Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

by John Beauchamp Jones

            SEPTEMBER 9TH.—Troops were arriving all night and to-day (Hood’s division), and are proceeding Southward, per railroad, it is said for Tennessee, via Georgia Road. It may be deemed impracticable to send troops by the western route, as the enemy possesses the Knoxville Road. The weather is excessively dry and dusty again.

            Gen. Jos. E. Johnston, Morton, Miss., writes that such is the facility of giving information to the enemy, that it is impossible to keep up a ferry at any point on the Mississippi; but he will be able to keep up communications, by trusty messengers with small parcels, with Lieut.-Gen. E. Kirby Smith’s trans-Mississippi Department. He says if he had another cavalry brigade, he could make the navigation too dangerous for merchant steamers between GrandGulf and Natchez.

            Two letters were received to-day from privates in North Carolina regiments, demanding to be transferred to artillery companies in the forts of North Carolina, or else they would serve no more. This is very reckless!

            Ordnance officer J. Brice transmitted to the Secretary to-day, through the Ordnance Bureau, an OFFICIAL account of the ammunition, etc. at Vicksburg during the siege and at the evacuation. He says all the ordnance stores at Jackson were hastily removed to Vicksburg, and of which he was unable, in the confusion, to get an accurate account, although he accompanied it. He detained and held 9000 arms destined for the trans-Mississippi Department, and issued 120 rounds to each man in the army, before the battle of Baker’s Creek. Much ammunition was destroyed on the battlefield, by order of Gen. Pemberton, to keep it, as he alleged, from falling into the hands of the enemy. During the siege, he got 250,000 percussion caps from Gen. Johnston’s scouts, and 150,000 from the enemy’s pickets, for a consideration. There was abundance of powder. The ammunition and small arms turned over to the enemy, on the surrender, consisted as follows: 36,000 cartridges for Belgian rifles; 3600 Brunswick cartridges; 75,000 rounds British rifled muskets; 9000 shot-gun cartridges; 1300 Maynard cartridges; 5000 Hall’s carbine cartridges; 1200 holster pistol cartridges; 35,000 percussion caps ; 19,000 pounds of cannon powder.

            All this was in the ordnance depots, and exclusive of that in the hands of the troops and in the ordnance wagons, doubtless a large amount. He says 8000 defective arms were destroyed by fires during the bombardment. The troops delivered to the enemy, on marching out, 27,000 arms.

The Governor demanded the State magazine to-day of the War Department, in whose custody it has been for a long time. What does this mean ? The Governor says the State has urgent use for it.

            Gen. Cooper visited the President twice to-day, the Secretary not once. The Enquirer, yesterday, attacked and ridiculed the Secretary of War on his passport system in Richmond.

            The Northern papers contain the following letter from President Lincoln to Gen. Grant :

“WASHINGTON, July 13th, 1863.


            “MY DEAR GENERAL – I do not remember that you and I ever met personally. I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost inestimable service you have done the country. I wish to say a word further. When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg I thought you should do what you finally did—march the troops across the neck, run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had any faith, except a general hope that you knew better than I, that the YazooPass expedition and the like could succeed. When you got below and took Port Gibson, GrandGulf, and vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join Gen. Banks; and when you turned northward, east of the Big Black, I feared it was a mistake. I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right and I was wrong.


            If Pemberton had acted differently, if the movement northward had been followed by disaster, then what would Mr. Lincoln have written to Grant? Success is the only standard of merit in a general.

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