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Vicksburg Campaign
Harper's Weekly July 25, 1863

The following is transcribed from Harper's Weekly Journal of Civilization, dated July 25, 1863:

Mr Davis writes:

The View from the Rifle-Pits at the Extreme Right

Headquarters of Major General McPherson

June 22, 1863

          "The scene at this point embraces so much that the public is familiar with, that has been mapped, sketched, and written of, that the present sketch must be of interest to many. It shows the very commanding position passed so often by our fleets, the lower batteries that sunk the boat of the gallant Bache - the Cincinnati - Young's Point, etc. Below is Warrenton, and faint in the distance the canal. Even the 'Bohemians' have an interest in the sketch, for is not the work upon which the rebel flag waves the very battery that disturbed their quietude the last summer, and more lately sank the little tug which sent upon an involuntary journey through 'Dixie' Colburn, Brown, and Richardson? The soldiers in the trench give a view of trench life: while some smoke, read, or chat, gun in hand, others are on the qui vive for a good chance, which means, in soldier parlance, an opportunity to end the chapters of some rebel's book of life."


Mr. Davis describes the scene:

"Mining the Rebel Work Fort Hill"

Headquarters of Major General McPherson

June 26, 1863

          "At this moment we have effected a lodgment in the work as Fort Hill. This has been done by blowing up a portion of the work, when it was speedily converted into a bastion work for two guns.

          "I have also sketched the miners busily at work far under the rebel wall. The different mines (four in number) were exploded at the same moment. The dust and smoke had not cleared away when a portion of General Logan's division dashed into the saps and trenches, from which they had been withdrawn prior to the explosion. From the advance trench they swarmed into the cavity made by the blast. Here were soon busily engaged the engineer corps, under Chief Engineer Captain Hickenlooper, who, with magnificent coolness, held his post under a severe fire. The lodgement was soon complete, and the position ours."

          By way of completing the history, we append the following particulars of the surrender. A dispatch dated Head-quarters General Grant, near Vicksburg, July 3, 8 pm., said:

          At eight this morning flags of truce appeared before A. J. Smith's front, when Major General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery were led blindfolded into our lines. They bore a communication from General Pemberton of the following purport:

          "Although I feel confident of my ability to resist your arms indefinitely, in order to stop the further effusion of blood, I propose that your appoint three Commissioners, to meet three whom I shall select, to arrange such terms as may best accomplish the result."

          Grant soon replied substantially in these words:

          "The appointment of Commissioners is unnecessary. While I should be glad to stop any unnecessary effusion of blood, the only terms which I can entertain are those of unconditional surrender. At the same time, myself, and men, and officers of this army, are ready to testify to distinguished gallantry with which the defense of Vicksburg has been conducted."

          At eleven o'clock the messengers returned. This afternoon General Grant met General Pemberton between the lines, and after an hour's consultation settled the surrender. General Pemberton urged that the soldiers might be paroled here and furnished rations to carry them to their lines; in view of the bravery they have displayed, and the advantages of the plan, General Grant consented.

The correspondent of the Cincinnati Commercial gives the following account of the interview between Generals Grant and Pemberton:

          General Pemberton then solicited a personal interview, which was granted by Grant at 3pm. The latter, with his staff, appeared on the hills where our advance works were. Here the party halted, until General Pemberton appeared, accompanied by General Bowen and Colonel Montgomery. On the crest of the opposite hills were rifle pits and forts, crowded with men. In the space in a grove of fruit trees of figs and peaches met the contending heroes. Thousand of soldiers looked upon this strange scene. Two men who had been lieutenants in the same regiment in Mexico now met as foes, with all the world looking upon them. The one his country's glory, the other his country's shame.

          When they had approached within a few feet there was a halt and silence.

          Colonel Montgomery spoke -- "General Grant, General Pemberton." They shook hands politely. It was evident Pemberton was mortified. He said: "I was at Monterey and Buena Vista. We had terms and conditions there."

          General Grant then took ham aside. They sat down on the grass and talked more than an hour. Grant smoked all the time. Pemberton played with the grass and pulled leaves. Grant finally agreed to parole them, allowing the officers each his horse.

          It was polite thing. The dread of going North, and the fear of harsh treatment, had deterred them from capitulating sooner. He proved his magnanimity, and saved thousands upon thousands of dollars in the way of transportation and rations. They feared the Fourth of July. Our men would call out at night that that the Fourth would finish them, and it was so arranged. By this we have saved thousands of lives. Both armies are gratified with the result. Our men treat them with kindness, giving them coffee, which some of them have not tasted for a year.

          A correspondent of the Missouri Democrat says:

          At ten o'clock am of the 4th, General Steele's division marched into the and garrisoned the city. The bans played the national airs of the contending forces. The scene was witnessed by thousands of Federal and Rebel soldiers, who for the first time in weeks showed themselves with impunity above the rifle-pits; and during all these weeks they had been within five yards of each other.

          General Grant came slowly to the place of rendezvous, smoking a cigar, and apparently the only unexcited person in the vast assemblage.

          The Herald correspondent telegraphs by way of Cairo:

          General McPherson received the formal surrender. The terms allow the officers and men to be paroled here, the former to retain their side-arms and horses and personal property. They will be escorted beyond our lines and furnished with three days provisions from our stores.

          General Logan's division marched into the city at eleven o'clock, and at noon Lieutenant-Colonel Strong hoisted the Stars and Stripes over the Court-house.

          Colonel Wilson is Provost-Marshall of the city, and General Logan is commander of the post.

          We have taken over 27,000 prisoners, besides about 4,000 non-combatants, 102 field pieces, thirty siege-guns, 50,000 stand of arms, ammunition, locomotives, cars, a few stores, a fifty-seven stand of colors.

          Among the prisoners are Lieutenant General Pemberton, Major Generals S. Stevenson, Smith, Forney and Bowen; fourteen Brigadier Generals and about one hundred and thirty Colonels.

          There are 5,6000 men in the hospital, half of whom are wounded. Only one hundred and fifty of the garrison are reported fit for duty. The stock of provisions was almost exhausted, and for days numbers had been eating mule-flesh.

          Of ammunition for heavy guns they had a fair supply, but for field-guns and musketry they were short. Eight caps to a man were allowed. They had an an excess of sugar, molasses, and rice, and these were all the supplies they had, except a little unground corn.

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