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the same time to give a portion of his large force employment, General Grant acceded to the request of some of his engineers who were desirous of attempting the experiment of making a canal which would allow the transports to pass by Vicksburg without running past the batteries. The plan was to connect the Mississippi with Lake Providence in Louisiana, from which body of water an easy exit could be effected by bayous into the Tensas, and from thence into the Black river. The Black river flows into the Red river, and the latter empties into the Mississippi about fifty nuiles above Port Hudson. The work was carried on with great rapidity until the middle of A pril, when the Mississippi beginning to fall, work was suspended and the project abandoned.
A water route on the other side of the Mississippi was also adopted, but although it proved more successful than the one to which we have referred, its use was of but little subsequent advantage to General Grant except to divert the attention of the enemy while he was perfecting his programme for the campaign against the rebel stronghold. In the latter part of February, 1863, an expedition was sent to open this route, which connected the Mississippi with the Coldwater and Tallahatchie rivers through Yazoo Pass. The total length of the Pass is twenty miles, and throughout its entire length it runs through a section of country which a visitor describes as combining “the ugliest features of the Dismal Swamp of Virginia, the jungles of India, and the boundless tall forests of the John Brown Tract in Western New York." The vessels of the expedition however successfully encountered all the obstacles, and steering from the Pass into the Coldwater and Tallahatchie, moved down the latter stream until they reached Fort Pemberton, a formidable rebel work, which was attacked, but as the troops could not be made effective on account of the overflowed lands,
the assault was discontinued and the expedition withdrawn.
RECONNOISSANCE OF STEELE'S BAYOU. On the morning of the fifteenth of March, 1863, General Grant accompanied Admiral Porter on a reconnoissance up Steele's Bayou, and soon afterwards General Sherman was despatched with a division of the Fifteenth army corps to assist in opening this route to a point on the Yazoo river between Haines's Bluff and Yazoo city. For some days the combined military and naval forces advanced through the enemy's country, notwithstanding the obstructions which had been placed in the streams. Several skirmishes and engagements were fought, and finally, after awaiting a renewal of the attack, which the rebels declined to commence, the Union troops, transports and gunboats returned to Young's Point, General Grant's headquarters.
RUNNING THE GAUNTLET-ADVANCE OF
THE ARMY. On the twenty-first of March, 1863, Admiral Farragut's flag-ship, the Hartford, which with the Albatross had succeeded in running past the batteries at Port Hudson, arrived below Vicksburg, and the Admiral communicated with General Grant. Four days later the Union rams Lancaster and Switzerland attempted to pass the Vicksburg batteries, but they were so badly injured by the missiles from the rebel guns, that the former was sunk and the latter disabled. On the twenty-ninth of March, General Grant commenced moving his army down the Louisiana shore, the Thirteenth corps taking the advance, and followed by the Fifteenth and Seventeenth. The Sixteenth corps remained to see that communication was maintained and supplies forwarded. On the thirtieth, the town of Richmond, Louisiana, was occupied after two hours fighting
In accordance with General Grant's plans, Admiral Porter prepared to run a number of gunboats and transports by the Vicksburg batteries, with a view of cooperating with General Grant, and transporting the army across the Mississippi. On the night of the sixteenth of April, the vessels succeeded in running the gauntlet, and a week later several transports loaded with troops also accomplished the perilous trip.
About the same time the First cavalry brigade, under command of Colonel (now General) B. H. Grierson, was detailed by General Grant to cut all the enemy's communications with Vicksburg, an important and hazardous duty which was performed with the most brilliant success. Portions of the Mobile and Ohio, the Southern and the Jackson and New Orleans railroads were destroyed, nine bridges were burned, and two locomotives, about two hundred cars, three rebel camps and a number of buildings were destroyed, and over twelve bundred horses captured. The total value of property destroyed was estimated at four millions of dollars. Having fulfilled his mission, and having routed the enemy wherever encountered, Colonel Grierson moved towards Baton Rouge, where he arrived on the first of May.
On the nights of the 16th and 22d of April, 1863, two fleets of gunboats and transports ran past the Vicksburg batteries without receiving any material damage ; and on the eighteenth, three regiments of infantry and one of cavalry left Memphis, and when near Nonconnah, encountered the rebels and whipped them. On the following morning the Union cavalry again attacked the rebels, and drove them across the Coldwater river in confusion. Both parties being subsequently reinforced, the engagement was renewed, and again resulted in the success of the Union troops.
With a view of attaining a position from which he could
easily transport his army across the Mississippi, General Grant gave the order for an advance movement. At eight o'clock on the morning of the twenty-ninth, Admiral Porter engaged the batteries at Grand Gulf, but finding it impossible to silence them, General Grant changed his plan of landing at that point, and selected another site below. At an early hour of the evening, the fleet again engaged the batteries, and while the bombardment was in progress, several of the transports steamed safely by the enemy's guns, General Grant during the exciting scene being stationed on a tug in the river. THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG-OFFICIAL
REPORT OF GENERAL GRANT. The official report of the commander-in-chief gives such an interesting account of the siege of Vicksburg and of the movements anterior thereto that we publish it entire. It is as follows
GENERAL GRANT'S OFFICIAL REPORT.
VICKSBURG, Miss., July 6th, 1863. “ COLONEL: I have the honor to submit the following report of the operations of the army of the Tennessee, and co-operating forces, from the date of my assuming the immediate command of the expedition against Vicksburg, Mississippi, to the reduction of that place.
“ From the moment of taking command in person, I became satisfied that Vicksburg could only be turned from the south side, and, in accordance with this conviction, I prosecuted the work on the canal, which had been located by Brigadier-General Williams, across the peninsula, on the Louisiana side of the river, with all vigor, hoping to make a channel which would pass transports for moving the army and carrying supplies to the new base of operations thus provided. The task was much more herculean than it at first appeared, and was made much more so by the almost continuous rains that fell during the whole of the time this work was prosecuted. The river, too, continued to rise and make a large expenditure of labor necessary to keep the water out of our camps and the canal.
Finally, on the eighth of March, the rapid rise of the river and the consequent great pressure upon the dam across the canal,
near the upper end, at the main Mississippi levee, caused it to give away and let through the low lands back of our camps a torrent of water that separated the north and south shores of the peninsula as effectually as if the Mississippi flowed between them. This occurred when the enterprise promised success within a short time. There was some delay in trying to repair damages. It was found, however, that with the then stage of water, some other plan would have to be adopted for getting below Vicksburg with transports.
Captain F. L. Prime, Chief Engineer, 'apd. Colonel G. Gi Pride, who was acting on my staff, prospected aš route through the bayous which run from near Milliken's Bend on the north, and New-Carthage on the south, through Foundaway Bayan into the Tansas river. Their report of the practicability of this route determined me to commence work upon it. Having three dredge-boats at the time, the work of opening this route was executed with great rapidity; One small steamer and a number of barges were taken through the channel thus opened, but the river commencing about the middle of April to fall rapidly, and the roads becoming passable between Milliken's Bend and NewCarthage, made it impracticable and unnecessary to open water communication between these points.
“Soon after commencing the first canal spoken of, I caused a channel to be cut from the Mississippi into Lake Providence; also one from the Mississippi river into Coldwater, by way of Yazoo Pass.
"I had no great expectations of important results from the former of these, but having
more troops than could be employed to advantage at Young's Point, and knowing that Lake Providence was connected by Baxter Bayou with Bayou Macon, a navigable stream through which transports might pass into the Mississippi below, through Tansas, Wachita, and Red Rivers, I thought it possible that a route might be opened in that direction which would enable me to co-operate with General Banks at Port Hudson.
* By the Yazoo Pass route I only expected at first to get into the Yazoo by way of Coldwater and Tallahatchie with some lighter gunboats and a few troops, and destroy the enemy's transports in that stream and some gunboats which I knew he was building. The navigation, however, proved so much better than had been expected, that I thought for a time of the possibility of making this the route for obtaining a foothold on the high land above Haines' Bluff
, Mississippi, and small-class steamers were accordingly ordered for transporting an army that way. Major-General J. B. McPherson, commanding Seventeenih army corps, was directed to hold his corps in readiness to move by this route; and one division from each of the Thirteenth and Fifteenth corps were collected near the entrance of the Pass to be added to his command. It soon became evident that a suffi