War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0281 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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officers and men not only nutritious, but very palatable, and every way preferable to poor beef.

I have already given in extensor the several letters received from General Johnston up to this time, and my replies thereto. In this connection I take occasion to introduce General Johnston's letter of June 27, which was never received by me, but a copy of which General Johnston was kind enough to furnish.

JUNE 27, 1863.

Your dispatch of the 22nd received. General E. K. Smith's troops havd, and have fallen back to Delhi. I have sent a special messenger, urging him to assume direct command. The determined spirit you manifest and his expected cooperation encourage me to hope something may yet be done to save Vicksburg, and to postpone both the modes suggested of merely extricating the garrison. Negotiations with Grant for the relief of the garrison, should they become necessary, must be to make, to propose them. When it becomes necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my authority.

To preserve the continuity of the narrative, and that events may be mentioned in the order of their dates, I also give General Johnston's letter of July 3, which was received by me on the 10th:

CALM near BIRDSONG FERRY, July 3, [1863].

Your dispatches of the 28th were destroyed by messenger. He states that General Smith's troops were driven back to Monroe. This statement and his account of your condition make me think it necessary to create a diversion, and this enable you to cut your way out if the time has arrived for you to do this. Of that time I cannot judge; you must, as it depends upon your condition. I hope to attack the enemy in your front the 7th, and your co-operation will be necessary. The manner and the proper point for you to bring the garrison out must be determined by you, from your superior knowledge of the ground and distribution of the enemy's forces. Our firing will show you where we are engaged. If Vicksburg cannot be saved, the garrison must.

On July 1, I felt satisfied that the time had arrived when it was necessary either to evacuate the city and cut my way out or to capitulate upon the best attainable terms. My own inclination led me to favor the former. With this view, therefore, I addressed to my DIVISION commanders-Generals Stevenson, Forney, Smith, and Bowen-the following communication:


Vicksburg, July 1, 1863.

GENERAL: Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised or supplies are thrown in, it will become necessary very shortly to evacuate the place. I see no prospect of the former, and there are many great, if not insuperable, obstacles in the way of the latter. You are, therefore, requested to inform me with as little delay as possible as to the condition of your troops, and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation. You will, of course, use the utmost discretion while informing yourself through your subordinates upon all points tending to a clear elucidation of the subjects of my inquiry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

The next day I received a reply from each of these officers, which is herewith submitted:


Vicksburg, July 2, 1863.

GENERAL: Your note (confidential) of yesterday, requesting me to inform you as to the condition of my troops and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigue necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation of this city, was duly received, and I have the honor to reply thereto as follows: My men are very cheerful, but from long confinement (more than forty-five days) in the trenches on short rations, are necessarily much enfeebled, and a considerable number would be unable to make the marches and undergo the fatigues which would probably be necessary to a successful