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[39] Gulf, at Haines Bluff north of Vicksburg, and at Jackson, the capital of the State of Mississippi, in which State all these places are, about 60,000 men. After fighting and losing an action to cover Grand Gulf, the Confederates evacuated that place, and Grant occupied it on the 3rd of May. By the 7th of May Sherman joined him at Grand Gulf, and he found himself with a force of 33,000 men. He then determined at once to attack the enemy's forces in the rear of Vicksburg, and then to move on the stronghold itself. In order to use Grand Gulf as his base of supplies for these operations, he must have constructed additional roads, and this would have been a work of time. He determined therefore merely to bring up by the single road available from Grand Gulf, what rations of biscuit, coffee, and salt he could, and to make the country he traversed furnish everything else. Beef, mutton, poultry, molasses, and forage were to be found, he knew, in abundance. The cautious Halleck would be sure to disapprove this bold plan of almost abandoning the base of supplies, but Grant counted on being able to obtain his object before he could be interfered with from Washington.

The nature of the ground making Vicksburg

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