Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/356

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350 Southern Historical Society Papers.

in command at Vicksburg to leave the intrenchments there, and unite with himself in an attack upon the separate detachments of the opposing forces but, in any event, to evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies and save the army, which could not escape if Vicks- burg were besieged.

When, from a failure to execute these instructions, Sherman, on the i3th of May, was able to interpose four divisions at Clinton, on the Southern railroad, Johnston, then hurrying forward with his little army, at once ordered Pemberton to come up, with all the strength he could assemble, in Sherman's rear, promising his own co-operation. Clinton was seventeen miles east of Pemberton. As is well known, and, doubtless, because of the importance ascribed to Vicksburg, Pemberton moved south instead of east, with a part only of his force, and out of reach of the little band waiting to participate at Clinton. He marched to the disasters of Champion Hill and Baker's Creek. On being so informed, in terms which admitted of no mistake, Johnston ordered the immediate evacuation of Vicks- burg and Port Hudson.

It is not desirable to discuss the considerations, which caused a sincerely patriotic soldier to so deviate from these orders, as to invert and, in effect, to annul them. Johnston's orders meant to him as he states "the fall of Port Hudson, the surrender of the Mississippi river, and the severance of the Confederacy." Saving that it was already severed, this was true. If, however, instead of deviation, there had been execution, whether or not it would have made the difference between the disaster which was sustained by Pemberton at Baker's Creek, and the victory at Clinton, it would certainly have made the difference between an army captured in Vicksburg and an unconquered one outside of it. The investment of Vicksburg was completed of the igth, and its surrender was then but a matter of time. Mr. A. H. Stephens states, that on the 23d of June, he was informed, at the War Department, that the surrender of Vicksburg was inevitable. If the beseiged could not escape the beseigers at the beginning of the seige, still less at the end ; if the force within did not possess the power to unite with the force without before the seige began, how much less could it expect to effect such junction after forty days and forty nights of exhaustion were added to it. If the stronger force within the citadel could not cut its way out, how much less could the weaker force without be expected to cut its way in ! At the time Johnston had but two brigades. The race of collecting