War of the Rebellion: Serial 025 Page 0529 Chapter XXIX. CORRESPONDENCE, ETC.-UNION.

Search Civil War Official Records

2d. The movement to Vicksburg lacked every kind of co-operation. General Grant's cessation of his advance toward Grenada and Jackson, Miss., afforded the enemy's forces at those points and at Port Hudson opportunity to concentrate a considerable army for the defense of Vicksburg. Nor is it altogether improbable that troops from Bragg's army and even from Virginia had been brought to this neighborhood, not being needed in Tennessee or in Virginia on account of the seeming cessation of hostilities in those quarters.

3d. The organization of the different arms composing the expeditionary army was essentially defective. In my communication of October 16, 1862, to you and to the Commander-in-Chief the estimate of troops required for the reduction of Vicksburg was as follows: Twenty-four thousand infantry, 1,000 sharpshooters, 400 sappers and miners, 3,000 cavalry, 1,500 light artillery and 100 heavy artillery. The number of batteries to be assigned to the artillery arm was ten, of six guns each, consisting of fourteen 10-pounder Parrott guns, twenty-eight 12-pounder Napoleon guns, six 24-pounder howitzers (brass), four 12-pounder howitzers, eight 6-pounder smooth-bore guns; also eight 30-pounder Parrott guns and four 10-inch mortars.

Instead of with these proportions the expedition was constructed without the least harmony in its elements, and with no regard to that effectiveness which is alone to be obtained by giving to each arm its proper proportion.

Since that attack of our forces on Sunday, according to reports, the enemy's forces at Vicksburg have been increased to 50,000 or 60,000.

The attack on Monday, notwithstanding signal instances of courage and heroism on the part of the officers and the display of much endurance and bravery among the men, entirely failed of success. I am informed that the position of the enemy at Vicksburg is of unusual strength. A continual series of bluffs extends, as will be seen from the accompanying drawings, from the city to Haines' Bluff, on the Yazoo River, a distance of from 12 to 14 miles. Haines' Bluff has been strongly fortified and is defended by batteries of heavy caliber. It is reported to be a fortress in itself; besides seven field works are said to be located in front of it and near the river. The Yazoo is blocked up, and lakes and bayous in the low and swamp lands between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers are lined with rifle-pits, while the rear of the position, from the Yazoo to the Black River, is reported as being defended by rifle-pits and other field works. Moreover, the heavy rain pouring down at the moment of writing this hasty report will strengthen the enemy's position, and the lands between the Mississippi and the Yazoo Rivers will become impassable.

The gunboats being unable to reduce the fortifications at Haines' Bluff, General Sherman proposed a night attack to carry them with the bayonet; but Rear-Admiral Porter declined to co-operate in such an undertaking, regarding it as too hazardous. The troops under General Sherman, therefore descended the Yazoo and landed at Milliken's Bend, in Louisiana.

If I am asked for a plan by which Vicksburg might yet be taken I would suggest that General Grant immediately make Memphis his base of operations, put the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad from Memphis toward Grenada in running order, and push forward his column to the latter place and to Jackson, marching upon the rear of Vicksburg, while the forces here and those below Port Hudson co-operate by such demonstration as may be found practicable.