Recollection by William T. Sherman, Siege of Vicksburg Ends, July 4, 1863

    Source citation
    William T. Sherman, Memoirs of General William T. Sherman (2 vols., New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1875), 1: 333-334.
    Date Certainty
    Transcription adapted from the Memoirs of General William T. Sherman (1875), by William T. Sherman
    Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    The following transcript has been adapted from Memoirs of General William T. Sherman (1875).
    The value of the capture of Vicksburg, however, was not measured by the list of prisoners, guns, and small-arms, but by the fact that its possession secured the navigation of the great central river of the continent, bisected fatally the Southern Confederacy, and set the armies which had been used in its conquest free for other purposes; and it so happened that the event coincided as to time with another great victory which crowned our arms far away, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. That was a defensive battle, whereas ours was offensive in the highest acceptation of the term, and the two, occurring at the same moment of time, should have ended the war ; but the rebel leaders were mad, and seemed determined that their people should drink of the very- lowest dregs of the cup of war, which they themselves had prepared.

    The campaign of Vicksburg, in its conception and execution, belonged exclusively to General Grant, not only in the great whole, but in the thousands of its details, I still retain many of his letters and notes, all in his own handwriting, prescribing the routes of march for divisions and detachments, specifying even the amount of food and tools to be carried along. Many persons gave his adjutant-general, Rawlins, the credit for these things, but they were in error ; for no commanding general of an army ever gave more of his personal attention to details, or wrote so many of his own orders, reports, and letters, as General Grant.

    His success at Vicksburg justly gave him great fame at home and abroad. The President conferred on him the rank of major- general in the regular army, the highest grade then existing by law ; and General McPherson and I shared in his success by receiving similar commissions as brigadier-generals in the regular army.

    But our success at Vicksburg produced other results not so favorable to our cause a general relaxation of effort, and desire to escape the hard drudgery of camp: officers sought leaves of absence to visit their homes, and soldiers obtained furloughs and discharges on the most slender pretexts; even the General Government seemed to relax in its efforts to replenish our ranks with new men, or to enforce the draft, and the politicians were pressing their schemes to reorganize or patch up some form of civil government, as fast as the armies gained partial possession of the States.
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