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Vicksburg, so that an irregular triangle of alluvium lies between the Yazoo and the Walnut Hills. The Yazoo in old times evidently clung to these hills, and has left old channels or bayous of deep stagnant water or mud, and the whole triangle is cut into every imaginable form by these bayous. The present river and the old bayous are all leveed against high water, and the lands are very fertile. The levees vary in height from four to fourteen feet; their shape is the same as that of a military parapet; interior slope 45°, superior slope from twelve to fourteen feet for a roadway, exterior slope about one in four. These levees entered largely into the Confederate system of defenses.

Where the levee is continuous, as along the Mississippi River, and along the bayou from Vicksburg to Haines's Bluff, a separate roadway is made behind it. Along such a road masses of infantry and artillery could move perfectly under cover.

The face of the hills between Vicksburg and Haines's Bluff is very abrupt, and cut up by numerous valleys and ravines. On the ridge behind, out of sight, is a road, with numerous paths cut down to it. Every hill-top had its telegraph station, and signal corps could be seen telegraphing the movements of the boats and troops.

The Chickasaw Bayou is a small stream flowing between the bluffs and the river. These clay

The Chickasaw

bluffs, which are here more than two hundred feet high, are very steep; the alluvial swamp between them and the river, with its quicksands and boggy bayous, is covered with cottonwood, cypress, and a dense growth of tangled vines.

On reconnoitring the ground, Sherman found that immediately in his front was the bayou, passable only at two points, on a narrow levee and on a sand-bar, commanded by the enemy's sharp-shooters on the opposite



bank. Behind this was an irregular strip of beach, or table-land, on which were rifle-pits and batteries, and be hind that a high, abrupt range of hills, scarred with rifletrenches and crowned with heavy batteries. The country road from Vicksburg to Yazoo City ran along the foot of these hills, and served the enemy as a covered way along which he moved his artillery and infantry promptly, to meet the national forces at any point where they might try to cross the bayou.


The attack was rendered exceedingly difficult by the The difficulties of swampy nature of the country. A fortified Sherman's attempt. line, fifteen miles in length, had been constructed by the Confederates. Through this it was Sherman's intention to pierce. He determined to make the real attempt at the head of Chickasaw Bayou, and at another place where the bayou is barely passable by infantry in single file; but, at the same time, feints were to be made at Haines's Bluff, Vicksburg, and as many intermediate points as possible. Morgan's division moved The battle of Chick- along the line of Chickasaw Bayou, M. L. Smith was about a mile to his right, A. J. Smith still farther to the right, and Steele on the north, or farther side of the bayou; but before the real assault Steele had reported that it was absolutely impossible for him to reach the foot of the bluff, by reason of the swamp and submerged ground. He was therefore recalled, and sent to re-enforce Morgan.

asaw Bayou.

As soon as Steele's leading brigade (F. P. Blair's) had reached the ground, Morgan being ready, the assault was ordered. Under a severe fire from the enemy, Blair's brigade and De Courcy's of Morgan's division crossed the bayou, drove the Confederates from their first rifle-pits, and pushed to the country road that runs along the base of the hills. There, being unsupported, they were subjected to a heavy cross-fire from batteries on the hill, and




the enemy, rallying, attacked in turn, and captured many prisoners. Had Morgan energetically supported his leading brigades, he might have secured a lodgment and occupied the face of the hill. At that moment Sherman was superintending the movement at the other point of real attack, where M. L. Smith's division was to cross. There the water was so deep that the men could only cross in single file at great hazard, as the enemy occupied the levee on the opposite side. The Sixth Missouri, however, did cross and get so close under the bank that they were comparatively safe, but they could not get up it. By the time Sherman could reach Morgan, the broken fragments of Blair's and De Courcy's brigades had come back. The enemy had detected the real points of attack, and had rallied to them.


The ground was very blind and difficult on the na tional side, but the Confederates could look

Failure in forcing down from their bluff, and detect every

the Confederate


movement. Though the attempt had thus been most resolutely made, it failed. The enemy's line had not been forced.

The national loss was 191 killed, 982 wounded, 756 missing. Total, 1929. Of the missing a majority were probably taken prisoners.

Sherman now ordered all the positions to be strengthened, and, in an interview with Admiral Porter, arranged to embark Steele's divis ion, to make a strong attack on Haines's Bluff, while he should renew the attack at Chickasaw, and effect a lodg ment. The movement was intended for night. Steele's troops were accordingly all embarked, but so heavy a fog settled that, just before daylight, Porter sent a message that he could not see to steer the boats, and, as the movement would have to be made by daylight, he doubted its success.

Sherman prepares to renew the attack.


The Confederates were now fast receiving re-enforcements. Not without reason did they triumph in their double success. They had forced Grant back, and had defeated Sherman. Trains of cars could be heard coming in almost every hour, and fresh troops could be seen on the bluffs. It was plain that they were either from Haines's Bluff or from Pemberton's army.


It is abandoned.


At this time, notwithstanding every precaution, the national camp was full of spies. From these Pemberton had heard of Sherman's movements and of Grant's change of plan. He was enabled by his railroads to throw into Vicksburg a force too great to be overcome. Sherman had just concluded that he could not break the enemy's lines when General McClernand arrived. To him, as the senior officer, Sherman reported at the mouth of the Yazoo, explaining the state of affairs, and receiving a confirmation of his order for abandoning the attempt

on Vicksburg. McClernand brought down the river the first authentic news of Grant's abandonment of the other line of attack, and the return to Memphis of the advance of his army. It happened that Sherman had left Memphis in so much haste that he had not a full supply of ammunition suited to his guns. It had been sent down the Mississippi after him on a boat, which was captured by the Confederates as it passed by the mouth of the Arkansas River. This circumstance satisfied Sherman that before operations could be conducted against Vicksburg by the Mississippi River it would be necessary to reduce Arkansas Post (Fort Hindman), a well-constructed fort forty miles up the Arkansas, behind which the Confederates kept several steam-boats for the purpose of sallying forth from that river and molesting the line of supply. The fort was on the site of an old French settlement of 1685. Sherman represented the matter to McClernand, who was then in command, in the




presence of Admiral Porter, and, with great difficulty, prevailed on him to consent to the expedition. On the 10th of January the gun-boats shelled the Confederate sharpshooters out of their rifle-pits, and, under their fire, the troops pushed up through the half-frozen, miry swamps. In the cold wintry night, without fires, they made ready for an assault the next day, when, encountering a heavy fire and suffering severely, the troops advanced within musket range of the defenses. The guns of the fort had been silenced, and, as the men were moving to the asThe capture of Ar- Sault, a white flag was hoisted on the place, and it was surrendered. Sherman himself was the second person to ride over the parapet. 5000 prisoners, 17 guns, 3000 small-arms, and a large quantity of stores were taken. The national loss was 977 men. The expedition then dropped back to Milliken's Bend, where Grant joined it, and from that time till July 4th he commanded the army in person. The Mississippi thus became the great artery of his supply until the final campaign.

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