Thursday, June 20, 2013

June 21, 1863 (Sunday): Pemberton Plots An Escape

Defenses and Siege Lines Around Vicksburg

VICKSBURG, June 21, 1863.

General Johnston:
    Your dispatches of the 14th and 16th received.  If it is absolutely impossible, in your opinion, to raise the siege with our combined forces, and that nothing more can be done than to extricate the garrsion, I suggest that, giving me full information in time to act, you move by the north of the railroad, drive in the enemy's pickets at night, and at daylight next morning engage him heavily with skirmishers, occupying him during the entire day, and that on that night I move by the Warrenton road, by Hankinson's Ferry, to which point you should previously send a brigade of cavalry, with two field batteries, to build a bridge there, and hold that ferry; also Hall's and Baldwin's, to cover my crossing at Hankinson's.  I shall not be able to move with my artillery or wagons.  I suggest this as the best plan, because all the other roads are too strongly intrenched and the enemy in too heavy force for a reasonable prospect of success, unless you move in sufficient force to compel hm to abandon his communications with Snyder's, which I still hope we may be able to do.  I await your orders.  Captain [J. M.] Couper understands all my views, and will explain further.


Official Records, Series I., Vol. 24, Part 3, Page 969.

Johnston had advocated Pemberton not retreat into Vicksburg and now he was there did little to relieve him.  Here Pemberton draws up a plan to remove the garrison during a diversion by Johnston.  In the end, Johnston could not organize his forces so as to accomplish Pemberton's relief, and the Confederacy would lose not only Vicksburg, but 30,000 soldiers

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