Today in History:

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

Page 56 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

immediately to the position I had just left on McPherson's line, to convey to him the information from McClernand by this last dispatch, that he might make the diversion requested. Before reaching McPherson, I met a messenger with a THIRD dispatch from McClernand, of with the following is a copy:

In the Field, near Vicksburg, MISS., May 22, 1863.

Major General U. S. GRANT:

GENERAL: We have gained the enemy's intrenchments at several points, but are brought to a stand. I have sent word to McArthur to re-enforce me if he can. Would it not be best to concentrate the whole or a part of his command on this point?

JOHN A. McClernand,

Major-General, Commanding.

P. S. - I have received your dispatch. My troops are all engaged, and I cannot withdraw any to re-enforce others.

The position occupied by me during most of the time of the assault gave me a better opportunity of seeing what was going on in front of the Thirteenth Army Corps than I believed it possible for the commander of it to have. I could not see his possession of forts, nor necessity for re-enforcements, as represented in his dispatches, up to the time I left it, which was between 12 m. and 1 p. m., and I expressed doubts of their correctness, which doubts the facts subsequently, but too late, confirmed. At the time I could not disregard his reiterated statements, for they might possibly be true; and that no possible opportunity of carrying the enemy's stronghold should be allowed to escape through fault of mine, I ordered Quinby's DIVISION, which was all of McPherson's corps then present but four brigades, to report to McClernand, and notified him of the order. I showed his dispatches to McPherson, as I had to Sherman, to satisfy him of the necessity of an active diversion on their part to hold as much force in their fronts as possible. The diversion was promptly and vigorously made, and resulted in the increase of our mortality list fully 50 per cen., without advancing our position or giving us other advantages.

About 3. 50 p. m. I received McClernand's fourth dispatch as follow:


Major General U. S. GRANT,
Department of the Tennessee:

GENERAL: I have received your dispatch in regard to General Quinby's DIVISION and General McArthur's DIVISION. As soon as they arrive I will press the enemy with all possible speed, and doubt not I will force my way through. I have lost no ground. My men are in two of the enemy's forts, but they are commanded by rifle-pits in the rear. Several prisoners have been taken, who intimate that rear is strong. At this moment I am hard pressed.

JOHN A. McClernand,

Major-General, Commanding.

The assault of this day proved the quality of the soldiers of this army. Without entire success, and with a heavy loss, there was no murmuring or complaining; no falling back, nor other evidence of demoralization.

After the failure of the 22nd, I determined upon a regular siege. The troops being now fully awake to the necessity of this, worked diligently and cheerfully. The work progressed rapidly and satisfactorily until July 3, when all was about ready for a final assault.

There was a great scarcity of engineer officers in the beginning, but under the skillful superintendence of Captain F. E. Prime, of the Engineer Corps, Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, of my staff, and Captain C. B. Comstock, of the Engineer Corps, who joined this command during the siege, such

Page 56 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.