Today in History:

1062 Series I Volume XXIV-III Serial 38 - Vicksburg Part III

Page 1062 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.

[General JOSEPH E. Johnston.]

GENERAL: Your letter of the 12th ultimo, inclosing "articles published in a newspaper by Lieutenant-General Pemberton's assistant adjutant-general, W. H. McCardle, " was duty submitted to the President, and has been returned with the following indorsement, viz.:

General Johnston's charge against an officer of his command should be tried by a court.

As soon as your charges are put in form and forwarded to this office, a general court-martial will be ordered for the trial of Major McCardle.


[Inclosure Numbers 1.] [From the Mobile Register and Advertiser.]


Nearly two months have now elapsed since the surrender of Vicksburg, and during that time the public journals of the country have literally teemed with misrepresentations and abuse of Lieutenant-General Pemberton. He has been denounced as a traitor who betrayed his trust and sold Vicksburg to the enemy, and as an imbecile incapable of command. That officer and his fiends have heretofore remained silent under these cruel and unjust accusations, not because they could not have been refuted, but for the reason that until the official report of the commander of the Department of the Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana had been made and transmitted to the War Department, it was not deemed proper to engage in any discussion of the matters in dispute.

That report having been forwarded to Richmond, I now propose to say a few words in defense of the best-abused man in the Confederacy, and I speak only whereof I know.

The first. and primary cause of the fall of Vicksburg is to be found in the small number of heavy guns on the river front. The batteries from Snyder's Mill to Vicksburg, a distance of nearly 10 miles, mounted not thirty-five guns, and those directly fronting the city mounted but twenty-eight, two of which burst during the siege. With this insufficient number of guns, it was utterly impossible to prevent the passage of an occasional gunboat, and yet whenever one did pass, the flood-gates sinking and destruction of a number of formidable vessels, from Vicksburg to Port Hudson, has been entirely ignored, or treated as an affair of so much insignificance as scarcely to merit a paragraph. The moment the enemy succeeded in running a few of his gunboats and transports

past our batteries, a feat which was likely to be accomplished every dark night, it was at once practicable for him to cross the river and commence operations on our flank on the east bank of the river, and this is precisely what he did.

If it should be asked why there were not more guns for the defense of the river front, I can only answer that it was not because General Pemberton did not frequently apply for them, but I presume because it was not in the power of the Government to furnish them. The letters of General Pemberton show that, if repeated and importunate demands for guns could have procured them, he would have had them in such

Page 1062 Mississippi, WEST TENNESSEE, ETC. Chapter XXXVI.