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McPherson Letters


| West Point 1851 | San Francisco 1861 | Shiloh 1862 |
| Mississippi 1863 | Vicksburg 1863 | Nashville 1864 |

Fourth of July 1863

When 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.

Vicksburg July 26th, 1863

Dear Robt.
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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