War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0174 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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and to Hard Times, and still others were subsequently added by the casualties of battle.

Leading the advance to Port Gibson, Champion's Hill, and Big Black, and bearing the brunt of these battles, the losses of my corps in them probably exceeded those of all the rest of the army operating in the same field up to the same date. Including these losses and those sustained by it in the assault of May 19 upon Vicksburg, and in previous skirmishes occurring during the advance upon that place, and by disease during the same period, it had lost full 3,000 men in killed, wounded, MISSING, and sick since it had crossed the Mississippi and before the assault of May 22 upon Vicksburg; in other words, within the short space of twenty-two days. In addition to this, two regiments of my command had been left, by General Grant's order, on the WEST bank of the Mississippi to garrison a post, two other regiments of it had been sent away to guard captives, and a whole brigade of it had been left behind by him at Champion's Hill, leaving with me only the skeleton and name of a corps.

In estimating my available and effective force at Vicksburg on the morning of May 22 at 10,000, I do not think I am wide of the mark. On the same morning, with this meager and inadequate force, I was holding a line 1 1/4 miles in length, confronted by a corresponding line of hostile rifle-pits, and numerous forts, redoubts, lunettes, and epaulements occupied by artillery, covering and supporting the rifle-pits. On my left, as I have already explained, I was wholly unsupported for some 4 miles around to the Mississippi below Vicksburg, leaving the enemy's works uninvested for the same distance, and my left flank exposed to the danger of a sortie or being turned. On my right there was a gap between it and McPherson's left, and this gap was crossed by a road leading from the enemy's works. The front of the three army corps was some 3 or 4 miles in length.

General Grant admits in his report that "at every point assaulted, and at all of them at the same time, the enemy was able to show all the force his works would cover," and his works could not have been less than 6 or 7 miles in length; indeed, it is doubtful whether at the moment of the assault the enemy's force inside of his works was not as strong as ours investing them. I understand that intelligent general officers have expressed that opinion. This disadvantage was enhanced by General Grant's plan, which required "all the army corps" to advance from their respective positions and make a "simultaneous attack," thus attenuating the line, or multiplying the columns of attack, and thereby weakening it.

It follows, therefore, from these facts that if the nature of the ground would not allow all of our diminished force to be used, no assault should have been made; but the ground in my front would have allowed more men than I had to be used. They could have been used in augmenting the weight and momentum of my attacking columns and in maintaining the advantages gained by them; they could have been used in widening the front of my attacking columns and in assaulting the curtain connecting two forts forming the points of my attack, and to which a brigade of Quinby's DIVISION, of McPherson's corps, when it came up to re-enforce me, was about to be applied, when night cut short the conflict. They could have been used in these ways, and no doubt with the effect of increasing the advantage gained by my columns, weak as they were, from the causes mentioned, and notwithstanding the obstacles they had to overcome in the nature of the ground they passed over.

Concentration of our forces against one or two points, and not the dispersion