About this time our provisions, particularly of meat, having become almost exhausted, General Stevenson was instructed to impress all cattle in the city, and the chief commissary directed to sell only one ration per diem to any officer. He was also instructed to issue for bread equal portions of rice and flour, four ounces of each.
About the 13th, Captain Sanders arrived from Jackson via Steele's Bayou with 200,000 percussion-caps, and a day or two subsequent I received the following dispatch from General Johnston:
MAY 29, 1863.
I am too weak to save Vicksburg. Can do no more than attempt to save you and your garrison. It will be impossible to extricate you unless you co-operate and we make mutually supporting movements. Communicate your plans and suggestions, if possible.
On the 14th and 15th, I addressed General Johnston as follows:
Vicksburg, June 14, 1863.
Last night Captain Sanders arrived with 200,000 caps, but brought no information as to your position or movements. The enemy is landing troops in large numbers on Louisiana shore above Vicksburg. They are probably from Memphis, but it may be from Yazoo; I cannot ascertain positively. On the Graveyard road the enemy has run his saps to within 25 yards of our works. He will probably attempt to sink a mine. I shall try to thwart him. I am anxiously expecting to hear from you to arrange for co-operation.
Vicksburg, June 15, 1863.
The enemy has placed several very heavy guns in position against our works, and is approaching them very nearly by sap. His fire is almost continuous. Our men have no relief; are becoming much fatigued, but are still in pretty good spirits. I think your movement should be made as soon as possible. The enemy is receiving re-enforcements. We are living on greatly reduced rations, but I think sufficient for twenty days yet.
The enemy had now placed in position on the peninsula several very heavy guns, the fire of which was very destructive; and though repeated attempts were made, we could not succeed in silencing them.
On the 19th, the following telegram was sent to General Johnston:
The enemy opened all his batteries on our lines about 3. 30 o'clock this morning, and continued the heaviest fire we have yet sustained until 8 o'clock, but he did not assault our works. Artillery is reported to have been distinctly heard about 2 a. m. toward and east of Snyder's Mill, supposed to have been an engagement with your troops. On the Graveyard road the enemy's works are within 25 feet of our redan; also very close on Jackson and Baldwin's Ferry roads. I hope you will advance with the least possible delay. My men have been thirty-four days and nights in trenches, without relief, and the enemy within conversation distance. We are living on very reduced rations, and, as you know, are entirely isolated. What aid am I to expect from you? The bearer, Captain [G. D.] Wise, can be confided in.
On the night of the 22nd, a party from Cumming's Georgia brigade, Stevenson's DIVISION, made a gallant sortie on the Hall's Ferry road, and captured a lieutenant-colonel and 12 men, with their intrenching tools, &c.
On the night of the 23rd, a heavy skirmish occurred in front of Cumming's line for the possession of a picket station, which resulted in the repulse of the enemy.
Under date of the 21st, the following dispatch was sent out to
Your dispatches of 14th and 16th received. If it is absolutely impossible, in your opinion, to raise the siege with our combined forces, and that nothing more can be done than to extricate this garrison, I suggest that, giving me full information in time to act, you move by the north of the railroad, drive in the enemy's pickets at night, and at daylight next morning engage him heavily with skirmishers, occupying him during the entire day, and that on that night I move by the Warrenton road by Hankinson's Ferry, to which point you should previously send a brigade of cavalry, with two field batteries, to build a bridge there and hold that ferry; also Hall's and Baldwin's, to cover my crossing at Hankinson's. I shall not be able to move with my artillery or