very strong position.
Meanwhile Stevenson's sixty-five hundred troops bore the brunt of the
battle, sustained the heavy and repeated attacks of the enemy, broke
Hovey's line, and drove it in disorder. But tliere were three other di-
visions of Grant's army marching from Baymond, and about to come into
action. The only reinforcements that came to Stevenson's overtasked
troops, were two brigades of Bowen. Loring was inactive ; he again dis-
obeyed orders to move to the left, and remained engaged with the move-
ments of the enemy in his front. Stevenson continued the unequal battle
until the enemy's division from Baymond had arrived on the field, when
the Confederate line at last gave way and broke in confusion from the
Gen. Loring states that he was making dispositions for an attack upon
the enemy's right, by which he hoped to '' overwhelm it and retrieve the
day," when he received orders from Peraberton to retreat and bring up the
rear. If such an attack was designed, it was too late ; the day was already
lost. The retreat of the Confederates was by the ford and bridge of
Baker's Creek, As soon as the enemy realized that they were leaving the
field, he moved forward in heavy force. The retreat was covered with
great spirit. Brigadier-Gen. Tilghman, of Boring's command, having
become separated from it, was left with less than fifteen hundred efi'ective
men to sustain the attack of six or eight thousand of the enemy, with a
fine park of artillery. But he was advantageously posted ; he not only
kept the enemy in check, but repulsed him on several occasions, and thus
kept open the only line of retreat left to the army. He was killed as he
was serving with his own hands a twelve-poimd howitzer. His bold stand
saved a large portion of the army ; but the retreating columns were not
yet across the stream. A message was sent to Gen. Loring : " For God's
sake, hold your position until sundown, and save the army." A few
moments later, a despatch was received from Gen. Bowen, stating that the
392 THE LOST CAUSE.
enemy had crossed the bridge and out-flanked him, that he had been com-
pelled precipitately to fall back, and that Loring must do his best to save
his division. Gen. Loring, having ascertained that it was impossible to
attempt the passage of the Big Black at any point, determined to force the
rear of the enemy between Raymond and Utica, and to make his retreat
through the east and effect a junction with the forces of Gen. Johnston in
the neighbourhood of Jackson. He succeeded in doing so with the loss of
On the following day, lYth May, Pemberton's shattered and demoral-
ized forces had taken up a position upon the east bank of the Big Black
River, The position was a strong one in a bend of the river, sheltered by
patches of wood, with marshes extending on either side towards the river.
The works were provided with a sufficient quantity of artillery ; they were
manned by a considerable force ; and the position might have been held
against largely superiour numbers. But the events of the previous day
had demoralized the troops ; they abandoned their position at the first
assault of a Federal brigade ; they left in the enemy's possession eighteen
pieces of artillery ; they scattered in wild and tumultuous flight. " The
retreat," says Gen. Pemberton himself, " became a matter of sauve qui
jpeutP By nightfall the fugitive disordered troops were pouring into
the streets of Yicksburg, and the citizens beheld with dismay the
army that had gone out to fight for their safety, returning to them
under the shame of defeat, and in the character of a wild and blas-
The fate of Yicksburg may be said to have been virtually decided,
when Pemberton was driven into it, and the lines of the enemy drawn
around it. Gen. Johnston so regarded it. "VYlien he learned of the disas-
ter at Baker's Creek, he despatched to Pemberton : " If Haynes's Bluff be
untenable, Yicksburg is of no value and cannot be held. If, therefore,
you are invested in Yicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under
Buch circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, you must, if
possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Yicksburg and its
dependencies, and march to the northeast." Before the despatch was
received Gen. Pemberton had fallen back to Yicksburg.
Of this unfortunate situation Gen. Johnston writes : " Had the battle
of Baker's Creek not been fought. Gen. Pemberton's belief that Yicksburg
was his base, rendered his ruin inevitable. He would still have been be-
sieged, and therefore captured. The larger force he would have carried
into the lines, would have added to and hastened the catastrophe. His
disasters were due, not merely to his entangling himself with the advanc-
ing columns of a superiour and unobserved enemy, but to his evident
determination to be besieged in Yicksburg, instead of manoeuvring to pre-
vent a siege."
RIBGB OF VICKSBUKG. '^93
SIEGE AND 8UKKENDEK OF VICKSBUKG
Gen. Pcmberton liad in Yicksburg eight thousand fresh troops, not
demoralized by defeat. When he arrived in town from the battle-field at
Big Black, a general feeling of distrust was expressed in his competency,
and the place was regarded as lost. Every one expected Grant's army to
march into Yicksburg that night, while there was no means of defence and
no spirit in the troops. Gen. Pemberton set to work, reorganizing the
army for the last desperate struggle. Gen. Baldwin went out to review
the line of defences, and imagining that the first assault would be made on
the left wing, he petitioned to be assigned to hold that position with his
veteran troops, upon whose fidelity and courage he could depend. The
army was placed in position on the lines, and placed in the ditches, with
Gen. Baldwin on the left, and Gen. Lee on the right. The centre was
held by Gens. Pemberton, Smith, and Forney. As these dispositions were
made, the confidence of the troops was gradually restored ; they saw the
purpose of defence ; and they were entertained with the prospect that their
besieged condition would soon be relieved by Johnston's army.
But such prospect was not a little visionary. The truth of the situa-
tion was that Pemberton had trapped himself in Yicksburg, to surrender
to famine what could not be won by assault. Gen. Johnston had come to
the Mississippi Department with no army of his own, beyond a few troops,
to take charge of Pemberton's, which he found broken to pieces, and the
remnants sheltered in Yicksburg. To collect a new army by appeals to
the Pichmond authorities, the Governor of Mississippi, and other quar-
ters, became his only resource. With all his eflforts only twenty thousand
men could be raised, many of them raw troops, without field-guns and
proper equipment ; while Grant had been reinforced to eighty thousand
men, besides the co-operation of Porter's fleet. He had also entrenched
himself on every side with a difficult river between himself and Johnston.
For the latter to have dashed himself against the enemy in such circum-
stances, might have been esteemed an act of magnificent daring ; but it
would not have been war. If Pemberton, instead of crowding super-
serviceable troops in a fortress to consume its scant supplies, or become
the victims of disease or war, had thrown sufiScient garrison into Yicks-
burg, and kept at large twenty thousand men, he could have so reinforced
Johnston as to have enabled him to act promptly before Grant had
entrenched himself, and thus relieve Yicksburg from the purpose of his
efforts, by giving him occupation outside. But none of these things were
done. Johnston's resources were utterly inadequate to any good purpose ;
he could not collect a sufficient force to break the investment of Yicks-
894 THE LOST CAUSE.
burg ; and the prospect even of making a diversion or opening ccmmiini
cation with the garrison was uncertain and difficult.
Vicksburg was invested bj the enemy on the eastern side : Sherman
holding the right of the lines, McPherson the centre, and McClernand the
left. A new base of supplies was established, leading from the Yazoo
directly to the rear. Guns were planted in opposition to the long, fortified
series of works of the Confederates.
On the 19th May, the division of Gen. Blair, and a brigade of Sher
man's division assaulted what was thought to be a weak place in the Con-
federate line of defence. They were severely repulsed. On the 22d a
more concerted attack was ordered by Gen. Grant, and the whole line was
bombarded by cannon. At an early hour the left, under McClernand,
gained a foot-hold at an angle of the works, but was dislodged ; and the
enemy withdrew from the attack, after having suffered a loss of some
twenty-five hundred men disabled. The attempt to take Vicksburg by
storm seems to have been abandoned after this ; and it was determined to
reduce the position by siege and parallel works.
And now commenced a terrible task. Fort was erected against fort,
and trench dug against trench. The enemy's sappers constructed their
corridors and passages and pits amid a blazing fire of hostile musketry, and
the fiercest rays of the summer sun. The Confederates, confined to tho
narrow limits of the trenches, with their limbs cramped and swollen, nev^er
had, by day or by night, the slightest relief. They were exposed to burn-
ing suns, drenching rains, damp fogs, and heavy dews. The citizens,
women, and children, prepared caves in the hill, where they took refugo
during the almost incessant bombardment. Thus, through the months of
May and June continued the weary siege. The spirits of the troops were
in a measure kept up by news received from Johnston's army, by means of
messengers who found a way through the swamps and thickets of tho
Although Gen. Johnston was too weak to save Vicksburg, he enter-
tained some hope of extricating the garrison, "With this view Gen. Taylor,
commanding in the Trans-Mississippi, was ordered to co-operate with
Pemberton from the west bank of the Mississippi. But the movement
miscarried ; Taylor's attack on the Federal camp at Milliken's Bend was
repulsed ; and all hope of help from the West was ultimately abandoned.
On the 22d June a despatch was received from Pemberton by Gen.
Johnston, suggesting that the latter should make to Grant " propositions
to pass this army out, with all its arms and equipages," and renewing his
(Pemberton's) hope of his being able, by force of arms, to act with Jolin-
ston, and expressing the opinion that he could hold out for fifteen days
longer. Johnston was moved by the determined spirit of the despatch.
He replied : " Something may yet he done to save Vicksburg. Postpone
BUERENDEB OF VICKSBIIRG. 395
DOtk of the modes suggested of merely extricating the garrison. Kego*
tiations with Grant for the relief of the garrison, should they become neces-
sary, must be made by you. It would be a confession of weakness on my
part, which I ought not to make, to â€¢ propose them. When it becomes
necessary to make terms, they may be considered as made under my
On the 29th June, field transportation and other supplies having been
obtained, Johnston's army marched toward the Big Black, and on the
evening of July 1st encamped between Brownsville and the river.
Keconnoissances, which occupied the second and third, convinced Gen.
Johnston that the attack north of the railroad was impracticable. He
determined, therefore, to make the examinations necessary for the attempt
south of the railroad â€” thinking, from what was already known, that the
chance for success was much better there, although the consequences of
defeat might be more disastrous.
On the night of the 3d July a messenger was sent to Gen. Pemberton
with information that an attempt to create a diversion would be made to
enable him to cut his way out, and that Johnston hoped to attack the ene-
my about the 7th.
On the Fourth of July Pemberton surrendered Yicksburg. The expla-
nation has been made in his behalf that he never received Johnston's de-
spatches, encouraging the hope that both Yicksburg and the garrison might
be saved ; and Gen. Pemberton has declared that had he received these de-
spatches : " I would have lived upon an ounce a day, and have continued
to meet the assaults of all Grant's army, rather than have surrendered the
city until Gen. Johnston had realized or relinquished that hope."
As it was, he determined to surrender Yicksburg on the anniversary of
the Fourth of July for the very singular reason that it would gi'atify the
enemy's " vanity " to enter the stronghold of the great river on that par-
ticular day, and that such a concession might procure better terms than at
any other time. The preliminary note for terms was despatched on the 3d
July. Correspondence on the subject continued during the day, and waa
not concluded until nine o'clock the next morning. Gen. Pemberton
afterwards came out, and had a personal interview with Grant, in front of
the Federal line, the two sitting for an hour and a half in close com-
munion. A spectator says : " Grant was silent and smoking, while Pem-
berton, equally cool and careless in manner, was plucking straws and
biting them as if in merest chit-chat."
It was a terrible day's work for such a display of sangfroid. It waa
the loss of one of the largest armies which the Confederates had in the
field ; the decisive event of the Mississippi Yalley ; the virtual surrender
of the great river ; and the severance of the Southern Confederacy. The
numbers which surrendered at the capitulation of Yicksburg were twenty-
396 THE LOST CAUSE.
three thousand men, with three Major-Generals, and nine Brigadiers, npÂ«
wards of ninety pieces of artillery, and about forty thousand small-arms.
"Weakness from fatigue, short rations, and heat, had left thousands of the
troops decrepit. Six thousand of them were in the hospitals, and many of
them were crawling about in what should be convalescent camps. Four
thousand citizens and negroes, besides Pemberton's army, included all the
souls within the walls of Yicksburg. When we consider that these people
had for a month and a half been in daily terrour of their lives, never being
able to sleep a night in their homes, but crawling into caves, unable to move
exce])t in the few peaceful intervals in the heat of the day, we may appre-
ciate what a life of horrour was theirs.
The first result of the suiTender of Yicksburg, was the fall of Port
Hudson, and the consequent supremacy of the Federal arms along the
entire length of the Mississippi. Gen. Banks had invested this place ; he
had made two assaults on the 27th May and on the lith June ; and he had
been repulsed by Gen. Gardner, who held the place with about five thou-
sand men. When the news was communicated to Gardner that Yicksburg
had surrendered, knowing that all hope of relief was at an end, he deter-
mined that it was useless to prolong resistance, and on the 9th July surren-
dered himself and the garrison as prisoners of war.
These events on the Mississippi constituted a reverse, which the re-
sources of the Confederacy, neither in men nor means, could endure with-
out great strain. Across the river the train of disaster appears to have
extended. The fall of the strongholds of the Mississippi resulted in the re-
treat of our army from Little Bock, and the surrender to the enemy of the
important valley in which it was situated ; while a campaign auspiciously
begun in Lower Louisiana was abandoned in consequence of the release of
Banks' forces from the siege of Port Hudson. To these events we must
now take the reader so as to gather up the several threads of the narrative
of the war in the West.
OPERATIONS IN THE TEANS-MISSISSIPPI â€” BATTLE OF HELENA.
In the month of May it was deemed advisable by Gen. E. Kirby Smith,
then commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department, that a demonstration
should be made on the west side of the river in order that Yicksburg
might be relieved. He accordingly directed Gen. Holmes to put the
troops in Arkansas in motion to operate against Helena, a place on the
west side of the river eighty miles south of Memphis and three hundred
miles north of Yicksburg. It was occupied by a garrison of four thousand
Fedei'al troops, with a gunboat in the river.
On the morning of May 31st most of the troops in Arkansas were put
BATTLE OF HELENA. 397
in motion for an advance. The weather was very wet, the creeks all full;
and the ground covered with water. For tlic expedition Gen. Holmes had
Price's Division of infantry, consisting; of Parsons' Missouri Biigade num-
bering 1,000, and McKay's Arkansas Brigade of 400 ; Pagan's Brigade of Ar-
kansas infantry, numbering 1,500 ; and Marmaduke's Division of Arkansas
and Missouri cavalry, numbering 2,000 ; making a total of 4,900. These
several commands formed a junction at Jacksonport, and on the morning of
22d June commenced their march in the direction of Helena. It was a toil-
some and dangerous march â€” one of the most extraordinary recorded in the
history of the war. The infantry were in water to their waists on two-thirds
of the road. Heavy details of worn-out men were employed in dragging the
wagons through difficult places. The mules would be unhitched, a long rope
fastened to the wagon, and a hundred men pull it through. There was no
pontoon train, and over the swollen streams bridges of floating logs would be
constructed, which a loaded wagon would sink several feet under water. In
making this terrible march, twelve days were consumed, and on the evening
of the 3d July the jaded men had reached within four miles of Helena.
Precious time had been lost. A council of war was called, in w^hich
occurred a remarkable scene. Gen. Holmes explained the strength of the
position to be attacked. Helena was surrounded by a range of rough,
wooded hills, which shut it into the river, except a narrow bottom next the
river, both above and below. The place was defended by three prominent
forts, one protecting the approach by the north, one at the south, and the
" Grave- Yard " fort, in the rear of the centre of the city.
Gen. Price was not in favour of an attack. He argued that the enemy
was doubtless expecting them, and had concentrated as many troops as he
deemed sufficient to defend the place, and that, if it had been necessary to
call troops from Yicksburg for this purpose, the object of the expedition had
already been accomplished, and the only action of the troops should be to
operate so as to detain such reinforcements at Helena, He thought this
might be done most effectually by surrounding the place, cutting off the
enemy's supplies, both from the country and the river, and harassing him
by picket-fighting. Even if Helena were taken, he thought it would be a
dearly-bought victory ; it was untenable ; and if any of the garrison
escaped, and doubtless they had transports in waiting, their expulsion
would but strengthen the enemy at Vicksburg, thereby defeating the very
object of the exj^edition.
Gen. Holmes wanted the eclat of victory. He replied with warmth :
" Gen. Price, I intend to attack Helena immediately, and capture the
place, if possible. Tliis is my fight. If I succeed, I want the glory ; and
if I fail, I am willing to bear the odium.'' Then turning to the other
officers, he said : " At t-welve o'clock, to-night, we move towards Helena."
Gen. Marmaduke, witi:. hie command, was ordered to attack the northern
398 THE LOST CAUSE.
fort ; Gen, Fagan was to attack the soutliern fort ; and Gen. Price was
to assault and capture the centre fort â€” the attack to commence simulta-
neously at day-light.
About day-break the first gun fired was by the battalion of sharp-
shooters belonging to Parsons' brigade, who encountered an outpost of the
enemy. Price moved in column of division, the 9th Missouri Infantry in
advance. The hills were high, the ravines deep ; but the men pressed for-
ward in good order, the enemy shelling them at every step of the march.
When the last ridge was reached, the command was halted, and the men
rested and closed up, ready for the assault. Tliey were now within two
or three hundred yards of the fort. By this time the firing had com-
menced on the right and left, and it was known that Fagan and Marma-
duke were at work. The command was given by Gen. Price to charge
with fixed bayonets. Tlie troops moved in gallant style, at the run, over
and through fallen timber and roughly constructed abatis, up hills, and into
gullies. They were never checked once, and were soon in possession of
Price's division had done the work assigned it. Heavy guns from the
gunboat in the river now commenced playing upon the captured fort.
The men sheltered themselves, as well as they could, and awaited further
orders. Meanwhile Fagan had moved against the southern fort, and when
within two hundred yards of it, had commenced a fire of small-arms,
which provoked such a heavy response of artillery, that his men were com-
pelled to fall back. Twice was the assault repeated, and with the same
lesult. Marmaduke met with no better success. Gen. Holmes, seeing the
iailures of Fagan and Marmaduke, ordered two regiments of Parsons' bri-
gade to attack the southern fort in the rear. The movement was attempt-
ed ; but under the fire of the gunboat and the cross-fire of the other two
forts, and that of the whole infantry force of the enemy, it was impossible
to advance. Fagan and Marmaduke having withdrawn their forces, it
became necessary to attempt the withdrawal of Price's division. With the
whole force of the enemy concentrated upon this division, and separated as
It was from any support, its retreat was one of mortal peril at every step.
It was accomplished with heavy loss. The battle was lost ; six hundred
Confederates had been disabled, and about four hundred taken prisoners.
Gen. Holmes the next morning commenced his march back to Little Rock.
The white flag had been run up at Vicksburg ; all hope of the connection
of the Trans-Mississippi with the eastern portions of the Confederacy was
at an end ; and Gen. Holmes had made the first step of the retreat which,
at last abandoning Little Rock, was to surrender to the enemy the most
valuable portion of Arkansas.*
* An esteemed correspondent writes us these personal incidents of the Battle of Helena:
CAMPAIGN m LOWER LOUISIANA. 399
THE CAMPAIGN IN LOWER LOUISIANA.
Almost cotemporary with tliese disastrous events was a remarkable
episode of success in the lower country of the Trans-Mississippi,
which had, at one time, kindled in the South the hope of the re-
capture of New Orleans, but finally came to naught on account of in-
In the latter part of June, Gen. " Dick " Taylor, who commanded in
Lower Louisiana, organized an expedition upon Brashear City and its forts.
Col. Majors, who commanded a brigade of cavalry on the Atchafalaya,
was ordered to open communication by way of the lakes with Gens. Mou-
ton and Green, who were to co-operate in front of the enemy's position.
The junction having been made by Majors, after a successful campaign
through the Lafourche country, a combined attack was made on Brashear
City on the 22d June, and the forts taken at the point of the bayonet.
Eighteen hundred prisoners were captured, nearly five million dollars
worth of stores, and a position occupied that was the key to Louisiana
It was thought that the capture of Brashear City might force the enemy
to raise the siege of Port Hudson, and that Banks would be driven to the
choice of abandoning his operations against this place or losing New Or-
leans. But these expectations failed ; the second diversion to relieve
Vicksburg and Port Hudson was too late ; and Gen. Taylor, learning of
the fall of these strongholds and the consequent release of Banks' forces,
" Gen. Holmes is a brave man, and was under the hottest fire. After the centre fort had been
captured, and the heavy fire from the gunboat and the two other forts had been opened on it. Gen.
Hohnes was standing on the parapet, eagerly looking for Fagan, who was his favourite, to plant bis
colours on the fort he was attacking. While thus standing. Gen. Parsons, who was sheltering him-
self in the fort, bawled out: " Come down, General ! you will be hit. Don't you hear the shot
whistling around you ? " "I have the advantage of you. Gen. Parsons, I am deaf, and cannot
" Another incident of the battle should be recorded as a just tribute to the memory of a brave
man. At the battle of Prairie-Grove, Lt. Richard Spencer, of the 9th Missouri Infantry, was taken