Sunday, May 26, 2013

Vicksburg - After the Surrender - July 4th 1863

Departing from Rock House, Grant overtook Logan's vanguard before it reached the courthouse. At Noon, Col Maltby called the 45th Illinois to attention. As Grant and Logan looked on, the confederate flag was lowered, and the colors of the 45th Illinois or 4th Minnesota were raised.  The Soldiers unable to restrain themselves cheered wildly, the band struck up "Hail Columbia", "Yankee Doodle" and closed with "Home sweet Home".  While the Band played, the troops paraded around the courthouse, which was unscathed, except where the cupola had been struck by a dud 30 Pound shell.

At this point, some of the Union's wilder spirits took advantage of the courthouse (surrender) ceremonies to prowl the town before a provost guard could be organized. Several drunk staff officers climbed the iron stairway leading to the courthouse copula singing the star spangled banner and banishing a captured signal flag.

Later, Sgt Wilcox of the 33rd Illinois saw" Rebel officers and union officers riding together through the streets, and in some instances, both parties were so drunk they could barely sit on their horses".
Confederate Captain Guion saw Confederates and Union soldiers loot the Washington street stores. Hogsheads of sugar were rolled into the street, broken open, and soldiers both Blue and Grey walked off with the contents.  The safe in C.C. Kress' store was broken into and $20,000 stolen, along with most of his dry goods. Confederate Corporal Anderson - 1st Missouri - reported occupied residences were generally left undisturbed, while unoccupied ones had their mirrors stolen.

Liquor was discovered and Vicksburg resident Mrs William Lord, complained that soldiers (both North and South) " they were streaming through town and in and out of my yard, and so drunk".

As soon as a provost guard was organized, the marauding was brought under control by Union authorities.

Richard Howard - 124th Illinois, noted he did not see "a ragged looking person in the city" and respected the rebels and admired their spirit.  They "stoutly maintained that we had done them  very little if any damage" but were ready to call it quits.

Relations between Blue and Grey were generally good. However, before the paroled Confederates left the area, relations between Northern and Southern soldiers deteriorated. Hot words were exchanged, and tempers flared. Street brawls between blue and grey erupted. A number of men were badly beaten, and one or two killed.  In one of these fights, a Confederate killed a Union soldier who had insulted him.  Taken to Grant's HQ,  the man was released from custody, when the Federal officers learned of the circumstances.

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