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Federal transports on the Mississippi

In the fall of 1862 all the available river-steamers were busy transporting newly organized regiments from Cairo to Memphis to take part in the independent expedition against Vicksburg, which had been proposed by Major-General John A. McClernand and in command of which he had been placed by secret orders from Lincoln and Stanton. Not even Grant was informed of this division of authority. McClernand, who was influential in the West, raised in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa some thirty regiments of volunteers, two-thirds of which had been forwarded to Cairo and Memphis by November 10th, and at the latter place were being drilled into shape by Sherman. Both Sherman and Grant supposed that they were the promised reenforcements for the expedition which they had planned together. On December 12th Sherman was ready to move, and on the 19th transports arrived at Memphis and the embarkation of the troops began. Next day they moved down the river, convoyed by Porter's fleet. On the 26th Sherman landed thirteen miles up the Yazoo River and advanced to Chickasaw Bluffs, where on the 29th he assaulted the defenses of Vicksburg to the north. The news of the failure of Grant's land expedition at Oxford had reached McClernand instead of Sherman, and as the latter general emerged from the swamps with his defeated divisions, McClernand, on New Year's Day, met him at the mouth of the Yazoo and superseded him in command.

Forwarding the raw recruits — Cairo

Federal transports on the Mississippi: one smokestack damaged by Confederate fire from the river bank


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