War of the Rebellion: Serial 036 Page 0287 Chapter XXXVI. GENERAL REPORTS.

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tinued to meet the assaults of all Grant's army rather than have surrendered the city until General Johnston had realized or relinquished that hope; but I did not receive his dispatch until August 20, in Gainesville, Ala., nor had I the most remote idea that such an opinion was entertained by General Johnston. He had for weeks ignored its possibility. I had notified him on June 15 that I had enough to subsist my army for yet twenty days, but he held out no hope of raising the siege.

On May 25, thirty-four days previous, he had informed me that on the arrival of an expected DIVISION from Bragg's army he would "move to me. " I supposed then, with my co-operation, to raise the siege. No subsequent dispatch from him sustained my understanding of his communication; all, without exception, of later date, spoke only of the possibility of extricating the garrison. His dispatch of July 3, received by me six days after the capitulation, held out no such hope, and I am fully and entirely satisfied that no efficient aid would have been given me even to effect an evacuation. I do not mean nor desire to be understood as implying that it might have been given me. I only express my conviction, that had I been able to hold the enemy at bay for yet a month, I do not believe, anxious as I was to co-operate, that I would have been relieved by any force from the outside.

In a dispatch of the 16th, I think (for I have not the copy), I suggested that, as General Johnston deemed it impracticable to do more than by possibility relieve the garrison, a proposition from him for an evacuation of Vicksburg might be favorably entertained by General Grant. In his dispatch of the 27th, already alluded to and previously copied, will be found his views on that point.

The dispatch of June 22 from General Johnston rendered it painfully apparent that the siege could not be raised. To cross the Mississippi River, as suggested, in the face of the enemy's gunboats and land batteries, was an impossibility; and unless this was effected, the defense which had been so long and gallantly maintained ceased to be of any practical utility. Proud as I was of my brave troops, honoring them, as I did and do for, for the courage, fortitude, and constancy they had so nobly displayed, I felt that it would be an act of cruel inhumanity to subject them longer to the terrible ordeal to which for so many days and nights they had already been exposed. Brain and sinew will alike wear out; the bravest may be overpowered by numbers; and I saw no advantage to be gained by protracting a hopeless defense, which I knew must be attended with a useless waste of life and blood. I had, then, to choose between such favorable terms as I might be able to obtain and an unconditional surrender, or subject the garrison and the citizens (including hundreds of women and children) to the horrors of an assault, which I could no longer hope to repel.

Much and I think unmerited, obloquy has been cast upon me by a large portion of the public press for an imputed failure to provide adequately for the subsistence of the garrisons of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. The Government and my immediate military superior, perhaps better informed of facts, have, so far as I am aware, refrained from censure, reserving a decision until a full investigation shall have determined to what extent, if any, it is deserved.

Immediately on assuming command of the Department of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, on October 14, 1862, I gave my earnest and unremitting attention to the reorganization of the several staff departments and to the great question of supplies. It is unnecessary to speak of the confusion and general want of system which prevailed. I found most of the district commanders exercising the authority which pertained