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[155] northward through the counties of Arkansas and Prairie into White. It was visited by Marquette and the followers of Chevalier de la Salle, some of whom intermarried with the Indians, and whose descendants survive in the vicinity. Reminiscent engineers are unmindful that fortifications become mere traps for ensnaring their defenders in a war of such magnitude as may deprive their confederates of the ability to furnish forces to raise the siege. It was one such who conceived the plan of erecting earthworks at the Post of Arkansas, and assigning a garrison of several thousand men the duty of defending it. The garrison at Vicksburg held the Mississippi a long time, but it experienced the inevitable capture in the end. The defenders of the Post of Arkansas, if they had been outside with their arms and munitions, could have rendered themselves more formidable to the enemy's transports; or, if after trying they found they could not, they might have withdrawn into the interior with their equipments.

General Grant in his Memoirs, after mentioning Sherman's defeat at Chickasaw bayou, in his first campaign against Vicksburg, December, 1862, said:

After consultation, Sherman and Porter decided that neither the army nor the navy could render service to the cause where they were. Learning that I had withdrawn into the interior of Mississippi, they determined to return to the Arkansas river and attack Arkansas Post, garrisoned by 5,000 or 6,000 men.1 McClernand approved the move reluctantly. No obstacles were encountered until the gunboats and transports were within range of the fort. After three days bombardment by the navy, an assault was made by the troops and marines, resulting in the capture of the place and taking 5,000 prisoners and 17 guns. I was at first disposed to disapprove this move, as a side movement having no bearing upon the work before us. But when the result was understood, I regarded it as very important. Five thousand Confederates

1 Churchill reported ‘3,000 effective men.’

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