James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
marched one hundred and eighty miles through a very difficult country, skirmishing constantly, had fought and won five distinct battles, inflicting a greater loss upon the enemy than he himself sustained and capturing many cannon and field-pieces, had taken the capital of the State and destroyed its arsenals and military manufactories, had been for ten days without communication with any base or his government,1 and was now in the rear of Vicksburg. As Sherman, in company with Grant, rode up to the long-coveted, dry, high ground behind Vicksburg, looked down upon the Confederate fort and then upon the Federal fleet within easy supporting distance, and realized that they had secured a base of supplies which had safe and unobstructed communication with the North,as he perceived the full force of what they had gained and recalled the time when he had panted for this position, he gave vent to his enthusiasm in boundless terms, while Grant, imperturbable, thought and smoked on. To find a parallel in military history to the deeds of those eighteen days (or nineteen), wrote John Fiske, a good authority on both events, we must go back to the first Italian campaign of Napoleon in 1796.2
Grant made two unsuccessful attempts to carry the Confederate works by storm, after which he settled down to a regular siege. Mining, countermining and sapping went on as usual.3 We are now approaching with pick and shovel, wrote General Sherman to his brother. We
Note 1. Charles A. Dana wrote in his Reminiscences that the isolation of the army was complete for ten days. The gap in his despatches is between May 10 and 20. James H. Wilson in his Life of C. A. Dana (225) wrote, Communication had been broken just ten days, during which time the army was operating without any base whatever. May 14, 15 Grant sent two despatches via Memphis to Halleck which reached him. O. R., XXIV, Pt. 1, 36. [back]