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One of the immediate results of the retreat from Big Black was the necessity of abandoning our defenses on the Yazoo, at Snyder's Mills; this position and the line of Chickasaw Bayou were no longer tenable. All stores that could be transported were ordered to be sent into Vicksburg as rapidly as possible, the rest, including heavy guns, to be destroyed. During the night of the 17th nothing of importance occurred. On the morning of the 18th the troops were disposed from right to left on the defenses. On the entire line one hundred two pieces of artillery of different caliber, principally field guns, were placed in position at such points as were deemed most suitable to the character of the gun. Instructions had been given from Bovina that all the cattle, sheep, and hogs, belonging to private parties and likely to fall into the hands of the enemy, should be driven within our lines. Grant's army appeared on the 18th.

The development of the entrenched line from our extreme right was about eight miles, the shortest defensible line of which the topography of the country admitted. It consisted of a system of detached works, redans, lunettes, and redoubts, on the prominent and commanding points with the usual profile of raised field works, connected in most cases by rifle pits. To hold the entire line there were about eighteen thousand five hundred infantry, but these could not all be put in the trenches, as it was necessary to keep a reserve always ready to reenforce any point heavily threatened.

The campaign against Vicksburg had commenced as early as November, 1862, and reference has been made to the various attempts to capture the position both before and after General Grant arrived and took command in person. He had now by a circutious march reached the rear of the city, established a base on the Mississippi River a few miles below, had a fleet of gunboats in the river, and controlled the navigation of the Yazoo up to Haines's Bluff, and was relieved from all danger in regard to supplying his army. We had lost the opportunity to cut his communications while he was making his long march over the rugged country between Bruinsburg and the vicinity of Vicksburg. Pemberton had by a wise prevision endeavored to secure supplies sufficient for the duration of an ordinary siege, and, on the importance which he knew the administration attached to the holding of Vicksburg, he relied for the cooperation of a relieving army to break any investment which might be made. Disappointed in the hope which I had entertained that the invading army would be unable to draw its supplies from Bruinsburg or Grand Gulf, and be driven back before crossing the Big Black, it now remained

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Ulysses S. Grant (2)
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