southward, through Ripley
, New Albany
, Clear Spring
, and Newton, Miss.
--thus passing behind all the Rebel
forces confronting and resisting Grant
— until, having passed Jackson
, he turned sharply to the right, and made his way W. S.W. through Raleigh
, Westville, Hazlehurst
, and Gallatin
, to Union C. H., back of Natchez
; thence zigzagging by Bogue Chito to Greensburg
and Clinton, La.
, and so to Baton Rouge
having traversed more than 600 miles of hostile territory in 16 days; crossing several considerable rivers by ferriage, burning great numbers of railroad bridges, trestles, cars, and depots of supplies, having several smart engagements with Rebel forces hastily gathered to obstruct his progress, killing or wounding about 100 of them, beside capturing and paroling over 500 prisoners, and destroying 3,000 stand of arms, at a total cost of 27 man, including Lt.-Col. Blackburn
, 7th Illinois. Col. Grierson
sent back, after he was fairly on his way, the 2d Iowa, as also 175 of the least effective men of his remaining regiments; so that this brilliant raid was actually made with less than 1,000 men. It was a succession of forced marches, sometimes without rest for 48 hours; often through drenching rain, over long stretches of swamp, so completely submerged that no road could be discerned; so that, in crossing one swamp, eight miles wide, on the Okanoxubee
, near Louisville
, no less than twenty fine horses were drowned.
proved himself eminently fitted for his place, as did Col. Prince
, of the 6th, and Lt.-Col. Loomis
, 7th Illinois, and their subordinates.
Detachments necessarily made to the right and left to destroy Rebel supplies or mislead pursuers — of whom thousands were sent after his from Jackson
, and other points — were frequently compelled to ride 60 miles per day of these horrible roads in order to regain the main body — which, during the 28 hours preceding its arrival at Baton Rouge
, had marched 76 miles. enjoyed four fights, and forded the Comite river
where it was necessary to swim many of the horses.
's conclusion that the confederacy was a mere shell, which needed but to be fairly pierced to demonstrate its rottenness, was justified by his experience; but a leader less able, alert, wary, untiring, and courageous, would have found that shell far easier to enter than to emerge from.
All being at length ready,2 Gen. Grant
directed a naval attack on the batteries of Grand Gulf
; which was gallantly made by Admiral Porter
, with his gunboat fleet.
But five hours of mutual cannonade, during which our large boats were often within pistol-shot of the Rebel
batteries, brought no decisive advantage to our arms.
The enemy's fortifications were stroung; many of their guns planted on the bluffs at too great an elevation to be effectively assailed from the water; the hillsides were lined with rifle-pits; beside which, they had field-guns which could be moved from point to point, and so concentrated wherever they could be most effective to prevent a landing or defeat an assault.
After watching the cannonade from a tugboat from 8 A. M. to 1 P. M.,