War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0283 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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10 or 12 miles in the same day. In view of the fact that General Johnston has never held out the slightest hope to us that the siege could be raised; that his demonstration in our favor to relieve this exhausted garrison would of necessity be sufficient to raise it, I see no alternative but to endeavor to rescue the command by making terms with the enemy. Under the most favorable circumstances, were we to cut our way out, we could not, in my opinion, save two-THIRDS of our present effective strength. No provision could be made for our wounded who fell in the attempt, or those we leave behind in the hospitals, and our army would reach General Johnston (if we should get through) a mere handful of broken-down stragglers. I would, therefore, recommend that an immediate proposition be made to capitulate. If accepted, we get every thing we have any right to hope for; if rejected, we can still hold out stubbornly for some days, and our enemy may make the proposal to us. When our rations are exhausted, or nearly so, we may accept a surrender with the condition of a general parole instead of imprisonment for the command. If the offer is made at once, we have a better chance of making terms than when we have only one day's resistance in store in case of a refusal. The proposition coming from us, if rejected, will make our men determined to fight to the last; theirs, on the contrary, will feel that after Vicksburg has been offered, their blood is shed to gratify a mere vindictive feeling against its garrison, whose only fault has been the noble defense they have made, and I believe that numbers of the enemy have still enough manhood to admire our courage and determination and urge liberal terms of capitulation.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. S. BOWEN,

Major-General.

The opinions of General Stevenson's brigade commanders will be found in that officer's report, *while those of General Forney's are presented in the appendix to this. So far as I know, not a solitary brigade or regimental commander favored the scheme of cutting out, and only two, whose views were presented to me, intimated the possibility of making more than one-half of their commands available for that purpose. With this unanimous opinion of mu officers against the practicability of a successful evacuation, and no relief from General Johnston, a surrender with or without terms was the only alternative left me. I therefore addressed the following note to Major-General Grant:

HEADQUARTERS,

Vicksburg, MISS., July 3, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT,

Commanding United States Forces:

GENERAL: I have the honor to propose to you an armistice for several hours, with a view to arranging terms for the capitulation of Vicksburg. To this end, if agreeable to you, I will appoint three commissioners to meet a like number, to be named by yourself, at such place and hour to-day as you may find convenient.

I make this proposition to save the further effusion of blood, which must otherwise be shed to a frightful extent, feeling myself fully able to maintain my position for a yet indefinite period.

This communication will be handed you under a flag of truce by Major General John S. Bowen.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J. C. PEMBERTON,

Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

In the course of two hours the annexed reply was received:

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE,

In the Field, near Vicksburg, MISS., July 3, 1863.

Lieutenant General J. C. PEMBERTON,

Commanding Confederate Forces,&c.:

GENERAL: Your note of this date is just received, proposing an armistice for several hours, for the purpose of arranging terms of capitulation through commissioners to be appointed, &c.

The useless effusion of blood you propose stopping by this course can be ended at any time you may choose, by an unconditional surrender of the city and garrison.

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*See siege of Vicksburg, Part II, p. 347.

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