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Battles & Leaders of the Civil War

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JEFFERSON DAVIS AND THE MISSISSIPPI CAMPAIGN.

VICKSBURG COURTHOUSE - 1880

passive five or six hours, before a single Federal division, until near noon, when General Grant, having brought up six other divisions, attacked him.

Not withstanding the enemy's great superiority of numbers, General Pemberton maintained a spirited contest of several hours, but was finally driven from the field. This was the battle of Baker's Creek, or Champion's Hill. The Confederate troops retreated toward Vicksburg, but bivouacked at night near the Big Black, one division in some earth-works in front of the bridge, the other a mile or two in rear of it. Loring, whose division was in the rear, in quitting the field, instead of crossing Baker's Creek, turned southward , and by a skillfully conducted march eluded the enemy , and in three days joined the troops from the east, assembling near Jackson.

On the near approach of the pursuing army next morning, the troops in front of the bridge abandoned the intrenchments and retreated rapidly to Vicksburg, accompanied by the division that had been posted west of the river.

Information of this was brought to me in the evening of that day, and I immediately wrote to General Pemberton that, if invested in Vicksburg, he must ultimately surrender ; and that, instead of losing both troops and place, he must save the troops by evacuating Vicksburg and marching to the north-east. The question of obeying this order was submitted by him to a council of war, which decided that " it was impossible to withdraw the troops from that position with such morale and material as to be of further service to the Confederacy." This allegation was refuted ,by the courage, fortitude, and discipline displayed by that army in the long siege.

The investment of the place was completed on the 19th ; on the 20th Gist's brigade from Charleston, on the 21st Ector's and McNair's from Tennessee , and on the 23d Maxey's from Port Hudson joined Gregg's and Walker's near Canton. This force was further increased on the 3d of June by the arrival of Breckinridge's division and Jackson's (two thousand) cavalry from the Army of Tennessee, and Evans's brigade from Charleston. These troops, except the cavalry, having come by railroad, were not equipped for the service before them: that of rescuing the garrison off Vicksburg. They required artillery, draught horses and mules, wagons, ammunition, and provisions, all in large numbers and quantity ; the more because it was necessary to include the Vicksburg troops in our estimates.


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