on the west bank of the Mississippi
, he ventured a daring storming assault from the east bank of the Yazoo
at Haines's Bluff, ten miles north of Vicksburg
, but met a bloody repulse.
Having abandoned his railroad advance, Grant
next joined Sherman
at Milliken's Bend
in January, 1863, where also Admiral Porter
, with a river squadron of seventy vessels, eleven of them ironclads, was added to his force.
For the next three months Grant
kept his large army and flotilla busy with four different experiments to gain a practicable advance toward Vicksburg
, until his fifth highly novel and, to other minds, seemingly reckless and impossible plan secured him a brilliant success and results of immense military advantage.
One experiment was to cut a canal across the tongue of land opposite Vicksburg
, through which the flotilla might pass out of range of the Vicksburg
A second was to force the gunboats and transports up the tortuous and swampy Yazoo
to find a landing far north of Haines's Bluff. A third was for the flotilla to enter through Yazoo Pass
and Cold Water River
, two hundred miles above, and descend the Yazoo
to a hoped — for landing.
Still a fourth project was to cut a canal into Lake Providence
west of the Mississippi
, seventy miles above, find a practicable waterway through two hundred miles of bayous and rivers, and establish communication with Banks
, who were engaged in an effort to capture Port Hudson
The time, the patience, the infinite labor, and enormous expense of these several projects were utterly wasted.
Early in April, Grant
began an entirely new plan, which was opposed by all his ablest generals, and, tested by the accepted rules of military science, looked like a headlong venture of rash desperation.
During the month of April he caused Admiral Porter