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[449] himself would be left powerless between the Tallahatchie and the Yallabusha. His plan was approved on the 8th. Sherman, who had already succeeded in inspiring confidence in two chiefs so entirely opposite in character as Halleck and Grant, was designated to command the expedition. Returning to Memphis with the two divisions he had brought over, he was to embark them at that point, together with all the troops recently arrived from the North, join Steele's division at Helena and Delta, and, having thus assembled about forty thousand men, descend the river as far as in front of Vicksburg under the escort of Commodore Porter's flotilla.

Grant's instructions enjoined him not to make a direct attack upon this place, before which the navy and Williams' division had already failed during the summer, but to turn it by ascending the Yazoo and placing himself within the space comprised between this river and the Big Black. Vicksburg would thus have been separated from the army of Pemberton, and its defenders, in all probability, would have evacuated the place; if otherwise, an attempt could have been made to carry it by a combined assault on the part of the fleet and army. At all events, the course of the Yazoo would have been opened. Sherman could have ascended it with a portion of the flotilla to join Grant, and Pemberton, caught between these two armies, would have found it impossible to defend Vicksburg and Grenada at the same time. While waiting for the result of this movement, Grant intended to remain on the line of the Yallabusha, to watch it closely by means of his numerous cavalry, and to be able to pursue Pemberton if the latter should attempt to escape him. Sherman set off immediately for Memphis, but the transports he had expected to find in the vicinity of that city were not ready, and ten days elapsed before he was able to embark with the vast materiel he required.

In the mean while, Grant had strengthened his position, concentrated his troops, reopened the railroad, and established large depots of stores and ammunition at all the principal stations. His cavalry scoured the country far and wide, reconnoitring the various localities, and intercepting, as much as possible, any communications which the enemy might maintain on his flanks. One regiment

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