15 November 2005
STANTON, Edwin M. (1814-1869), Secretary of War. Autograph statement for the press, THE ANNOUNCMENT OF GRANT'S VICTORY AT VICKSBURG, Washington City [ca. 6-7 July] 1863.1 page, 8vo, on War Department stationery.
"A DISPATCH FROM GENERAL GRANT...THE ENEMY HAD SURRENDERED THEIR TROOPS..."
STANTON ANNOUNCES A MAJOR, AND LONG-DELAYED UNION VICTORY: GRANT'S CAPTURE OF VICKSBURG. His terse message reads: "A dispatch from General Grant to Major General Halleck dated at Vicksburg July fourth at half past ten a.m. states that the enemy had surrendered their troops [and] were paroled as prisoners of war. The details of movements to be made by his favor are given [but] are not proper for publication at present."
In his Memoirs, Grant explains that on the afternoon of 4 July he sent a staff officer, Captain William M. Dunn, to make his way to Cairo --the nearest place with a working telegraph line--with a dispatch for Halleck: "The enemy surrendered this morning. The only terms allowed is their parole as prisoners of war. This I regard as a great advantage to us at this moment. It saves, probably, several days in the capture, and leaves troops and transports ready for immediate service" (381). He also said that Sherman was moving directly against Johnston, and Banks and Burnside would be reinforced. These were the "details of movement" Stanton alludes to but keeps to himself.
The news of the dual victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg made Lincoln hope the end was near. He told Halleck on 7 July that "if General Meade can complete his work, so gloriously prosecuted thus far, by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army, the rebellion will be over" (Basler 6:319). Meade of course greatly disappointed by letting Lee escape back into Virginia. But Grant's success was unalloyed. The Mississippi was completely under Union control and the Confederacy divided in two.
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