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and therefore captured. The larger force he would have carried into the lines would have added to and hastened the catastrophe. His disasters were due, not merely to his entangling himself with the advancing columns of a superiour and unobserved enemy, but to his evident determination to be besieged in Vicksburg, instead of manæuvring to prevent a siege.”
In reply to the communication in which Gen. Pemberton informed him of his intended withdrawal within the lines of Vicksburg, Gen. Johnston wrote at once, on May 17: “If Haynes' Bluff be untenable, Vicksburg is of no value, and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested in Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, you must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Dicksburg and its dependencies, and march to the north-east.” But Gen. Pemberton went back into Vicksburg.
These events and records leave no doubt of the judgment proper to be rendered upon them. There is no room for controversy on the subject, although until after Gen. Johnston's official narration of them was published, which was not permitted until the following year, much was indulged in. The friends of Gen. Pemberton, following that officer himself, laid much stress upon the language employed in Gen. Johnston's dispatch of May 14, alluding to the enemy's supplies while at Jackson, and asking if Gen. Pemberton “could not cut him off” from the Mississippia dispatch which had not been received until the second day after the fatal movement towards Dillon's had been made, but which was claimed to have suggested the very movement which Gen. Pemberton had resolved upon before receiving it. But Gen. Johnston repels this pretension, by saying, in his report : " When the enemy was at Jackson, the letter [of the 14th] suggested a movement for the sole purpose of dislodging him, and so stated. Gen. Pemberton's march, with whatever purpose made, was begun after the enemy had abandoned Jackson, and was almost in his presence. My order of the 15th, at which time I should have joined Gen. Pemberton to take immediate command of the main army, but that I was till too weak to attempt such a ride, which was received by him early on the morning of the 16th, required him to abandon that movement. Had he obeyed it, the battle of Baker's Creek would have been escaped.”
The trapping of Gen. Pemberton in Vicksburg had been the inevitable result of two disobediences of orders—the order of the 13th to attack Sherman in front at Clinton, and the order of the 15th to move directly to Clinton, whence Sherman had removed to Jackson the day before. The loss of Vicksburg, which had ceased to be a position of peculiar military value, was thus rendered unavoidable. We are now to witness another disobedience of orders, which resulted in the loss of the army of Vicksburg.
“Convinced,” says Gen. Johnston, “ of the impossibility of collecting a sufficient force to break the investment of Vicksburg, should it be completed; appreciating the difficulty of extricating the garrison, and persuaded that Vicksburg and Port Hudson had lost most of their value by the repeated passage of armed vessels and transports, I ordered the evacuation of both places. Gen. Gordon did not receive this order before the investment of Port Hudson, if at all. Gen. Pemberton set aside this order, under the advice of a council of war; and though he had in Vicksburg eight thousand fresh troops, not demoralized by defeat, decided that it was impossible to withdraw the army from the position with such morale and material as to be of further service to the Confederacy, but 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. Vicksburg,” he went on to say, “was greatly imperilled when my instructions from Tullahoma to concentrate were neglected. It was lost when my orders of the 13th and 15th May were disobeyed. To this loss were added the labour, privations, and certain capture of a gallant army, when my orders for its evacuation were set aside.”
The investment of Vicksburg by Gen. Grant, with an army double the size of the Vicksburg garrison and of all under Gen. Johnston's immediate command combined, was speedily completed. By a letter from Gen. Pemberton, dated the 17th, at Vicksburg, and received on the 18th, Gen. Johnston was informed that he had ordered Haynes' Bluff to be abandoned, and that he had retired within the intrenchments of Vicksburg. He added reproachfully, "I greatly regret that I felt compelled to make an advance beyond the Big Black, which has proved so disastrous in its results," as if his army was not already at Edward's Depot, seven or eight miles east of the Big Black, expecting a battle there as early as the 12th, a day before Gen. Johnston's arrival at Jackson.
There was nothing now left to be done but to extricate the garrison; or, failing the attempt, to hold the position so long that disease and fever should work such havoc among the besieging host, as to make its capture cost him more than victory was worth. But Gen. Johnston's greatest desire was to concert some plan by which, his own army assisting, the garrison might be enabled to effect its escape. Coöperation was also hoped for, and, through Richmond, ordered, from the troops in the Trans-Mississippi department.
gurated against Vicksburg by the besieging army. They were repulsed with as much facility as gallantry. They were accompanied with such terrible loss to the assailants, and were so innocuous to the assailed and their fortifications, that they soon demonstrated to the learned and unlearned in military affairs, that Vicksburg was one of those places so fashioned by nature and art as not to be taken by assault. The Federal General, having satisfied himself of the inefficacy of all other methods, soon determined that a long siege, a circumvallation and complete blockade, were the only means by which the town could be touched. He erected extensive batteries, built a military road, and protected his external lines from the operations of Gen. Johnston by a gigantic ditch and abattis, which were themselves protected by the difficult bottoms and channel of the Big Black River.
Gen. Johnston, expecting a compliance with his orders for the evacuation of Vicksburg, dated on the 17th, moved with his force to Vernon, for the purpose of effecting a junction with Pemberton, but there received a reply, stating that a different course had been resolved on. To this information he replied: “I am trying to gather a force which may attempt to relieve you. Hold out.” And then, by easy marches, he moved in the direction of Jackson and Canton, in order to reëstablish his communications, expecting reinforcements from the eastward.
The force now under his command was an unprovided body of troops, assembled hurriedly from different directions, under the pressure of the occasion, without the numbers, or consistency, or any of the furniture of an army. His business was first to create, out of the scanty material in hand, an army which should be capable of acting offensively against another three times its number, strongly intrenched, furnished with the most abundant and approved appliances of modern warfare, and posted in the rear of a considerable river. By the 4th June, the little force which he was organizing into an army had grown to the dimensions of twenty-four thousand infantry and artillery, and two thousand cavalry. But it was still deficient in artillery, in ammunition for all arms, and in field transportation. It was peculiarly unadapted for operations against a superiour force already intrenched, in an unassailable position.
With this army, which was not materially increased afterwards, Gen. Johnston hoped to be able to give such assistance as to create an opportunity for the escape of the garrison; and he simultaneously informed both the Department at Richmond and Gen. Pemberton that this was his only hope and only plan. Meantime, Milliken's Bend, above Vicksburg, had been captured by troops from the Trans-Mississippi army; and Gen. Kirby Smith, commanding on that side, had instructed Gen. Richard Taylor, at Richmond, Louisiana, to endeavour to open communications with Vicksburg, with eight thousand men. On the 22d June Gen. Johnston got advices from Gen. Pemberton, dated on the 15th, stating that he could hold out twenty days longer; to which he replied, informing him of Gen. Taylor's intended movement, and adding that he would in a day or two make a diversion in his favour, though it would be with only two-thirds of the force which Gen. Pemberton had stated to be the least with which it ought to be attempted. On the 29th of June, field transportation and supplies having been at length obtained, Gen. Johnston marched westward, and on the 1st July encamped near the Big Black. While here, arduous and careful reconnoissances were made, first on the north of the railroad, and these proving unsuccessful, then on the south of it, with a view to an attack. On the 3d, intelligence was sent to Gen. Pemberton of his intention to attack on the 7th; but on the 5th the tidings were received of the memorable surrender which had taken place on the day before!
As the officer in command had manifested so persistent a purpose to hold Vicksburg, and to sacrifice so many considerations to that one object, these tidings gave Gen. Johnston a painful surprise. The capitulation, in the event of a failure of the garrison to cut its way out, was of course an event inevitable. It was so thought to be by himself and the public. It was not supposed that a position, so wedged in between navigable rivers,
able resource of the enemy. It was the abruptness of the surrender that was complained of; and the dissatisfaction was heightened by the selection that was made of the day for the performance of that solemnity. The public did not desire a useless postponement of an event inevitable. Much was to be gained by chaining Gen. Grant down to the siege for as long a time as possible, in the midsummer of a most critical campaign. It would occupy, for the time being, an army of the enemy estimated at from 60,000 to 100,000 strong. It would hold that army pent up in an unhealthy locality, where the climate would soon have put it in a condition unfit for offensive operations for the residue of the campaign. It would give time to the authorities of the Confederacy to organize an army under Johnston fully adequate to the vital purpose of the defense of the Gulf States. It would prevent reinforcements from being sent to Rosecrans, and save Tennessee, that “shield of the South," as the event proved. It would afford time for Johnston to educate to his hand another constellation of officers, whose names should be a counterpart to those of Ewell, Jackson, the Hills, Stuart, Rodes, and others, whom he had left in Virginia. The importance of time to Gen. Johnston's condition could not be calculated. It was in this point of view that. a protracted resistance at Vicksburg, even at the expense of hardship and privation to its brave garrison, had become a matter of the gravest importance. It could avail, indeed, nothing for Vicksburg, but it would save the Gulf States. Gen. Johnston did not often waste words. But in that order, “ Hold out," was embraced the fate of the Confederacy.
The tidings of the fall of Vicksburg gave not only distress and disappointment to the Southern people, but it gave offence; and to the circumstance that it was arranged to occur on the 4th of July, was added the announcement, soon after, that immense supplies of