Today in History:

5 Series I Volume XXIV-I Serial 36 - Vicksburg Part I


their object, our troops were withdrawn, and, while waiting for re-enforcements from General Grant, moved up the Arkansas River to Arkansas Post, which place was, with the assistance of the gunboats, captured on the 11th of January.

Our loss at Vicksburg was 191 killed, 982 wounded, and 756 missing; at Arkansas Post, 129 killed, 831 wounded, and 17 MISSING. We captured at the latter place 5,000 prisoners, 17 cannon, 3,000 small-arms, 46,000 rounds of ammunition, and 563 animals. *

General Grant now assumed the immediate command of the army on the Mississippi, which was largely re-enforced. Being satisfied by the result of General Sherman's operations that the north line of the enemy's works was too strong to be carried without a very heavy loss, he directed his attention to opening the canal, which had been commenced the year before by General Williams, across the peninsula, on the WEST bank of the river. This canal had been improperly located, its upper terminus being in an eddy and the lower terminus being exposed to the enemy's guns. Nevertheless, it was thought that it could be completed sooner than a new one could be constructed. While working parties, under Captain Prime, chief engineer of that army, were diligently employed upon this canal, General Grant directed his attention to several other projects for turning the enemy's position. These are fully described in his official report.

The canal proving impracticable, and his other plans being unsuccessful, he determined to move his army by land down the WEST bank of the river some 70 miles, while transports for crossing should run past the enemy's batteries at Vicksburg. The danger of running the batteries being very great, and the roads on the WEST side in horrible condition, this was a difficult and hazardous expedient, but it seemed to be the only possible solution of the problem. The execution of the plan, however, was greatly facilitated by Admiral Farragut, who had run two of his vessels past the enemy's batteries at Port Hudson and Grand Gulf, and cleared the river of the enemy's boats below Vicksburg, and, finally, through the indomitable energy of the commanding general and the admirable dispositions of Admiral Porter for running the enemy's batteries, the operation was completely successful.

The army crossed the river at Bruinsburg April 30, turned Grand Gulf, and engaged the enemy near Port Gibson on the 1st and at Fourteen-Mile Creek + on the 3rd of May. The enemy was defeated in both engagements, with heavy loss. General Grant then moved his forces, by rapid marches, to the north, in order to separate the garrison of Vicksburg from the covering army of Johnston. This movement was followed by the battles of Raymond, May 12; of Jackson, May 14; of Champion's Hill, May 16; and Big Black River Bridge, May 17, in all of which our troops were victorious. General Grant then proceeded to invest Vicksburg.

In order to facilitate General Grant's operations, by destroying the enemy's line of communication and preventing the early concentration of any re-enforcements, Colonel (now Brigadier-General)Grierson was sent with a cavalry force from La Grange, on the 17th of April, to traverse the interior of the State of Mississippi. This expedition was most successfully conducted. It destroyed many of the enemy's railroad bridges, depots, and much rolling stock, and reached Baton Rouge, La., in safety, on the 2nd of May.

On returning to Vicksburg, General Grant found his forces insuffi-


*See Series I, VOL. XVII, Part I, p. 708.

+Sic. See Grant's report, p. 49.