Today in History:

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


NEAR Vicksburg, May 22, 1863,


General H. W. HALLECK,

Washington, D. C.:

Vicksburg is now completely invested. I have possession of Haynes' Bluff and the Yazoo; consequently have supplies. To-day an attempt was made to carry the city by assault, but was not entirely successful. We hold possession, however, of two of the enemy's forts, and have skirmishers close under all of them. Our loss was not severe. The nature of the ground about Vicksburg is such that it can only be taken by a siege. It is entirely safe to us in time, I would say one week, if the enemy do not send a large army upon my rear. With the railroad destroyed to beyond Pearl River, I do not see the hope that the enemy can entertain of such relief.

I learn that Jeff. Davis has promised that if the garrison can hold out for FIFTEEN days he will send 100,000 men, if he has to evacuate Tennessee to do it.

What shall I do with the prisoners I have?



Near Vicksburg, MISS., May 24, 1863.

Major General H. W. HALLECK,

General-in-Chief, Washington, D. C.:

GENERAL: My troops are now disposed with the right (Sherman's corps) resting on the Mississippi, where the bluff strikes the water, we having the first crest and the upper of the enemy's water batteries. McClernand is on the left with his corps, his right having about one brigade north of the railroad, the rest south of it. One DIVISION occupies the roads leading south and southeast from the city. The position is as strong by nature as can possibly be conceived of, and is well fortified. The garrison the enemy have to defend it I have no means of knowing, but their force is variously estimated from 10,000 to 20,000.

I attempted to carry the place by storm on the 22nd, but was unsuccessful. Our troops were not repulsed from any point, but simply failed to enter the works of the enemy. At several points they got up to the parapets of the enemy's forts, and planted their flags on the outer slope of the embankments, where they still have them. The assault was made simultaneously by the three army corps at 10 a. m. The loss on our side was not very heavy at first, but received repeated dispatches from General McClernand, saying that he was hard pressed on his right and left and calling for re-enforcements, I gave him all of McPherson's corps but four brigades, and caused Sherman to press the enemy on our right, which caused us to double our losses for the day. The whole loss for the day will probably reach 1,500 killed and wounded.

General McClernand's dispatches misled me as to the real state of facts, and caused much of this loss. He is entirely unfit for the position of corps commander, both on the march and on the battle-field. Looking after his corps gives me more labor and infinitely more uneasiness than all the remainder of my department.

The enemy are now undoubtedly in our grasp. The fall of Vicksburg and the capture of most of the garrison can only be a question of time. I hear a great deal of the enemy bringing a large force from the east to