Part 7 out of 16

campaign. I do not claim to quote Sherman's language; but the
substance only. My reason for mentioning this incident will
appear further on.

McPherson, after crossing the Big Black, came into the Jackson
and Vicksburg road which Sherman was on, but to his rear. He
arrived at night near the lines of the enemy, and went into
camp. McClernand moved by the direct road near the railroad to
Mount Albans, and then turned to the left and put his troops on
the road from Baldwin's ferry to Vicksburg. This brought him
south of McPherson. I now had my three corps up the works built
for the defence of Vicksburg, on three roads--one to the north,
one to the east and one to the south-east of the city. By the
morning of the 19th the investment was as complete as my limited
number of troops would allow. Sherman was on the right, and
covered the high ground from where it overlooked the Yazoo as
far south-east as his troops would extend. McPherson joined on
to his left, and occupied ground on both sides of the Jackson
road. McClernand took up the ground to his left and extended as
far towards Warrenton as he could, keeping a continuous line.

On the 19th there was constant skirmishing with the enemy while
we were getting into better position. The enemy had been much
demoralized by his defeats at Champion's Hill and the Big Black,
and I believed he would not make much effort to hold Vicksburg.
Accordingly, at two o'clock I ordered an assault. It resulted
in securing more advanced positions for all our troops where
they were fully covered from the fire of the enemy.

The 20th and 21st were spent in strengthening our position and
in making roads in rear of the army, from Yazoo River or
Chickasaw Bayou. Most of the army had now been for three weeks
with only five days' rations issued by the commissary. They had
an abundance of food, however, but began to feel the want of
bread. I remember that in passing around to the left of the
line on the 21st, a soldier, recognizing me, said in rather a
low voice, but yet so that I heard him, "Hard tack." In a
moment the cry was taken up all along the line, "Hard tack! Hard
tack!" I told the men nearest to me that we had been engaged ever
since the arrival of the troops in building a road over which to
supply them with everything they needed. The cry was instantly
changed to cheers. By the night of the 21st all the troops had
full rations issued to them. The bread and coffee were highly

I now determined on a second assault. Johnston was in my rear,
only fifty miles away, with an army not much inferior in numbers
to the one I had with me, and I knew he was being reinforced.
There was danger of his coming to the assistance of Pemberton,
and after all he might defeat my anticipations of capturing the
garrison if, indeed, he did not prevent the capture of the
city. The immediate capture of Vicksburg would save sending me
the reinforcements which were so much wanted elsewhere, and
would set free the army under me to drive Johnston from the
State. But the first consideration of all was--the troops
believed they could carry the works in their front, and would
not have worked so patiently in the trenches if they had not
been allowed to try.

The attack was ordered to commence on all parts of the line at
ten o'clock A.M. on the 22d with a furious cannonade from every
battery in position. All the corps commanders set their time by
mine so that all might open the engagement at the same minute.
The attack was gallant, and portions of each of the three corps
succeeded in getting up to the very parapets of the enemy and in
planting their battle flags upon them; but at no place were we
able to enter. General McClernand reported that he had gained
the enemy's intrenchments at several points, and wanted
reinforcements. I occupied a position from which I believed I
could see as well as he what took place in his front, and I did
not see the success he reported. But his request for
reinforcements being repeated I could not ignore it, and sent
him Quinby's division of the 17th corps. Sherman and McPherson
were both ordered to renew their assaults as a diversion in
favor of McClernand. This last attack only served to increase
our casualties without giving any benefit whatever. As soon as
it was dark our troops that had reached the enemy's line and
been obliged to remain there for security all day, were
withdrawn; and thus ended the last assault upon Vicksburg.



I now determined upon a regular siege--to "out-camp the enemy,"
as it were, and to incur no more losses. The experience of the
22d convinced officers and men that this was best, and they went
to work on the defences and approaches with a will. With the
navy holding the river, the investment of Vicksburg was
complete. As long as we could hold our position the enemy was
limited in supplies of food, men and munitions of war to what
they had on hand. These could not last always.

The crossing of troops at Bruinsburg commenced April 30th. On
the 18th of May the army was in rear of Vicksburg. On the 19th,
just twenty days after the crossing, the city was completely
invested and an assault had been made: five distinct battles
(besides continuous skirmishing) had been fought and won by the
Union forces; the capital of the State had fallen and its
arsenals, military manufactories and everything useful for
military purposes had been destroyed; an average of about one
hundred and eighty miles had been marched by the troops engaged;
but five days' rations had been issued, and no forage; over six
thousand prisoners had been captured, and as many more of the
enemy had been killed or wounded; twenty-seven heavy cannon and
sixty-one field-pieces had fallen into our hands; and four
hundred miles of the river, from Vicksburg to Port Hudson, had
become ours. The Union force that had crossed the Mississippi
River up to this time was less than forty-three thousand men.
One division of these, Blair's, only arrived in time to take
part in the battle of Champion's Hill, but was not engaged
there; and one brigade, Ransom's of McPherson's corps, reached
the field after the battle. The enemy had at Vicksburg, Grand
Gulf, Jackson, and on the roads between these places, over sixty
thousand men. They were in their own country, where no rear
guards were necessary. The country is admirable for defence,
but difficult for the conduct of an offensive campaign. All
their troops had to be met. We were fortunate, to say the
least, in meeting them in detail: at Port Gibson seven or eight
thousand; at Raymond, five thousand; at Jackson, from eight to
eleven thousand; at Champion's Hill, twenty-five thousand; at
the Big Black, four thousand. A part of those met at Jackson
were all that was left of those encountered at Raymond. They
were beaten in detail by a force smaller than their own, upon
their own ground. Our loss up to this time was:


Port Gibson..... 131 719 25
South Fork Bayou Pierre..... .. 1 ..
Skirmishes, May 3 ..... 1 9 ..
Fourteen Mile Creek..... 6 24 ..
Raymond............... 66 339 39
Jackson..... 42 251 7
Champion's Hill..... 410 1,844 187
Big Black..... 39 237 3
Bridgeport..... .. 1 ..
Total..... 695 3,425 259

Of the wounded many were but slightly so, and continued on
duty. Not half of them were disabled for any length of time.

After the unsuccessful assault of the 22d the work of the
regular siege began. Sherman occupied the right starting from
the river above Vicksburg, McPherson the centre (McArthur's
division now with him) and McClernand the left, holding the road
south to Warrenton. Lauman's division arrived at this time and
was placed on the extreme left of the line.

In the interval between the assaults of the 19th and 22d, roads
had been completed from the Yazoo River and Chickasaw Bayou,
around the rear of the army, to enable us to bring up supplies
of food and ammunition; ground had been selected and cleared on
which the troops were to be encamped, and tents and cooking
utensils were brought up. The troops had been without these
from the time of crossing the Mississippi up to this time. All
was now ready for the pick and spade. Prentiss and Hurlbut were
ordered to send forward every man that could be spared. Cavalry
especially was wanted to watch the fords along the Big Black,
and to observe Johnston. I knew that Johnston was receiving
reinforcements from Bragg, who was confronting Rosecrans in
Tennessee. Vicksburg was so important to the enemy that I
believed he would make the most strenuous efforts to raise the
siege, even at the risk of losing ground elsewhere.

My line was more than fifteen miles long, extending from Haines'
Bluff to Vicksburg, thence to Warrenton. The line of the enemy
was about seven. In addition to this, having an enemy at Canton
and Jackson, in our rear, who was being constantly reinforced, we
required a second line of defence facing the other way. I had
not troops enough under my command to man these. General
Halleck appreciated the situation and, without being asked,
forwarded reinforcements with all possible dispatch.

The ground about Vicksburg is admirable for defence. On the
north it is about two hundred feet above the Mississippi River
at the highest point and very much cut up by the washing rains;
the ravines were grown up with cane and underbrush, while the
sides and tops were covered with a dense forest. Farther south
the ground flattens out somewhat, and was in cultivation. But
here, too, it was cut up by ravines and small streams. The
enemy's line of defence followed the crest of a ridge from the
river north of the city eastward, then southerly around to the
Jackson road, full three miles back of the city; thence in a
southwesterly direction to the river. Deep ravines of the
description given lay in front of these defences. As there is a
succession of gullies, cut out by rains along the side of the
ridge, the line was necessarily very irregular. To follow each
of these spurs with intrenchments, so as to command the slopes
on either side, would have lengthened their line very much.
Generally therefore, or in many places, their line would run
from near the head of one gully nearly straight to the head of
another, and an outer work triangular in shape, generally open
in the rear, was thrown up on the point; with a few men in this
outer work they commanded the approaches to the main line

The work to be done, to make our position as strong against the
enemy as his was against us, was very great. The problem was
also complicated by our wanting our line as near that of the
enemy as possible. We had but four engineer officers with us.
Captain Prime, of the Engineer Corps, was the chief, and the
work at the beginning was mainly directed by him. His health
soon gave out, when he was succeeded by Captain Comstock, also
of the Engineer Corps. To provide assistants on such a long
line I directed that all officers who had graduated at West
Point, where they had necessarily to study military engineering,
should in addition to their other duties assist in the work.

The chief quartermaster and the chief commissary were
graduates. The chief commissary, now the Commissary-General of
the Army, begged off, however, saying that there was nothing in
engineering that he was good for unless he would do for a
sap-roller. As soldiers require rations while working in the
ditches as well as when marching and fighting, and as we would
be sure to lose him if he was used as a sap-roller, I let him
off. The general is a large man; weighs two hundred and twenty
pounds, and is not tall.

We had no siege guns except six thirty-two pounders, and there
were none at the West to draw from. Admiral Porter, however,
supplied us with a battery of navy-guns of large calibre, and
with these, and the field artillery used in the campaign, the
siege began. The first thing to do was to get the artillery in
batteries where they would occupy commanding positions; then
establish the camps, under cover from the fire of the enemy but
as near up as possible; and then construct rifle-pits and
covered ways, to connect the entire command by the shortest
route. The enemy did not harass us much while we were
constructing our batteries. Probably their artillery ammunition
was short; and their infantry was kept down by our sharpshooters,
who were always on the alert and ready to fire at a head whenever
it showed itself above the rebel works.

In no place were our lines more than six hundred yards from the
enemy. It was necessary, therefore, to cover our men by
something more than the ordinary parapet. To give additional
protection sand bags, bullet-proof, were placed along the tops
of the parapets far enough apart to make loop-holes for
musketry. On top of these, logs were put. By these means the
men were enabled to walk about erect when off duty, without fear
of annoyance from sharpshooters. The enemy used in their defence
explosive musket-balls, no doubt thinking that, bursting over our
men in the trenches, they would do some execution; but I do not
remember a single case where a man was injured by a piece of one
of these shells. When they were hit and the ball exploded, the
wound was terrible. In these cases a solid ball would have hit
as well. Their use is barbarous, because they produce increased
suffering without any corresponding advantage to those using

The enemy could not resort to our method to protect their men,
because we had an inexhaustible supply of ammunition to draw
upon and used it freely. Splinters from the timber would have
made havoc among the men behind.

There were no mortars with the besiegers, except what the navy
had in front of the city; but wooden ones were made by taking
logs of the toughest wood that could be found, boring them out
for six or twelve pound shells and binding them with strong iron
bands. These answered as cochorns, and shells were successfully
thrown from them into the trenches of the enemy.

The labor of building the batteries and intrenching was largely
done by the pioneers, assisted by negroes who came within our
lines and who were paid for their work; but details from the
troops had often to be made. The work was pushed forward as
rapidly as possible, and when an advanced position was secured
and covered from the fire of the enemy the batteries were
advanced. By the 3oth of June there were two hundred and twenty
guns in position, mostly light field-pieces, besides a battery of
heavy guns belonging to, manned and commanded by the navy. We
were now as strong for defence against the garrison of Vicksburg
as they were against us; but I knew that Johnston was in our
rear, and was receiving constant reinforcements from the east.
He had at this time a larger force than I had had at any time
prior to the battle of Champion's Hill.

As soon as the news of the arrival of the Union army behind
Vicksburg reached the North, floods of visitors began to pour
in. Some came to gratify curiosity; some to see sons or
brothers who had passed through the terrible ordeal; members of
the Christian and Sanitary Associations came to minister to the
wants of the sick and the wounded. Often those coming to see a
son or brother would bring a dozen or two of poultry. They did
not know how little the gift would be appreciated. Many of the
soldiers had lived so much on chickens, ducks and turkeys
without bread during the march, that the sight of poultry, if
they could get bacon, almost took away their appetite. But the
intention was good.

Among the earliest arrivals was the Governor of Illinois, with
most of the State officers. I naturally wanted to show them
what there was of most interest. In Sherman's front the ground
was the most broken and most wooded, and more was to be seen
without exposure. I therefore took them to Sherman's
headquarters and presented them. Before starting out to look at
the lines--possibly while Sherman's horse was being
saddled--there were many questions asked about the late
campaign, about which the North had been so imperfectly
informed. There was a little knot around Sherman and another
around me, and I heard Sherman repeating, in the most animated
manner, what he had said to me when we first looked down from
Walnut Hills upon the land below on the 18th of May, adding:
"Grant is entitled to every bit of the credit for the campaign;
I opposed it. I wrote him a letter about it." But for this
speech it is not likely that Sherman's opposition would have
ever been heard of. His untiring energy and great efficiency
during the campaign entitle him to a full share of all the
credit due for its success. He could not have done more if the
plan had been his own. (*13)

On the 26th of May I sent Blair's division up the Yazoo to drive
out a force of the enemy supposed to be between the Big Black and
the Yazoo. The country was rich and full of supplies of both
food and forage. Blair was instructed to take all of it. The
cattle were to be driven in for the use of our army, and the
food and forage to be consumed by our troops or destroyed by
fire; all bridges were to be destroyed, and the roads rendered
as nearly impassable as possible. Blair went forty-five miles
and was gone almost a week. His work was effectually done. I
requested Porter at this time to send the marine brigade, a
floating nondescript force which had been assigned to his
command and which proved very useful, up to Haines' Bluff to
hold it until reinforcements could be sent.

On the 26th I also received a letter from Banks, asking me to
reinforce him with ten thousand men at Port Hudson. Of course I
could not comply with his request, nor did I think he needed
them. He was in no danger of an attack by the garrison in his
front, and there was no army organizing in his rear to raise the

On the 3d of June a brigade from Hurlbut's command arrived,
General Kimball commanding. It was sent to Mechanicsburg, some
miles north-east of Haines' Bluff and about midway between the
Big Black and the Yazoo. A brigade of Blair's division and
twelve hundred cavalry had already, on Blair's return from the
Yazoo, been sent to the same place with instructions to watch
the crossings of the Big Black River, to destroy the roads in
his (Blair's) front, and to gather or destroy all supplies.

On the 7th of June our little force of colored and white troops
across the Mississippi, at Milliken's Bend, were attacked by
about 3,000 men from Richard Taylor's trans-Mississippi
command. With the aid of the gunboats they were speedily
repelled. I sent Mower's brigade over with instructions to
drive the enemy beyond the Tensas Bayou; and we had no further
trouble in that quarter during the siege. This was the first
important engagement of the war in which colored troops were
under fire. These men were very raw, having all been enlisted
since the beginning of the siege, but they behaved well.

On the 8th of June a full division arrived from Hurlbut's
command, under General Sooy Smith. It was sent immediately to
Haines' Bluff, and General C. C. Washburn was assigned to the
general command at that point.

On the 11th a strong division arrived from the Department of the
Missouri under General Herron, which was placed on our left. This
cut off the last possible chance of communication between
Pemberton and Johnston, as it enabled Lauman to close up on
McClernand's left while Herron intrenched from Lauman to the
water's edge. At this point the water recedes a few hundred
yards from the high land. Through this opening no doubt the
Confederate commanders had been able to get messengers under
cover of night.

On the 14th General Parke arrived with two divisions of
Burnside's corps, and was immediately dispatched to Haines'
Bluff. These latter troops--Herron's and Parke's--were the
reinforcements already spoken of sent by Halleck in anticipation
of their being needed. They arrived none too soon.

I now had about seventy-one thousand men. More than half were
disposed across the peninsula, between the Yazoo at Haines'
Bluff and the Big Black, with the division of Osterhaus watching
the crossings of the latter river farther south and west from the
crossing of the Jackson road to Baldwin's ferry and below.

There were eight roads leading into Vicksburg, along which and
their immediate sides, our work was specially pushed and
batteries advanced; but no commanding point within range of the
enemy was neglected.

On the 17th I received a letter from General Sherman and one on
the 18th from General McPherson, saying that their respective
commands had complained to them of a fulsome, congratulatory
order published by General McClernand to the 13th corps, which
did great injustice to the other troops engaged in the
campaign. This order had been sent North and published, and now
papers containing it had reached our camps. The order had not
been heard of by me, and certainly not by troops outside of
McClernand's command until brought in this way. I at once wrote
to McClernand, directing him to send me a copy of this order. He
did so, and I at once relieved him from the command of the 13th
army corps and ordered him back to Springfield, Illinois. The
publication of his order in the press was in violation of War
Department orders and also of mine.



On the 22d of June positive information was received that
Johnston had crossed the Big Black River for the purpose of
attacking our rear, to raise the siege and release Pemberton.
The correspondence between Johnston and Pemberton shows that all
expectation of holding Vicksburg had by this time passed from
Johnston's mind. I immediately ordered Sherman to the command
of all the forces from Haines' Bluff to the Big Black River.
This amounted now to quite half the troops about Vicksburg.
Besides these, Herron and A. J. Smith's divisions were ordered
to hold themselves in readiness to reinforce Sherman. Haines'
Bluff had been strongly fortified on the land side, and on all
commanding points from there to the Big Black at the railroad
crossing batteries had been constructed. The work of connecting
by rifle-pits where this was not already done, was an easy task
for the troops that were to defend them.

We were now looking west, besieging Pemberton, while we were
also looking east to defend ourselves against an expected siege
by Johnston. But as against the garrison of Vicksburg we were
as substantially protected as they were against us. Where we
were looking east and north we were strongly fortified, and on
the defensive. Johnston evidently took in the situation and
wisely, I think, abstained from making an assault on us because
it would simply have inflicted loss on both sides without
accomplishing any result. We were strong enough to have taken
the offensive against him; but I did not feel disposed to take
any risk of losing our hold upon Pemberton's army, while I would
have rejoiced at the opportunity of defending ourselves against
an attack by Johnston.

From the 23d of May the work of fortifying and pushing forward
our position nearer to the enemy had been steadily
progressing. At three points on the Jackson road, in front of
Leggett's brigade, a sap was run up to the enemy's parapet, and
by the 25th of June we had it undermined and the mine charged.
The enemy had countermined, but did not succeed in reaching our
mine. At this particular point the hill on which the rebel work
stands rises abruptly. Our sap ran close up to the outside of
the enemy's parapet. In fact this parapet was also our
protection. The soldiers of the two sides occasionally
conversed pleasantly across this barrier; sometimes they
exchanged the hard bread of the Union soldiers for the tobacco
of the Confederates; at other times the enemy threw over
hand-grenades, and often our men, catching them in their hands,
returned them.

Our mine had been started some distance back down the hill;
consequently when it had extended as far as the parapet it was
many feet below it. This caused the failure of the enemy in his
search to find and destroy it. On the 25th of June at three
o'clock, all being ready, the mine was exploded. A heavy
artillery fire all along the line had been ordered to open with
the explosion. The effect was to blow the top of the hill off
and make a crater where it stood. The breach was not sufficient
to enable us to pass a column of attack through. In fact, the
enemy having failed to reach our mine had thrown up a line
farther back, where most of the men guarding that point were
placed. There were a few men, however, left at the advance
line, and others working in the countermine, which was still
being pushed to find ours. All that were there were thrown into
the air, some of them coming down on our side, still alive. I
remember one colored man, who had been under ground at work when
the explosion took place, who was thrown to our side. He was not
much hurt, but terribly frightened. Some one asked him how high
he had gone up. "Dun no, massa, but t'ink 'bout t'ree mile,"
was his reply. General Logan commanded at this point and took
this colored man to his quarters, where he did service to the
end of the siege.

As soon as the explosion took place the crater was seized by two
regiments of our troops who were near by, under cover, where they
had been placed for the express purpose. The enemy made a
desperate effort to expel them, but failed, and soon retired
behind the new line. From here, however, they threw
hand-grenades, which did some execution. The compliment was
returned by our men, but not with so much effect. The enemy
could lay their grenades on the parapet, which alone divided the
contestants, and roll them down upon us; while from our side they
had to be thrown over the parapet, which was at considerable
elevation. During the night we made efforts to secure our
position in the crater against the missiles of the enemy, so as
to run trenches along the outer base of their parapet, right and
left; but the enemy continued throwing their grenades, and
brought boxes of field ammunition (shells), the fuses of which
they would light with portfires, and throw them by hand into our
ranks. We found it impossible to continue this work. Another
mine was consequently started which was exploded on the 1st of
July, destroying an entire rebel redan, killing and wounding a
considerable number of its occupants and leaving an immense
chasm where it stood. No attempt to charge was made this time,
the experience of the 25th admonishing us. Our loss in the
first affair was about thirty killed and wounded. The enemy
must have lost more in the two explosions than we did in the
first. We lost none in the second.

From this time forward the work of mining and pushing our
position nearer to the enemy was prosecuted with vigor, and I
determined to explode no more mines until we were ready to
explode a number at different points and assault immediately
after. We were up now at three different points, one in front
of each corps, to where only the parapet of the enemy divided us.

At this time an intercepted dispatch from Johnston to Pemberton
informed me that Johnston intended to make a determined attack
upon us in order to relieve the garrison at Vicksburg. I knew
the garrison would make no formidable effort to relieve
itself. The picket lines were so close to each other--where
there was space enough between the lines to post pickets--that
the men could converse. On the 21st of June I was informed,
through this means, that Pemberton was preparing to escape, by
crossing to the Louisiana side under cover of night; that he had
employed workmen in making boats for that purpose; that the men
had been canvassed to ascertain if they would make an assault on
the "Yankees" to cut their way out; that they had refused, and
almost mutinied, because their commander would not surrender and
relieve their sufferings, and had only been pacified by the
assurance that boats enough would be finished in a week to carry
them all over. The rebel pickets also said that houses in the
city had been pulled down to get material to build these boats
with. Afterwards this story was verified: on entering the city
we found a large number of very rudely constructed boats.

All necessary steps were at once taken to render such an attempt
abortive. Our pickets were doubled; Admiral Porter was notified,
so that the river might be more closely watched; material was
collected on the west bank of the river to be set on fire and
light up the river if the attempt was made; and batteries were
established along the levee crossing the peninsula on the
Louisiana side. Had the attempt been made the garrison of
Vicksburg would have been drowned, or made prisoners on the
Louisiana side. General Richard Taylor was expected on the west
bank to co-operate in this movement, I believe, but he did not
come, nor could he have done so with a force sufficient to be of
service. The Mississippi was now in our possession from its
source to its mouth, except in the immediate front of Vicksburg
and of Port Hudson. We had nearly exhausted the country, along
a line drawn from Lake Providence to opposite Bruinsburg. The
roads west were not of a character to draw supplies over for any
considerable force.

By the 1st of July our approaches had reached the enemy's ditch
at a number of places. At ten points we could move under cover
to within from five to one hundred yards of the enemy. Orders
were given to make all preparations for assault on the 6th of
July. The debouches were ordered widened to afford easy egress,
while the approaches were also to be widened to admit the troops
to pass through four abreast. Plank, and bags filled with
cotton packed in tightly, were ordered prepared, to enable the
troops to cross the ditches.

On the night of the 1st of July Johnston was between Brownsville
and the Big Black, and wrote Pemberton from there that about the
7th of the month an attempt would be made to create a diversion
to enable him to cut his way out. Pemberton was a prisoner
before this message reached him.

On July 1st Pemberton, seeing no hope of outside relief,
addressed the following letter to each of his four division

"Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised, or supplies are thrown
in, it will become necessary very shortly to evacuate the
place. I see no prospect of the former, and there are many
great, if not insuperable obstacles in the way of the latter.
You are, therefore, requested to inform me with as little delay
as possible, as to the condition of your troops and their
ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary
to accomplish a successful evacuation."

Two of his generals suggested surrender, and the other two
practically did the same. They expressed the opinion that an
attempt to evacuate would fail. Pemberton had previously got a
message to Johnston suggesting that he should try to negotiate
with me for a release of the garrison with their arms. Johnston
replied that it would be a confession of weakness for him to do
so; but he authorized Pemberton to use his name in making such
an arrangement.

On the 3d about ten o'clock A.M. white flags appeared on a
portion of the rebel works. Hostilities along that part of the
line ceased at once. Soon two persons were seen coming towards
our lines bearing a white flag. They proved to be General
Bowen, a division commander, and Colonel Montgomery,
aide-de-camp to Pemberton, bearing the following letter to me:

"I have the honor to propose an armistice for--hours, with the
view to arranging terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg. To
this end, if agreeable to you, I will appoint three
commissioners, to meet a like number to be named by yourself at
such place and hour to-day as you may find convenient. I make
this proposition to save the further effusion of blood, which
must otherwise be shed to a frightful extent, feeling myself
fully able to maintain my position for a yet indefinite
period. This communication will be handed you under a flag of
truce, by Major-General John S. Bowen."

It was a glorious sight to officers and soldiers on the line
where these white flags were visible, and the news soon spread
to all parts of the command. The troops felt that their long
and weary marches, hard fighting, ceaseless watching by night
and day, in a hot climate, exposure to all sorts of weather, to
diseases and, worst of all, to the gibes of many Northern papers
that came to them saying all their suffering was in vain, that
Vicksburg would never be taken, were at last at an end and the
Union sure to be saved.

Bowen was received by General A. J. Smith, and asked to see
me. I had been a neighbor of Bowen's in Missouri, and knew him
well and favorably before the war; but his request was
refused. He then suggested that I should meet Pemberton. To
this I sent a verbal message saying that, if Pemberton desired
it, I would meet him in front of McPherson's corps at three
o'clock that afternoon. I also sent the following written reply
to Pemberton's letter:

"Your note of this date is just received, proposing an armistice
for several hours, for the purpose of arranging terms of
capitulation through commissioners, to be appointed, etc. The
useless effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course
can be ended at any time you may choose, by the unconditional
surrender of the city and 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 to prisoners of war. I do
not favor the proposition of appointing commissioners to arrange
the terms of capitulation, because I have no terms other than
those indicated above."

At three o'clock Pemberton appeared at the point suggested in my
verbal message, accompanied by the same officers who had borne
his letter of the morning. Generals Ord, McPherson, Logan and
A. J. Smith, and several officers of my staff, accompanied me.
Our place of meeting was on a hillside within a few hundred feet
of the rebel lines. Near by stood a stunted oak-tree, which was
made historical by the event. It was but a short time before
the last vestige of its body, root and limb had disappeared, the
fragments taken as trophies. Since then the same tree has
furnished as many cords of wood, in the shape of trophies, as
"The True Cross."

Pemberton and I had served in the same division during part of
the Mexican War. I knew him very well therefore, and greeted
him as an old acquaintance. He soon asked what terms I proposed
to give his army if it surrendered. My answer was the same as
proposed in my reply to his letter. Pemberton then said, rather
snappishly, "The conference might as well end," and turned
abruptly as if to leave. I said, "Very well." General Bowen, I
saw, was very anxious that the surrender should be consummated.
His manner and remarks while Pemberton and I were talking,
showed this. He now proposed that he and one of our generals
should have a conference. I had no objection to this, as
nothing could be made binding upon me that they might propose.
Smith and Bowen accordingly had a conference, during which
Pemberton and I, moving a short distance away towards the
enemy's lines were in conversation. After a while Bowen
suggested that the Confederate army should be allowed to march
out with the honors of war, carrying their small arms and field
artillery. This was promptly and unceremoniously rejected. The
interview here ended, I agreeing, however, to send a letter
giving final terms by ten o'clock that night.

Word was sent to Admiral Porter soon after the correspondence
with Pemberton commenced, so that hostilities might be stopped
on the part of both army and navy. It was agreed on my paging
with Pemberton that they should not be renewed until our
correspondence ceased.

When I returned to my headquarters I sent for all the corps and
division commanders with the army immediately confronting
Vicksburg. Half the army was from eight to twelve miles off,
waiting for Johnston. I informed them of the contents of
Pemberton's letters, of my reply and the substance of the
interview, and that I was ready to hear any suggestion; but
would hold the power of deciding entirely in my own hands. This
was the nearest approach to a "council of war" I ever held.
Against the general, and almost unanimous judgment of the
council I sent the following letter:

"In conformity with agreement of this afternoon, I will submit
the following proposition 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 eight A.M. to-morrow. As soon as rolls can be
made out, and paroles be signed by officers and men, you will be
allowed to march out of our lines, the officers taking with them
their side-arms and clothing, and the field, staff 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. Thirty wagons also,
counting two two-horse or mule teams as one, 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
soldiers as fast as they become able to travel. The paroles for
these latter must be signed, however, whilst officers present are
authorized to sign the roll of prisoners."

By the terms of the cartel then in force, prisoners captured by
either army were required to be forwarded as soon as possible to
either Aiken's landing below Dutch Gap on the James River, or to
Vicksburg, there to be exchanged, or paroled until they could be
exchanged. There was a Confederate commissioner at Vicksburg,
authorized to make the exchange. I did not propose to take him
a prisoner, but to leave him free to perform the functions of
his office. Had I insisted upon an unconditional surrender
there would have been over thirty thousand men to transport to
Cairo, very much to the inconvenience of the army on the
Mississippi. Thence the prisoners would have had to be
transported by rail to Washington or Baltimore; thence again by
steamer to Aiken's--all at very great expense. At Aiken's they
would have had to be paroled, because the Confederates did not
have Union prisoners to give in exchange. Then again
Pemberton's army was largely composed of men whose homes were in
the South-west; I knew many of them were tired of the war and
would get home just as soon as they could. A large number of
them had voluntarily come into our lines during the siege, and
requested to be sent north where they could get employment until
the war was over and they could go to their homes.

Late at night I received the following reply to my last letter:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
communication of this date, proposing terms of capitulation for
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 defence of Vicksburg, I have to submit the
following amendments, which, if acceded to by you, will perfect
the agreement between us. At ten o'clock A.M. 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, 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."

This was received after midnight. My reply was as follows:

"I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your
communication of 3d July. The amendment proposed by you cannot
be acceded to in full. It will be necessary to furnish every
officer and man with a parole signed by himself, which, with the
completion of the roll of prisoners, will necessarily take some
time. Again, I can make no stipulations with regard to the
treatment of citizens and their private property. While I do
not propose to cause them any undue annoyance or loss, I cannot
consent to leave myself under any restraint by stipulations. The
property which officers will be allowed to take with them will be
as stated in my proposition of last evening; that is, officers
will be allowed their private baggage and side-arms, and mounted
officers one horse each. If you mean by your proposition for
each brigade to march to the front of the lines now occupied by
it, and stack arms at ten o'clock A.M., and then return to the
inside and there remain as prisoners until properly paroled, I
will make no objection to it. Should no notification be
received of your acceptance of my terms by nine o'clock A.M. I
shall regard them as having been rejected, and shall act
accordingly. Should these terms be accepted, white flags should
be displayed along your lines to prevent such of my troops as may
not have been notified, from firing upon your men."

Pemberton promptly accepted these terms.

During the siege there had been a good deal of friendly sparring
between the soldiers of the two armies, on picket and where the
lines were close together. All rebels were known as "Johnnies,"
all Union troops as "Yanks." Often "Johnny" would call: "Well,
Yank, when are you coming into town?" The reply was sometimes:
"We propose to celebrate the 4th of July there." Sometimes it
would be: "We always treat our prisoners with kindness and do
not want to hurt them;" or, "We are holding you as prisoners of
war while you are feeding yourselves." The garrison, from the
commanding general down, undoubtedly expected an assault on the
fourth. They knew from the temper of their men it would be
successful when made; and that would be a greater humiliation
than to surrender. Besides it would be attended with severe
loss to them.

The Vicksburg paper, which we received regularly through the
courtesy of the rebel pickets, said prior to the fourth, in
speaking of the "Yankee" boast that they would take dinner in
Vicksburg that day, that the best receipt for cooking a rabbit
was "First ketch your rabbit." The paper at this time and for
some time previous was printed on the plain side of wall
paper. The last number was issued on the fourth and announced
that we had "caught our rabbit."

I have no doubt that Pemberton commenced his correspondence on
the third with a two-fold purpose: first, to avoid an assault,
which he knew would be successful, and second, to prevent the
capture taking place on the great national holiday, the
anniversary of the Declaration of American Independence. Holding
out for better terms as he did he defeated his aim in the latter

At the appointed hour the garrison of Vicksburg marched out of
their works and formed line in front, stacked arms and marched
back in good order. Our whole army present witnessed this scene
without cheering. Logan's division, which had approached nearest
the rebel works, was the first to march in; and the flag of one
of the regiments of his division was soon floating over the
court-house. Our soldiers were no sooner inside the lines than
the two armies began to fraternize. Our men had had full
rations from the time the siege commenced, to the close. The
enemy had been suffering, particularly towards the last. I
myself saw our men taking bread from their haversacks and giving
it to the enemy they had so recently been engaged in starving
out. It was accepted with avidity and with thanks.

Pemberton says in his report:

"If it should be asked why the 4th of July was selected as the
day for surrender, the answer is obvious. I believed that upon
that day I should obtain better terms. Well aware of the vanity
of our foe, I knew they would attach vast importance to the
entrance on the 4th of July into the stronghold of the great
river, and that, to gratify their national vanity, they would
yield then what could not be extorted from them at any other

This does not support my view of his reasons for selecting the
day he did for surrendering. But it must be recollected that
his first letter asking terms was received about 10 o'clock
A.M., July 3d. It then could hardly be expected that it would
take twenty-four hours to effect a surrender. He knew that
Johnston was in our rear for the purpose of raising the siege,
and he naturally would want to hold out as long as he could. He
knew his men would not resist an assault, and one was expected on
the fourth. In our interview he told me he had rations enough to
hold out for some time--my recollection is two weeks. It was
this statement that induced me to insert in the terms that he
was to draw rations for his men from his own supplies.

On the 4th of July General Holmes, with an army of eight or nine
thousand men belonging to the trans-Mississippi department, made
an attack upon Helena, Arkansas. He was totally defeated by
General Prentiss, who was holding Helena with less than
forty-two hundred soldiers. Holmes reported his loss at 1,636,
of which 173 were killed; but as Prentiss buried 400, Holmes
evidently understated his losses. The Union loss was 57 killed,
127 wounded, and between 30 and 40 missing. This was the last
effort on the part of the Confederacy to raise the siege of

On the third, as soon as negotiations were commenced, I notified
Sherman and directed him to be ready to take the offensive
against Johnston, drive him out of the State and destroy his
army if he could. Steele and Ord were directed at the same time
to be in readiness to join Sherman as soon as the surrender took
place. Of this Sherman was notified.

I rode into Vicksburg with the troops, and went to the river to
exchange congratulations with the navy upon our joint victory.
At that time I found that many of the citizens had been living
under ground. The ridges upon which Vicksburg is built, and
those back to the Big Black, are composed of a deep yellow clay
of great tenacity. Where roads and streets are cut through,
perpendicular banks are left and stand as well as if composed of
stone. The magazines of the enemy were made by running
passage-ways into this clay at places where there were deep
cuts. Many citizens secured places of safety for their families
by carving out rooms in these embankments. A door-way in these
cases would be cut in a high bank, starting from the level of
the road or street, and after running in a few feet a room of
the size required was carved out of the clay, the dirt being
removed by the door-way. In some instances I saw where two
rooms were cut out, for a single family, with a door-way in the
clay wall separating them. Some of these were carpeted and
furnished with considerable elaboration. In these the occupants
were fully secure from the shells of the navy, which were dropped
into the city night and dav without intermission.

I returned to my old headquarters outside in the afternoon, and
did not move into the town until the sixth. On the afternoon of
the fourth I sent Captain Wm. M. Dunn of my staff to Cairo, the
nearest point where the telegraph could be reached, with a
dispatch to the general-in-chief. It was as follows:

"The enemy surrendered this morning. The only terms allowed is
their parole as prisoners of war. This I regard as a great
advantage to us at this moment. It saves, probably, several
days in the capture, and leaves troops and transports ready for
immediate service. Sherman, with a large force, moves
immediately on Johnston, to drive him from the State. I will
send troops to the relief of Banks, and return the 9th army
corps to Burnside."

This news, with the victory at Gettysburg won the same day,
lifted a great load of anxiety from the minds of the President,
his Cabinet and the loyal people all over the North. The fate
of the Confederacy was sealed when Vicksburg fell. Much hard
fighting was to be done afterwards and many precious lives were
to be sacrificed; but the MORALE was with the supporters of the
Union ever after.

I at the same time wrote to General Banks informing him of the
fall and sending him a copy of the terms; also saying I would
send him all the troops he wanted to insure the capture of the
only foothold the enemy now had on the Mississippi River.
General Banks had a number of copies of this letter printed, or
at least a synopsis of it, and very soon a copy fell into the
hands of General Gardner, who was then in command of Port
Hudson. Gardner at once sent a letter to the commander of the
National forces saying that he had been informed of the
surrender of Vicksburg and telling how the information reached
him. He added that if this was true, it was useless for him to
hold out longer. General Banks gave him assurances that
Vicksburg had been surrendered, and General Gardner surrendered
unconditionally on the 9th of July. Port Hudson with nearly
6,000 prisoners, 51 guns, 5,000 small-arms and other stores fell
into the hands of the Union forces: from that day to the close
of the rebellion the Mississippi River, from its source to its
mouth, remained in the control of the National troops.

Pemberton and his army were kept in Vicksburg until the whole
could be paroled. The paroles were in duplicate, by
organization (one copy for each, Federals and Confederates), and
signed by the commanding officers of the companies or
regiments. Duplicates were also made for each soldier and
signed by each individually, one to be retained by the soldier
signing and one to be retained by us. Several hundred refused
to sign their paroles, preferring to be sent to the North as
prisoners to being sent back to fight again. Others again kept
out of the way, hoping to escape either alternative.

Pemberton appealed to me in person to compel these men to sign
their paroles, but I declined. It also leaked out that many of
the men who had signed their paroles, intended to desert and go
to their homes as soon as they got out of our lines. Pemberton
hearing this, again appealed to me to assist him. He wanted
arms for a battalion, to act as guards in keeping his men
together while being marched to a camp of instruction, where he
expected to keep them until exchanged. This request was also
declined. It was precisely what I expected and hoped that they
would do. I told him, however, that I would see that they
marched beyond our lines in good order. By the eleventh, just
one week after the surrender, the paroles were completed and the
Confederate garrison marched out. Many deserted, and fewer of
them were ever returned to the ranks to fight again than would
have been the case had the surrender been unconditional and the
prisoners sent to the James River to be paroled.

As soon as our troops took possession of the city guards were
established along the whole line of parapet, from the river
above to the river below. The prisoners were allowed to occupy
their old camps behind the intrenchments. No restraint was put
upon them, except by their own commanders. They were rationed
about as our own men, and from our supplies. The men of the two
armies fraternized as if they had been fighting for the same
cause. When they passed out of the works they had so long and
so gallantly defended, between lines of their late antagonists,
not a cheer went up, not a remark was made that would give
pain. Really, I believe there was a feeling of sadness just
then in the breasts of most of the Union soldiers at seeing the
dejection of their late antagonists.

The day before the departure the following order was issued:

"Paroled prisoners will be sent out of here to-morrow. They
will be authorized to cross at the railroad bridge, and move
from there to Edward's Ferry, (*14) and on by way of Raymond.
Instruct the commands to be orderly and quiet as these prisoners
pass, to make no offensive remarks, and not to harbor any who
fall out of ranks after they have passed."



The capture of Vicksburg, with its garrison, ordnance and
ordnance stores, and the successful battles fought in reaching
them, gave new spirit to the loyal people of the North. New
hopes for the final success of the cause of the Union were
inspired. The victory gained at Gettysburg, upon the same day,
added to their hopes. Now the Mississippi River was entirely in
the possession of the National troops; for the fall of Vicksburg
gave us Port Hudson at once. The army of northern Virginia was
driven out of Pennsylvania and forced back to about the same
ground it occupied in 1861. The Army of the Tennessee united
with the Army of the Gulf, dividing the Confederate States

The first dispatch I received from the government after the fall
of Vicksburg was in these words:

"I fear your paroling the prisoners at Vicksburg, without actual
delivery to a proper agent as required by the seventh article of
the cartel, may be construed into an absolute release, and that
the men will immediately be placed in the ranks of the enemy.
Such has been the case elsewhere. If these prisoners have not
been allowed to depart, you will detain them until further

Halleck did not know that they had already been delivered into
the hands of Major Watts, Confederate commissioner for the
exchange of prisoners.

At Vicksburg 31,600 prisoners were surrendered, together with
172 cannon about 60,000 muskets and a large amount of
ammunition. The small-arms of the enemy were far superior to
the bulk of ours. Up to this time our troops at the West had
been limited to the old United States flint-lock muskets changed
into percussion, or the Belgian musket imported early in the
war--almost as dangerous to the person firing it as to the one
aimed at--and a few new and improved arms. These were of many
different calibers, a fact that caused much trouble in
distributing ammunition during an engagement. The enemy had
generally new arms which had run the blockade and were of
uniform caliber. After the surrender I authorized all colonels
whose regiments were armed with inferior muskets, to place them
in the stack of captured arms and replace them with the
latter. A large number of arms turned in to the Ordnance
Department as captured, were thus arms that had really been used
by the Union army in the capture of Vicksburg.

In this narrative I have not made the mention I should like of
officers, dead and alive, whose services entitle them to special
mention. Neither have I made that mention of the navy which its
services deserve. Suffice it to say, the close of the siege of
Vicksburg found us with an army unsurpassed, in proportion to
its numbers, taken as a whole of officers and men. A military
education was acquired which no other school could have given.
Men who thought a company was quite enough for them to command
properly at the beginning, would have made good regimental or
brigade commanders; most of the brigade commanders were equal to
the command of a division, and one, Ransom, would have been equal
to the command of a corps at least. Logan and Crocker ended the
campaign fitted to command independent armies.

General F. P. Blair joined me at Milliken's Bend a full-fledged
general, without having served in a lower grade. He commanded a
division in the campaign. I had known Blair in Missouri, where I
had voted against him in 1858 when he ran for Congress. I knew
him as a frank, positive and generous man, true to his friends
even to a fault, but always a leader. I dreaded his coming; I
knew from experience that it was more difficult to command two
generals desiring to be leaders than it was to command one army
officered intelligently and with subordination. It affords me
the greatest pleasure to record now my agreeable disappointment
in respect to his character. There was no man braver than he,
nor was there any who obeyed all orders of his superior in rank
with more unquestioning alacrity. He was one man as a soldier,
another as a politician.

The navy under Porter was all it could be, during the entire
campaign. Without its assistance the campaign could not have
been successfully made with twice the number of men engaged. It
could not have been made at all, in the way it was, with any
number of men without such assistance. The most perfect harmony
reigned between the two arms of the service. There never was a
request made, that I am aware of, either of the flag-officer or
any of his subordinates, that was not promptly complied with.

The campaign of Vicksburg was suggested and developed by
circumstances. The elections of 1862 had gone against the
prosecution of the war. Voluntary enlistments had nearly ceased
and the draft had been resorted to; this was resisted, and a
defeat or backward movement would have made its execution
impossible. A forward movement to a decisive victory was
necessary. Accordingly I resolved to get below Vicksburg, unite
with Banks against Port Hudson, make New Orleans a base and, with
that base and Grand Gulf as a starting point, move our combined
forces against Vicksburg. Upon reaching Grand Gulf, after
running its batteries and fighting a battle, I received a letter
from Banks informing me that he could not be at Port Hudson under
ten days, and then with only fifteen thousand men. The time was
worth more than the reinforcements; I therefore determined to
push into the interior of the enemy's country.

With a large river behind us, held above and below by the enemy,
rapid movements were essential to success. Jackson was captured
the day after a new commander had arrived, and only a few days
before large reinforcements were expected. A rapid movement
west was made; the garrison of Vicksburg was met in two
engagements and badly defeated, and driven back into its
stronghold and there successfully besieged. It looks now as
though Providence had directed the course of the campaign while
the Army of the Tennessee executed the decree.

Upon the surrender of the garrison of Vicksburg there were three
things that required immediate attention. The first was to send
a force to drive the enemy from our rear, and out of the
State. The second was to send reinforcements to Banks near Port
Hudson, if necessary, to complete the triumph of opening the
Mississippi from its source to its mouth to the free navigation
of vessels bearing the Stars and Stripes. The third was to
inform the authorities at Washington and the North of the good
news, to relieve their long suspense and strengthen their
confidence in the ultimate success of the cause they had so much
at heart.

Soon after negotiations were opened with General Pemberton for
the surrender of the city, I notified Sherman, whose troops
extended from Haines' Bluff on the left to the crossing of the
Vicksburg and Jackson road over the Big Black on the right, and
directed him to hold his command in readiness to advance and
drive the enemy from the State as soon as Vicksburg
surrendered. Steele and Ord were directed to be in readiness to
join Sherman in his move against General Johnston, and Sherman
was advised of this also. Sherman moved promptly, crossing the
Big Black at three different points with as many columns, all
concentrating at Bolton, twenty miles west of Jackson.

Johnston heard of the surrender of Vicksburg almost as soon as
it occurred, and immediately fell back on Jackson. On the 8th
of July Sherman was within ten miles of Jackson and on the 11th
was close up to the defences of the city and shelling the
town. The siege was kept up until the morning of the 17th, when
it was found that the enemy had evacuated during the night. The
weather was very hot, the roads dusty and the water bad.
Johnston destroyed the roads as he passed and had so much the
start that pursuit was useless; but Sherman sent one division,
Steele's, to Brandon, fourteen miles east of Jackson.

The National loss in the second capture of Jackson was less than
one thousand men, killed, wounded and missing. The Confederate
loss was probably less, except in captured. More than this
number fell into our hands as prisoners.

Medicines and food were left for the Confederate wounded and
sick who had to be left behind. A large amount of rations was
issued to the families that remained in Jackson. Medicine and
food were also sent to Raymond for the destitute families as
well as the sick and wounded, as I thought it only fair that we
should return to these people some of the articles we had taken
while marching through the country. I wrote to Sherman:
"Impress upon the men the importance of going through the State
in an orderly manner, abstaining from taking anything not
absolutely necessary for their subsistence while travelling.
They should try to create as favorable an impression as possible
upon the people." Provisions and forage, when called for by
them, were issued to all the people, from Bruinsburg to Jackson
and back to Vicksburg, whose resources had been taken for the
supply of our army. Very large quantities of groceries and
provisions were so issued.

Sherman was ordered back to Vicksburg, and his troops took much
the same position they had occupied before--from the Big Black
to Haines' Bluff. Having cleaned up about Vicksburg and
captured or routed all regular Confederate forces for more than
a hundred miles in all directions, I felt that the troops that
had done so much should be allowed to do more before the enemy
could recover from the blow he had received, and while important
points might be captured without bloodshed. I suggested to the
General-in-chief the idea of a campaign against Mobile, starting
from Lake Pontchartrain. Halleck preferred another course. The
possession of the trans-Mississippi by the Union forces seemed
to possess more importance in his mind than almost any campaign
east of the Mississippi. I am well aware that the President was
very anxious to have a foothold in Texas, to stop the clamor of
some of the foreign governments which seemed to be seeking a
pretext to interfere in the war, at least so far as to recognize
belligerent rights to the Confederate States. This, however,
could have been easily done without wasting troops in western
Louisiana and eastern Texas, by sending a garrison at once to
Brownsville on the Rio Grande.

Halleck disapproved of my proposition to go against Mobile, so
that I was obliged to settle down and see myself put again on
the defensive as I had been a year before in west Tennessee. It
would have been an easy thing to capture Mobile at the time I
proposed to go there. Having that as a base of operations,
troops could have been thrown into the interior to operate
against General Bragg's army. This would necessarily have
compelled Bragg to detach in order to meet this fire in his
rear. If he had not done this the troops from Mobile could have
inflicted inestimable damage upon much of the country from which
his army and Lee's were yet receiving their supplies. I was so
much impressed with this idea that I renewed my request later in
July and again about the 1st of August, and proposed sending all
the troops necessary, asking only the assistance of the navy to
protect the debarkation of troops at or near Mobile. I also
asked for a leave of absence to visit New Orleans, particularly
if my suggestion to move against Mobile should be approved. Both
requests were refused. So far as my experience with General
Halleck went it was very much easier for him to refuse a favor
than to grant one. But I did not regard this as a favor. It was
simply in line of duty, though out of my department.

The General-in-chief having decided against me, the depletion of
an army, which had won a succession of great victories,
commenced, as had been the case the year before after the fall
of Corinth when the army was sent where it would do the least
good. By orders, I sent to Banks a force of 4,000 men; returned
the 9th corps to Kentucky and, when transportation had been
collected, started a division of 5,000 men to Schofield in
Missouri where Price was raiding the State. I also detached a
brigade under Ransom to Natchez, to garrison that place
permanently. This latter move was quite fortunate as to the
time when Ransom arrived there. The enemy happened to have a
large number, about 5,000 head, of beef cattle there on the way
from Texas to feed the Eastern armies, and also a large amount
of munitions of war which had probably come through Texas from
the Rio Grande and which were on the way to Lee's and other
armies in the East.

The troops that were left with me around Vicksburg were very
busily and unpleasantly employed in making expeditions against
guerilla bands and small detachments of cavalry which infested
the interior, and in destroying mills, bridges and rolling stock
on the railroads. The guerillas and cavalry were not there to
fight but to annoy, and therefore disappeared on the first
approach of our troops.

The country back of Vicksburg was filled with deserters from
Pemberton's army and, it was reported, many from Johnston's
also. The men determined not to fight again while the war
lasted. Those who lived beyond the reach of the Confederate
army wanted to get to their homes. Those who did not, wanted to
get North where they could work for their support till the war
was over. Besides all this there was quite a peace feeling, for
the time being, among the citizens of that part of Mississippi,
but this feeling soon subsided. It is not probable that
Pemberton got off with over 4,000 of his army to the camp where
he proposed taking them, and these were in a demoralized

On the 7th of August I further depleted my army by sending the
13th corps, General Ord commanding, to Banks. Besides this I
received orders to co-operate with the latter general in
movements west of the Mississippi. Having received this order I
went to New Orleans to confer with Banks about the proposed
movement. All these movements came to naught.

During this visit I reviewed Banks' army a short distance above
Carrollton. The horse I rode was vicious and but little used,
and on my return to New Orleans ran away and, shying at a
locomotive in the street, fell, probably on me. I was rendered
insensible, and when I regained consciousness I found myself in
a hotel near by with several doctors attending me. My leg was
swollen from the knee to the thigh, and the swelling, almost to
the point of bursting, extended along the body up to the
arm-pit. The pain was almost beyond endurance. I lay at the
hotel something over a week without being able to turn myself in
bed. I had a steamer stop at the nearest point possible, and was
carried to it on a litter. I was then taken to Vicksburg, where
I remained unable to move for some time afterwards.

While I was absent General Sherman declined to assume command
because, he said, it would confuse the records; but he let all
the orders be made in my name, and was glad to render any
assistance he could. No orders were issued by my staff,
certainly no important orders, except upon consultation with and
approval of Sherman.

On the 13th of September, while I was still in New Orleans,
Halleck telegraphed to me to send all available forces to
Memphis and thence to Tuscumbia, to co-operate with Rosecrans
for the relief of Chattanooga. On the 15th he telegraphed again
for all available forces to go to Rosecrans. This was received
on the 27th. I was still confined to my bed, unable to rise
from it without assistance; but I at once ordered Sherman to
send one division to Memphis as fast as transports could be
provided. The division of McPherson's corps, which had got off
and was on the way to join Steele in Arkansas, was recalled and
sent, likewise, to report to Hurlbut at Memphis. Hurlbut was
directed to forward these two divisions with two others from his
own corps at once, and also to send any other troops that might
be returning there. Halleck suggested that some good man, like
Sherman or McPherson, should be sent to Memphis to take charge
of the troops going east. On this I sent Sherman, as being, I
thought, the most suitable person for an independent command,
and besides he was entitled to it if it had to be given to any
one. He was directed to take with him another division of his
corps. This left one back, but having one of McPherson's
divisions he had still the equivalent.

Before the receipt by me of these orders the battle of
Chickamauga had been fought and Rosecrans forced back into
Chattanooga. The administration as well as the General-in-chief
was nearly frantic at the situation of affairs there. Mr.
Charles A. Dana, an officer of the War Department, was sent to
Rosecrans' headquarters. I do not know what his instructions
were, but he was still in Chattanooga when I arrived there at a
later period.

It seems that Halleck suggested that I should go to Nashville as
soon as able to move and take general direction of the troops
moving from the west. I received the following dispatch dated
October 3d: "It is the wish of the Secretary of War that as
soon as General Grant is able he will come to Cairo and report
by telegraph." I was still very lame, but started without
delay. Arriving at Columbus on the 16th I reported by
telegraph: "Your dispatch from Cairo of the 3d directing me to
report from Cairo was received at 11.30 on the 10th. Left the
same day with staff and headquarters and am here en route for






































Begin Volume Two



The reply (to my telegram of October 16, 1863, from Cairo,
announcing my arrival at that point) came on the morning of the
17th, directing me to proceed immediately to the Galt House,
Louisville, where I would meet an officer of the War Department
with my instructions. I left Cairo within an hour or two after
the receipt of this dispatch, going by rail via Indianapolis.
Just as the train I was on was starting out of the depot at
Indianapolis a messenger came running up to stop it, saying the
Secretary of War was coming into the station and wanted to see

I had never met Mr. Stanton up to that time, though we had held
frequent conversations over the wires the year before, when I
was in Tennessee. Occasionally at night he would order the
wires between the War Department and my headquarters to be
connected, and we would hold a conversation for an hour or
two. On this occasion the Secretary was accompanied by Governor
Brough of Ohio, whom I had never met, though he and my father had
been old acquaintances. Mr. Stanton dismissed the special train
that had brought him to Indianapolis, and accompanied me to

Up to this time no hint had been given me of what was wanted
after I left Vicksburg, except the suggestion in one of
Halleck's dispatches that I had better go to Nashville and
superintend the operation of troops sent to relieve Rosecrans.
Soon after we started the Secretary handed me two orders, saying
that I might take my choice of them. The two were identical in
all but one particular. Both created the "Military Division of
Mississippi," (giving me the command) composed of the
Departments of the Ohio, the Cumberland, and the Tennessee, and
all the territory from the Alleghanies to the Mississippi River
north of Banks's command in the south-west. One order left the
department commanders as they were, while the other relieved
Rosecrans and assigned Thomas to his place. I accepted the
latter. We reached Louisville after night and, if I remember
rightly, in a cold, drizzling rain. The Secretary of War told
me afterwards that he caught a cold on that occasion from which
he never expected to recover. He never did.

A day was spent in Louisville, the Secretary giving me the
military news at the capital and talking about the
disappointment at the results of some of the campaigns. By the
evening of the day after our arrival all matters of discussion
seemed exhausted, and I left the hotel to spend the evening
away, both Mrs. Grant (who was with me) and myself having
relatives living in Louisville. In the course of the evening
Mr. Stanton received a dispatch from Mr. C. A. Dana, then in
Chattanooga, informing him that unless prevented Rosecrans would
retreat, and advising peremptory orders against his doing so.

As stated before, after the fall of Vicksburg I urged strongly
upon the government the propriety of a movement against
Mobile. General Rosecrans had been at Murfreesboro', Tennessee,
with a large and well-equipped army from early in the year 1863,
with Bragg confronting him with a force quite equal to his own
at first, considering it was on the defensive. But after the
investment of Vicksburg Bragg's army was largely depleted to
strengthen Johnston, in Mississippi, who was being reinforced to
raise the siege. I frequently wrote General Halleck suggesting
that Rosecrans should move against Bragg. By so doing he would
either detain the latter's troops where they were or lay
Chattanooga open to capture. General Halleck strongly approved
the suggestion, and finally wrote me that he had repeatedly
ordered Rosecrans to advance, but that the latter had constantly
failed to comply with the order, and at last, after having held a
council of war, had replied in effect that it was a military
maxim "not to fight two decisive battles at the same time." If
true, the maxim was not applicable in this case. It would be
bad to be defeated in two decisive battles fought the same day,
but it would not be bad to win them. I, however, was fighting
no battle, and the siege of Vicksburg had drawn from Rosecrans'
front so many of the enemy that his chances of victory were much
greater than they would be if he waited until the siege was over,
when these troops could be returned. Rosecrans was ordered to
move against the army that was detaching troops to raise the
siege. Finally he did move, on the 24th of June, but ten days
afterwards Vicksburg surrendered, and the troops sent from Bragg
were free to return.

It was at this time that I recommended to the general-in-chief
the movement against Mobile. I knew the peril the Army of the
Cumberland was in, being depleted continually, not only by
ordinary casualties, but also by having to detach troops to hold
its constantly extending line over which to draw supplies, while
the enemy in front was as constantly being strengthened. Mobile
was important to the enemy, and in the absence of a threatening
force was guarded by little else than artillery. If threatened
by land and from the water at the same time the prize would fall
easily, or troops would have to be sent to its defence. Those
troops would necessarily come from Bragg. My judgment was
overruled, and the troops under my command were dissipated over
other parts of the country where it was thought they could
render the most service.

Soon it was discovered in Washington that Rosecrans was in
trouble and required assistance. The emergency was now too
immediate to allow us to give this assistance by making an
attack in rear of Bragg upon Mobile. It was therefore necessary
to reinforce directly, and troops were sent from every available

Rosecrans had very skilfully manoeuvred Bragg south of the
Tennessee River, and through and beyond Chattanooga. If he had
stopped and intrenched, and made himself strong there, all would
have been right and the mistake of not moving earlier partially
compensated. But he pushed on, with his forces very much
scattered, until Bragg's troops from Mississippi began to join
him. Then Bragg took the initiative. Rosecrans had to fall
back in turn, and was able to get his army together at
Chickamauga, some miles south-east of Chattanooga, before the
main battle was brought on. The battle was fought on the 19th
and 20th of September, and Rosecrans was badly defeated, with a
heavy loss in artillery and some sixteen thousand men killed,
wounded and captured. The corps under Major-General George H.
Thomas stood its ground, while Rosecrans, with Crittenden and
McCook, returned to Chattanooga. Thomas returned also, but
later, and with his troops in good order. Bragg followed and
took possession of Missionary Ridge, overlooking Chattanooga. He
also occupied Lookout Mountain, west of the town, which Rosecrans
had abandoned, and with it his control of the river and the river
road as far back as Bridgeport. The National troops were now
strongly intrenched in Chattanooga Valley, with the Tennessee
River behind them and the enemy occupying commanding heights to
the east and west, with a strong line across the valley from
mountain to mountain, and with Chattanooga Creek, for a large
part of the way, in front of their line.

On the 29th Halleck telegraphed me the above results, and
directed all the forces that could be spared from my department
to be sent to Rosecrans. Long before this dispatch was received
Sherman was on his way, and McPherson was moving east with most
of the garrison of Vicksburg.

A retreat at that time would have been a terrible disaster. It
would not only have been the loss of a most important strategic
position to us, but it would have been attended with the loss of
all the artillery still left with the Army of the Cumberland and
the annihilation of that army itself, either by capture or

All supplies for Rosecrans had to be brought from Nashville. The
railroad between this base and the army was in possession of the
government up to Bridgeport, the point at which the road crosses
to the south side of the Tennessee River; but Bragg, holding
Lookout and Raccoon mountains west of Chattanooga, commanded the
railroad, the river and the shortest and best wagon-roads, both
south and north of the Tennessee, between Chattanooga and
Bridgeport. The distance between these two places is but
twenty-six miles by rail, but owing to the position of Bragg,
all supplies for Rosecrans had to be hauled by a circuitous
route north of the river and over a mountainous country,
increasing the distance to over sixty miles.

This country afforded but little food for his animals, nearly
ten thousand of which had already starved, and not enough were
left to draw a single piece of artillery or even the ambulances
to convey the sick. The men had been on half rations of hard
bread for a considerable time, with but few other supplies
except beef driven from Nashville across the country. The
region along the road became so exhausted of food for the cattle
that by the time they reached Chattanooga they were much in the
condition of the few animals left alive there--"on the lift."
Indeed, the beef was so poor that the soldiers were in the habit
of saying, with a faint facetiousness, that they were living on
"half rations of hard bread and BEEF DRIED ON THE HOOF."

Nothing could be transported but food, and the troops were
without sufficient shoes or other clothing suitable for the
advancing season. What they had was well worn. The fuel within
the Federal lines was exhausted, even to the stumps of trees.
There were no teams to draw it from the opposite bank, where it
was abundant. The only way of supplying fuel, for some time
before my arrival, had been to cut trees on the north bank of
the river at a considerable distance up the stream, form rafts
of it and float it down with the current, effecting a landing on
the south side within our lines by the use of paddles or poles.
It would then be carried on the shoulders of the men to their

If a retreat had occurred at this time it is not probable that
any of the army would have reached the railroad as an organized
body, if followed by the enemy.

On the receipt of Mr. Dana's dispatch Mr. Stanton sent for me.
Finding that I was out he became nervous and excited, inquiring
of every person he met, including guests of the house, whether
they knew where I was, and bidding them find me and send me to
him at once. About eleven o'clock I returned to the hotel, and
on my way, when near the house, every person met was a messenger
from the Secretary, apparently partaking of his impatience to see
me. I hastened to the room of the Secretary and found him pacing
the floor rapidly in his dressing-gown. Saying that the retreat
must be prevented, he showed me the dispatch. I immediately
wrote an order assuming command of the Military Division of the
Mississippi, and telegraphed it to General Rosecrans. I then
telegraphed to him the order from Washington assigning Thomas to
the command of the Army of the Cumberland; and to Thomas that he
must hold Chattanooga at all hazards, informing him at the same
time that I would be at the front as soon as possible. A prompt
reply was received from Thomas, saying, "We will hold the town
till we starve." I appreciated the force of this dispatch later
when I witnessed the condition of affairs which prompted it. It
looked, indeed, as if but two courses were open: one to starve,
the other to surrender or be captured.

On the morning of the 20th of October I started, with my staff,
and proceeded as far as Nashville. At that time it was not
prudent to travel beyond that point by night, so I remained in
Nashville until the next morning. Here I met for the first time
Andrew Johnson, Military Governor of Tennessee. He delivered a
speech of welcome. His composure showed that it was by no means
his maiden effort. It was long, and I was in torture while he
was delivering it, fearing something would be expected from me
in response. I was relieved, however, the people assembled
having apparently heard enough. At all events they commenced a
general hand-shaking, which, although trying where there is so
much of it, was a great relief to me in this emergency.

From Nashville I telegraphed to Burnside, who was then at
Knoxville, that important points in his department ought to be
fortified, so that they could be held with the least number of
men; to Admiral Porter at Cairo, that Sherman's advance had
passed Eastport, Mississippi, that rations were probably on
their way from St. Louis by boat for supplying his army, and
requesting him to send a gunboat to convoy them; and to Thomas,
suggesting that large parties should be put at work on the
wagon-road then in use back to Bridgeport.

On the morning of the 21st we took the train for the front,
reaching Stevenson Alabama, after dark. Rosecrans was there on
his way north. He came into my car and we held a brief
interview, in which he described very clearly the situation at
Chattanooga, and made some excellent suggestions as to what
should be done. My only wonder was that he had not carried them
out. We then proceeded to Bridgeport, where we stopped for the
night. From here we took horses and made our way by Jasper and
over Waldron's Ridge to Chattanooga. There had been much rain,
and the roads were almost impassable from mud, knee-deep in
places, and from wash-outs on the mountain sides. I had been on
crutches since the time of my fall in New Orleans, and had to be
carried over places where it was not safe to cross on
horseback. The roads were strewn with the debris of broken
wagons and the carcasses of thousands of starved mules and
horses. At Jasper, some ten or twelve miles from Bridgeport,
there was a halt. General O. O. Howard had his headquarters
there. From this point I telegraphed Burnside to make every
effort to secure five hundred rounds of ammunition for his
artillery and small-arms. We stopped for the night at a little
hamlet some ten or twelve miles farther on. The next day we
reached Chattanooga a little before dark. I went directly to
General Thomas's headquarters, and remaining there a few days,
until I could establish my own.

During the evening most of the general officers called in to pay
their respects and to talk about the condition of affairs. They
pointed out on the map the line, marked with a red or blue
pencil, which Rosecrans had contemplated falling back upon. If
any of them had approved the move they did not say so to me. I
found General W. F. Smith occupying the position of chief
engineer of the Army of the Cumberland. I had known Smith as a
cadet at West Point, but had no recollection of having met him
after my graduation, in 1843, up to this time. He explained the
situation of the two armies and the topography of the country so
plainly that I could see it without an inspection. I found that
he had established a saw-mill on the banks of the river, by
utilizing an old engine found in the neighborhood; and, by
rafting logs from the north side of the river above, had got out
the lumber and completed pontoons and roadway plank for a second
bridge, one flying bridge being there already. He was also
rapidly getting out the materials and constructing the boats for
a third bridge. In addition to this he had far under way a
steamer for plying between Chattanooga and Bridgeport whenever
we might get possession of the river. This boat consisted of a
scow, made of the plank sawed out at the mill, housed in, and a
stern wheel attached which was propelled by a second engine
taken from some shop or factory.

I telegraphed to Washington this night, notifying General
Halleck of my arrival, and asking to have General Sherman
assigned to the command of the Army of the Tennessee,
headquarters in the field. The request was at once complied



The next day, the 24th, I started out to make a personal
inspection, taking Thomas and Smith with me, besides most of the
members of my personal staff. We crossed to the north side of
the river, and, moving to the north of detached spurs of hills,
reached the Tennessee at Brown's Ferry, some three miles below
Lookout Mountain, unobserved by the enemy. Here we left our
horses back from the river and approached the water on foot.
There was a picket station of the enemy on the opposite side, of
about twenty men, in full view, and we were within easy range.
They did not fire upon us nor seem to be disturbed by our
presence. They must have seen that we were all commissioned
officers. But, I suppose, they looked upon the garrison of
Chattanooga as prisoners of war, feeding or starving themselves,
and thought it would be inhuman to kill any of them except in

That night I issued orders for opening the route to
Bridgeport--a cracker line, as the soldiers appropriately termed
it. They had been so long on short rations that my first thought
was the establishment of a line over which food might reach them.

Chattanooga is on the south bank of the Tennessee, where that
river runs nearly due west. It is at the northern end of a
valley five or six miles in width, through which Chattanooga
Creek runs. To the east of the valley is Missionary Ridge,
rising from five to eight hundred feet above the creek and
terminating somewhat abruptly a half mile or more before
reaching the Tennessee. On the west of the valley is Lookout
Mountain, twenty-two hundred feet above-tide water. Just below
the town the Tennessee makes a turn to the south and runs to the
base of Lookout Mountain, leaving no level ground between the
mountain and river. The Memphis and Charleston Railroad passes
this point, where the mountain stands nearly perpendicular. East
of Missionary Ridge flows the South Chickamauga River; west of
Lookout Mountain is Lookout Creek; and west of that, Raccoon
Mountains. Lookout Mountain, at its northern end, rises almost
perpendicularly for some distance, then breaks off in a gentle
slope of cultivated fields to near the summit, where it ends in
a palisade thirty or more feet in height. On the gently sloping
ground, between the upper and lower palisades, there is a single
farmhouse, which is reached by a wagon-road from the valley east.

The intrenched line of the enemy commenced on the north end of
Missionary Ridge and extended along the crest for some distance
south, thence across Chattanooga valley to Lookout Mountain.
Lookout Mountain was also fortified and held by the enemy, who
also kept troops in Lookout valley west, and on Raccoon
Mountain, with pickets extending down the river so as to command
the road on the north bank and render it useless to us. In
addition to this there was an intrenched line in Chattanooga
valley extending from the river east of the town to Lookout
Mountain, to make the investment complete. Besides the
fortifications on Mission Ridge, there was a line at the base of
the hill, with occasional spurs of rifle-pits half-way up the
front. The enemy's pickets extended out into the valley towards
the town, so far that the pickets of the two armies could
converse. At one point they were separated only by the narrow
creek which gives its name to the valley and town, and from
which both sides drew water. The Union lines were shorter than
those of the enemy.

Thus the enemy, with a vastly superior force, was strongly
fortified to the east, south, and west, and commanded the river
below. Practically, the Army of the Cumberland was besieged.
The enemy had stopped with his cavalry north of the river the
passing of a train loaded with ammunition and medical
supplies. The Union army was short of both, not having
ammunition enough for a day's fighting.

General Halleck had, long before my coming into this new field,
ordered parts of the 11th and 12th corps, commanded respectively
by Generals Howard and Slocum, Hooker in command of the whole,
from the Army of the Potomac to reinforce Rosecrans. It would
have been folly to send them to Chattanooga to help eat up the
few rations left there. They were consequently left on the
railroad, where supplies could be brought to them. Before my
arrival, Thomas ordered their concentration at Bridgeport.

General W. F. Smith had been so instrumental in preparing for
the move which I was now about to make, and so clear in his
judgment about the manner of making it, that I deemed it but
just to him that he should have command of the troops detailed
to execute the design, although he was then acting as a staff
officer and was not in command of troops.

On the 24th of October, after my return to Chattanooga, the
following details were made: General Hooker, who was now at
Bridgeport, was ordered to cross to the south side of the
Tennessee and march up by Whitesides and Wauhatchie to Brown's
Ferry. General Palmer, with a division of the 14th corps, Army
of the Cumberland, was ordered to move down the river on the
north side, by a back road, until opposite Whitesides, then
cross and hold the road in Hooker's rear after he had passed.
Four thousand men were at the same time detailed to act under
General Smith directly from Chattanooga. Eighteen hundred of
them, under General Hazen, were to take sixty pontoon boats, and
under cover of night float by the pickets of the enemy at the
north base of Lookout, down to Brown's Ferry, then land on the
south side and capture or drive away the pickets at that
point. Smith was to march with the remainder of the detail,
also under cover of night, by the north bank of the river to
Brown's Ferry, taking with him all the material for laying the
bridge as soon as the crossing was secured.

On the 26th, Hooker crossed the river at Bridgeport and
commenced his eastward march. At three o'clock on the morning
of the 27th, Hazen moved into the stream with his sixty pontoons
and eighteen hundred brave and well-equipped men. Smith started
enough in advance to be near the river when Hazen should
arrive. There are a number of detached spurs of hills north of
the river at Chattanooga, back of which is a good road parallel
to the stream, sheltered from the view from the top of
Lookout. It was over this road Smith marched. At five o'clock
Hazen landed at Brown's Ferry, surprised the picket guard, and
captured most of it. By seven o'clock the whole of Smith's
force was ferried over and in possession of a height commanding
the ferry. This was speedily fortified, while a detail was
laying the pontoon bridge. By ten o'clock the bridge was laid,
and our extreme right, now in Lookout valley, was fortified and
connected with the rest of the army. The two bridges over the
Tennessee River--a flying one at Chattanooga and the new one at
Brown's Ferry--with the road north of the river, covered from
both the fire and the view of the enemy, made the connection
complete. Hooker found but slight obstacles in his way, and on
the afternoon of the 28th emerged into Lookout valley at
Wauhatchie. Howard marched on to Brown's Ferry, while Geary,
who commanded a division in the 12th corps, stopped three miles
south. The pickets of the enemy on the river below were now cut
off, and soon came in and surrendered.

The river was now opened to us from Lookout valley to
Bridgeport. Between Brown's Ferry and Kelly's Ferry the
Tennessee runs through a narrow gorge in the mountains, which
contracts the stream so much as to increase the current beyond
the capacity of an ordinary steamer to stem it. To get up these
rapids, steamers must be cordelled; that is, pulled up by ropes
from the shore. But there is no difficulty in navigating the
stream from Bridgeport to Kelly's Ferry. The latter point is
only eight miles from Chattanooga and connected with it by a
good wagon-road, which runs through a low pass in the Raccoon
Mountains on the south side of the river to Brown's Ferry,
thence on the north side to the river opposite Chattanooga.
There were several steamers at Bridgeport, and abundance of
forage, clothing and provisions.

On the way to Chattanooga I had telegraphed back to Nashville
for a good supply of vegetables and small rations, which the
troops had been so long deprived of. Hooker had brought with
him from the east a full supply of land transportation. His
animals had not been subjected to hard work on bad roads without
forage, but were in good condition. In five days from my arrival
in Chattanooga the way was open to Bridgeport and, with the aid
of steamers and Hooker's teams, in a week the troops were
receiving full rations. It is hard for any one not an
eye-witness to realize the relief this brought. The men were
soon reclothed and also well fed, an abundance of ammunition was
brought up, and a cheerfulness prevailed not before enjoyed in
many weeks. Neither officers nor men looked upon themselves any
longer as doomed. The weak and languid appearance of the troops,
so visible before, disappeared at once. I do not know what the
effect was on the other side, but assume it must have been
correspondingly depressing. Mr. Davis had visited Bragg but a
short time before, and must have perceived our condition to be
about as Bragg described it in his subsequent report. "These
dispositions," he said, "faithfully sustained, insured the
enemy's speedy evacuation of Chattanooga for want of food and
forage. Possessed of the shortest route to his depot, and the
one by which reinforcements must reach him, we held him at our
mercy, and his destruction was only a question of time." But
the dispositions were not "faithfully sustained," and I doubt
not but thousands of men engaged in trying to "sustain" them now
rejoice that they were not. There was no time during the
rebellion when I did not think, and often say, that the South
was more to be benefited by its defeat than the North. The
latter had the people, the institutions, and the territory to
make a great and prosperous nation. The former was burdened
with an institution abhorrent to all civilized people not
brought up under it, and one which degraded labor, kept it in
ignorance, and enervated the governing class. With the outside
world at war with this institution, they could not have extended
their territory. The labor of the country was not skilled, nor
allowed to become so. The whites could not toil without
becoming degraded, and those who did were denominated "poor
white trash." The system of labor would have soon exhausted the
soil and left the people poor. The non-slaveholders would have
left the country, and the small slaveholder must have sold out
to his more fortunate neighbor. Soon the slaves would have
outnumbered the masters, and, not being in sympathy with them,
would have risen in their might and exterminated them. The war
was expensive to the South as well as to the North, both in
blood and treasure, but it was worth all it cost.

The enemy was surprised by the movements which secured to us a
line of supplies. He appreciated its importance, and hastened
to try to recover the line from us. His strength on Lookout
Mountain was not equal to Hooker's command in the valley
below. From Missionary Ridge he had to march twice the distance
we had from Chattanooga, in order to reach Lookout Valley; but on
the night of the 28th and 29th an attack was made on Geary at
Wauhatchie by Longstreet's corps. When the battle commenced,
Hooker ordered Howard up from Brown's Ferry. He had three miles
to march to reach Geary. On his way he was fired upon by rebel
troops from a foot-hill to the left of the road and from which
the road was commanded. Howard turned to the left, charged up
the hill and captured it before the enemy had time to intrench,
taking many prisoners. Leaving sufficient men to hold this
height, he pushed on to reinforce Geary. Before he got up,
Geary had been engaged for about three hours against a vastly


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