Today in History:

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


practical experience was gained as would enable any DIVISION of this army hereafter to conduct a siege with considerable skill in the absence of regular engineer officers.

On the afternoon of July 3, a letter was received from Lieutenant General Pemberton, commanding the Confederate forces at Vicksburg, proposing an armistice and the appointment of commissioners to arrange terms for the capitulation of the place. The correspondence, copies of which are herewith transmitted, resulted in the surrender of the city and garrison of Vicksburg at 10 a. m. July 4, 1863, on the following terms:

The entire garrison, officers and men, were to be paroled, not to take up arms against the United States until exchanged by the proper authorities; officers and men each to be furnished with a parole, signed by himself; officers to be allowed their side-arms and private baggage, and the field, staff, and cavalry officers one horse each; the rank and file to be allowed all their clothing, but no other property; rations from their own stores sufficient to last them beyond our lines; the necessary cooking utensils for preparing their food, and 30 wagons to transport such articles as could not well be carried.

These terms I regarded more favorable to the Government than an unconditional surrender. It saved us the transportation of them north, which at that time would have been very difficult, owing to the limited amount of river transportation on hand, and the expense of subsisting them. It left our army free to operate against Johnston, who was threatening us from the direction of Jackson, and our river transportation to be used for the movement of troops to any point the exigency of the service might require.

I deem it proper to state here, in order that the correspondence may be fully understood, that after my answer to General Pemberton's letter of the morning of the 3rd, we had a personal interview on the subject of the capitulation.

The particulars and incidents of the siege will be contained in the reports of DIVISION and corps commanders, which will be forwarded as soon as received.

I brought forward during the siege, in addition to Lauman's DIVISION and four regiments previously ordered from Memphis, [W. S.] Smith's and Kimball's DIVISIONS, of the SIXTEENTH Army Corps, and assigned Major General C. C. Washburn to command of the same.

On June 11, Major General F. J. Herron's DIVISION, from the Department of the Missouri, arrived, and on the 14th two DIVISIONS of the NINTH Army Corps, Major General J. G. Parke commanding, arrived. This increase in my force enabled me to make the investment most complete, and at the same time left me a large reserve to watch the movements of Johnston. Herron's DIVISION was put into position on the extreme left, south of the city, and Lauman's DIVISION was placed between Herron and McCl and Kimball's DIVISIONS and Parker's corps were sent to Haynes' Bluff. This place I had fortified on the land side, and every preparation made to resist a heavy force. Johnston crossed Big Black River with a portion of his force, and everything indicated that he would make an attack about June 25. Our position in front of Vicksburg having been made as strong against a sortie from the enemy as his works were against an assault, I placed Major-General Sherman in command of all the troops designated to look after Johnston. The force intended to operate against Johnston, in addition to that at Haynes' Bluff, was one DIVISION from each of the Thirteenth, Fifteenth, and SEVENTEENTH Army Corps and Lauman's DIVISION. Johnston, however, not attacking, I determined to attack him the moment Vicksburg was in our possession,