BORN: 1814 in Philadelphia, PA.
DIED: 1881 in Penllyn, PA.
CAMPAIGNS: Vicksburg Siege.
(Resigned and later accepted appointment as colonel of artillery )
John Clifford Pemberton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 10, 1814. He attended West Point, where he made friendships with mostly Southern cadets and showed his deep feelings for the South and the states rights philosophy. Graduating in 1837, he served in the cavalry and took part in the Mexican War, for which service he was brevetted twice. In 1848, he married Martha Thompson of Norfolk, Virginia, reinforcing his ties to the South. In April of 1861, Pemberton resigned from the US Army and joined the Confederacy, while two of his brothers stayed in the Union army. Appointed brigadier general by Confederate President Jefferson Davis on June 17, 1861, he was placed in command of the Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Promoted to major general in January of 1862, then to lieutenant general on October 10, 1862, he was given command of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. Pemberton received conflicting orders Confederate President Davis and Gen. Joseph E. Johnston regarding Vicksburg, and finally had to surrender the position on July 4, 1863 to the Union. There were not assignments available commensurate with Pemberton's rank, so he resigned as lieutenant general and was appointed a colonel of artillery, fighting well until the end of the war. Although he was a skilled administrator, he was less than inspiring as an officer. After the end of the Civil War, he lived on a farm near Warrenton, Virginia, but eventually returned to his native state of Pennsylvania. Pemberton died on July 13, 1881, in a village called Penllyn, in Pennsylvania.

Early life and career [ edit | edit source ]

Pemberton was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1814. He entered the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1833, and graduated four years later, standing 27th out of 50 cadets. Ώ] He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the 4th U.S. Artillery Regiment on July 1, 1837. He participated with the 4th during the U.S. actions against the Seminoles in 1837 and 1838, fighting in Florida at the Battle of Locha-Hatchee on January 24, 1838. ΐ]

Pemberton and the 4th Artillery served in garrison duty at Fort Columbus, New York, in 1838 and into 1839, and then at the Camp of Instruction located near Trenton, New Jersey, in 1839. He then served along the northern U.S. frontier during the Canada Border Disturbances. Pemberton and the 4th were next stationed in Michigan, serving at Detroit in 1840, at Fort Mackinac in 1840 and 1841, and at Fort Bradyin in 1841. He then served in Buffalo, New York, in 1841 to 1842, and was promoted to first lieutenant on March 19, 1842. Pemberton and the 4th returned to garrison duty at Fort Monroe, Virginia in 1842, then were stationed at the U.S. Army Cavalry School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in 1842 and 1843, and returned to Fort Monroe from 1844 to 1845. ΐ]

Mexican War [ edit | edit source ]

From 1845 to 1846, Pemberton and the 4th Artillery were part of the U.S. Military Occupation of Texas, and then the 4th was sent to Mexico at the start of the Mexican-American War. He fought at the Battle of Palo Alto on May 8, 1846, and at the Battle of Resaca de la Palma the next day. He then fought well at the Battle of Monterrey in that fall, and was brevetted to the rank of captain Α] on September 23. ΐ]

Pemberton then fought in the Army's 1847 actions in Mexico, including the Siege of Vera Cruz in March, the Battle of Cerro Gordo in April, the skirmish near Amazoque in May, the capture of San Antonio and the Battle of Churubusco in August, and most notably in the Battle of Molino del Rey that September. Pemberton was appointed a brevet major Β] for his performance at Molino del Rey on September 8. He then was part of the storming of Chapultepec Castle on September 13, and the Battle for Mexico City that day and the next, ΐ] where Pemberton was wounded. Ώ] Pemberton held the position of aide-de-camp to Brev. Brig. Gen. William J. Worth from August 4, 1846, to May 1, 1849. ΐ]

After the war with Mexico ended, Pemberton and the 4th Artillery served in garrison duty at Fort Pickens near Pensacola, Florida, in 1849. He then fought in Florida during hostilities against the Seminoles in 1849 and 1850. The 4th returned to garrison duty at New Orleans Barracks in Louisiana in 1850, and Pemberton was promoted to captain on September 16. He next served in Fort Washington, Maryland, in 1851 and 1852, at Fort Hamilton, New York, in 1852 to 1856. He and the 4th fought again in Florida during hostilities against the Seminoles from 1856 to 1857. ΐ]

Pemberton and the 4th was then on frontier duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from 1857 to 1858, and participated in the Utah War in 1858. He was the stationed at Fort Kearny in the New Mexico Territory in 1859, at Fort Ridgely in present-day Minnesota from 1859 to 1861, and in garrison duty at the Washington Arsenal in Washington, D.C., in 1861. ΐ]

John Pemberton’s Early Life

Pemberton went to school in Rome, which is located in a triangle beset by Birmingham, Alabama, and Chattanooga, TN. He and his family lived there for nearly 30 years, during which time he attended the Reform Medical College of Georgia in Macon, studying both medicine and pharmacy.

In 1850, when he was 19 years old, Pemberton received his license to practice Thomsonian (or botanic) principles. This field was rooted in organic, herbal remedies and intended to cleanse the patient of toxins. It was not a very respected niche and treated with strong suspicion by the public, to put it mildly.

After practicing medicine and surgery in Rome, he opened a wholesale-retail business in Columbus in 1853. According to Encyclopedia, he married Wesleyan College student Ann Eliza Clifford Lewis that same year, and the newlyweds had a son named Charles the following year.

Pemberton’s new store specialized in materia medica (substances used in making medical remedies). Pemberton garnered his graduate degree in pharmacy a few years before the Civil War in the 1860s.

“We are direct importers manufacturing all the pharmaceutical and chemical preparations used in the arts and sciences,” the company, J.S. Pemberton and Company of Columbus claimed. This was unique in the South during that time.

John C. Pemberton

Born a Union man in Philadelphia in August of 1814, John Clifford Pemberton would go on to be a quintessential but controversial player in Confederate leadership. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, the young Pemberton decided he wished to have a career as an engineer. Believing the United States Military Academy the best way gain this education, he applied to West Point, using his family's connection to President Andrew Jackson to secure an appointment. He was admitted to the academy, where he was the roommate and closest friend of George G. Meade. Pemberton graduated near the middle of the class of 1837 before being commissioned as an officer in the 4th Artillery.

Pemberton's antebellum career was typical of many officers of that time. He served in the Second Seminole War in Florida and aided in campaigns against the Cherokees in the west before serving under Zachary Taylor during the Mexican war. After the war, Pemberton married a Virginian, Martha Thompson. In the absence of any record of his thoughts on states' rights or slavery, many historians have come to believe Pemberton's marriage to this Norfolk native was the primary reason he sided with the Confederacy. With the secession of his wife's home state in 1861, Pemberton resigned from the Federal army and in June of that same year was made a brigadier general in the Confederate Army.

Pemberton's early service in the Confederacy constituted primarily of strengthening coastal defenses in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Due to his Yankee background, however, the general's relationships with local governors left much to be desired and Pemberton was transferred west. In October of 1862 he was promoted to lieutenant general and assigned command of the District of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

At the heart of this district was the vital shipping port of Vicksburg. With orders to hold the city at all costs, Pemberton expended a great deal of energy revamping its defenses, as well as improving defenses along the Mississippi river. In spite of these efforts—and Union defeats at Holly Springs and Chicksaw Bluffs—there was little Pemberton could do in the face of the impending Union attack on Vicksburg. To make matters worse, Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston reassigned Pemberton's cavalry to the Army of Tennessee. Thus, in May of 1863, when Union General Ulysses S. Grant's campaign to take the city began in earnest, the Confederate defender was deprived of vital intelligence about his enemy's whereabouts. Poor communication and lack of coordination with Johnston—as well as the Pemberton's own tactical errors—led to Confederate defeats at Champion Hill and Big Black River Bridge, and Pemberton was forced to back into the Vicksburg defenses. Two failed attempts to take the city by direct assault demonstrated the strength of the Vicksburg defenses and compelled Grant lay siege to the city. Despite constant pleas to Johnston for aid, Pemberton was completely isolated. Eventually, lack of supplies and starvation to their toll. On July 4, 1863, after 46 days, Pemberton surrendered 2,166 officers and 27,230 men, 172 cannon, and almost 60,000 muskets and rifles to the Federals.

Branded a traitor by Southerners for surrendering Vicksburg, Pemberton spent the remainder of 1863 the spring of 1864 in Virginia, an officer without a command. Boredom and a desire to render faithful service to his adopted country prompted the former Northerner wrote President Jefferson Davis for an assignment. Unable to procure a position commensurate with his rank, Pemberton resigned his general's commission and made a lieutenant colonel of artillery. After commanding the Richmond Defense Battalion, he was made inspector general of ordinance before the surrender of the Confederate Armies in April of 1865.

After the war, Pemberton carried on a feud with Johnston regarding the Vicksburg campaign. He returned to the north in the 1870s and passed away in Philadelphia in 1881 where he is buried.

Fast Facts: Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton

  • Rank: Lieutenant General
  • Service: US Army/Confederate Army
  • Born: August 10, 1814 in Philadelphia, PA
  • Died: July 13, 1881 in Penllyn, PA
  • Parents: John and Rebecca Pemberton
  • Spouse: Martha Thompson
  • Conflicts:Second Seminole War,Mexican-American War,Civil War
  • Known For:Siege of Vicksburg

The Pemberton Who Succeeded

Raise a glass of the bubbly to toast the bubbly. Not champagne, but America’s beverage: Coca-Cola, which was invented and first sold in 1886. After all, isn’t it always a good time to toast “the real thing”? Another good reason to toast Coca-Cola is because there are some connections between Coca-Cola and the Civil War.

One of those connections is the inventor of Coca-Cola, John Pemberton. No, not that John Pemberton, the other John Pemberton. Coca-Cola was not invented by John C. (for Clifford) Pemberton, the Confederate general who led the army that defended Vicksburg against Ulysses S. Grant and his army. Coca-Cola was invented by John S. (for Stith) Pemberton. This Pemberton also served in the Confederate army, and John S. Pemberton was the nephew of John C. Pemberton. It may be that if Unionists know that Coke was invented by a Confederate, they will be motivated to drink Pepsi. Nonetheless, it is easier to understand why John S. Pemberton served with the Confederacy than why his uncle did. At least John S. Pemberton was a Southerner, but John C. Pemberton was a Northerner who served with the Confederacy.

  • John Clifford Pemberton
  • John Stith Pemberton

John S. Pemberton was born in Knoxville, Georgia on July 8, 1831. When Pemberton was a young child, his family moved to Rome, Georgia, where he grew up. He was educated in medicine and pharmacy, and in 1850, when he was 19, he was licensed to practice a type of medicine that was based on herbal remedies. Pemberton and his wife moved to Columbus, Georgia in 1855, where Pemberton established a drug business and practiced as a druggist. In 1862 Pemberton enlisted in the Confederate army as a first lieutenant and organized a cavalry unit which operated primarily in the protection of the locale around Columbus. He was almost killed in April 1865 during fighting around Columbus. Had he died, his death prior to inventing Coca-Cola most likely would have had a future beneficial effect on sales of Pepsi-Cola.

After the Civil War, Pemberton returned to his profession in pharmacy and to the analytical and manufacturing company that he had founded in 1860. His laboratories were considered state of the art. For example, Pemberton developed a laboratory for the testing of soil and crop chemicals, and this facility still operates as part of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. But Pemberton’s obsession was to invent a tonic for use in the home, since such concoctions were in high demand at that time. Initially he developed Pemberton’s French Wine Coca, which was a plagiarism of Vin Mariani. Vin Mariani was developed by French chemist Angelo Mariani and was in essence coca leaves extracted in wine. The ethanol in the wine extracted the cocaine from the coca leaves, and the user consumed a mixture of alcohol and cocaine. The popularity of Vin Mariani even extended to the Vatican, where Pope Leo XIII reputedly consumed Vin Mariani “to fortify himself in those moments when prayer was insufficient.” Pemberton acknowledged that Mariani’s recipe was likewise his formulation and indicated that his formulation also included an extract of kola nuts.

Advertisement for Vin Mariani which includes a drawing of Pope Leo XIII
The advertisement indicates that the pope, as a token of his gratitude, sent Angelo Mariani “a gold medal bearing his august effigy.”

In 1869 Pemberton moved his company from Columbus to Atlanta. This move was instrumental in the invention of Coca-Cola, because Atlanta introduced prohibition in 1886. As a result, Pemberton’s French Wine Coca became illegal, not because of the cocaine, but because of the alcohol. Since he could no longer sell his French Wine Coca, Pemberton set about developing a new concoction that lacked alcohol. After numerous attempts that were either too bitter or too sweet, Pemberton arrived at a formulation that met his satisfaction. In May 1886 he sent a batch to Jacobs’ Pharmacy where Willis Venable, who manned the soda fountain, added carbonated water to the syrup and served it to some customers, who pronounced it excellent. It is an urban legend that the addition of carbonated water was an accident. From the beginning the plan was to mix the syrup with cold carbonated water to make the concoction more flavorful. The syrup was sent to the soda fountain because there was no carbonated water in Pemberton’s laboratory. Pemberton’s bookkeeper, Frank Robinson, suggested the name Coca-Cola to reflect the two main ingredients in the concoction: coca leaves and kola nuts. Robinson also designed the eminently familiar flowing script logo. Eventually the beverage was sold in soda fountains across the U.S. In the summer of 1894 Coca-Cola was first bottled by Joe Biedenharn in Vicksburg, Mississippi, the city that John C. Pemberton was unable to defend against Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War.

The year after his invention of Coca-Cola, John S. Pemberton was forced to sell two-thirds interest in his company. Later that year he sold his formula to druggist Asa Candler for $2,300, although the conditions by which Candler obtained controlling interest are murky. It was Candler who oversaw the explosion in popularity of the beverage, and when Candler sold the company in 1919 it was valued at $25 million. Pemberton died on August 16, 1888, having never benefitted from the immense profits that accrued from the sale of his invention. At the time of his death, he was immensely loved and respected in Atlanta, but he was also broke. Pemberton’s only child, son Charles, died in 1893 at the age of 34 of a morphine overdose. Despite the vast fortunes that were made from Pemberton’s invention, his wife, Ann, died a pauper in 1909. The great tragedy of Coca-Cola is that its inventor and his family never shared in the enormous wealth that that invention generated.

Statue of John S. Pemberton at the Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, Georgia

Of the two Pembertons, John C. and John S., John C. is definitely more widely known, particularly among Civil War enthusiasts. But John C. Pemberton’s most well-known legacy is one of the most devastating defeats in the cause that he fought for. In contrast, although John S. Pemberton’s life certainly took a tragic turn, his greatest legacy is an achievement of undeniably historic proportions. Through relentless perseverance and focused ingenuity, he brought into existence the invention that he sought to create. John S. Pemberton’s legacy exists throughout the world, but few people realize that it is his legacy. While his place in history is assured, his place in history is hardly known. So raise a glass of the bubbly to John S. Pemberton, the Pemberton who succeeded in his task.

John Clifford Pemberton (August 10, 1814 – July 13, 1881)

Early Life and Education
Future Confederate Lieutenant General John Clifford Pemberton was born on August 10, 1814, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the second child of John and Rebecca (Clifford) Pemberton. The family's patriarch was a successful merchant and land speculator with substantial political connections that extended to President Andrew Jackson. In 1833, he used his influence with Jackson to secure an appointment for his son, John, to the United States Military Academy.

John Pemberton entered the Academy on July 1, 1833, along with future Civil War generals of note including Braxton Bragg and Jubal A. Early who fought for the Confederacy, and Joseph Hooker, William H. French, and John Sedgwick who served the Union. During his years at West Point, Pemberton excelled in classical studies, but his performance in military subjects was sub-par. As a result, he graduated near the middle of his class, standing twenty-seventh out of fifty cadets, on July 1, 1837.

United States Army Soldier
Upon leaving West Point, the army commissioned Pemberton as a second lieutenant with the 4th Artillery Regiment and sent him to Florida to campaign against American Indians during the Second Seminole War (1837󈞒). Following the conclusion of his service in Florida, Pemberton served with the 4th Artillery at Fort Columbus, New York (1838󈞓), near Trenton, New Jersey (1839), along the northern U.S. frontier during the brief Canadian Border Disturbances of the Aroostook War (1839), at Detroit, Michigan (1840), at Fort Mackinac, Michigan (1840-41), at Fort Brady, Michigan (1841), in Buffalo, New York (1841󈞖), and at Fortress Monroe, Virginia 1842).

On March 19, 1842, the army promoted Pemberton to the rank of first lieutenant. Remaining with the 4th Artillery, Pemberton served at the U.S. Army Cavalry School at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania (1842󈞗), and returned to Fort Monroe from 1844 to 1845.

In 1845, the army deployed Pemberton and the 4th Artillery to the Republic of Texas when tensions between the United States and Mexico escalated after the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution annexing Texas on March 1, 1845. When war between the two nations erupted in 1846, Pemberton served with General Zachary Taylor's Army of Occupation, seeing action at the Battle of Palo Alto (May 8, 1846) and commanding a company during the Battle of Resaca de la Palma (May 9, 1846). On September 23, 1846, the army brevetted Pemberton to captain "for Gallant and Meritorious Conduct" during the Battle of Monterrey (September 21󈞄, 1846).

By the end of 1846, Taylor's Army of Occupation controlled most of northern Mexico. After Mexican officials rebuffed President Polk's attempts to reach a negotiated settlement, the War Department decided to strike at the heart of Mexico. In early 1847, General Winfield Scott ordered nearly eight thousand of Taylor's army, including Pemberton, to depart for the gulf coast in preparation for the invasion. After joining Scott's Army of Invasion, Pemberton participated in the Siege of Vera Cruz (Mar 9󈞉, 1847), the Battle of Cerro Gordo (April 18, 1847), the Skirmish of Amazoque (May 14, 1847), the Capture of San Antonio (August 20, 1847), the Battle of Churubusco (August 20, 1847), the Battle of Molino del Rey (September 8, 1847), the storming of Chapultepec (September 13, 1847), and the occupation of Mexico City (September 13󈝺, 1847). On September 8, 1847, the army brevetted Pemberton to major for his "Gallant and Meritorious Conduct in the Battle of Molino del Rey."

Upon returning from Mexico, Pemberton married Martha Thompson of Norfolk, Virginia, in January 1848. Their marriage produced three children who survived to adulthood.

The next year, Pemberton was back in Florida, campaigning against the Seminole Indians (1849󈞞). After being promoted to captain on September 16, 1850, Pemberton served at numerous outposts around the country including New Orleans Barracks, Louisiana (1850), Fort Washington, Maryland (1851󈞠), and Fort Hamilton, New York (1852󈞤). In 1856󈞥, he was back in Florida, once again campaigning against the Seminoles. Afterwards, the army sent Pemberton to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. During his time on frontier duty, Pemberton helped quell the border violence in Bleeding Kansas. He also participated in the nearly bloodless Utah Expedition (1857󈞦). Between 1859 and 1861, Pemberton served stints at Ft. Kearny, New Mexico and Fort Ridgely, Minnesota.

Civil War Service - Confederate Army Officer
When South Carolina artillerists fired on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, touching off the Civil War, Pemberton was garrisoned at Washington Arsenal, in the nation's capital. As was the case with many U.S. Army officers, the commencement of hostilities created a vexing dilemma for Pemberton. His predicament was particularly troublesome because his immediate family (including two brothers who fought for the North) sided with the Union, while his wife was a staunch Southern sympathizer. After two weeks of deliberation, Pemberton notified the army on April 24, 1861, that he was resigning his commission (effective April 29) to join the Southern cause. Pemberton's decision made him a traitor to the North and a suspect Yankee in the South.

Upon leaving the U.S. Army, Pemberton accepted a commission as a lieutenant colonel of the newly-formed Provisional Army of Virginia (PAV). First serving under his post-war detractor, Joseph E. Johnston, Pemberton accepted an assignment to construct a training camp for artillery and cavalry volunteers. Pemberton soon began a meteoric rise in rank that rocketed him to the highest echelons of the Confederate Army in short order. On May 8, 1861, he was promoted to colonel (PAV). When the Confederacy absorbed Virginia forces, Pemberton received a commission as major of artillery in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States (PACS) on June 15, 1861. Two days later, Confederate officials promoted him to brigadier general, bypassing the intermediate grades of lieutenant colonel and colonel.

Department of South Carolina and Georgia Commander
On November 29, 1861, the Confederate government transferred Pemberton to General Robert E. Lee's Department of South Carolina and Georgia. A little more than two months later, on February 14, 1862, the Confederacy promoted Pemberton to the rank of major general, effective January 14, 1862. In less than three-quarters of a year, Pemberton had risen from the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Provisional Army of Virginia to major general in the Provisional Army of the Confederate States, without accomplishing anything of major importance for the Rebel cause.

When Confederate President Jefferson Davis recalled Lee to Virginia to command the Army of Northern Virginia during the Peninsula Campaign, Pemberton assumed Lee's position as department commander on March 4, 1862. Pemberton's tenure in South Carolina was short lived.

After Pemberton openly exhibited his preference for protecting his army more than southern soil by evacuating coastal areas, South Carolina Governor Francis Pickens lost confidence in the Yankee general charged with defending his state. On August 28, 1862, Davis acquiesced to Pickens' lobbying for a change and replaced Pemberton with P.G.T. Beauregard.

On October 1, 1862, after Pemberton's fall from grace in South Carolina, the Confederate War Department issued General Orders, Number 73 assigning him to command a newly-established military department that would become known as the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana.

While Pemberton enroute to his new assignment, the Confederate War Department issued General Orders, No. 240, on October 14, 1862, announcing his promotion to lieutenant general and the addition of "the forces intended to operate in Southern Tennessee" to his command. When Pemberton arrived at Jackson the same day, he issued General Orders, Number 1, stating that "In compliance with instructions received from the War Department" he was assuming "command of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, including the forces intended to operate in Southwestern Tennessee."

Pemberton immediately set about reorganizing and reestablishing the morale of the forces in his command which had recently failed in their attempt to recapture Corinth, Mississippi, at the Battle of Corinth II (October 3𔃂, 1862). The number of soldiers under Pemberton's charge numbered fewer than 50,000 divided between Major General Earl Van Dorn's and Major General Sterling Price's commands. Roughly half of his men were garrisoned at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, Louisiana, near the Mississippi River. The rest were spread across the two states.

Pemberton's forces acquired a formal name on December 7, 1862, when he issued General Orders, Number 17 (Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana) announcing that "By direction of the Secretary of War, hereafter this army will be denominated Army of the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana . . . " Soon thereafter, Pemberton's troops became known informally as the Army of Vicksburg.

Pemberton's tenure in Mississippi got off to a good start. On December 20, 1862, Van Dorn led a raid on Ulysses S. Grant's supply depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. Van Dorn's troopers surprised the Federal soldiers in an early morning attack, taking 1,500 prisoners and destroying over $1.5 million worth of Union supplies. On December 26󈞉, 1862, Pemberton's forces decisively repulsed Major General William T. Sherman's assault at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou, inflicting 1,700 casualties on the Yankees, compared to just 200 for the Rebels. Both operations deftly rebuffed Grant's early efforts to capture Vicksburg and seize control of the Mississippi River.

Despite his initial successes, Pemberton's situation began to erode soon after the New Year. On February 25, 1863, Johnston transferred Van Dorn and his cavalry to Middle Tennessee, leaving Pemberton without the vital reconnaissance units he needed to monitor Grant's movements. As Grant continued to press toward Vicksburg with his characteristic doggedness, employing several diversions, Pemberton could only react as he tried to determine Grant's primary targets.

Further Confederate victories at the Battle of Yazoo Pass on March 11, 1863, and the Battle of Grand Gulf on April 29 proved to be inconsequential. On April 30, 1863, 23,000 Union soldiers boarded barges on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River, crossed over, and disembarked at Bruinsburg, on the Mississippi side, roughly fifty miles downriver from Vicksburg.

Despite the large number of Yankees involved, the Confederate forces in the area were still superior in number. Pemberton had roughly 30,000 soldiers at his disposal in the vicinity of Vicksburg. Fortunately for Grant, Pemberton took literally his orders to defend Vicksburg at all costs. Rather than moving forward to confront the Union invasion at the beachhead, where it was most vulnerable, Pemberton chose to keep most of his troops in garrison at Vicksburg. As a result, the landing went unchallenged. The only Confederates nearby were Major General John S. Bowen's force of 6,000𔃆,000 soldiers who had marched to Port Gibson after thwarting Grant's landing at Grand Gulf the previous day. Following a heated battle on May 1, Bowen withdrew from Port Gibson, leaving Grant's army temporarily uncontested.

Rather than marching on his primary target of Vicksburg immediately, Grant turned his army east and drove General Joseph E. Johnston's forces away from the state capital at Jackson, Mississippi, on May 14, 1863. Johnston's removal prevented him from uniting his forces with Pemberton, now isolated at Vicksburg.

As Grant moved on Jackson, Johnston ordered Pemberton to leave his defensive positions near Vicksburg and move east to stop Grant's advance. Pemberton felt conflicted, because he was also under orders from Confederate President Jefferson Davis to defend Vicksburg at all costs. After calling a council of war with his subordinate officers, Pemberton decided to ignore Johnston's order, believing that a direct confrontation with Grant's army would be overly risky. Instead, Pemberton marched south, on May 15, hoping to isolate Grant's army by severing its supply lines back to the Mississippi River. After starting his march south, Pemberton received another order from Johnston repeating his former directive. This time Pemberton complied and reversed his course back north.

Just after sunrise on the morning of May 16, 1863, Pemberton's army, marching north, encountered Grant's army, marching west, near Champion Hill, Mississippi, twenty miles west of Vicksburg. During the ensuing battle, Confederate Major General William W. Loring's division became separated from Pemberton's main army. Loring chose to abandon Pemberton and march away to join Johnston's forces in central Mississippi. After a spirited engagement, marked by several fierce attacks and counterattacks, Pemberton's outnumbered soldiers fell back to the Big Black River at the end of the day to await Grant's next move.

The next morning (May 17, 1863), three divisions of Grant's army, commanded by Major General John A. McClernand, caught up with the Rebels. Even though the Confederate position near the Big Black River was fronted by a bayou of waist-deep water, which was protected by eighteen canons, the Rebels threw down their weapons and fled for the two makeshift bridges spanning the river when the Yankees began their advance. With no other options, Pemberton ordered his men to burn the bridges spanning Big Black River, to gather everything edible in their path, and to retreat to the safety of Vicksburg. The majority of Pemberton's soldiers made it across, but the Federals captured 1,700 stranded Rebels.

Following the Union victory at the Battle of Big Black River Bridge, Grant made two unsuccessful attempts to storm Vicksburg (May 19 and May 22). Rather than suffer further Federal casualties, the Union leader decided to besiege Vicksburg. Facing an army that eventually swelled to about 75,000 Union soldiers surrounding the city and a fleet of Federal gunboats on the river, Pemberton's only hope for escape was the possibility of General Johnston marching on Grant from the rear to relieve the city. Johnston did not share the belief held by others about Vicksburg's military importance, so help never came.

With no supplies coming into the city, citizens and soldiers alike suffered from a lack of food. Gradually the poor diet led to the onset of diseases, including scurvy, malaria, dysentery and diarrhea. To add to the misery, Union troops lobbed thousands of shells into the city, forcing citizens to dig and inhabit over 500 caves for shelter. Finally, on July 3, Pemberton asked for terms of surrender. Initially, Grant demanded unconditional surrender, as he had done at Fort Donelson. Upon further reflection though, Grant decided that he did not want to be burdened with caring for nearly 30,000 starving Confederate soldiers who were in poor health. Instead, he offered to parole all of his prisoners, hoping that they would never take up arms against the Union again. Satisfied with Grant's terms, Pemberton surrendered the city along with 2,166 officers and 27,230 soldiers, 172 cannon, and almost 60,000 muskets and rifles on July 4, 1863.

Return to the Eastern Theater
After capturing Vicksburg, Union officials exchanged Pemberton as a prisoner of war on October 13, 1863. The fallen general returned to Richmond where he spent the next eight months awaiting an assignment that never came. On May 9, 1864, Pemberton resigned his commission as a general officer. Three days later, he accepted a token assignment from President Davis as a lieutenant colonel of artillery in the defenses of Richmond. On January 7, 1865, the Confederacy appointed Pemberton as inspector general of artillery. He served in that capacity until Union soldiers captured him at Salisbury, North Carolina, on April 12, 1865, at the end of the war.

Post-bellum Life
After the Civil War, Pemberton resided on a farm named "Harleigh" near Warrenton, Virginia, from 1866 to 1876. During that period, General Johnston published his memoirs, blaming the loss of Vicksburg squarely on Pemberton's shoulders. Pemberton spent much of his remaining life drafting a detailed rebuttal that was never published.

In 1876, Pemberton returned to his native state of Pennsylvania, taking a position with the Iron Storage Department of the Pennsylvania Warehousing and Safe Deposit Company in Allentown. His job occasionally required extensive travel, sometimes to the Deep South, where many residents vilified him for surrendering Vicksburg.

Pemberton was equally disliked by some Northerners, especially in his native state. Nonetheless, Pennsylvania Congressman, Samuel J. Randall, Speaker of the House of Representatives, introduced legislation to restore Pemberton's U.S. citizenship in 1879. Both chambers of Congress approved the resolution, over the objection of some Pennsylvania representatives, and President Rutherford B. Hayes signed the legislation on June 19, 1879.

Toward the end of his life, Pemberton and his wife took up residence in Philadelphia. Early in 1880, Pemberton began experiencing respiratory and prostate problems. During the next year and a half, his health declined dramatically. On July 13, 1881, Pemberton died, at the age of sixty-six, at his summer home in Penllyn, Pennsylvania. Over objections from some Unionist families, the Confederate general was buried in an obscure section of Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

Collection Description

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of records relating to the Confederate States of America Army from 1861-1865. The papers include the records of W. Frank Ayer, Chief Quartermaster of the Confederate Amy at Dalton, Georgia. The records contain pay vouchers, requisition requests, correspondence, and some reports. Of particular interest are records (including muster rolls) relating to various hospitals in Dalton which cared for wounded soldiers. The collection also contains requisition records of the Ordnance Bureau at Columbus, Kentucky and an order book of the Confederate Army Department of South Carolina and Georgia. The orders were mainly issued by Major General John Clifford Pemberton, Brigadier General States Rights Gist and William Duncan Smith.

Arrangement Note

Organized into 3 series: (1) Quartermaster W. Frank Ayer records, (2) Confederate States of America. Ordnance Bureau (Columbus, Ky.) requisition books, and (3) Confederate States of America Army, Dept. of South Carolina and Georgia order book

John Clifford Pemberton

"After getting conflicting orders from his leaders Pemberton found his army unable to fend off Grant's army. Pemberton retreated to Vicksburg expecting in vain for Johnston to reinforce him. Eventually, he surrendered the city." John Pemberton blew his most important assignment, and was not forgiven for it. He was a Pennsylvanian, and a West Pointer (Class of 1837). He served with the artillery in all available American wars: against the Seminoles, the Mexicans (earning two brevets), the Mormons, and on the frontier.

He'd married a Virginia belle and when secession came he went with his adopted state. His first positions were with Virginia infantry, but already by June 1861 he was back with the artillery. He was quickly identified for promotion, and commanded a brigade around Norfolk, training them in what was then a quiet area. In December 1861 he was moved to a more active coastal sector, down in South Carolina. The Union had seized Port Royal Island as a blockading base it also threatened landings up and down the Atlantic coast. Robert E. Lee organized the whole coastal area, and Pemberton was one of the sector commanders. He took over from Lee in March 1862 and held the position until late September.

He was transferred to Mississippi (commanding the forces there and in Louisiana east of the Mississippi River) in October 1862. This was a much bigger challenge, since it was in the middle of a campaign: the defense of Vicksburg. Grant was a more energetic commander than Pemberton, and did what was considered impossible: he moved his army around Vicksburg from the south-west, putting it out of supply. Pemberton had a dual responsibility: garrison Vicksburg and keep his army intact. He split his effort, and did neither well. He didn't send enough troops to defeat Grant, and then withdrew the battered forces into Vicksburg. The result was more prisoners for Grant when Pemberton finally had to surrender. (Joe Johnston didn't have enough troops to distract Grant from the siege.)

Pemberton was vilified in the South: he wasn't Southern by birth, and had surrendered an Army rather than fight to the death for glory. The Union eventually exchanged him in May 1864 and Jefferson Davis had to figure out what to do with a competent but unpopular officer. There was no chance of giving him high command: too many people didn't trust him and wouldn't serve under him. He offered to serve as a private, as a way of regaining respect. Pemberton was finally put back into the artillery, as only a Lieutenant Colonel (down from Lieutenant General) and put in charge of Richmond's artillery during the long siege.

He lived on a Virginia farm after the war, not loved by his adopted country nor his home state.

Civil War service

At the start of the American Civil War in 1861, Pemberton chose to resign his commission in the Union and join the Confederate cause, despite his Northern birth and the fact that his two younger brothers both fought for the Union. He resigned his commission, effective April 29. His decision was due to the influence of his Virginia-born wife and many years of service in the southern states before the war. He was appointed a lieutenant colonel in the Confederate Army on March 28, and was made assistant adjutant general of the forces around and in the Southern capital of Richmond, Virginia, on April 29. He was promoted to colonel on May 8, and the next day was assigned to the Virginia Provisional Army Artillery, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Pemberton was then appointed a major in the Confederate Army Artillery on June 15 and quickly promoted to brigadier general two days later. His first brigade command was in the Department of Norfolk, leading its 10th Brigade from June to November.

Pemberton was promoted to major general on January 14, 1862, and given command the Confederate Department of South Carolina and Georgia, an assignment lasting from March 14 to August 29, with his headquarters in Charleston. As a result of Pemberton’s abrasive personality, his public statement that if he had to make the choice he would abandon the area rather than risk the loss of his outnumbered army, and the distrust of his Northern birth, the governors of both states in his Department petitioned Confederate President Jefferson Davis for his removal. Davis needed a commander for a new department in Mississippi and also a command for Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, so he sent Pemberton west and assigned the more popular Beauregard to Charleston.Foote Vol. I, pp. 776-78.


On October 10, 1862, Pemberton was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general, and assigned to defend the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi, and the Mississippi River, known as the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana. Davis gave him the following instructions regarding his new assignment: "… consider the successful defense of those States as the first and chief object of your command." Pemberton arrived at his new headquarters in Jackson, Mississippi, on October 14.Winters, p. 171.

His forces consisted of fewer than 50,000 men under the command of Maj. Gens. Earl Van Dorn and Sterling Price, with around 24,000 in the permanent garrisons at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, Louisiana. John D. Winters described the men under Pemberton as "a beaten and demoralized army, fresh from the defeat at Corinth, Mississippi." Pemberton faced his former Mexican War colleague,Grant and Pemberton were staff lieutenants in the same division in Mexico the aggressive Union commander Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and over 100,000 Union soldiers in the Vicksburg Campaign.