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 Although the waters were stagnant, the Yazoo being too low to feed it, it was only fordable at two points—at a ford fronting M. L. Smith in the centre of the Federal line, and in front of Morgan's division on the left, where a dry footpath, some few metres in width, opened. In trying to turn the bayou Steele encountered still greater difficulties. Cypress Swamp, which stretched out before him, could only be crossed by following a narrow corduroy causeway, which was enfiladed by a battery of the enemy throughout its whole length. The banks of the bayou were both high and precipitous; the enemy, on his side, had armed them with rifle-pits and breastworks for his sharpshooters, and in order to facilitate their fire, the forest on the other side had been cleared in various places. Back of this line, between the channel and the foot of the heights, there was a level space only a few metres in width, and partly occupied by a road, which facilitated its defence. In short, if the fog had not interfered with their vision, the Federals would have perceived on the summit of those hills a line of batteries erected some time since and mounting a large number of guns, and along their slopes large furrows of newlydug earth, which marked the place of more recent works. Pemberton directed the preparations for defence in person. As soon as he was informed of Grant's retreat, he had put in motion a portion of his troops from Grenada toward Jackson. The news of the arrival of a Federal army at Milliken's Bend had brought him in great haste to Vicksburg. That place, which President Davis had visited a few days before, was placed under command of General Martin L. Smith with a garrison of twelve thousand pen. Pemberton was closely followed by three brigades, which raised the number of forces at his disposal to twenty thousand men. Other detachments were to join him immediately, and he waited from day to day for two brigades of Stevenson's division, which Mr. Davis had withdrawn from Bragg's army to place them under his command. It was more than he required to defend, against all open attacks, the positions in which Sherman was obliged to seek him. The Federals were either ignorant or unable to take advantage for crossing the bayou of the fog, which would have masked their movements on the morning of the 28th. They wasted the
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