HE FOURTH OF JULY! The siege is at last ended. Behold the white flag now waving over the rebel ramparts. Vicksburg has at length surrendered. Speed the glad news to our loved ones at the North, who, during our long trial, have helped us with their prayers. Speed it to the entire forces of the Union, that they may all take courage and move again.
We are all full of rejoicing, as the event will no doubt prove a death-blow to the rebellion in the Southwest. Vicksburg has been the boast of the enemy, who thought it to be impregnable, and they confidently defied the Army of the West to take it. But by the untiring energy, skill and forecast of our gallant leader, U. S. Grant, aided by the willing and brave hearts about him, Vicksburg has been taken, and over it the stars and stripes now float proudly in all their majestic beauty. How glad I am that I have been one of those who have endured the trials requisite to plant our banner there. And while rejoicing over our success, let us not forget those who have died on these fields of honor. While we surviving raise Liberty‘s ensign over Vicksburg, let us remember the graves at Raymond and Champion Hills. And in after years, when we meet to refresh the memory of soldier days, let our dead here around Vicksburg never be forgotten. Let us think of them as standing guard over our dearly-won prize, until the final roll-call, when each shall be “present” or “accounted for.”
“They struggled and fell, their life-blood staining
The assaulting foeman’s hand;
And clasping freedom’s flag, sustaining,
Cried, God save our native land.
Let angels spread their wings protecting;
Let sweetest flowers ever bloom;
And let green bays, our faith reflecting,
Mark each martyr’s sacred tomb.”
Now that the enemy have resigned possession of Vicksburg, I trust the wicked rebellion will not fail soon to near its end, when all our boys in blue will have leave, at will, to present arms to the girls they left behind them. A star heralding the coming peace already seems to twinkle in the sky. We rejoice not less over our triumph to-day because it was consummated upon the glorious Fourth. And while we rejoice for our country, we show no unworthy exultation over the fallen, to whom we extend the sympathy of victors.
Our division, under its commander, General Logan, marched into the city in triumph, and there took command and completed the long desired event—raising the star spangled banner over the court house cupola.
“The armies of the Union
Round Vicksburg long had lain;
For forty-seven days and nights
Besieging it in vain.
Then came the morning of the Fourth,
Our Nation’s jubilee—
Ah, could the news this hour go north—
In Vicksburg soon we’ll be.
The siege is done, the struggle past.
On this eventful day
Glad triumph crowns us, as, at last,
Our thanks to God we pay.
Above the vanquished walls I stand,
My country, proud to see
The festive hosts, with flag and band,
O, glorious Fourth! O blissful day!
How hearts of thousands swell
To see such toils such hopes repay,
Such dangers end so well.”