War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0277 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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in the name of humanity I have the honor to propose a cessation of hostilities for two hours and a half, that you may be enabled to remove your dead and dying men. If you cannot do this, on notification from you that hostilities will be suspended on your part for the time specified, I will endeavor to have the dead buried and the wounded cared for.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

To which communication the following reply was received:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,

Near Vicksburg, MISS., May 25, 1863-3. 30 p. m.

Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON,

Commanding Confederate Forces, Vicksburg, MISS.:

SIR: Your note of this date, proposing a cessation of hostilities for two hours and a half, for the purpose of giving me an opportunity of collecting the dead and wounded, is just received. As it will take some time to send word to all my forces to avail themselves of the opportunity afforded, and to return this to you, so that notice may be given to your troops of the cessation of hostilities, I will name 6 p. m. to-day as the hour when we will commence collecting any wounded or dead we may have still upon the field. From that hour for two hours and a half all hostilities shall cease on our side.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

U. S. GRANT,

Major-General.

During the day about 100 prisoners were captured, and a working party was went to throw up obstructions on the flat below the city. No circumstance worthy of special note occurred between this date and that of the 27th. The enemy evidently was discouraged by his previous fruitless and costly assaults upon our works in the rear, and he therefore determined, if possible, to attempt to silence our upper battery, and then by the aid of his gunboats to effect a lodgment in the trenches immediately above and beyond it.

With this design, on the morning of the 27th, at about 9 o'clock, four of his boats engaged our lower batteries; at the same time the Cincinnati, a turreted iron-clad of the largest class, and carrying fourteen guns, pushed boldly down the river, rounded the peninsula, and was soon hotly engaged with our upper battery at short range. After a spirited engagement of about forty-five minutes, the Cincinnati was rendered a complete wreck, and only escaped total destruction by being run aground on the Mississippi shore, where she is probably still lying. The lower fleet, witnessing her discomfiture, soon drew off; with what damage to themselves it is impossible to say.

The firing from our batteries was most excellent, and too much praise cannot be awarded to Colonel [E.] Higgins, his officers and men, for their gallantry, coolness, and skill. The enemy still continued to work steadily in completing and strengthening his line of circumvallation. His fire of both musketry and artillery was continuous during each day. Major [H. M.] Mathews, ordnance officer, was instructed to have the large number of unexploded Parrott shells scattered around the city sent to Paxton's foundry and recapped.

On the morning of the 29th, the enemy opened a terrific fire from the rear, and for four hours a storm of shot and shell was rained upon the city, seriously damaging many buildings, killing and wounding a large number of soldiers and citizens. During the day Ellet's Marine Brigade arrived, and anchored at the bend above. Two couriers had arrived from General Johnston on the 28th and 29th, respectively. The former