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moored, chains were stretched across the Yazoo, to detain vessels under fire, and thus render any attempt at surprise impracticable, so that troops could not possibly be landed near enough for an assault, except where Sherman's bold attack, in January, had been so unsuccessful. In the rear of Vicksburg the range is rugged, broken by precipitous ravines, and presenting almost equally admirable facilities for defence on the land side. Creeks and bayous also abound, even in this higher countters and commissaries, the movements of troops and the transportation of stores and ordnance, the plans of reconnoissances and the positions of important batteries. Not only was there no movement of a division, from the time he took command, in January, that was not expressly ordered by himself, but his instructions, even to regimental commanders, when these commanded detached posts, were numerous, and constant, and detailed. This course was indispensable, because of the complicated character
March 16th (search for this): chapter 7
for clearing the channel. If we can get boats in the rear of them in time, he wrote, it will so confuse the enemy as to save Ross's force. If not, I shall feel restless for his fate until I know that Quimby has reached him. Had this plan succeeded, it would have left Greenwood between the two national forces, and made imperative the immediate abandonment of that stronghold; about thirty steamers of the enemy would thus have been destroyed, or have fallen into Grant's hands. On the 16th of March, he sent Sherman with a division of troops (Stuart's) up Steele's bayou; five iron-clads and four mortar-boats accompanied, under Porter. The object was, not only to liberate Ross, but to find a practicable passage to the Yazoo, without passing the enemy's batteries at Haine's bluff; and to get possession of some point on the east bank, from which Vicksburg could be reached by dry land. Grant informed Quimby of Sherman's cooperation , and urged him to the support of Ross from the north
March 13th (search for this): chapter 7
guarded the Yallabusha, and the road in the rear to Grenada, as well as the Yazoo. It was built on ground so low that the water spread along its entire front, across the neck of land, and indefinitely towards the interior. All approach being thus rendered impracticable for infantry, the idea of a land attack was excluded, and the expedition was compelled to rely entirely upon the naval force for success. Two attacks were accordingly made by the ironclads, on the 11th, and one on the 13th of March, at a range of eight or nine hundred yards, and aided by a battery erected on the shore. In these fights one vessel was disabled, six men were killed, and twenty-five wounded. The enemy lost one man killed and twenty wounded. Neither of the attacks was successful, and as every thing depended on the ability of the gunboats to silence the rebel batteries, and enable the transports to run down and land troops immediately at or on the fort itself, operations were apparently at an end; un
March 14th (search for this): chapter 7
along another of these labyrinthine routes, that leaves the Yazoo river below Haine's bluff, and, after innumerable windings, renters the same stream sixty miles above that point, and in the rear of Greenwood. The route was by way of the Yazoo river to Steele's bayou, up the latter to Black bayou, through that to Deer creek, and along Deer creek to the Rolling Fork; thence, across to the Big Sunflower, and down the Sunflower to the Yazoo; in all, about a hundred and fifty miles. On the 14th of March, Admiral Porter made a reconnoissance of these streams, as far as Deer creek, and informed Grant that, up to the limit of exploration, they were navigable for the smaller iron-clads. Grant, the next day, accompanied the admiral on a second reconnoissance, and satisfied himself that, so far as he had penetrated, the principal obstruction was in the overhanging trees. He at once returned to Milliken's bend, with the purpose of hurrying up men and means for clearing the channel. If we c
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