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[459] It was at this place that they were waited for by their adversaries, who had neglected nothing to increase the difficulties which the nature of the ground opposed to an operation of this kind.

The bluff at Vicksburg, as we have remarked, is the last link in a long chain of steep acclivities which stretch out in succession on the left side of the Yazoo, from north-east to south-west, as far as near the point of its entrance into the Mississippi. These acclivities are of an almost uniform height, about one hundred metres, and are separated by ravines through which the roads of the country pass, some of them being very deep and hollow. This configuration bears a strong resemblance, it is said, to the ridge of the Inkermann plateau, the Yazoo marshes occupying the place of the shallows of the Tchernaia. After skirting the foot of these heights at Haines' Bluff, the Yazoo turns away, and, before discharging its waters into the Mississippi, crosses an old arm of the river which now forms a semicircular lake. The ground comprised between the Yazoo and the ridges which, under the name of Drumgold's Bluff, connect Haines' Bluff with Vicksburg is flat and swampy. This alluvial soil is a mixture of fine sand and pulverized earth, possessing no consistency; easily turned into mud, and sometimes completely broken up by the freshets, it only resists the constant action of the water by means of the strong roots of the trees which it feeds. When the Mississippi is at its height, and its waters, running through the natural levees by which it is embanked, join those of the Yazoo, they submerge the whole of this delta and wash the foot of Drumgold's Bluff. On the contrary, when the Yazoo is low, it flows between two perpendicular banks, which at some points are ten metres high; but the soil, which it no longer covers, remains impregnated with dampness, while at every step one meets with quicksands, which are as dangerous as the moving sands on the seaside. We have purposely bestowed the name of delta upon this locality, because at an almost equal distance from Haines' Bluff and the Mississippi a small arm of the Yazoo, winding along in a deeply-enclosed channel, washes the last slopes of Drumgold's Bluff and finally empties into the Mississippi very near Vicksburg. This water-course is known by the name of Chickasaw Bayou. A little above its present course there are several beds, abandoned

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Chickasaw Bayou (Mississippi, United States) (1)

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