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knew that it was of the utmost moment to prevent this union of the rebel forces. Having learned that Pemberton had a force of 25,000 men at Edward's Station, Grant ordered Sherman to join him as soon as possible, first destroying all public property at Jackson, and at once made a disposition of his forces.
The Confederates had chosen an admirable position for defence, their left resting on Chainpion's Hill, over which the road to Edward's Ferry runs. This hill rises sixty or seventy feet above the surrounding country; its sides are covered with a thick underbrush, and seamed with ravines, while its summit is bare, and afforded an admirable position for artillery. At ii o'clock in the morning the battle of Champion's Hill was begun and was stubbornly con.
TAK PAGSAGE OF THE BIG BLACK RIVER.' tested with varying results, when a brilliant and successful Alank inovement of Logan's division, on Pemberton's left threatening to cut off his line of retreat, carried dismay to the hearts of the rebel forces, and by four in the afternoon their rout was complete. This battle virtually d-cided the fate of Vicksburg. Pursuing the enemy at da: light the next morning, he was found strongly entrenched at Big Black River. Animated by their success of the previous day, the Union forces, without waiting for orders, rushed across a bayou, here twenty or more feet wide, in the midst of a murderous fire, which swept down many of their number. So sudden had been the attack of the assaulting party that the astonished rebels did not wait to defend their position, but broke and fled precipitately, an entire brigade falling into the hands of the Federals. The Confed. erate army, now little better than a mob, fled to Vicksburg, where their unexpecte' arrival and demoralized condition carried dismay and terror to its inhabitants.
The loss to the Fede als had been nearly three thousand in the two engagements; the Confederate loss over nine thousand in killed, wounded, and prisoners, besides thirtyeight cannon and large quantities of commissary stores.
Early the next morning the Union army was moving on Vicksburg fifteen miles distant, and the investment of the place began. Scarcely three weeks had passed since the campaign was opened; for thirteen days the men had had only six days' rations, and such supplies as the country afforded. In eighteen davs Grant had marched 200 miles, had fought five battles, in which he had taken 6,500 prisoners; killed and wounded 6,000 inore; taken twentyseven cannon and sixty-one pieces of field artillery. He had compelled the evacuation of Grand Gulf, had seized the capital of the State of Mississippi, and destroyed its network of railroads for thirty miles in all directions. His losses were 698 killed, 3,407 wounded, and 230 missing.
As the crowning result of all this, he had invested the city and its garrison that had so long defied the advance of the Union armies; all this had been accomplished against the advice of his Generals, and the orders of his superiors.
THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG.
By the morning of the 19th, the investment of Vicksburg was complete; Sherman occupying the right of the line, McPherson the center, and McCler and the left. General Grant at once ordered an assault upon the Confederate works, which two days afterward was renewed, both attempts being unsuccessful. In his official reports he states his reasons for the assault as follows:
“There were many reasons to determine me to adopt this course. I believed an assault from the position gained by this time could be made successfully. It was known that Johnston was at Canton, with the force taken by him from Jackson, reinforced by other troops from the east, and that more were daily reaching him. With the force I had, a short time must have enabled him to attack me in the rear, and possibly succeed in raising the siege. Possession of Vicksburg at that time would have enabled me to turn upon Johnston, and drive him from the State, and possess myself of all the railroads and practical military highways, thus effectually securing to vurselves all territory west of the Tombigbee, and this before the season was too far ad. vanced for campaigning in this latitude. I would have saved govern. ment sending large reinforcements, much needed elsewhere; and, fin. ally the troops themselves were impatient to possess Vicksburg, and would not have worked in the trenches with the same zeal (believing it unnecessary) that they did after their failure to carry the enemy's works."
The artillery fire was terrific, and played havoc with the enemy's works. The gallant soldiers again and again attempted to scale the heights, but nothing mortal could
withstand the leaden hail from the enemy's entrenchments, and before night the troops were withdrawn.
" The assault,” says General Grant, “was gallant in the extreme on the part of all the troops, but the enemy's position was too strong, both naturally and artificially, to be taken in that way. At every point assaulted, and at all of them at the same time, the enemy was able to show all the force his works could cover. The assault failed, I regret to say, with much loss on our side in killed and wounded; bnt without weakening the confidence of the troops in their ability ultimately to succeed.”
Says Sherman: “ These several assaults, made simultaneously, demonstrated the strength of the natural and artificial defenses of Vicksburg, that they are garrisoned by a strong force, and that we must resort to regular approaches."
Finding that Vicksburg could not be taken by storm, General Grant began a regular siege, and pressed it with ever increasing effort. He received invaluable aid from the fleet of Admiral Porter, who kept up an incessant bombardment of the unfortunate town. Space forbids a description of the operations of this siege. From its commencement to its close it was one continued roar of battle, through which, notwithstanding the constant exposure to the fire of the foe, forts were erected, and trenches dug. For forty-six days the work continued unceasingly.
While thus engaged General Grant was exposed to an attack from Johnston in his rear. To General Sherman was assigned the task to look after Johnston. The amount of labor performed was prodigious; opposite the rebel works, works of equal magnitude were erected, twelve miles of trenches dug, eighty-nine batteries erected. By the last of June two hundred and twenty guns were in position. The defense was conducted with as much deter. mination as the assault was pressed.
On May 25 General Grant wrote General Banks who was then operating below Fort Hudson:
"I feel that my force is abundantly strong to hold the enemy where he is, or to whip him if he should come out. The place is so strongly fortified, however, that it cannot be taken without either a great sacrifice of life or by a regular siege. I have determined to adopt the latter course, and save my men. The great danger now to be apprehended is, that the enemy may collect a force outside, and attempt to rescue the garrison.”
On the 31st he again wrote:
“ It is now certain that Johnston has already collected a force from twenty thousand to twenty-five thousand strong, at Jackson and Canton, and is using every effort to increase it to forty thousand. With this, he will undoubtedly attack Haines' Bluff, and compel me to abandon the investment of the city, if not reinforced before he can get here."
General Grant had been reinforced by Lauman's divi. sion and four regiments from Memphis, two divisions of the Sixteenth Army Corps, Major-General C. C. Wash. burn commanding, Herron's division from the Department of the Missouri, two divisions from the Ninth Corps, under command of Major-General Parke. Sherman's corps held the extreme right, McPherson the center, and General Ord, now in command of General McClernand's corps, McClernand having been relieved, on McPherson's left, while Herron held the extreme left. General Blair held Haines' Bluff and the country between the Yazoo and the Big Black River. He was also ordered to watch the movements of Johnston and hold all fords on the Big Black.
Every disposition was made by Grant to meet either a sortie from the invested town or from an attack in the rear. The latter part of June the enemy's ammunition had become exhausted, as also his commissary supplies;