Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE SURRENDER OF VICKSBURG.

307

June (1863), and moved forward into Pennsylvania, intending to strike Harrisburg, the capital of the state, and then, if successful there, to march on Philadelphia. General Meade, with a Union force of about eighty thousand," met Lee at Gettysburg. Here one of the most important and decisive battles of the war was fought. Both sides showed the most desperate determination to win; for both knew that the results of victory would be far reaching. The Confederates were posted on Seminary Ridge ; the Union men, on Cemetery Ridge, nearly opposite. The battle lasted three days (July 1-3, 1863). On the third and last day the Confederate General Pickett, with a force of fifteen thousand veterans, charged up the slope of Cemetery Ridge. To reach the slope they had to cross a mile of open ground. They came forward steadily, silently, under a terrible fire from the Union guns. Their ranks were ploughed through and through with shot and shell, but the men did not falter. They charged up the ridge and broke a part of the Union line ; but they could go no further, and Pickett, with the fragments of his division, - for only fragments were left, — fell back defeated. It was the end of the most stubbornly fought battle of the war; nearly fifty thousand brave men had fallen in the contest : Lee had failed; he retreated across the Potomac, and the North was safe, for the Confederate general never made another attempt to invade it.

341. The Surrender of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. While the great battle of Gettysburg was going on, another battle of almost or quite equal importance was being fought at Vicksburg, on the Mississippi. Vicksburg and vicinity were held by a strong Confederate force under General Pemberton. Early in the spring (1863) General J. E. Johnston (then at Chattanooga, Tennessee) moved with an army to join Pemberton. In a number of masterly battles Grant defeated Pemberton before Johnston

i Lee's total force, says the Comte de Paris (“History of the Civil War"), was 73,500 men, and 190 cannon; Meade's, 82,000, with 300 cannon.

2 The Union loss was about 23,000 out of 80,000; the Confederate, about 25,000 out of 70,000.

TENNESSE

Corinth
Holly Springs

Helena

were

Post

could unite with him. He then forced him to retreat to Vicksburg, and at the same time drove Johnston off the field. For seven weeks following, Grant and Sherman,' with a total force of about seventy thousand, besieged Vicksburg. During that time the Union men were shelling the city night and day. Food had become so scarce that the Confederate tro had but one “ cracker” and a small piece of raw pork a day, and the town

was so knocked to Memphis

pieces with shot and shell that the women and children

forced to live in Arkansas

caves dug in the earth. They, too, were reduced to a few mouthfuls of food a day; and when “mule steaks

gave out, many had to choose between eating cats and rats or dying of starvation. Out of twenty-one thousand

the Confederates had six thousand sick

wounded in hospital. Finally, the case became so desperate that they could hold out no longer, and on July 4 (1863), Vicksburg surrendered. Grant took nearly thirty-two thousand prisoners of war; they were ragged,

Killiken's Hend

Halneste

Vicksburger

[ocr errors]

Meridian

tackson

Bridge
Grant's
March

Port
Gibson

Natchez

men

Port Hudson

N

A

or

SCALE OF MILES
50

100

150

1 Generals U. S. Grant and W. T. Sherman. General W.T. Sherman was born at Lancaster, Ohio, in 1820. He graduated at West Point in 1840, entered the regular army, and was in California during the Mexican War. He commanded a Union brigade at Bull Run, and won the battle of Pittsburg Landing. In May, 1862, he was made major-general. He died in New York City. February, 1891.

SURRENDER OF PORT HUDSON.

309

hungry, defeated, but defeated only because human nature could endure no more. Before noon of that day the stars and stripes were hoisted over the Court House, and Grant and Sherman's men made the place ring with,

“Yes, we'll rally round the flag, boys,
We'll rally once again,

Shouting the battle-cry of Freedom." Among those that took part in the celebration of that victory was the war-eagle “Old Abe.” He was a pet bird, the hero of many battles, and was carried, perched on the fag, by one of the

[graphic][ocr errors]

Vicksburg, showing the Union Gun-Boats and the firing from the Confederate Batteries.

color-bearers of the Eighth Wisconsin Regiment. He had flapped his wings and screamed defiance in the thickest of the fight, and now he exulted with the “boys in blue” over the result. It was a great “Fourth.”

Port Hudson surrendered five days later (July 9, 1863), and thus the second part of the Union plan of the war was accomplished. The first had been to shut the ports of the South by the blockade; the second, to open the Mississippi River. This had now been done, and the great river flowed in peace from Minnesota to Louisiana, and from Louisiana to the sea.

342. Draft Riots; Morgan's Raid ; Chickamauga; Siege of Chattanooga. - The last call of President Lincoln for volunteers did not bring anything like the number of men needed, and in July (1863), the government began to draft1 the troops required. In New York City mobs of rioters resisted the draft, but they were finally put down by armed force, and the necessary men for the army were in the end obtained. In the South drafting had long been going on, and nearly every able-bodied man was forced to serve in the war.

During the same month General Morgan with a body of Confederate cavalry made a raid through Tennessee and Kentucky into Indiana and Ohio, burning mills, factories, and bridges, tearing up the railroads, and destroying a large amount of property ; but he was at last captured and his men scattered.

In the course of the summer General Rosecrans, with a Union army, had got possession of Chattanooga, in Southern Tennessee. He then set out in pursuit of the Confederate General Bragg, who was stationed with his army at Chickamauga, just over the Georgia line. Here a severe battle was fought (September 19,20, 1863). Bragg had the most men and defeated Rosecrans. The Union forces would have suffered still heavier loss had it not been for the bravery of General Thomas —"the Rock of Chickamauga,” as his men called him ; he held his position as stubbornly as a rock, and saved a large part of the army from destruction. The Union forces now retreated to Chattanooga, and were shut up there by Bragg, who besieged them for two months.

343. Battles of Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain; Sherman's Raid ; Grant made General-in-Chief. — The Confederates held Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, overlooking the beautiful Chattanooga Valley. General Hooker had

i See page 186, note 1.

« EelmineJätka »