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Ulysses S. Grant, Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant, Headquarters moved to Holly Springs-General McClernand in command-assuming command at Young's Point-operations above Vicksburg- fortifications about Vicksburg-the canal- Lake Providence-operations at Yazoo pass (search)
just above Port Hudson and four hundred miles below Vicksburg by the river. Lake Providence is a part of the old bed of the Mississippi, about a mile from the present channel. It is six miles long and has its outlet through Bayou Baxter, Bayou Macon, and the Tensas, Washita and Red Rivers. The last three are navigable streams at all seasons. Bayous Baxter and Macon are narrow and tortuous, and the banks are covered with dense forests overhanging the channel. They were also filled with Macon are narrow and tortuous, and the banks are covered with dense forests overhanging the channel. They were also filled with fallen timber, the accumulation of years. The land along the Mississippi River, from Memphis down, is in all instances highest next to the river, except where the river washes the bluffs which form the boundary of the valley through which it winds. Bayou Baxter, as it reaches lower land, begins to spread out and disappears entirely in a cypress swamp before it reaches the Macon. There was about two feet of water in this swamp at the time. To get through it, even with vessels of the lightes
ross the bayou with the butts of their carbines, hastened to occupy the town. Hot pursuit of the fugitive enemy was soon after made by another portion of cavalry, who swam their horses over the bayou. Seven of the enemy were wounded, four of whom fell into our hands. This spirited and successful attack was consummated under my own observation, and effectually cut off the supplies which were wont to be transported through Richmond from the rich tracts traversed by the Tensas River and Bayou Macon to Vicksburgh. On the night of the third a bridge two hundred feet in length, made of logs taken from houses, was thrown across Roundaway Bayou at Richmond, by the pioneer corps, under Capt. Patterson. This was the work of twenty-four hours, and a way being thus opened, the remainder of General Osterhaus's division was rapidly moved forward and so disposed as to cover and hold the only practicable land route between Milliken's Bend and Smith's plantation, two miles north of New-Carth
and unnecessary to open water communication between these points. Soon after commencing the first canal spoken of, I caused a channel to be cut from the Mississippi River into Lake Providence; also one from the Mississippi River into Coldwater, by way of Yazoo Pass. I had no great expectations of important results from the former of these, but having more troops than could be employed to advantage at Young's Point, and knowing that Lake Providence was connected by Bayou Baxter with Bayou Macon, a navigable stream through which transports might pass into the Mississippi below, through Tansas, Wachita, and Red Rivers, I thought it possible that a route might be opened in that direction which would enable me to cooperate with General Banks at Port Hudson. By the Yazoo Pass route I only expected at first to get into the Yazoo by way of Coldwater and Tallahatchie with some lighter gunboats and a few troops, and destroy the enemy's transports in that stream and some gunboats which
Doc. 102.-expedition up Red River. Report of Admiral Porter. United States Mississippi Squadron. Flag-ship Black Hawk, off Vicksburgh, July 18, 1863. sir: I have the honor to inform you that the expedition I sent into the Red River region proved very successful. Ascending the Black and Tensas Rivers, (running parallel with the Mississippi,) Lieutenant Commanding Selfridge made the head of navigation — Tensas Lake and Bayou Macon, thirty miles above Vicksburgh, and within five or six miles of the Mississippi River. The enemy were taken completely by surprise, not expecting such a force in such a quarter. The rebels that have ascended to that region will be obliged to move further back from the river, if not to go away altogether. Lieutenant Commanding Selfridge divided his force on finding that the transports, which had been carrying stores to Walker's army, had escaped up some of the narrow streams. He sent the Mainton and Rattler up the Little Red River, (a small
Robert Underwood Johnson, Clarence Clough Buell, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Volume 3., The defense of Vicksburg. (search)
thousand men was defeated and driven back with dreadful slaughter by General S. D. Lee with one brigade of the Vieksburg garrison [December 20th to January 3d]. After this General Grant himself appeared in front of Vicksburg, occupied the river with an immense fleet and the Louisiana shore with a large army. He renewed the old style of bombardment and the work on the canal, but high water made him abandon that work and his position. Then came the expedition, via Lake Providence and Bayou Macon, which was defeated by natural difficulties. Next, the expedition by Yazoo Pass and Hushpuccanaugh Bayou, which was stopped by Fort Pemberton,--a cotton-bale fort made by Passage, on the night of April 16, 1863, of gun-boats and steamers at Vicksburg. From a sketch made by Colonel S. H. Lockett, C. S. A. Captain P. Robinson, of the Confederate States Engineers, on the overflowed bottom-lands of the Tallahatchie and Yallabusha rivers, near their junction [February 24th to April 8
Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial Field Book of the Civil War. Volume 2., Chapter 22: the siege of Vicksburg. (search)
in-Chief that the canal project was a failure. In the mean time General Grant had employed others of his now redundant troops in preparing another way to reach the vitals of the Vicksburg defenses. It was by cutting a channel from the western shore of the Mississippi, forty or fifty miles above Vicksburg, across a narrow neck of land into Lake Providence, from which there was a continuous water communication to the great river, far below the city to be assailed, through bayous Baxter and Macon, and the Tensas River, as also into the Washita and Red rivers. This would be a long and tedious way by which to reach the Mississippi, and the chief object to be gained in opening it was the establishment of a communication with General Banks, in command of the Department of the Gulf, to whom had been assigned the duty of reducing Port Hudson, below. Another side cut was attempted from Milliken's Bend into bayous that connected with the eastern branch of the Tensas, and so through other b
Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 30: (search)
he same time that the expedition was sent up the Yazoo another was dispatched up the Red River, ascending the Black and Tensas Rivers. Lieutenant-Commander Selfridge penetrated to the head of navigation on the latter stream, at Tensas Lake and Bayou Macon, thirty miles above Vicksburg, and within five or six miles of the Mississippi River. Parties of the enemy's riflemen were in the habit of crossing this narrow strip of land and firing upon transports passing up and down the Mississippi, sor, considering themselves secure from the attacks of the gun-boats, the distance by water from Vicksburg being so great: the route being first to the mouth of the Red River, then up the Black and Tensas, both narrow streams, to Tensas Lake and Bayou Macon. The guerillas fancied they could carry on their raids with impunity. So when Selfridge appeared with his little flotilla on the 12th of July, they were taken by surprise. As soon as the gun-boats hove in sight the enemy's transports, of wh
heir tents to the ground above that embankment. And now, after some days' consideration and hesitating effort, it was decided that the canal was an abortion — the Father of Waters having paralyzed it by his veto; while the batteries of Vicksburg frowned grimly, defiantly as ever. Ere this, Gen. Grant--having more hands than work — had had a channel cut from the Mississippi, some 40 to 50 miles above, into Lake Providence; whence there was a continuous water-way, through bayous Baxter and Macon, into the Tensas, and thus into the Mississippi far below Vicksburg, as also into the Washita and Red rivers; while another side-cut, leaving the great river near Milliken's Bend, communicated, through a net-work of bayous and connecting streams, with the eastern (shorter) branch of the Tensas, and thence, through a similar net-work, regained the lower Mississippi near New Carthage. This one had actually been made so far available, by the help of dredge-boats, that a small steamer and sever