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[216] the field. Port Gibson was then occupied by the Union army, and Grand Gulf, no longer tenable, was abandoned by the Confederates.

Grant now prepared for a campaign into the interior of Mississippi. His first intention was to cooperate with General Banks in the capture of Port Hudson, after which they would move together upon Vicksburg. But hearing that Banks would not arrive for ten days, Grant decided that he would proceed to the task before him without delay. His army at that time numbered about forty-three thousand. That under Pemberton probably forty thousand, while there were fifteen thousand Confederate troops at Jackson, Mississippi, soon to be commanded by General Joseph E. Johnston, who was hastening to that capital.

the Federal leader now determined on the bold plan of making a dash into the interior of Mississippi, beating Johnston and turning on Pemberton before their forces could be joined. This campaign is pronounced the most brilliant in the Civil War. It was truly Napoleonic in conception and execution. Grant knew that his base of supplies at Grand Gulf would be cut off by Pemberton as soon as he moved away from it. He decided, therefore, against the advice of his generals, to abandon his base altogether.

a more daring undertaking could scarcely be imagined. With a few days' rations in their haversacks the troops were to make a dash that would possibly take several weeks into the heart of a hostile country. This was certainly defying fate. When General Halleck heard of Grant's daring scheme he wired the latter from Washington, ordering him to move his army down the river and cooperate with Banks. Fortunately, this order was received too late to interfere with Grant's plans.

as soon as Sherman's divisions joined the main army the march was begun, on May 7th. An advance of this character must be made with the greatest celerity and Grant's army showed amazing speed. McPherson, who commanded the right

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Ulysses S. Grant (12)
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W. T. Sherman (2)
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