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meanwhile been war vicissitudes and personal changes. General Butler maintained rigid rule in New Orleans. He accomplished a marvel in improving its sanitary condition, keeping out that formidable enemy, yellow fever, on whose aid the Confederates had reasonably counted; provided for the poor by furnishing work, or by charities when necessary, levying upon the disloyal rich for the cost; and found use for the colored folk not only as laborers, but by enlisting and training able-bodied men as soldiers. He discovered cotton that had escaped destruction and needed a market; and he extended his authority into the country, within his department, to secure the raising of more. He was firmly master. Too brusque for a diplomat, he was personally uncongenial to foreign residents who sympathized with secession, and they were willing to embarrass his operations. The French consul made complaining representations, which led to diplomatic correspondence of no vital consequence between the governments at Paris and Washington. Secretary Seward was prudently disposed to think Butler a dangerous man, and desired a change of the military command in Louisiana. The change was made, but not until the authority of the Government had become well established at New Orleans and in the State capital. Banks succeeded Butler in December.
Detachments of Farragut's fleet were busy during the early autumn on the Texas coast. Lieutenant Kittredge took Corpus Christi, from which small blockade-runners had carried on a considerable trade with Havana; and an expedition under Acting Master Crocker met with a like success at Sabine City. More important was the capture of Galveston by Commander Renshaw, on the gth of October. Renshaw remained there, holding the city with an amiable leniency, which the Confederates complimentarily contrasted with Butler's rule at New Orleans. Unhappily, there soon appeared as decided a contrast in the results. On the night of January ist, when Renshaw was least expecting it, by a combined movement of General Magruder, now military commander in Texas, and Leon Smith, of the Confederate navy, Galveston was recaptured, with the loss of the Harriet Lane and other Government vessels. Renshaw, who made a gallant fight, was killed in the action.
Banks had been expected to give effective aid in establishing a loyal government in Texas, under the appointed Provisional Governor, ex-Congressman A. J. Hamilton, of that State, who was still waiting in New Orleans. But the loss of Galveston, and of Sabine City soon after, abruptly shut the doors that had seemed to open a short and easy way to Houston and the interior.
In an address before the Legislature of Mississippi on the 26th of December,- two years after South Carolina led off in the work of Secession.— Jefferson Davis said:
I was among those who, from the beginning, predicted war as the consequence of secession, although I must admit that the contest has assumed proportions more gigantic than I had anticipated. You have no doubt wondered that I have not carried out the policy, which I had intended should be our policy, of fighting our battles on the fields of the enemy, instead of suffering him to fight them on ours. This was not the result of my will, but of the power of the enemy.
Vicksburg and Port Hudson are the real points of attack. Every effort will be made to capture
those places with the object of freeing the navigation of the Mississippi, of cutting off our communications with the trans-Mississippi department -- of severing the western from the eastern portion of the Confederacy. Let all who have at heart the safety of the country go without delay to Vicks-, burg and Port Hudson; let them go for such length of time as they can spare — for thirty or sixty, or for ninety days.
Let them assist in preserving the Mississippi River, that great artery of the country, and thus conduce more than in any other way to the perpetuation of the Confederacy and the success of the cause.
General Grant, whose department was enlarged, on the 16th of October, to include the State of Mississippi, had planned an attempt against Vicksburg by the rear, part of his army to proceed down the Mississippi Central Railway, under his personal command, and the remainder, under Sherman, to move from Memphis on transports to the mouth of the Yazoo, a few miles above the city, effecting communication by that stream. Each of these forces was about thirty thousand strong. Grant's advance set forward on the 8th of November, and on the 29th his headquarters were established at Holly Springs, where extensive depots of supplies were established. His progress was unopposed as his lines of communication with Columbia and Memphis were lengthened to Oxford. He was at that place when, on the 20th of December, Van Dorn, with the entire cavalry force of the army lately under his command (now Pemberton's), captured Holly Springs, and destroyed stores and supplies of over a million dollars in value. Railway and telegraph communication with Memphis and Columbus were about the same time so thoroughly broken by Forrest's cavalry (from Bragg's army) that speedy restoration was impossible, and Grant was forced
to retreat to Grand Junction, his men marching eighty miles and living on the country. Thence they took the road to Memphis, and went into camp near that city.
Sherman landed his force (December 26th and 27th) on the left bank of the Yazoo, twelve miles from its mouth, in the rear of Vicksburg. Since leaving Memphis he had heard nothing from Grant, whom he supposed to be already near at hand. General Pemberton had advanced from Vicksburg to Grenada to resist Grant, but was back in time to meet Sherman, and confronted him in a strong position between the Yazoo and the city. Unacquainted yet, as were all of his command, with the country immediately before him, Sherman (on the 28th) ordered an assault to be made on the enemy's line. The low, marshy grounds intervening, intersected with bayous,— Chickasaw Bayou being the chief,— were overhung by abrupt bluffs, back of which were miles of broken table-land extending to Vicksburg. Commanders had great difficulty in bringing their men into position for any effective assault. The effort was resolutely made at four different points, by the divisions of Steele, A. J. Smith, G. W. Morgan, and M. L. Smith, each in its own quarter — each to be repulsed with considerable loss. Sherman's transports were loaded and ready to start for Milliken's Bend, when he was apprised that a superior officer had arrived, General John A. McClernand, to whom the command was turned over on the 4th of January.
McClernand, accompanied by gunboats, set forth at once to capture Arkansas Post, fifty miles up the Arkansas River, and landed his men near Fort Hindman on the ioth of January. The next day the enemy's works were carried by heroic assault. With possession of the key of Arkansas navigation, McClernand reported the capture of five thousand prisoners, and large quantities of arms, munitions, and stores. Having dismantled Fort Hindman, he re-embarked his men, and at the mouth of White River met his superior, General Grant, who landed them (January 21st) at Young's Point, on the west bank of the Mississippi, a few miles above Vicksburg