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[112] “Hartford” and “Albatross,” of Farragut's squadron, had passed the Port Hudson guns. On the night of April 16th, a Federal fleet of gunboats and three transports, towing barges, ran by the batteries at Vicksburg and moored at Hard Times, La. (thirty miles, say, below the city), where the forces had arrived. On the night of the 22d six more transports and barges followed. The damage done by the Confederate artillerists on these two occasions summed up as follows: One transport sunk, one burned, six barges rendered unserviceable. We shall hear more fully of these feats hereafter. The rigor of the game began when, on the 29th of April, Admiral Porter opened the guns of his ships on the Confederate intrenchments at Grand Gulf, the Thirteenth Corps (McClernand's) being held in readiness to cross over when these were silenced. At sunset the guns were still vocal, and General Grant determined to land at Bruinsburg, which was ten or twelve miles lower down. Gunboats and transports gave the batteries the slip at night in numbers sufficient to ferry over a division at a time. More than twenty vessels of different descriptions had then passed the Confederate fortifications.

On April 30th the four divisions of McClernand's corps crossed, and on the 1st of May moved, and in brief time encountered the Confederate command of General Bowen, consisting of the brigades of Green and Tracy, four miles from Port Gibson. The Confederates were choice men, and fought gallantly against great odds; but on the next day General Bowen was forced out of Port Gibson, and retired across the suspension bridge of the Bayou Pierre to Grand Gulf. His stay here was transient, seeing that his flank was almost immediately turned. On the 3d he marched to Hankinson's Ferry, on the Big Black, and there met Loring and his division, sent from Jackson by Pemberton, whose headquarters were at Edwards' Depot. On the 30th of April, General Sherman, commanding the Fifteenth Corps, after a slight feint on Haines' Bluff, on the Yazoo, returned to Milliken's Bend and proceeded to the main body. On the 8th, the three corps met at Willow Spring, where McClernand and McPherson (commanding the Seventeenth Corps) had been waiting since the 3d. On the same day they advanced, on parallel roads, northeast; but the Thirteenth shortly turned off toward Edwards' Depot; while the Seventeenth, followed by the Fifteenth, kept their faces toward Jackson. The latter column, on the 12th, encountered the single brigade of Gregg at Raymond and drove it away — not till after a stout resistance. McPherson then moved on Clinton-a station on the railroad ten miles west of Jackson-interposing

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