This was also the case in many instances where provisions were offered me by citizens. I was offered supplies of corn and meat, but at a time when, from the proximity of the enemy and other causes, it was utterly impracticable for me to make them available. In this connection I cannot forbear saying that in nine cases out of ten where subsistence was offered me, the offer carried with it a demand for transportation, which it was entirely out of my power to furnish. To have made purchases under such circumstances would have been simply ridiculous.
A cargo of bacon, which haoctaw Bayou on April 18 to avoid the enemy's gunboats on Red River, was by the energetic exertions of Mr. Howell Hinds, of Jefferson County, Mississippi, successfully transported from the bayou across the river to Port Gibson. I was extremely anxious to get this meat to Port Hudson, but the difficulties of transportation prevented, and before it could be removed by General Bowen to a point of safety, it became necessary to destroy much of it, to prevent its falling into the hands of the enemy. In this connection I again refer to the fact that when I was compelled to abandon Snyder's Mill, there were at least 30,000 bushels of corn at that place. I mention this to show that there was no deficiency of corn in the department, but that the great and, indeed, insuperable obstacle was the want of transportation by dirt road and the almost constant and daily interruption of railroad communication on the Southern road, which was the only means of transportation of subsistence to Vicksburg.
I think I have now shown conclusively that I spared no exertions to have Vicksburg and Port Hudson abundantly provisioned, and that whenever the supply fell short of the demand or of my expectations it was caused by circumstances wholly beyond my control. In this connection I may add that I had at the time of the surrender of Vicksburg about 40,000 pounds of pork and bacon, which had been reserved for the subsistence of my troops in the event of attempting to cut my way out of the city; also, 51,241 pounds of rice, 5,000 bushels of peas, 92,234 pounds of sugar, 3,240 pounds of soap, 527 pounds of tallow candles, 27 pounds of Star candles, and 428,000 pounds of salt.
Much unnecessary clamor has been raised about the want of ammunition in Vicksburg. I have already shown than my supply of ammunition was large, and that the principal, indeed the only, deficiency was in musket-caps. The appendix devoted to the subject of ordnance will demonstrate that I am not responsible for that deficiency, whatever its extent may have been. I therefore beg special attention to my telegrams to Colonel [J.] Gorgas, of the Ordnance Department, for ordnance and ammunition, commenced as early as November, within three weeks after I assumed command of the department, and they were continued persistently up to almost the last hour of uninterrupted communication with Richmond. I believe that the Chief of Ordnance furnished me with everything in his power. I only desire that I may not be held responsible for what the Government could not furnish.
I am unable as yet to give full reports of the casualties at Baker's Creek, Big Black, and during the siege of Vicksburg. They will be forwarded so soon as DIVISION commanders shall have rendered them complete. The same with reference to ordnance and ordnance stores.
Very many officers and soldiers have distinguished themselves by particular acts of gallantry, or have rendered themselves conspicuous by untiring exertions and devotion to duty; so many, indeed, as to preclude the possibility of my referring to each in the body of this report. Attention is, therefore, respectfully invited to the appendix and to the reports of DIVISION, brigade, and other commanders.