Fourth of July 1863
Pemberton asked for surrender terms, Grant chose McPherson to accompany
him to the meeting held in front of his lines. When Grant demanded unconditional
surrender and Pemberton held out for better terms, the commanders allowed
their subordinates to confer. McPherson listened to suggestions from
his old West Point classmate, General John S. Bowen. That night Grant
agreed to McPherson's proposal to parole the Vicksburg garrison of 31,000
Confederates. McPherson wrote his old friend and employer Robert Smith
of Green Springs, Ohio of the Glorious Fourth. Grant gave McPherson
the honor of entering the city first. With bands playing and colors
flying, McPherson raised his headquarters flag over the Vicksburg courthouse.
Chosen for fighting the hardest and suffering the most, General John
A, Logan's 45th Illinois placed its flag beside it. The men broke into
Battle Cry of Freedom.
SEVENTEENTH ARMY CORPS DEPARTMENT OF THE TENNESSEE
Vicksburg July 26th, 1863
I have been intending ever since our Entry into this place to write
you a long letter, as well as one to Kate and Clemmy in whose debt I
am very largely. But the surrender of Vicksburg brought very little
rest for me. I was immediately placed in command of all the Forces and
charged with Paroling the prisoners and carrying out the terms of the
capitulation. I tell you Robt it was a Glorious "Fourth of July"
for us down here, and though we did not have much time to "celebrate"
in the approved style, we enjoyed it immensely. About 11 A.M. the "Old
Flag" was hoisted over the Court House, and as our Soldiers marched
past coming in to take possession of the city & defences, Each Regiment
gave three rousing cheers for the Flag. I would like above all things
to run up there and see you all but cannot get away. A great many officers
want to go and as most of them have Families and important private business
to attend to, their claims are more urgent than mine and they must go
first. The weather is very very warm and the city not in the most healthy
condition. But we are trying to get this "Secession" taint
out of it, and hope to make it a very respectable place. Sherman drove
Joe Johnston out of Jackson and this state is pretty free from armed
Rebels. The people are thoroughly subjugated. Give my love to Kate and
all at Home.
Yours Sincerely Jas. B. McPherson
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