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[462] whole of that day in skirmishing and vain experiments. The island they occupied was a perfect labyrinth, where brigades and regiments constantly lost their way. The Confederates, crossing the bayou by passes known only to themselves, kept sending small bodies of troops to harass them, without even provoking a serious encounter. The old beds, which pursued their winding course below Cypress Swamp, frequently deceived the Federals. Thus Morgan came upon one of them, upon which he constructed a bridge with the equipage he had brought over to cross the Chickasaw, and was obliged to sustain a hot skirmish with the enemy during the operation. But when he had got over this swampy canal, he found out too late that it was not the real watercourse, and that this last obstacle, of much greater magnitude, had yet to be surmounted. While he was advancing with much difficulty, the division of M. L. Smith in the centre approached the bayou, and forced the enemy's skirmishers to retire by the ford we have mentioned. On the other side of the ford the bank was scarped and beetling, and strongly defended by the enemy. Having decided to attempt a passage, Smith determined to reconnoitre the positions of the Confederates in person, but at this moment he fell dangerously wounded, and the officers of his division tried in vain during the remainder of the day to find a less dangerous point of approach. On the extreme right, A. J. Smith had proceeded to within sight of Vicksburg, but had also been stopped by the same obstacle, which was nowhere fordable on that side, and which formed a kind of large ditch covering Pemberton's entire system of defence.

This day, therefore, had been almost entirely lost to the Federals. The Confederates had employed it in further fortifying themselves on those points at which their adversaries might attempt a passage. In the evening, Steele, having become convinced of the impossibility of crossing Cypress Swamp, returned to the island, and proceeded to take position in the rear, on the left of Morgan, near the Lake plantation and above the angle of the Chickasaw. It was hoped that it would be easier to construct a bridge over this arm of the river, by approaching that portion of it which did not lie contiguous to the hills occupied by the enemy. The order was given to attempt the next day at the same hour to

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John Morgan (2)
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