The Richmond Daily Dispatch
June 17, 1863
|The Siege of Vicksburg dragged on throughout June 1863.|
(U.S. Army Center of Military History)
The armies at Tullahoma and Murfreesboro are getting a little nearer still. Our cavalry drove the Federals out of Readyville to within two miles of Murfreesboro, on the 4th inst. --It is positively ascertained that Rosecrans has sent from 15,000 to 25,000 men to Grant, and his movements during the last week indicate a retrograde march towards Nashville. It is said that his headquarters are in that city, and that all his heavy artillery has been sent from Murfreesboro across the river to Edgefield, about five miles from Nashville. If Rosecrans has not taken shelter in that city, he will soon be starved out, as the Cumberland river is falling rapidly, and in a few days navigation will be finished, thus leaving him only a railroad line of communication by which to receive his supplies. This line he knows from experience can be rendered useless by Confederate cavalry raids, and he will hardly trust it. His forces have occupied Liberty — a small town in DeKalb county, 38 miles northwest, of McMinnville, and on Bragg's right.
From Vicksburg we have nothing reliable The Western papers are, as a general thing, as little particular about the reports they publish as the Western news agents are about their telegrams. The Natchez Courier, of the 2d, has several wild reports brought by a lady who had gotten through from Vicksburg. According to her account, the Yankees had made their second attempt to escape by way of Yazoo river, but had been met and driven back by Gen. Johnston. The same General had driven them back in another attempt at Snyder's Bluff. She also states that the wagon road from Vicksburg to Jackson is clear and the bridge over the Big Black all right. It is positively asserted that the enemy are evacuating the whole line of the Memphis and Charleston railroad. When Grant asked for 50,000 reinforcements a few days ago, Hurl but replied that he did not know where they were to come from unless Memphis and the railroad lines were evacuated. We presume that movement has been decided on. So it appears that the whole Federal army of the West except that under Rosecrans, and a goodly portion of even that, is to be hurled upon Vicksburg. The Mississippi river has fallen 25 feet, an unprecedented fall at this season of the year, and one which is likely to incommode greatly the operations of the Yankee gunboats.
General Taylor's victory at Ashland, La., broke one of the points of investments around Vicksburg. He dispersed about 2,000 Federal troops at Camp Perkins, placed there as a guard to the outlet of the main army from Grand Gulf to Milliken's Bend. The attack was short and decisive. According to the accounts from all sides a few Federals escaped to a gunboat which was riding at anchor a short distance off; the most, however, were either killed, wounded, or captured. There are a series of these camps, commencing at Grand Gulf and extending to Lake Providence, thus forming a half circle in front of Vicksburg in the Louisiana parishes of Madison and Carroll. For some time it was through this channel that Gen. Grant obtained a portion of his supplies, and on this route he marched most of his army to the base of operations against Vicksburg, located at Grand Gulf. The Jackson correspondent of the Mobile Tribune, writing on the 4th inst., says:
It is not at all improbable that Port Hudson will be evacuated and the forces there joined with those of Johnston. This idea is speculative, but highly probable. If so, Grant may yet find himself in a rebel trap from which there is no escape; but I have little faith in bagging the Yankee army, as they are the best runners and thieves on the continent. The successful passing of our batteries by the Yankee gunboats, and the possession of the month of Red river by the Federals, renders the possession of Port Hudson of but little consequence or practical usefulness.The latest advices from Vicksburg put our losses down at 5,000 altogether for the entire campaign.