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[460] by this same bayou, which mingle with each other, and describing a circular arc join it again at the foot of the bluff. They form a marsh almost everywhere impassable, called Cypress Swamp. It was upon the island, lying between the Yazoo and Chickasaw Bayou, that Sherman determined to land, for higher up the river passes so close to Drumgold's Bluff that these heights, which the enemy could have easily occupied, commanded its entire course. Chickasaw Bayou was laid down in the official maps of the State of Mississippi which the Federals had in their possession; but they had no idea of the difficulties attending the passage of this water-course. Sherman, however, could neither hesitate nor draw back. He had come for the purpose of attempting a bold stroke; and since the Yazoo was not accessible to him above Haines' Bluff, he had to fight within the lists where he was shut up.

The fleet entered this river on the 26th, and after ascending it for a distance of about twenty kilometres was moored in front of the points designated for landing. This operation, which commenced on the evening of the 26th, ended on the morning of the 27th. The first three brigades that were landed, those of Stuart, Blair and De Courcy, proceeded immediately toward Vicksburg, and, driving the enemy's scouts before them, pushed on to the border of Chickasaw Bayou. The remainder of the army required a little time to restore order in its ranks, finding itself upon a ground covered with thickets and wild vines extending all along the river. Steele, leaving Blair on the right, was to form the extreme left with his three other brigades; he landed above the bayou, but near the point where it forks, and between two of the old beds which communicate with Cypress Swamp. The other divisions had landed on the island comprised between the river and the bayou, which had been occupied since morning, and followed the same evening the three brigades that had preceded them-Morgan on the left, M. L. Smith in the centre and A. J. Smith on the right.

Some reconnaissances were made during the night in order to ascertain the character of the ground; but it was found necessary, in order to complete them, to wait for daylight, which fortunately brought with it a thick fog favorable for such an operation. The bayou was found to be a most difficult obstacle to surmount.

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