, which surrendered on July 8th; thus gaining ten thousand more prisoners and fifty guns. These were also fruits of the great campaign which Grant had just finished, and should be credited to him almost as much as to Banks.
Ransom was sent to Natchez to break up the business of bringing cattle from Texas for the support of the Confederate army. That active officer did his duty admirably, capturing about five thousand head, two thousand of which were sent to Banks, and the others issued to the Army of the Tennessee.
This ends our series of passages on Fall of Vicksburg by Charles A. Dana and James H. Wilson from their book A Campaign Life of U. S. Grant published in 1868. This blog features short and lengthy pieces on all aspects of our shared past. Here are selections from the great historians who may be forgotten (and whose work have fallen into public domain) as well as links to the most up-to-date developments in the field of history and of course, original material from yours truly, Jack Le Moine. – A little bit of everything historical is here.
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