and started immediately to the position I had just left on McPherson's line, to convey to him the information from McClernand by this last dispatch, that he might make the diversion requested.
I had taken a commanding position near McPherson's front, and from which I could see all the advancing columns from his corps, and a part of each of Sherman's and McClernand's. A portion of the commands of each succeeded in planting their flags on the outer slopes of the enemy's bastions, and maintained them there until night.
* * * * * * *
The position occupied by me during most of the time of the assault gave me a better opportunity of seeing what was going on in front of the Thirteenth Army Corps than I believed it possible for the commander of it to have. I could not see his possession of forts nor necessity for re-enforcements, as represented in his dispatches, up to the time I left it, which was between 12 m. and 1 p. m., and I expressed doubts of their correctness, which doubts the facts subsequently, but too late, confirmed. At the time I could not disregard his reiterated statements, for they might possibly be true; and that no possible opportunity of carrying the enemy's stronghold should be allowed to escape through fault of mine, I ordered Quinby's DIVISION, which was all of McPherson's corps then present but four brigades, to report to McClernand, and notified him of the order.
Before proceeding to examine the statements contained in these extracts, it is proper, as tending to the elucidation of the matters to which they relate, that I should give General Grant's order for the assault, and the dispatches that passed between him and me during the following day in relation to it.
GENERAL FIELD ORDERS, HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,
near Vicksburg, May 21, 1863.
A simultaneous attack will be made to-morrow at 10 a. m. by all the army corps of this army. During the day army corps commanders will have examined all practicable roads over which troops can possibly pass. They will get in position all the artillery possible, and gain all the ground they can with their infantry and skirmishers. At an early hour in the morning, a vigorous attack will be commenced by the artillery and skirmishers. The infantry, with the exception of reserves and skirmishers, will be placed in columns of platoons, or by a flank if the ground over which them may have to pass will not admit of a greater front, ready to move forward at the hour designated. Promptly at the hour designated all will start at quick time, with bayonets fixed, and march immediately upon the enemy without firing a gun until the outer works are carried. The troops will go Light, carrying with them only their ammunition, canteens, and one day's rations. The skirmishers will advance as soon as possible after heads of columns pass them, and scale the walls of such works as may confront them. If prosecuted with vigor, it is confidently believed this course will carry Vicksburg in a very short time, and with much less loss than would be sustained by delay. Every day's delay enables the enemy to strengthen his defenses and increase his chance for receiving aid from outside.
By order of Major General U. S. Grant:
JNO A. RAWLINS,
Commanding Thirteenth Army Corps.
Nothing is said in this order respecting the expediency of a feint on my left, which was uncovered and unsupported from the point where it rested for the whole length of the enemy's lines [some 4 miles] around to the Mississippi below Vicksburg. To secure the advantage of such a demonstration, I ordered Major [Daniel B.] Bush, [jr.,] commanding the SECOND Illinois Cavalry, during the night of the 21st to build fires to my left in front of the enemy's works, and to push forward pickets close enough to them to excite the belief and apprehension that they were invested and threatened. This was skillfully and effectually done, and to it I attribute the failure of the enemy the next day to attempt to advance from his works and turn my left.