boats have been constantly below Vicksburgh shelling the works, and with success, cooperating heartily with the left wing of the army. The mortar-boats have been at work for forty-two days without intermission, throwing shells into all parts of the city, even reaching the works in the rear of Vicksburgh and in front of our troops, a distance of three miles. Three heavy guns placed on scows, a nine-inch, ten-inch, and a one hundred pound rifle, were placed in position a mile from the town, and commanded all the water batteries. They have kept up an accurate and incessant fire for fourteen days; doing all the damage that could be done by guns under such circumstances. Five eight-inch, two nine-inch, two forty-two pounder rifles, and four thirty-two pounder shell-guns have been landed, at the request of the different generals commanding corps, from the gunboats, and mounted in the rear of Vicksburgh; and whenever I could spare the officers and men from our small complement, they were sent to manage the guns — with what ability I leave to the General commanding to say. In the mean time, I stationed the small class of gunboats to keep the banks of the Mississippi clear of guerrillas, who were assembling in force, with a large number of cannon, to block up the river and out off the transports, bringing down supplies, reinforcements, and ammunition for the army. Though.the rebels on several occasions built batteries, and with a large force attempted to sink or capture the transports, they never succeeded, but were defeated by the gunboats with severe loss on all occasions. Without a watchful care over the Mississippi, the operations of the army would have been much interfered with; and I can say honestly that officers never did their duty better than those who patrolled the river from Cairo to Vicksburgh. One steamer only was badly disabled since our operations commenced, and six or seven men were killed and wounded. While the army have had a troublesome enemy in front, behind them, the gunboats, Marine brigade, under General Ellet, and a small force of troops, under Generals Dennis and Mower, have kept at bay a large force of rebels, over twelve thousand strong, accompanied by a large quantity of artillery; and though offered battle several times, and engaged, they invariably fled, and satisfied themselves by assaulting half-disciplined and unarmed blacks. The capture of Vicksburgh leaves us a large army and our naval forces free to act all along the river, and I hope soon to add to my department the vessels which have been temporarily lost to the service, namely, the Indianola and Cincinnati. The effect of this blow will be felt far up the tributaries of the Mississippi. The timid and doubtful will take heart, and the wicked will, I hope, cease to trouble us for fear of the punishment which will sooner or later overtake them. There has been a large expenditure of ammunition during the siege. The mortars have fired seven thousand mortar-shells, and the gunboats four thousand five hundred. Four thousand five hundred shots have been fired from naval guns on shore, and we have supplied over six thousand to the different army corps. I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Major-General Sherman's report.
General Grant's orders for an advance by way of Grand Gulf were dated April twentieth, 1863, and gave McClernand's corps the right, McPherson's the centre, and mine the left; the movement being by the right flank. I had made all preparations for the movement when, on the twenty-sixth, I received Gen. Grant's letter from Smith's plantation, near Carthage, describing the road as so very difficult that he ordered me to delay until the roads improved or the system of canals then in process of construction could be finished. Subsequently, on the twenty-eighth of April, I received his letter fixing the time when he proposed to attack Grand Gulf, and saying that a simultaneous feint on the enemy's batteries on the Yazoo, near Haines's Bluff, would be most desirable, provided it could be done without the ill-effect on the army and the country of the appearance of a repulse. Knowing full well the army could distinguish a feint from a real attack by succeeding events, and assured the country would in due season recover from the effect, I made the necessary orders, and embarked on ten steamboats my second division, Blair's, and about ten A. M., on the twenty-ninth April, proceeded to the mouth of the Yazoo, where I found the flag-boat Black Hawk, Capt. Breese, United States Navy, with the Choctaw (just arrived) and De Kalb, ironclads, with the Tyler and several smaller wooden boats of the fleet all ready, with steam up, prepared to cooperate in the proposed demonstration against Haines's Bluff. Capt. Breese fully comprehended the purpose of the movement, and managed the fleet admirably. We at once proceeded up the Yazoo in order, and lay for the night of April twenty-ninth at the mouth of Chickasaw, and early next morning proceeded up within easy range of the enemy's batteries. The Choctaw led, followed by the De Kalb, she by the Tyler, she by the Black Hawk, and the fleet in order behind. The Choctaw at once engaged the batteries at very fair range, and the De Kalb manoeuvred so as to use her batteries with as little risk to her unarmored part as the circumstances warranted. The Tyler and Black Hawk also came into action, and for four hours a very pretty demonstration was kept up, when the boats engaged were called