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[212] perilous enterprise. The army was divided into four corps, commanded respectively by Sherman, McClernand, McPherson, and Hurlbut. The latter was stationed at Memphis. On March 29th, the movement of McClernand from Milliken's bend to a point opposite Grand Gulf was begun. He was soon followed by McPherson and a few weeks later by Sherman. It required a month for the army, with its heavy artillery, to journey through the swamps and bogs of Louisiana.

while this March was in progress, something far more exciting was taking place on the River. Porter ran the batteries of Vicksburg with his fleet. After days of preparation the fleet of vessels, protected by cotton bales and hay about the vital parts of the boats, with heavy logs slung near the water-line--seven gunboats, the ram General Price, three transports, and various barges were ready for the dangerous journey on the night of April 16th. Silently in the darkness, they left their station near the mouth of the Yazoo, at a quarter past nine. For an hour and a half all was silence and expectancy. The bluffs on the east loomed black against the night sky. Suddenly, the flash of musketry fire pierced the darkness.

in a few minutes every battery overlooking the River was a center of spurting flame. A storm of shot and shell was rained upon the passing vessels. Not one escaped being struck many times. The water of the River was lashed into foam by the shots and shell from the batteries. The gunboats answered with their cannon. The air was filled with flying missiles. Several houses on the Louisiana shore burst into flame and the whole River from shore to shore was lighted with vivid distinctness. A little later, a giant flame leaped from the bosom of the River. A vessel had caught fire. It was the transport Henry Clay. it burned to the water's edge, nearly all its crew escaping to other vessels. Grant described the scene as “magnificent, but terrible” ; Sherman pronounced it “truly sublime.”

by three in the morning, the fleet was below the city and ready to cooperate with the army. One vessel had been

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