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Banks's Ford. Lee re-occupied Fredericksburg, and was intending to renew the attack on Hooker, but found that he had re-crossed the river on the night of the 4th. The losses in killed and wounded were nearly equal about eleven thousand on each side. * There had been no decisive pitched battle, but great had been the sacrifice of men and means, of opportunities and hopes.
For a short while the President thought an immediate movement on Richmond might be attempted, overestimating the possible execution done on Lee's communications by Stoneman; but this now had to be given up. Nor was the storm of war tending in that direction at all just now. On the 14th, Lincoln wrote to Hooker in a tone neither despairing nor melancholy in terms, yet almost pathetic in its imaginable undercurrent of meaning:
When I wrote on the 7th, I had an impression that possibly, by an early movement, you could get some advantages from the supposed facts that the enemy's communications were disturbed, and that he was somewhat deranged in position. The idea has now passed away, the enemy having re-established his communications, regained his positions, and actually received reinforcements. It does not now appear to me probable that you can gain anything by an early renewal of the attempt to cross the Rappahannock. I therefore shall not complain if you do no more for a time than to keep the enemy at bay and out of other mischief, by menaces and occasional cavalry raids, if practicable, and to put your own army in good condition again. Still if, in your own clear judgment, you can renew the attack successfully, I do not mean to restrain you. Bearing upon this last point, I must tell you I have some painful intimations that some of your corps and division commanders are not giving you their
* Union-killed, 1,606; wounded, 9,762. Confederate-killed, 1,665; wounded, 9,081.-W'ar Records.
entire confidence. This would be ruinous if true, and you should, therefore, first of all ascertain the real facts beyond all possibility of doubt.
The latter subject was one that Hooker might not have been eager to revive. Some changes, however, were soon after made in subordinate commands, for reasons not subjected to judicial inquiry.
A Bold and Brilliant Campaign - Vicksburg and Port
Grant's army having gone into camp at Milliken's Bend about the ist of February, work was resumed on the canal across Young's Point, begun by General Williams the previous summer, with intent to divert the course of the river, so as to avoid the Vicksburg stronghold altogether. This employment gave muscular exercise to the soldiers, without other notable effect. There was, too, an attempted flanking movement by way of Yazoo Pass in February and March. This utterly failed, as did two other devices: one an expedition by the Sunflower River, the other a costly undertaking to open a new water route, including Lake Providence. Successful experiments were made in February and March by Porter's boats in running past the Vicksburg batteries, and in that vicinity the Mississippi was soon clear of Confederate craft. Grant had meanwhile matured a plan for flanking Vicksburg from the south by running transport steamers past the batteries to take his army across from a point many miles below, and boldly striking for the rear of the city, interposing himself between Pemberton, in command there, and the
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Confederate army at Tullahoma, blocking the way of Rosecrans toward Chattanooga. McClernand's corps was started down the west bank of the Mississippi on the 29th of March, McPherson's immediately following. The march was extended seventy miles from the starting point, Milliken's Bend, ending at Hard Times, nearly opposite Grand Gulf, a fortified place just below the mouth of the Big Black River. It was not until the night of April 16th that Porter attempted to run his ironclads and three transports past the Vicksburg batteries. All the gunboats escaped serious injury. Only one of the three transports had like good fortune. Five others made the transit safely on the 22d. Grierson's cavalry had started on the 17th to make a destructive raid between the armies of Pemberton and Bragg. This was effectively done, and Grierson's command, passing by the rear of Natchez, reached the Union camp at Baton Rouge on the 2d of May.
On the 29th of April, Grant being now ready, Porter attacked the batteries of Grand Gulf, but on account of their great elevation, the bombardment, after five hours' trial, proved ineffective. The soldiers were consequently marched to a landing-place lower down, and on the 30th were carried across to Bruinsburg, from which there was a good road to Port Gibson, in the rear of Grand Gulf. Sherman, whose corps had been left behind to make a feigned attack at Haines's Bluff, on the Yazoo, was now ordered to join the other two corps by the route they had taken.
Grand Gulf was occupied by Grant on the 3d of May, after a brisk skirmish near Port Gibson between McClernand and Bowen, who had come from Vicksburg
to resist Grant's invasion. The entire army began, on the 7th, its march up the left bank of the Big Black McPherson by the river road, McClernand by that along the ridge, and Sherman's men, divided, following both. On the 12th, McPherson's advance met and quickly repulsed two brigades under Gregg, near Raymond, occupying the town that night. He was now well out towards Jackson, the State capital, and near the railway from that city to Vicksburg. Soon after noon the next day, McPherson struck the railway at Clinton, and began destroying the track towards Jackson, on which place Sherman moved directly from Raymond. Both commands entered the city about the same time on the 14th, and the Union flag was hoisted over the Mississippi State House.
Grant was also there. Under his orders, Sherman made prompt and thorough work in destroying the railway and its belongings, together with the manufactories and military stores. McPherson was directed to move westward on Clinton in the morning, and McClernand to Edwards's Station, nearer Vicksburg. Sherman, after finishing his task at Jackson, was to join McClernand. It was known that Johnston, with a large force from Tullahoma, had arrived near the city on the 13th. Pemberton had taken up a strong position at Champion Hills, intending to give battle. Here he received an order to unite with Johnston, but failed to get away; was attacked on the 16th and beaten in a severe engagement; and was afterward rapidly driven back to Vicksburg, being forced from his last stand on the Big Black River on the 17th, where there was another sharp battle. Sherman pressed forward to the right, crossing the river