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Ch. XXVIII.)

RUNNING THE VICKSBURG BATTERIES.

305

put into execution the plan which, on February, the Queen started on her consultation, had been adopted as the perilous journey, and was struck only only feasible one, all things considered. a few times, although hundreds of

The great strength of the defences of guns sent forth their iron rain for her Vicksburg on the north, and the inutil. destruction. Her cotton barricade got ity of attempting an attack again in on fire, but the fire was finally put out that direction, led Grant to the convic- by cutting the bales loose. Proceeding tion that his approaches must be made down the river, the Queen captured from the southerly side. For this pur-. three rebel steamers and a number of pose, he must get his army below the prisoners, and on the 10th of February, city of Vicksburg, a task by no means set out on an expedition for much the easy of accomplishment, since the vast same purpose, passing the Warrenton rebel batteries would almost certainly batteries, and reaching the Red River destroy all the transports which might the following evening. During several undertake to sail past them. In this days' active work, Ellet was quite suc position of affairs, work was recom- cessful in capturing rebel boats, etc., menced

upon the canal across the pen. but through the treachery of a pilot, he insula on the western side of the river; was compelled to abandon the Queen, but, as before, the project proved a and to reach the Mississippi as best he failure, and early in March, a rapid rise could in his tender, the De Soto. in the river swept away the dam and Meeting, near Natchez, the Indianola, flooded the entire vicinity. Meanwhile, a splendid iron-clad, which had run the it was an object of the first importance batteries on the night of the 13th of to cut off the rebel communication on February, Ellet conferred with the the river between Vicksburg and Port commander of that vessel as to the ex

Hudson, which Banks, with the pediency of attempting again to ascend

fleet of Farragut was besieging, the Red River, and destroy the rebel and to put a stop to the receipt of sup- works at Gordon's Landing. Lieut. plies which the rebels were drawing from Brown thought the plan feasible, and Texas. Porter, therefore, resolved to the Era, one of the vessels captured by run the risk of sending some of the Ellet, led the way. Having advanced gun boats down the river, which, if they about three miles, they discovered the succeeded in getting past the batteries, W. H. Webb, a very swift rebel steamwould be of especial value below. er, coming towards them, who, as soon The first of the vessels which set as she got sight of the Indianola, turned out upon this daring undertaking and fled. Lieut. Brown, on further rewas the wooden steam ram, Queen of flection, concluded not to try to ascend the West (see p. 299). Col. Ellet, com- the Red River, and Col. Ellet in the mander of the ram fleet, was on board Era made his way up the Mississippi the Queen, and gave a graphic account to a station below Vicksburg, after of his movement, in his report to Ad. passing the fires at Grand Gulf, War miral Porter. Very early on the 2d of renton, etc., without injury.

1863.

VOL. IV.-39.

A short time after, Brown left the the north-east corner of Louisiana, about vicinity of the Red River, and took the seventy-five miles above Vicksburg, and Indianola to the mouth of the Big a mile or more west of the Mississippi. Black, which enters the Mississippi at The Tensas River flows from it in a Grand Gulf, forty miles below Vicks- southerly direction, and, joining the burg. On the evening of the 24th of Washita, the two form the Black River, February, as she was preparing to move which empties into the Red River. up the Big Black, two rebel steamers Grant's idea was, by cutting a canal were seen approaching. One was the into the lake to secure an inland pas. Webb, and the other the Queen of the sage, and avoid the batteries at both West, which had been repaired after Vicksburg and Port Hudson. The the affair on the Red River, and was canal was finished, and the water let now brought into action. Attended in on the 16th of March, and a conby several other vessels, the Webb und siderable region of territory was floodthe Queen attacked the Indianola with ed; but on trying the pass, and indgreat force and energy, who, on her ing serious difficulties in the way: part, responded with the utmost intre especially as regarded the channel of pidity. In the course of an hour and the Tensas River, the whole matter a half, the Indianola was struck seven was given up as impracticable. fearful blows, and beginning to sink, The Moon Lake and Yazoo Pass pro she was run ashore and surrendered. * ject offered better prospects of success.

Meanwhile, the canal project oppo- The passage across the lake (which is site Vicksburg having failed (see p. 305), eight miles below Helena, Arkansas) other undertakings of a similar kind to the mouth of the pass is about eight were entered upon, which seemed to miles, and thence 'through the pass promise better success. One was the twelve miles, the Coldwater River is cutting a channel from the Mississippi reached. This, after a crooked passage to Providence Lake, on the west side, of about forty miles, joins the Tallahatand another, the cutting a channel to chie, which, in turn, pursues its torMoon Lake, on the east side of the tuous way some fifty miles, when it river, and thence entering the Yazoo unites with the Yallobusha, the two Pass. Lake Proridence is situate in forming the Yazoo River, with a course

of over 200 miles through a very fer* Admiral Porter, in an interesting letter, tells of his tile country, to its outlet into the MisBending a “sham monitor" to run the batteries during the night, and of its excellent success ; for not only sissippi, a short distance above Vicksdid it frighten the Queen of the West down the river, burg. The advantage of securing the but it led to the rebel authorities ordering the blowing up of the Indianola. This was accomplished, happily, navigation of this long and circuitous before they discovered how neatly they had been taken stream was to take Yazoo City, a hunin, and while countermanding orders were under way dred miles abore the river, in the rear to prevent it. We may also mention here, that a week later, another old coal harge was sent in the darkness of the works at Haines' Bluff, and to down the river, and that the rebel batteries expended gain a position whence Vicksburg could a large amount of ammunition and skill in the steady fire which they kept up upon it.

be approached from the interior. It

Ch. XXVIII.]

SOUTHERLY APPROACHES TO VICKSBURG.

307

1863.

was necessary to cut the levee at the caster was destroyed by the firing of 'mouth of the Yazoo Pass, which was the rebel guns; the Switzerland, though

done, and an expedition sent by badly injured, got past without being

this route on the 25th of Febru- sunk. She was repaired, and did good ary The stream is about 100 feet service during the next fortnight in wide and arched over by cypress and aiding the attack on the batteries at other trees, lining its banks, which re- Grand Gulf, blockading the Red River, tarded the passage to the Coldwater and destroying the enemy's transports River. Gen. Ross was in command, and a large quantity of corn stored at with a division of McClernand's corps Bayou Sara for rebel use. and two regiments of sharpshooters on All attempts against Vicksburg from the

gun boats. Coldwater was reached the northerly side were henceforth on the 2nd of March, after much diffi- abandoned as inexpedient, and Grant culty and trial. The expedition passed resolved, with Porter's aid, to get his on to Greenwood, where was Fort Pem- troops below the city, and make his berton, extending from the Tallahatchie attack from the lower or rear side, to the Yazoo, the two rivers being here which, it was well understood, was the a few hundred yards apart. The land most easily assailable, and promised around the fort was overflowed, and the best results. Accordingly, on the the gun boats, after several hours' trial, 29th of March, Gen. McClernand, with found that they could not silence the the 13th army corps, moved from Milrebel batteries. The project conse liken's Bend toward New Carthage, quently was abandoned, and the expe- about thirty-five miles below on the dition returned to Helena.

Mississippi

. Other corps were to fol. Shortly before this, Porter started an low as rapidly as supplies and ammuexpedition which came very near being nition could be transported to them. an entire success. It consisted of five The progress was very slow and tedious, iron-clads and a detachment of Sher. in consequence of the bad state of the man's troops, and was conducted by roads, the breaking of the levee at Porter through Steele's and Black's Bayou Vidal, etc., and some weeks Bayou, so as to reach Haines' Bluff by were spent in this necessary but fatiguDeer Creek and Sunflower River. ing work. After eight days of toil and trouble, While this movement of the army the rebels continually opposing fresh was going on, preparations were made obstructions, Porter gave up the at- for running transports and gun boats tempt as useless.

past the Vicksburg batteries, these beFarragut sent a messenger overland ing requisite in order to give the sol. on the west side of the Mississippi, ask- diers means of crossing for operations ing aid from the fleet above. Two rams, on the Mississippi side of the river. the Lancaster and Switzerland, at- Eight gun boats, the Benton, tempted to run the batteries at Vicks- Porter's flag-ship, the Lafaburg, on the 25th of March. The Lan-yette, the Price, the Louisville, the Ca

1863

rondelet, the Pittsburg, the Tuscum. without any injury. On reaching bia, and the Mound City, were se. Warrenton, the gun boats poured in lected for the service. All of these, their broadsides the instant they reachexcept the Price, were iron-clads, and ed position, and so continuous and ter. all had such additional protection as rible was their fire that the rebels could be afforded by bales of cotton scarcely ever attempted a response. and of hay, heavy timbers, railroad iron, The Forest Queen was taken in tow and other means which experience had by a gun boat, and the fleet, with the taught to be efficient. The transports exception of the loss of the Henry Clay, were the Forest Queen, the Henry Clay, and one man killed and two others both side-wheel steamers, and the pro- wounded on the Benton, passed the peller Silver Wave. They were laden dreaded ordeal in safety. with supplies, and protected, as far as On the 22d of April, by Grant's possible, by hay and cotton placed order, six additional transport steamround their machinery.

ers, with officers and crew chosen from On the night of the 16th of April, the regiments in the vicinity, conducteverything was in readiness, and the ing as many coal barges, were sent in expedition set out on its dangerous like manner past Vicksburg. They journey. The plan was, for the iron suffered more or less injury; but all, clads to pass down in single file, a few with one exception, got below the bathundred yards apart, and that when teries. Two tugs, with four hay in front of the batteries they should barges, also, a few nights after, pour in their broadsides, and under followed in safety. At the end of April

, cover of the smoke, the transports the army was fairly on its way

from should strive to pass unnoticed.* A Milliken's Bend overland and past Richlittle before eleven o'clock, the batter. mond, by a military road constructed ies opened their fire, and were at once over swamps and bayous for about responded to by the iron-clads dis- seventy miles to Hard Times, Louischarging their broadsides of grape and iana, a point opposite Grand Gulf. shrapnel directly against the city. The On the 29th of April, the 13th army transports endeavored to pass, as or corps reached the Mississippi, and the dered, under cover of the smoke; the 17th was not far behind. Grant emForest Queen was disabled by a shot, barked a portion of the troops, and the Henry Clay was set on fire and moved to the front of Grand Gulf. The burned, but the Silver Wave escaped plan was, that the iron-clads should

silence the guns of the enemy, and that * A correspondent of the New York Times gives a graphic account of the assembling of a party of ladies the troops should land under cover of and gentlemen, including Gen. and Mrs. Grant, at a the gun" boats and carry the place by point a few miles above Vicksburg, for the witnessing the daring movement which was to take storm. The attack was begun about place that evening. The liveliness, however, of the eight o'clock in the morning and continparty, as he reprovingly says, “indicated anything but ued for five and a half hours, during an appreciation of the fact that the drama about to open was a tragedy instead of a farce."

which time, as Porter stated, in his

1863.

of

Ch. XXVIII

GRIERSON'S CAVALRY EXPEDITION.

309

dispatch, "we silenced the lower bat. landed at Bruinsburg, April 30th, teries, but failed to silence the upper moved immediately on Port Gibson, one, which was high, strongly built, met the enemy, 11,000 strong, four had guns

of very heavy calibre, and the miles south of Port Gibson, at two A.M. vessels were unmanageable in the heavy on May 1st, and engaged him all day, current. It fired but feebly toward the entirely routing him with the

1863. last, and the vessels all laid by and en- loss of many killed, and about filaded it, while I went up a short dis- 500 prisoners, besides the wounded. tance to communicate with Gen. Grant, Our loss is about 100 killed and 500 who concluded to land the troops and wounded. The enemy retreated tomarch over to a point two miles below wards Vicksburg, destroying the Grand Gulf. I sent the Lafayette back bridges over the two forks of the Bato engage the upper batteries, which you Pierre. These were rebuilt, and she did, and drove the persons out of the pursuit has continued until the preit, as it did not respond after a few sent time.” fires. At six P.M. we attacked the bat- An important movement was sucteries again, and, under the cover of cessfully carried out at this time, for the fire, all the transports passed by in the purpose of facilitating Grant's opegood condition. The Benton, Tuscum- rations and destroying the enemy's bia, ard Pittsburg were much cut up, lines of communication; we refer to the having 24 killed and 56 wounded, but bold cavalry raid under Col. B. H. they are all ready for service. We land Grierson. This brave officer had prothe army in the inorning on the other posed some time before, this descent side, and march on Vicksburg." into Mississippi, which did not, how

Acting on information derived from ever, receive the approbation of Grant an intelligent negro, that there was a until early in April, when he ordered good road from Bruinsburg, two miles Grierson to enter upon the work. He below Grand Gulf, to Port Gibson, was stationed at Lagrange, Tennessee, where the rebels were in force, Grant about fifty miles east of Memphis, and determined on landing the troops at after a series of skilful movements, tendBruinsburg as speedily as possible. At ing to deceive the rebels as to his real daylight, on the morning of April 30th, purpose, he was prepared by the middle the

gun boats and transports began the of April to march into Mississippi, and work of ferrying them across the river. traverse, as he did, its entire length, Port Gibson is situate on the Bayou passing between the great lines of comPierre, twenty-eight miles from its munication, the Mobile and Ohio and mouth, and between sixty and seventy Mississippi Railroads, passing in the miles south-west of Jackson, capital rear of the works at Vicksburg and of the state. A railroad connected Port Hudson, and coming out triumit with Grand Gulf.

Grant's dis- phantly, on the 1st of May, within the patch, a few days later, stated Union lines at Baton Rouge. For dethe result in few words: “We tails, we must refer to Col. Grierson's

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