|Union Siege Gun at Vicksburg, Mississippi|
The previous day, July 1, 1863, Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton - the Confederate commander at Vicksburg - firmly concluded that the city could not hold out much longer.. In a dispatch from headquarters that day, he polled his subordinate generals about the prospect of trying to break out of Vicksburg through the surrounding Union army of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant:
|"Whistling Dick" - A Confederate Gun at Vicksburg|
The generals commanding sections of the Confederate lines around the city responded on July 2, 1863, 150 years ago today:
|Mississippi River at Vicksburg|
|Union Siege Battery at Vicksburg|
...There are about 3,000 men in my division, including State troops, in a condition to undertake a march of 8 or 10 miles a day in this weather, if there is an opportunity of resting at intervals. Out of these 3,000, only about 2,000 are considered reliable in case we are strongly opposed and much harassed. A secret evacuation I consider almost impossible...I believe that General Johnston has or will fight Grant, and my hope has been that he would be successful and in time to relieve us. At present, however, I see no chance of timely relief from him, and his dispatches have never indicated a hope of being able to raise the siege. Under these circumstances, I deem it best to propose terms of capitulation before being forced to do so from want of provisions. - Maj. Gen. M.L. Smith, CSA (July 2, 1863).
|Stockade Redan, Confederate fort at Vicksburg|
|View of the battlefield from the Confederate trenches|
Johnston was then trying to put an army together to save Vicksburg, but men and supplies were scarce and his task was simply impossible.
|Looking down the Confederate lines at Vicksburg.|
The next day, July 3rd, would be the day on which Pemberton made his most important decision of the Battle of Vicksburg.
Please click here to read the next post in this series on the 150th anniversary of the surrender of Vicksburg.
To learn more about the Siege and Battle of Vicksburg, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vicksburg1.