The Confederates committed several errors in the Vicksburg campaign, but the top generals can be absolved from some of the worst of them. The single largest problem was that Jefferson Davis wanted to hold Vicksburg to the last, while General Joseph Johnston did not believe it possible. Johnston, therefore, sent conflicting messages to General Pemberton, who usually learned the most important intelligence a day or so too late. For example, if Pemberton had known that Grant’s men had only six days’ provision in their knapsacks, he might have marched quickly from Vicksburg to join Joseph Johnston. Lacking that information, Pemberton remained where he was.
A sign displayed at a Civil War battle reenactment in Illinois shows what daily rations were like for soldiers at war.