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1863 July 18: The Surrender of Port Hudson

July 21, 2013

From the July 18, 1863, issue of The Prescott Journal.


CAIRO, July 15.

An arrival from Vicksburg, Saturday evening, brings Col. John Riggin,¹ of Gen. Grant’s staff, bearer of dispatches to the Government.  The news is highly important.

Port Hudson surrendered unconditionally on the 8th, and Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] took possession on the 9th.

He captured the entire garrison, about seven thousand men, thirty five field pieces, twenty-five siege guns and about ten thousand stand of small arms.

We have Major General Garner [sic], Brigadier General Bade [sic] and Colonels Steadman [sic], Miller, Smith and one or two others whose names are not known.²

At latest accounts, Sherman [William T. Sherman] was still pursing Johnston [Joseph E. Johnston], but that sagacious rebel has kept out of his way.

More Cheering News.

After the surrender of Vicksburg, Gen. SHERMAN moved against Gen. JOHNSON [sic], defeating him in a general engagement, capturing 2,000 prisoners.

Gen. BRAGG [Braxton Bragg]  has retreated from Chattanooga to Atlanta—giving up that great strategic point without a battle.  ROSECRANS [William S. Rosecrans] has taken 4,000 prisoners in his forward movement.

We have a rumor of the surrender of Port Hudson with 18,000 prisoners.  The number of rebel prisoners.  The number of rebel prisoners captured at Vicksburg is 31,277.  If the Port Hudson rumor proves well founded, we have an aggregate of over 55,000 prisoners, recently taken at the west.—St. Paul Pioneer.


CINCINNATI, July 14.—The Commercial has Vicksburg advices to the 8th.  Gen. Grant [Ulysses S. Grant] has fished [finished?] paroling rebel prisoners.  They number 31,277.

The general officers captured include Lieut. Gen. Pemberton [John C. Pemberton], Major Generals Stephenson [sic], Forney, Bowen and Smith, Brig. Generals Lee, Taylor, Herbert Cummings [sic], Burton [sic], Sharpe [sic], Harris, Moore, Baldwin and Vaughan [sic].³

Immediately after the surrender of Vicksburg, Gen. Sherman moved in the direction of the Big Black River with a large army.  On the following day he met Johnston drawn up in line of battle.  A sanguinary engagement took place, resulting in the defeat of Johnston and the capture of 2,000 prisoners.

Gen. Frank P. Blair is reported to be in possession of Jackson.

A rumor was in circulation that Port Hudson had surrendered to Gen. Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] on the 5th with 18,000 prisoners.


CINCINNATI, July 14.—The Commercial says that J. M. Swinton, of the N. Y. Times, arrived last night from Gen. Rosecrans’ headquarters.  The main body of Gen. Bragg’s army retreated from Chattanooga to Atlanta.  It is presumed the bulk of the forces has been sent to Richmond to garrison that place.–Rosecrans has taken 4,000 prisoners during the late forward movement.  Our army is in high spirits, and splendid condition.



Fort Powhattan, on James River, was taken possession of by our fleet yesterday.  All the men and guns had been removed.

The gunboat Union just arrived from Charleston, bound to New York, reports all of Morris Island captured, except Ft. Wayne.

The enemy’s loss in killed wound and prisoners is between seven and eight hundred.

The attack commended last Friday A. M.  The Union left Monday P. M., at which time the siege of Fort Wayne was progressing with every prospect of a speedy capture.

Five Monitors were engaged.



Advices from Vicksburg in the evening of the 8th, state that 27,000 rebel soldiers had been paroled up to that time.

60,000 stand of small arms had been found, mainly in good condition, and more were concealed in caves as well as in all sorts of buildings.

The siege and sea coastal guns found exceeded sixty, and the whole captured artillery is above 200 pieces.  The stores of rebel ammunition, also proves surprisingly heavy.  The stock of army clothing is officially invoiced at five million dollars Confederate prices.  Sixty thousand pounds of bacon was found in one place.

1.  “John Riggin, Jr. was a Union staff officer (colonel and aide de camp) in General Ulysses S. Grant’s army.  In 1862, Grant put Riggin in charge of the military telegraph and gave him the title “Military Superintendent of Telegraphs.” This attempt to gain more efficient control over the telegraph corp, and Riggin’s orders regarding telegraph usage, caused a great deal of confusion and tension between Grant’s army and the War Department, who demanded that Riggin not interfere with their telegraph communications. Despite raising the ire of the Secretary of War, Riggin was promoted to Brigadier General in May of 1865.” (From the Missouri Civil War Museum website, History/Trivia/Facts: The Pioneer Baseball Era in St. Louis and the Civil War.)
2.  The following Confederate officers became prisoners at Port Hudson:

  • Franklin Kitchell Gardner (1823-1873)
  • Probably refers to William Nelson Rector Beall (1825-1883)
  • Isaiah G. W. Steedman, colonel of the 1st Alabama Infantry
  • There was no Miller; this perhaps refers to William R. Miles, colonel of Miles’ Louisiana Legion
  • There was no Smith; perhaps confusing someone with Ashbel Smith, colonel of the 2nd Texas Infantry, who was a Confederate colonel taken prisoner at Vicksburg

3.  The following Confederate generals became prisoners at Vicksburg:

  • William Edwin Baldwin (1827-1864)
  • John Stevens Bowen (1830-1863),
  • Seth Maxwell Barton (1829-1900)
  • Alfred Cumming [no “s”] (1829-1910)
  • William Henry Forney (1823-1894)
  • Nathaniel Harrison Harris (1834-1900)
  • Stephen Dill Lee (1833-1908)
  • John Creed Moore (1824-1910)
  • Jacob Hunter Sharp [no “e”] (1833-1907) was the only Confederate general named Sharp, but he did not become a general until July 1864; he was not at Vicksburg
  • Martin Luther Smith (1819-1866)
  • Carter Littlepage Stevenson (1817-1888)
  • Thomas Hart Taylor (1825-1901)
  • John C. Vaughn (1824-1875)
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