Today in History:

38 Series I Volume XXIV-I Serial 36 - Vicksburg Part I

Page 38 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

effect a raising of the siege. They may attempt something of the kind, but I do not see how they can do it. The railroad is effectually destroyed at Jackson, so that it will take thirty days to repair it. This will leave a march of 50 miles over which the enemy will have to subsist an army, and bring their ordnance stores with teams. My position is so strong that I could hold out for several days against a vastly superior force. I do not see how the enemy could possibly maintain a long attack under these circumstances. I will keep a close watch on the enemy, however.

There is a force now at Calhoun Station, about 6 miles north of Canton, on the Mississippi Central Railroad. This is the force that escaped from Jackson, augmented by a few thousand men from the coast cities, intended to re-enforce the latter place before the attack, but failed to reach in time.

In the various battles from Port Gibson to Big Black River Bridge, we have taken nearly 6,000 prisoners, besides killed and wounded, and scattered a much larger number.

The enemy succeeded in returning to Vicksburg with only three pieces of artillery. The number captured by us was seventy-four guns, besides what was found at Haynes' Bluff.

From Jackson to this place I have had no opportunity for communicating with you. Since that, this army fought a heavy battle near Baker's Creek, on the 16th, beating the enemy badly, killing and capturing not less than 4,000 of the enemy, besides capturing most of his artillery. Loring's DIVISION was cut off from retreat, and dispersed in every direction.

On the 17th, the battle of Big Black River Bridge was fought, the enemy again losing about 2,000 prisoners, seventeen pieces of artillery, and many killed and wounded. The bridges and ferries were destroyed. The march from Edwards Station to Big Black River Bridge was made, bridges from crossing the army constructed, and much of it over in twenty-four hours.

On the 19th, the march to this place was made and the city invested.

When I crossed the Mississippi River, the means of ferriage was so limited, and time so important, that I started without teams and an average of but two days' rations in haversacks. Our supplies had to be hauled about 60 miles, from Milliken's Bend to opposite Grand Gulf, and from there to wherever the army marched. We picked up all the teams in the country and free Africans to drive them. Forage and meat were found in great abundance through the country, so that, although not over five days' rations were issued in twenty days, yet there was neither suffering nor complaint witnessed in the army.

As soon as reports can be got from corps commanders, I will send in a report, embracing the campaign from Milliken's Bend to the investment, if not the capture, of Vicksburg.

When I crossed the Mississippi River, it was my intention to detach an army corps, or the necessary force, to co-operate with General Banks to secure the reduction of Port Hudson and the union of the two armies, but I received a letter from General Banks, stating that he was in Louisiana, and would return to Baton Rouge by May 10. By the reduction of Port Hudson he could add only 12,000 to my force. I had certain information that General Joe Johnston was on his way to Jackson, and that re-enforcements were arriving there constantly from Port Hudson and the Southern cities. Under this state of facts, I could not afford to delay. Beating the enemy to near Port Gibson, I followed him to Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black River. This placed my forces 15 miles on their way from Grand Gulf to this place, Big Black

Page 38 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.