War of the Rebellion: Serial 038 Page 0890 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

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of your communication, I immediately assembled a council of war of the general officers of this command, and, having laid your instructions before them, asked the free expression of their opinions as to the practicability of carrying them out. The opinion was unanimously expressed that it was impossible to withdraw the army from this position with such morale and material as to be of further service to the Confederacy. While the council of war was assembled, the guns of the enemy opened on the works, and about the same time it was reported that they were crossing the Yazoo River at Brandon's Ferry, above Snyder's Mill. I have decided to hold Vicksburg as long as possible, with the firm hope that the Government may yet be able to assist me in keeping this obstruction to the enemy's free navigation of the Mississippi River. I still conceive it to be the most important point in the Confederacy.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Vicksburg, May 18, 1863.


Commanding Cavalry:

COLONEL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say to you in reply to your communication of to-day's date that he has ordered the abandonment of Snyder's Mill. You will operate on the right flank and rear of the enemy, in cutting off their supplies, &c. He directs me also to say to you he expects great assistance from you in the defense of this place.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

Vicksburg, May 18, 1863.

Brigadier General John S. BOWEN:

GENERAL: The lieutenant-general commanding directs me to say that General Smith has orders to withdraw his troops from the outer to the inner line to-night. That yours at the same time, on General Smith's order, will also be drawn to the inner line.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,



CAMP, near Cemetery, May 18, 1863.

Lieutenant-General PEMBERTON:

GENERAL: Since my return to camp, I find that the wildest and most absurd rumors of surrender are in existence, not only among the men, but the officers of the command. Prisoners captured in our late battle have asserted that Grant and yourself had an understanding, and that they would have this place on the 20th instant. This, I hear, is general throughout the army. Would it be well to issue an order that a council of general officers had unanimously supported you in your determination not to evacuate or surrender, but to hold the place to the bitter end? Excuse me for the liberty I have taken in offering personal advice on an official point, but be assured I am prompted by the best intentions.