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 succeeded Van Dorn in command of the defenses of Vicksburg, and on the next day David D. Porter succeeded Davis as Commander of the Federal fleet on the upper Mississippi. so arduous was the task of taking Vicksburg that the wits of General Grant, and those of his chief adviser, General W. T. Sherman, were put to the test in the last degree to accomplish the end. Grant knew that the capture of this fortified city was of great importance to the Federal cause, and that it would ever be looked upon as one of the chief acts in the drama of the Civil War. the first plan attempted was to divide the army, Sherman taking part of it from Memphis and down the Mississippi on transports, while Grant should move southward along the line of the Mississippi central Railroad to cooperate with Sherman, his movements to be governed by the efforts of the scattered Confederate forces in Mississippi to block him. But the whole plan was destined to failure, through the energies of General Van Dorn and others of the Confederate army near Grant's line of communication. the authorities at Washington preferred the river move upon Vicksburg, as the navy could keep the line of communication open. The stronghold now stood within a strong line of defense extending from Haynes' Bluff on the Yazoo to Grand Gulf on the Mississippi, thirty miles below Vicksburg. To prepare for Sherman's attack across the swamps of the Yazoo, Admiral Porter made several expeditions up that tortuous stream to silence batteries and remove torpedoes. In one of these he lost one of the Eads ironclads, the Cairo, blown up by a torpedo, and in another the brave Commander Gwin, one of the heroes of Shiloh, was mortally wounded. Sherman, with an army of thirty-two thousand men, left Memphis on December 20th, and landed a few days later some miles north of Vicksburg on the banks of the Yazoo. On the 29th he made a daring attack in three columns on the Confederate lines of defense at Chickasaw Bayou and suffered a
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