War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0286 Chapter XXXVI. Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC.

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want of food among the garrison. That the men were put upon greatly reduced rations is undeniably true; but, in the opinion of many medical officers, it is at least questionable whether under all the circumstances this was at all injurious to their health. It must be remembered that for forty-seven days and nights these heroic men had been exposed to burning suns, drenching rains, damp fogs, and heavy dews, and that during all this period they never had by day or by night the slightest relief. The extent of our works required every available man in the trenches, and even then they were in many places insufficiently manned. It was not in my power to relieve any portion of the line for a single hour. Confined to the narrow limits of a trench, with their limbs cramped and swollen, without exercise, constantly exposed to a murderous storm of shot and shell, while the enemy's unerring sharpshooters stood ready to pick off every one visible above the parapets, is it strange that the men grew weak and attenuated? They had made a most heroic defense. Many had met death with a smile upon their lips, all had cheerfully encountered danger, and almost without a murmur had borne privations and hardships well calculated to test their manhood. They had held the place against an enemy five times their number, admirably clothed and fed, and abundantly supplied with all the appliances of war. Whenever the foe attempted an assault, they drove him back discomfited, covering the ground with his killed and wounded, and already had they torn from his grasp five stand of colors as trophies of their prowess, none of which were allowed to fall again into his hands. Knowing the anxious desire of the Government to relieve Vicksburg, I felt assured that if within the compass of its power the siege would be raised, but when forty-seven weary days and nights had passed, with the knowledge I then possessed that no adequate relief was to be expected, I felt that I ought not longer to place in jeopardy the brave men whose lives had been intrusted to my care. Hence, after the suggestion of the alternative of cutting my way out, I determined to make terms, not because my men were starved out, not because I could not hold out yet a little longer, but because they were overpowered by numbers, worn down with fatigue, and each day saw our defenses crumbling beneath their feet. The question of subsistence, therefore, had nothing whatever to do with the surrender of Vicksburg. With an unlimited supply of provisions, the garrison could not, for the reasons already given, have held out much longer.

My previous dispatches from General Johnston had not made me very sanguine of relief, and his dispatch of June 22 was not calculated to render me more hopeful. He said:

General Taylor is sent by General E. K. Smith to co-operate with you from the WEST bank of the river, to throw in supplies and to cross with his force, if expedient and practicable. I will have the means of moving toward the enemy in a day or two, and will try to make a diversion in your favor, and, if possible, communicate with you, though I fear my force is too small to effect the latter. If I can do nothing to relieve you, rather than surrender the garrison, endeavor to cross the river at the last moment, if you and General Taylor can communicate.

I never received any communication from Major-General Taylor on the subject of co-operation, nor had I any knowledge of his whereabouts or of his forces, and I heard no more from General Johnston until July 10, when I received his dispatch of the 3rd in Vicksburg from the bearer, who had been several days confined and a prisoner to the Federal authorities. Had I received General Johnston's dispatch of June 27, in which he encouraged the hope that both Vicksburg and the garrison might be saved, I would have lived upon an ounce a day and have con-