Reports of Maj. Gen. Carter L. Stevenson, C. S. Army, Commanding Division.
MAY 19-JULY 4, 1863.--The Siege of Vicksburg, Miss.
O.R.-- SERIES I--VOLUME XXIV/2 [S# 37]

HEADQUARTERS ON THE RIGHT,
Vicksburg, June 12, 1863.

Major MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: General Barton reports that the enemy are crossing troops at Warrenton, supposed to be those that came to the upper landing on yesterday afternoon.

Respectfully,
C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-General.


HEADQUARTERS ON THE RIGHT,
Vicksburg, June 13, 1863.

Major MEMMINGER,
A. A. G., Dept. Mississippi and East Louisiana, Vicksburg.

        MAJOR: An effort was made last night by about two regiments of Feds to take our picket line on the Hall's Ferry road. They were gallantly met and repulsed by the pickets of Cumming's right and Reynolds' left, and driven back. That line is now held by a strong force of pickets.
        A scout ordered out from my extreme right reports the enemy's line complete and compact, and that it was impossible for them to get through it.

Respectfully,
C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-General, Commanding.


HEADQUARTERS, June 17, 1863.

        The enemy made several efforts on yesterday to drive the pickets from General Barton's front. They finally concentrated on those of the Fortieth Georgia and drove them. I ordered the post to be retaken last night.
        The within is the reply thereto.
        They have placed some guns in our battery opposite the canal, near the gin-house. The house was burned on yesterday.
        Respectfully forwarded for the information of the lieutenant-general commanding.

C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-General.

[Inclosure.]

HEADQUARTERS RIGHT,
June 17, 1863--7.30 a.m.

[J. J. REEVE.]

        MAJOR: An effort was made last night to retake the picket posts in front of the Fortieth Georgia, but the enemy was found in so great force that the loss which must have ensued in forcing the point would have been out of proportion to the value gained. It was, therefore, abandoned, and other posts established, which, it is thought, will render the first untenable by the enemy. This proves to be the case.
        A dash was made on the extreme outpost of the Forty-second Georgia last night, and the post and 4 men captured. The post has been retaken this morning.
        An effort was also made to establish a battery opposite the Fifty-second Georgia, but was defeated.

Very respectfully,
S. M. BARTON,
Brigadier-General.


HEADQUARTERS FORCES ON THE RIGHT,
June 24, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: The firing of the enemy on General Barton has been very severe to-day. They kept up a fire with nine pieces, and this evening drove in one of his pickets, capturing 7 men. General Barton seems to apprehend an attack on his right, and states that the enemy is in much greater force there than heretofore. I have sent him two regiments.
        To-night the enemy opened with grape and canister on the position recently taken from them by General Cumming's brigade, and, moving up a force, succeeded in recapturing it. Our pickets on Lee's line were met by an officer to-night, sent by Grant to say that he would place no more pickets in front of that line, and would fire on ours. Our pickets were consequently withdrawn to the immediate front of the works. I have one regiment in reserve in rear of Cumming's, and can spare no more men for the river front, as the loss of the work on the Hall's Ferry road renders that position very weak, and I may have to recall one of the regiments sent to the river front.

I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-General, Commanding.

P. S.--I am just about starting for the lines myself.


HEADQUARTERS STEVENSON'S DIVISION,
Demopolis, Ala., July 29, 1863.

Maj. R. W. MEMMINGER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

        MAJOR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of my division from its advance from Vicksburg to the capitulation of the city. It has been delayed to this time by the constant occupation of myself and my subordinate commanders during the siege of Vicksburg and by the march which followed its capitulation.

* * * * * * * * * *

        At about 10 a.m. [May 17], I received orders to take command of the army, and conduct its retreat to the fortifications around Vicksburg. The brigade of Brigadier-General Baldwin, of Smith's division, was assigned to the duty of bringing up the rear. Just before getting into the works, I was joined by the brigade of Colonel Reynolds, to whom, as I before stated, had been intrusted the charge of the trains of the whole army. He had crossed the Big Black after much difficulty and delay, occasioned by the absence of any facilities for so doing, at Bridgeport.
        By a mistake in the transmission of the order, the regiment of Colonel Beck (Lee's brigade) remained at the river, resisted the attempts of the enemy to cross until 11 o'clock that night, and only withdrew upon the receipt of a peremptory order.
        The retreat was conducted in a leisurely and orderly manner, and the troops entered the line of fortifications at about 3 p.m.

* * * * * * * * * *

        On the morning of May 18, the positions to be held by each of the different divisions were assigned by the lieutenant-general himself. The portion of the line of defense which was assigned to my division included the river front and the works south of the city from the river to the railroad, a line of about 5 miles in length. Barton occupied the river front and the fortifications on the right; Reynolds, those on the right center to the Hall's Ferry road; Cumming, the left center, and Lee, re-enforced by Waul's Texas Legion, the extreme left. Several sections and companies of artillery not properly belonging to my division were posted on my line. Captain [J. W.] Johnston, Botetourt Artillery Company, was assigned to duty as inspector-general of light artillery on my staff, and the artillery on the right of the Hall's Ferry road placed under the command of Capt. J. B. Grayson, First Louisiana Heavy Artillery, and that on the left under that of Capt. J. F. Waddell, of my division.
        On the evening of the 18th, the enemy made his appearance in front of our lines, and immediately began to push forward his sharpshooters. The number of guns, superiority of range and metal, and exhaustless supply of ammunition, enabled them in a very short time to plant many batteries in such commanding positions as to damage our works materially, and inflict a very considerable loss among the men.
        On the morning of May 22, many indications showed that they contemplated an assault upon the line of General [S. D.] Lee. A tremendous artillery fire was opened and kept up for about two hours, while the fire of their large force of sharpshooters was heavy and incessant.
        At about 1 p.m. a heavy force moved out to the assault, making a gallant charge. They were allowed to approach unmolested to within good musket range, when every available gun was opened upon them with grape and canister, and the men, rising in the trenches, poured into their ranks volley after volley with so deadly an effect that, leaving the ground literally covered in some places with their dead and wounded, they precipitately retreated. An angle of one of our redoubts hail been breached by their artillery before the assault and rendered untenable. Toward this point, at the time of the repulse of the main body, a party of about 60 of the enemy, under the command of a lieu-tenant-colonel, made a rush, and succeeded in effecting a lodgment in the ditch at the foot of the redoubt and planting two flags on the edge of the parapet. The work was constructed in such a manner that this ditch was commanded by no part of the line, and the only means by which they could be dislodged was to retake the angle by a desperate charge, and either kill or compel the surrender of the whole party by the use of hand-grenades. A call for volunteers for this purpose was made and promptly responded to by Lieut. Col. E. W. Pettus, Twentieth Alabama Regiment, and about 40 men of Waul's Texas Legion. A more gallant feat than this charge has not illustrated our arms during the war.
        The preparations were quietly and quickly made, but the enemy seemed at once to divine our intention, and opened upon the angle a terrible fire of shot, shell, and musketry. Undaunted, this little band, its chivalrous commander at its head, rushed upon the work, and in less time than it requires to describe it, it and the flags were in our possession.
        Preparations were then quickly made for the use of hand-grenades, when the enemy in the ditch, being informed of our purpose, immediately surrendered.
        From this time forward, although on several occasions their demonstrations seemed to indicate other intentions, the enemy relinquished all idea of assaulting us, and confined himself to the more cautious policy of a system of gradual approaches and mining.
        The weakness of our garrison prevented anything like a system of sallies, but from time to time, as opportunities offered, and the enemy effected lodgments too close to our works, they were made with spirit and success. Among them, I may particularize a night sally made under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel [C. S.] Guyton, of the Fifty-seventh Georgia Regiment, with a portion of that regiment and of the Forty-third Tennessee, the former of Cumming's, the latter of Reynolds' brigade. The enemy had intrenched themselves at three different points on and to the left of the Hall's Ferry road. The command sallied out, charged their works with admirable gallantry, and took them, with considerable loss to the enemy, who were in greatly superior force.
        On the lines occupied by General Barton and Colonel Reynolds, the configuration of the ground favoring it, the enemy were prevented from making any close lodgments by a judicious system of picketing and a series of attacks; and although they sometimes succeeded by force of numbers in gaining favorable positions, they were invariably dispossessed by the daring sallies of the garrison. A reconnaissance made of the Warrenton road, under Colonel Curtiss, Forty-first Georgia, re-suited in the capture of 107 of the enemy's pickets. The reconnaissance was conducted in a manner which reflects credit on that able officer.
        I cannot find words sufficiently strong to express the pride and gratification afforded me by the dauntless spirit with which officers and men encountered all the dangers, and by the unmurmuring endurance with which they bore up for forty-seven sleepless nights and days, under all the hardships incident to their position. Confined, without a moment's relief from the very day of their entrance into the fortifications to that of the capitulation of the city, to the narrow trenches; exposed without shelter to the broiling sun and drenching rain; subsisting on rations barely sufficient for the support of life; engaged from the earliest dawn till dark, and often during the night, in one ceaseless conflict with the enemy, they neither faltered nor complained, but, ever looking forward with confidence to relief, bore up bravely under every privation--saw their ranks decimated by disease and the missiles of the enemy--with the fortitude that adorns the soldier and the spirit that becomes the patriot who battles in a holy cause.
        It was thus that the true soldier and gifted patriot, Colonel [Isham W.] Garrott, of the Twentieth Alabama, died, as did the brave Captain [F. O.] Claiborne, of the artillery, and many others whose names I cannot mention without extending this report to too great a length. The regiment of Colonel Garrott was fortunate in having for his successor Lieutenant-Colonel [E. W.] Pettus, an officer who deserves and is competent to fill a higher position.
        On July 1, I received the accompanying confidential communication, marked A, from the lieutenant-general commanding. I immediately addressed a circular to my brigade commanders requiring their opinions on the points suggested in the note of the commanding general. Having received their opinions in writing (copies of which are appended, marked B, C, D, E), I submitted the following reply to the lieutenant-general:

HEADQUARTERS STEVENSON'S DIVISION,
Vicksburg, July 2, 1863.

        GENERAL: Your confidential note of yesterday, requesting me to inform you as to the condition of my troops and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation of this city, was duly received, and I have the honor to state, in reply thereto, that my men are very cheerful, but from long confinement in the trenches and short rations are necessarily much enfeebled, and a considerable number would be unable to make the march and undergo the fatigues which would probably be necessary in a successful evacuation of this city. If pressed by the enemy, and it should be necessary to place the Big Black in our rear in one march, the chances are that a considerable number of those now in the trenches could not succeed. I believe, however, that most of them, rather than be captured, would exert themselves to the utmost to accomplish it.
        I respectfully transmit herewith the opinions of my brigade commanders on these points.

I am, general, respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-General.

        A council was then called on the 3d instant by the lieutenant-general, in which he stated that, from information received from General Johnston, all hope of raising the siege of Vicksburg must be abandoned, and that it was only possible to save the garrison. The opinions of those present were then asked as to the best manner of accomplishing it, and it was their unanimous opinion that, rather than surrender, the garrison would attempt to cut its way out under all circumstances, but that if an honorable capitulation could be effected it would be the best and wisest course, considering the condition of the men, as stated at that time by their commanders, and it was suggested that a communication should be addressed to Major-General Grant, commanding United States forces, asking him to appoint commissioners to meet a like number of ours to agree upon terms. It was consented to by the lieutenant-general reluctantly, I think, and a communication was addressed to General Grant, which resulted in the capitulation. The correspondence between the two commanders has already been made public. A strong argument with me in favor of the capitulation was that we would march the army out intact; that they would be exchanged in a very short time, and again be armed and equipped for service.
        In conclusion, I desire to return my thanks to the officers and men of my command.
        I have to thank my brigade commanders, Brigadier-Generals Barton, Cumming, Lee, and Colonel Reynolds, as also Colonel [T. N.] Waul, of the Texas Legion, to whose efficient co-operation I am greatly indebted for the successful defense of my line at Vicksburg, for the untiring energy which they displayed in the management of their brigades, and for examples of devotion, intrepidity, and coolness under every danger, by which they inspired their men.

* * * * * * * * * *

        Maj. G. L. Gillespie, chief of subsistence, is deserving of special commendation. To his energy, zeal, and judicious exertions we were indebted, in my opinion, for the supplies which enabled us to make so protracted a defense of Vicksburg.
        Capt. J. W. Johnston, inspector-general of light artillery, and Captains [James F.] Waddell and Grayson, commanding artillery on the left and right of the Hall's Ferry road, respectively, were always at their posts, and by the intelligence with which they discharged their duties contributed very materially to the defense.
        Captain [Powhatan] Robinson, engineer officer in charge of my lines, performed his duties promptly and efficiently.
        Major [J. E.] McElrath, acting quartermaster of my division during the siege, has placed me under many obligations by his ready anticipation of the wants of the command and his untiring energy in supplying them.
        Lieut. G. D. Wise, ordnance officer of Cumming's brigade, has already been especially mentioned. During the siege he was selected to carry important dispatches through the lines of the enemy, and the duty was successfully performed. I commend him to the notice of the lieutenant-general as a bold and intelligent officer, and one who deserves a higher position.
        Accompanying, please find a tabular statement of the casualties of my division in the different actions, &c., in which it participated up to June 16.
        The absence of subordinate officers renders it impossible for me to give my whole loss during the siege of Vicksburg.

I am, major, respectfully, your obedient servant,
C. L. STEVENSON,
Major-general.

(Inclosure A.]

HDQRS. DEPT. OF MISSISSIPPI AND EAST LOUISIANA,
Vicksburg, Miss., July 1, 1863.

Maj. Gen. C. L. STEVENSON,
Commanding Division.

        GENERAL: Unless the siege of Vicksburg is raised or supplies are thrown in, it will be necessary very shortly to evacuate the place. I see no prospect of the former, and there are very great, if not insuperable, obstacles in the way of the latter. You are, therefore, requested to inform me, with as little delay as possible, as to the condition of your troops, and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigues necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation. You will, of course, use the utmost discretion while informing yourself through your subordinates upon all points tending to a clear elucidation of the subjects of my inquiry.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. C. PEMBERTON,
Lieutenant-General, Commanding.

[Inclosure B. ]

HEADQUARTERS FIRST BRIGADE, STEVENSON'S DIVISION,
July 1, 1863.

Major-General STEVENSON,
Commanding Division.

        GENERAL: In reply to your inquiry as to the "ability of my men to march and undergo the fatigues and hardships incidental thereto," I have the honor to state that probably half of them are fit to take the field.
        The command suffers greatly from intermittent fever, and is generally debilitated from the long exposure and inaction of the trenches. Of those now reported for duty, fully one-half are undergoing treatment. These I think are unfit for the field.

Very respectfully,
S. M. BARTON,
Brigadier-General.

[Inclosure C.]

HEADQUARTERS THIRD BRIGADE, STEVENSON'S DIVISION,
July 1, 1863.

Maj. Gen. C. L. STEVENSON,
Commanding, &c.

        GENERAL: I am in receipt of your communication, inclosing copy of a note from the lieutenant-general commanding, of this instant, in the former of which I am directed to give my opinion, as far as concerns my brigade, on several points raised in the latter.
        As to the general fact that the troops of this brigade are in a condition of great physical debility and weakness, it needs but to see them in, or on their short beats to and from, the trenches, to be able to bear testimony to it.
        Everything beyond this assertion of the general fact must, of course, be mere matter of opinion and conjecture. After much reflection upon the subject, based upon my own observations and the remarks, casual and incidental, of the regimental commanders, I would state the following as the conclusions at which I have arrived:
        From shortness of rations, and greatly more from a confinement of forty-five days to the trenches, under the summer sun of a debilitating climate, few, if any, of the men are in their ordinary health and vigor.
        I am disposed to believe that perhaps one in five of those now reported for "duty in the trenches" would, under different and favorable circumstances, be receiving medical treatment; and I have less hesitation in declaring it as my opinion that of this number, for "duty in the trenches," 50 per cent. would, on trial, be found unfit to encounter the fatigues incident to the life of the soldier in the field.

I am, general, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. CUMMING,
Brigadier-General.

[Inclosure D.]

HDQRS. SECOND BRIGADE, STEVENSON'S DIVISION,
Trenches, July 1, 1863.

General C. L. STEVENSON,
Commanding Division.

        GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your note, inclosing a copy of one from General Pemberton, relative to supplies, &c., and on the two points involved, as far as my brigade is concerned, will state that I consider my brigade in tolerable condition; and though they are weak from forty-five days' confinement in the trenches on scant diet, still, I consider them equal to undergoing the fatigue which would be incident to our evacuation of this city, taking in view its importance and the interest of our Confederacy.

Yours, respectfully,
STEPHEN D. LEE,
Brigadier-General.

[Inclosure E.]

HEADQUARTERS FOURTH BRIGADE,
July 1, 1863.

Maj. Gen. C. L. STEVENSON,
Commanding Division, &c.

        GENERAL: In reply to your inquiries as to the condition of my troops and their ability to make the marches and undergo the fatigue necessary to accomplish a successful evacuation, I have the honor to report that the condition of my troops is not good. Owing to the reduced quantity and quality of the rations on which they have subsisted for six weeks past, to their close confinement in the trenches, constant exposure to the intense heat of the sun and frequent rains, and to impure water they are obliged to drink, my men are much reduced in strength, and in many instances entirely prostrated. It would be utterly impossible for most of them to make a forced march of any distance. Many of my men are in the hospital, and many of those reported for duty in the trenches are extremely weak and unable to undergo the slightest fatigue. Perhaps on an average 200 men from each of my regiments, animated by patriotic motives and a desire to be free, might be able to make a march of 10 or 15 miles and still be in a condition to give battle to the enemy, but hardly more than this number.
        The spirits of my men are good, and I believe that almost to a man they would be willing to make vigorous efforts and to strike a blow for freedom; but I regret to say that two-thirds are unable to endure a march of 10 miles.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
A. W. REYNOLDS,
Colonel, Commanding Fourth Brigade.

-----

Ordnance and stores at Vicksburg.

3-inch rifled guns, complete 2
6-pounder bronze guns, complete 2
12-pounder iron howitzers 3
Caissons 9
Traveling forges 4
Battery wagons 4
Sets lead harness 48
Sets wheel harness 24
Small-arms, complete 8,472
Accouterments, complete 8,472
Rounds per man 65
Rounds per gun 100

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