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[159] he seized Jackson. The skilful movement of Van Dorn to the rear of Grant's invading column seems to have upset this programme. Notwithstanding this, General Shlerman moved up the Yazoo River, and attempted to reach the rear of Vicksburgh by the road leading from Chickasaw Bayou. After a desperate assault, our forces were repelled, and the army obliged to retreat with considerable loss. The natural advantages of the position, and the superior handling of the rebels, proved too much for the impetuosity of our troops. The expedition was placed under command of General MeClernand, and turned back on Arkansas Post, where it obtained a substantial victory.

The next effort to reduce Vicksburgh commenced in February of the present year, when General Grant, withdrawing his army from the interior, embarked and landed opposite Vicksburgh, making Young's Point his depot of supplies. The efforts of General Williams in the previous summer, the example of Pope at Island Number10, and the inviting appearance of the high water, gave rise to a series of extraordinary canalling projects. First, it was attempted to reopen the original ditch across Do Soto Point. Several weeks of fruitless labor were spent on it in vain. Another at Lake Providence was then tried, with the same view, to reach the Mississippi, below Vicksburgh, but with no better success. A third, gaining entrance into the Coldwater and Tallahatchie, was next tried, but thwarted by a rebel fort at the head of the Yazoo. Another still, through Steele's Bayou and Rolling Fork, was then essayed, which beat a hasty retreat, and was lucky in escaping.

Lastly, a canal leading from Duckport to New-Carthage, which was successful so far that one small steamer did barely pass through. The fall of the waters and the approaching summer put a stop to the era of aqueducts and bayous, and the general pressure of political events indicated that some more immediate and more practical plan should be adopted.

We had endeavored to force a passage to the rear of Vicksburgh by the north or Yazoo route, and had failed. The formidable water-batteries proved too dangerous for us to run unmailed vessels by the batteries. There was one other method to be tried — to march down the west bank and assail the enemy's railroad communication. This was eminently successful, as all know. Landing at Bruinsburgh, the corps of General McClernand marched to Port Gibson, where it was met by a division of General Bowen, and obtained a signal victory, leading to the evacuation of Grand Gulf, a fortified position.

Our land forces united, then pushed on toward Raymond and Jackson, and when at Champion Hills, near Bolton, were again met by the concentrated enemy, who was again defeated and pursued. One column of our troops, at the heels of one of the enemy's, entered Jackson, while another turned toward Vicksburgh, encountering a force near Big Black Bridge, and, after a sharp and decisive fight, captured many guns and drove their foes within Vicksburgh. Our various columns moved upon the city, General McClernand taking the lead and deflecting southward, General McPherson to the centre, and General Sherman to the right, touching the Yazoo River at Haines's Bluff, which the enemy had abandoned in his terror. On the eighteenth of May, just a year after it had been first menaced, the place was approached and our lines drawn around it — it was, in a word, invested.

In this order were the lines drawn round them: Admiral Porter, with the separated portions of his fleet, guarding the river above and below the city. A new base of supplies was established, leading from the Yazoo directly to the rear. Guns were planted in opposition to the long, fortified series of works of the rebels. On the nineteenth the division of General Blair and a brigade of General Sherman's division assaulted what was thought to be a weak place in the enemy's line of defence, but which proved to be immensely strong, and which repelled the little force. On the twenty-second a more concerted attack was ordered by General Grant, and the whole line was bombarded by cannon. At an early hour the left, under McClernand, had gained a foothold in two of the enemy's forts. Had the attack been made in column, or had our whole force been thrown to the left, it is probable that the place might have been carried by assault. The result was different, we suffering a loss of some two thousand five hundred men disabled.

The attempt to take the place by storm seems to have been abandoned after this. It is just to add, now that the affair is over, that our army was then so much reduced by the casualties of the campaign, death, wounds, and absence, that only a wreck of an army was left, possessing, it is true, all the spirit, though lacking in numbers. It has not been generally known that at the time of our first investment our army numbered less than thirty thousand men, eighteen only of which were fit for duty. With this then attenuated line of troops the rebels, with equal numbers, were kept nearly silent, though behind formidable works. It was therefore determined to reduce the position by siege and parallel works. Reenforcements and detachments arrived, the line of supplies was shortened, and the men concentrated. Fort was erected against fort, and trench dug against trench. The enemy had seized the most eligible sites for their guns, yet our batteries were soon enabled to drive them back, and even to build them under the eyes of the enemy. Our sappers constructed their corridors, and passages, and pits, amid a blazing fire of hostile musketry, and the fiercest rays of the summer sun, with a fortitude which has no parallel in history, and is equalled only by that of the Vicksburgh garrison. Day after day--forty.six in all — did this process continue, one half of our force digging, while the other picked off the rebels who were endeavoring to interrupt them.

In this way were we enabled to sap tile very foundation of their works, their cannon were silenced, their sharp-shooters taking only a furtive

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