decided against its further prosecution; having determined to debark his troops now on shipboard, and march still farther down the Louisiana
bank, to a point opposite Rodney
; while the gunboats and transports should run the Grand Gulf
batteries, as they had run those of Vicksburg
, and be ready to cross his army at a point where little resistance was anticipated.
Accordingly, at dark, our gunboats again engaged the batteries, while our transports ran by them; receiving but two or three shots, which did them no essential harm.
Finally, having learned from a negro that there was a good road from the little hamlet of Bruinsburg
, half way down to Rodney
, running back to Port Gibson
, in the rear of Grand Gulf
, the General
decided to cross at this point; and, by daylight next morning,1
both gunboats and transports were ferrying over the 13th corps; our soldiers, so fast as landed, taking three days rations in their haversacks, and pushing out on the road to Port Gibson
, followed by the 17th corps.
Meantime, Gen. Sherman
, with the 15th corps, had been left above Vicksburg
, expecting to follow on the track of the 13th the 17th, until he received2
a letter from Gen. Grant
, near Carthage
, depicting the badness of the roads, and directing his to remain where he was for the present.
Two days later, Grant
wrote him that he proposed to attack Grand Gulf
next day, and suggesting a simultaneous feint on the Rebel
batteries near Haines's Bluff.
accordingly embarked Blair
's division on ten steam boats, and proceeded3
to the mouth of the Yazoo
, where he found Capt. Breese
, with the iron-clads Black Hawk
, and De Kalb
, and several wooden boats, all ready, with steam up; and they at once ascended the Yazoo
, stopping for the night at the mouth of the Chickasaw bayou
, and moving up next morning to within range of the Haines's Bluff batteries, which were engaged for four hours by our iron-clads and the Tyler
— the enemy replying with spirit; but, though the Tyler
was hit once, and the Choctaw
repeatedly, none of our men were seriously hurt.
Toward evening, Blair
's division was debarked in full view of the enemy, and seemingly prepared to assault; our gunboats thereupon renewing their fire and provoking the enemy to reply.
Thus the menace of an assault was maintained till after dark; when our troops were quietly reembarked.
Next day, equally threatening demonstrations were made, accompanied by reconnoissances on all sides; meanwhile, orders were received from Grant
to desist from the feint and hurry the whole corps forthwith to Grand Gulf
Sending orders to the divisions of Steele
to march southward at once, Sherman
kept up the feint till after nightfall; then quietly dropped down the Yazoo
to Young's Point
; and next morning4 Blair
's division moved up to Milliken's Bend
, to remain there as a garrison till relieved by fresh troops from above; while Steele
's and Tuttle
's hurried down the west bank of the Mississippi
to Hard Times, where they were ferried across,5