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The Naval situation at Vicksburg.

It was July, when the heat and malaria of midsummer had begun [2] to reduce the forces of both beligerents, afloat and ashore, prostrating hundreds and thousands of combatants, with tedious, often fatal fever. The Mississippi River and its chief tributaries, were falling every week, and the navigation becoming difficult. One post after another had been captured by the Union fleets or armies; Fort Columbus, Island No.10, Fort Pillow and Memphis were lost by the Confederates. One of the Union captains reported truly: ‘We are now in possession of the Mississippi from its source to its mouth, with the exception of the short interval that separates our two fleets.’ (At Vicksburg.) Even communication between them is reported to be uninterrupted.

There were, in fact, as many as four fleets under command of Flag Officer D. G. Farragut, soon to be made an admiral. To give, in this limited sketch, full particulars of ships, armored rams, mortar boats, etc., and their several armanents, is out of the question. The total number of fighting crafts of all kinds before Vicksburg, flying the Union flag, may be estimated at fifty or more. Against these formidable foes the Confederate navy was represented by the armored ram ‘Arkansas’ alone. The shore batteries of Vicksburg were, of course, on her side, as long as she was within range or needed their protection. The sight of the town is a high bluff, on the left bank of the river, and in the re-entrant of a sharp turn in the Mississippi.

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