When the proposition of General Gardner to suspend hostilities with a view to consider terms of surrender was received, there were 6,408 officers and men on duty within the lines; 2,500 in the rear of the besieging forces and on the west bank of the river, opposite Port Hudson, and 12,000 men, under Generals Green and Taylor, between Port Hudson and Donaldsonville, who had, by establishing their batteries on the west bank of the river, effectually cut off our communication with New Orleans, making 21,000 men actively engaged in raising the siege at the time of its surrender.
The besieging force was reduced to less than 10,000 men, of which more than half were enlisted for nine months' service, and a few regiments of colored troops organized since the campaign opened from the material gathered from the country. The position assailed was, from the natural defenses of the country, as well as from the character of the works constructed, believed by the enemy to be impregnable. The besieging army, to reach the position, had marched more than 500 miles, through a country where no single line of supplies could be maintained, against a force fully equal in numbers, fighting only in intrenchments, and gathering material for re-enforcing its regiments in the country through which it passed. There are but few sieges in the history of war in which the disparity of forces has been marked, the difficulties to be encountered more numerous, the victory more decided, or the results more important.
Every officer and man who discharged his duty in that campaign, whether living or dead, will leave an honored name to his descendants, and receive hereafter, if not now, the grateful and well-merited applause of his country. The results of the surrender or Vicksburg and Port Hudson were the permanent separation of the rebel States east and west, and the free navigation of the Mississippi, thus opening communication between the Northern and Southern States occupied by our forces, and an outlet for the products of the Upper Mississippi Valley to the markets of the world.
The two armies that had fought each other with such resolute determination fraternized on the day of the surrender without manifestations of hostility or hatred. A common valor had given birth to a feeling of mutual respect.
Brigadier General T. W. Sherman was seriously wounded in the assault of May 27, and Brigadier-General Paine on June 14. Among those killed during the siege were Colonel Bean, of the Fourth Wisconsin; Colonel Holcomb, of the First Louisiana; Colonel D. S. Cowles, of the One hundred and twenty-eighth New York; Lieutenant-Colonel Rodman, of the Thirty-eight Massachusetts; Lieutenant-Colonel Lull, of the Eighth New Hampshire; Colonel Smith, of the One hundred and sixty-fifth New York Zouaves; Colonel Chapin, of the One hundred and sixteenth New York; Major Haffkille and Captain Luce, of the Engineers; Lieutenant Wrotnowski, and many other gallant officers whose names, in the absence of official records, it is not in my power to give, who gave their lives to the cause of liberty and their country.
In this campaign we captured 10,584 prisoners, as follows: Paroled men at Port Hudson, exclusive of the sick and wounded, 5,953 - officers, 455; captured by Grierson at Jackson, 150; First [Arkansas Battalion] and Fifteenth Arkansas captured May 27,101; on board steamers in Thompson's Creek, 25; deserters, 250; sick and wounded, 1,000; captured at Donaldsonville, June 28,150; captured west of the Mississippi 2,500; in all, a number fully equal to the force to which the garrison surrendered. We also captured 73 guns, 4,600 pounds of powder, 150,000
2 R-VOL XXVI, PT I