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kbs'chio. The village of Greenwood is upon the Yazoo, four miles below. The object of the fortification at this location was not only to stop the iloet from passing below, but also to prevent its passing up the Yallobusha river, on which a number of the enemy's steamers had sought refuge, and on the bank of which also was the important town of Granada.
The Confederate force was estimated above five thousand men, under the command of Gen. Tilghman, who surrendered Fort Henry, in Kentucky. On the morning of the 11th a reconnoissance was made by the gunboat Chillicothe, Lieut.-Commander Foster. The boat approached within a short distance of the fortification, and fired several shots, and was hit four times in return by heavy shot from rifle pieces. At the same time detachments from the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Indiana regiments were sent out to feel the Confederate positi >n on the land side. A considerable body of the enemy's skirmishers were encountered, who were driven across the slough and into the works, when the detachments were withdrawn. In tlio afternoon the Chillicothe was ordered to engage the- fortification. After she had fired seven rounds, a 64-pound shell from the enemy passed through a halt-open port, striking upon the muzzle of a gun, in which a shell had just been placed preparatory to cutting the fuse. Bjth shells exploded at once, by which three men were killed and eleven wounded. At this time orders were received to withdraw from the engagement. During the ensuing night a force was sent to throw up a battery facing the enemy's works, west of the slough, and in the edge of the timber. A single 30pound Parrott gun was mounted, and the work concealed by brush from the view of the enemy. Subsequently another gun was mounted. No attack was made on the 12th, in consequence of the absence of the mortar boats. After some delay, on the 13th, the engagement was commenced about half past ten A. M. by the land batteries. The gunboats Chillicothe and De Kalb soon after approached and opened their fire. It now appeared that the fortification mounteda rifled 64-Parrott and three 24-Dahlgrcns, and a small field battery. These guns were protected by a parapet composed of seven tiers of cotton bales, covered on the outside with eight feat of earth. The contest was bravely maintained for some time, when tho firo of. the enemy was suspended, but no disposition to surrender was shown. The gunboats and battery kept up the fire, but without any success in reducing the works. The Chillicothe was struck thirty-four times, but not severely injured. Tho DeKalb suffered more, in consequence of some shot penetrating her casemates, by which one man was killed and five wounded.
The impracticable nature of tho approach to the fort by foot soldiers on the west, in consequence of the overflow or slough, rendered it necessary that the gunboats should silence the gnna of tho enemy, and euablo tho transports
to run down and land troops immediately on tho fort itself. But all attempts to silence tho fort by tho gunboats proved unsuccessful, and tho guns of the battery were withdrawn, and tho expedition put on the defensive. After a few days it began to retire.
Meantime, Gen. Grant had been led to believe, as the navigation proved better than was expected, that it was possible to make this the route for obtaining a foothold on high land above Haines's Bluff, and had sent forward a division of Gen. McPherson's corps, commanded by Brig.-Gen. J. F. Quiniby, and had ordered some small-class steamers for transporting the army. The seventeenth corps, under Gen. McPhcrson, was also directed to be in readiness to move, and one division from the thirteenth and fifteenth corps each, was collected near tho Pass. But it soon became evident that a sufficient number of boats of tho right class, could not bo obtained for the transportation of more than one division. On tho 23d of March, therefore, orders were given to withdraw all the forces operating in that direction, for the purpose of concentrating at Milliken's Bend.
At this time another expedition had started under Admiral Porter, for the purpose of reaching the Yazoo below FortPcmberton and Greenwood, and above Haines's Bluff. Such a movement, if successful, would leavo Greenwood and Fort Pcmberton to the rear of the Federal forces, and necessarily cause it to be abandoned. At the same time, about thirty Confederate steamers could be captured or destroyed. Tho routo to be pursued by this expedition was up the Yazoo river to Cypress bayou, which enters that river at a point opposite the landing place of Gen. Sherman's troops when attacking the bluffs in the rear of Vicksburg, thence into Steele's bayou, and along that watercourse, and through Cypress Lake, to Little Black Fork, thence into Deer creek. Following this stream for some distance, tho route branches off along Rolling Fork into tho Big Sunflower river, which empties into the Yazoo above Haines's Bluff.
The expedition under Admiral Porter, consisted of the gunboats Pittsburg, Louisville, Mound City, Cincinnati, and Carondelct, with a number of small transports. Gen. Grant stated that tho principal obstacles appeared to be tho overhanging trees, and he sent forward a pioneer corps for their removal. Soon after, Admiral Porter sent back for a cooperating military force, and Gen. Sherman was promptly sent with one division of his corps. The number of steamers suitable for tho navigation of these bayous being limited, most of the force was sent up tho Mississippi to Eagle Bend, a point where the river runs within one mile of Steele's bayou, thus avoiding an important part of tho difficult navigation. The cause of the failure of this expedition is thus explained by Gen. Grant:
"The expedition failed, probably, moro from
want of knowledge as to what would be required to open this route, than from any im-. practicability in the navigation of the streams and bayous through which it was proposed to pass: the want of this knowledge led the expedition on until difficulties were encountered, and then it would become necessary to send back to Young's Point for tho means of removing them. This gave the enemy time to move forces to effectually checkmate further progress, and tho expedition was withdrawn when within a few hundred yards of free and open navigation to tho Yazoo."
In addition to these several routes, another was prospected by Capt. F. E. Prime, as Chief Engineer, and Col. G. G. Pride, through. the bayous, which run from near Milliken's Bend and New Cartilage on the south, through Roundaway bayou into the Tensas river. This route was found to bo practicable, and work was commenced on it. With the aid of three dredge boats, it proceeded rapidly, and one small steamer and a number of barges were taken through tho channel thus opened. About tho middle of April, however, the river commsneed falling so rapidly as to ren
der it impracticable to open this water communication between Milliken's Bend and New Carthage. At the same time the roads between them became dry and passable, and thus mado tho water communication unnecessary.
About this time, Admiral Farragut had sent to Admiral Porter for the assistance of ironclads and rams, to operate against a fleet of small, but dangerous boats, cruising in the Red river. The largo vessel of Admiral Farragut, the Hartford, near Warrenton, might be useless against two or three small rams. The rams Switzerland, under Col. Chas. R. Ellet, and Lancaster, under Lieut.-Col. John A. Ellet, were ordered to go down the river. Every precaution was taken to make the run of tho batteries as quietly as possible, but it was about daylight on the 25th of March when they turned the point and camo in sight of Vicksburg. They were discovered by the enemy, and the Lancaster was sunk before she had reached halfway. All of her crew escaped but one man, who was drowned. The .Switzerland was badly cut up, but arrived below.
The object of Gen. Grant now was to find a route by which he could placo his army with its supplies below Vicksburg, so as to approach it in tho rear, where alone it was supposed to bo weak and assailable, with the hope of success. As soon, therefore, as ho had directed a water communication to bo opened from a point on tho Mississippi, near Milliken's Bend, to New Carthage, he determined to occupy the latter place. It was the first point below Vicksburg that could be reached by land at the stage of water existing at that time, and the occupancy of which, while it secured a point on the Mississippi river, would also protect the main line of communication by water. MajorGen. McClernand, therefore, with the thirteenth army corps, was, on the 29th of March, ordered to move to New Carthage. The fifteenth and sixteenth corps were to follow, moving no faster than supplies and ammunition could be transported to them. The movement was necessarily slow, in consequence of the bad state of tho roads. As tho advance reached Smith's Plantation, two miles from New Carthago, it was found that the levee of Bayou Vidal was broken in several places; and in consequence of the overflow of water, New Carthage was made an island. All the boats in tho different bayous in the vicinity were collected, and others were built, but tho transportation of the army was exceedingly tedious. Another route was therefore found, by making a further march of twelve miles around Bayou Vidal, to a point called Perkinss Plantation. The whole distance to be marched from Milliken's Bend to reach water communication below was thirty-five miles. Over this distance it was necessary to transport by wagons, with bad roads, the supplies of ordnance stores and provisions with which to commence the campaign on the opposite side of the river.
At the same time that the occupation of New Carthage was ordered, preparations were made for running transports and a gunboat fleet below the batteries of Vieksburg. The gunboats selected were the Benton, Capt. Greer; Lafayette, Capt. Henry Walke; Price, Capt. Woodworth; Louisville, Capt. Owens; Carondelet. Capt. McLeod Murphy; Pittsburg, Capt. Wm. Hoel; Tuscumbia, Capt. Shirk, and Mound City. All of theso boats except the Price were ironclad. Each had taken, for additional protection, baled cotton, hay, railroad iron, timber, chains, or whatever else mijrht be suitable. The transports which were selected were the Forest Queen, Capt. Dan. Conway; Henry Clay; and Silver Wave, Capt. McMillan. These boats took a quantity of supplies for the army, and bales of cotton and hay were placed around the most important parts of their machinery. The night of the 16th of April was fixed for the expedition to start. Everything was in readiness before dark. The plan decided upon was that the ironclads should pass down in single file, with intervals between the boats of a few hundred yards, and that when in front of the batteries they should engage them with their broadside guns, and, under cover of the smoke, the transports should endeavor to pass unseen. A spectator of the exciting scene has thus described it:
"Lights twinkled busily from the Vieksburg hillsides until about 10 o'clock, when they disappeared, and about the samo moment song and laughter on our side wero hushed, as a shapeless mass of what looked like a great fragment of darkness was discerned floating noiselessly down the river. It was the Benton. It passed and disappeared in the night, and was succeeded by another bank of darkness, the Lafayette, with the Price lashed to her starboard side. And thus they continued, as if huge shadows detached themselves from the darkness above, floated across the vision, and disappeared in th e darkness below. Ten of theso noiseless shapes revealed themselves and disappeared.
"Three quarters of an hour passed. People heard nothing save their own suppressed breathings; saw nothing save a long low bank of darkness, which, like a black fog, walled the view below, and joined the sky and river in the direction of Vieksburg. And all watched this gathering of darkness, for in it were thunders and lightnings and volcanoes, which at any instant might light up the night with fierce irruptions.
"So long n time passed without anything occurring that people began to believe the eueisy had determined, for some malevolent purpose, to allow the fleet to pass below without obstruction. However, this supposition was hardly broached ere it was contradicted most emphatically. At just a quarter before eleven, Vol. in.—4 A
two bright sharp lines of flame flashed through the darkness, at the extreme right of the Vieksburg batteries; and, in an instant, the whole length of the bluffs was ablaze with fire. The fleet, which had rounded the Point, and now lay squarely before the city, at once responded by opening their ports, and pouring their full broadsido of twenty-five heavy guns, charged with grape and shrapnel, directly against the city.
"A great cloud of smoke rolled heavily over the gunboats, and in this the three transports entered and made their 'best time' down the river. The Forest Queen, which was in the advance, received a shot in the hull and another through the steam drum, which disabled her instantly. The Henry Clay, that came next, was stopped, to prevent her running into the other, and at the same moment was struck by a shell that set her cotton on fire. The crew, demoralized by the stoppage and terrified by the tire, ran aimlessly around for a few moments, then launched the yawl, sprang into it, and pulled for the shore. The pilot, finding that no engineers obeyed the bells, stayed a short time until the fire began to seethe around him, when ho seized a plank, jumped overboard, and wa3 picked up by a gunboat. Tho Clay, in the mean time, became a great blazing mass, that floated down the river until it disappeared below Warrenton. Had she been manned by men of nerve, the fire would have been extinguished and the boat carried through safely. The fact of her floating so far shows that her hull was uninjured. .
"The Forest Queen was taken in tow by a gunboat, and towed below without further damage. The Silver "Wave did not receive a scratch.
"The Vieksburg batteries wero passed in about an hour and a quarter. Upon reaching Warrenton batteries, the gunboats took the initiative by pouring in their broadsides on the instant they reached position; and so continuous and terrific was their fire that the enemy scarcely attempted a response."
No one on board either of the transports was) injured, and Gen. Grant immediately ordered six more to be prepared in like manner for running the batteries. Accordingly the Tigress, Anglo-Saxon, Cheeseman, Empire City, Horizona, and Moderator left Milliken's Bend on the night of the 22d of April, and five of them got by, but in a somewhat damaged condition. The Tigress received a shot in her hull below the water line, and sunk on the Louisiana shoro, after passing the last of the batteries. In tow of .these transports, twelve barges loaded with forage were sent, one half of which got through in a condition to be used. The transports injured in running the blockade wore repaired by order of Admiral Porter, and in a very short time five of them were in running order, and the remainder in a condition to be used as barges in the movement of troops.
As the number of transports below Vicksburg was limited, Gen. Grant found it necessary to extend his line of movement by land to Hard Times in Louisiana. By the circuitous route it was necessary to take, the distance was increased to seventy miles from Milliken's Bend.
On the 29th of April, the thirteenth corps of the army had reached the Mississippi, and the seventeenth was well on the way. Gen. Grant then embarked so much of the thirteenth as could be got on board the transports and barges, and moved to the front of Grand Gulf. This was a strong position on the east bank of the Mississippi, below the mouth of the Big Black river. The plan was that tho gunboats under Admiral Porter's command should silence the fortifications, and under cover of the gunboats the troops should land and carry the place by storm.
At eight o'clock in the morning the attack was commenced by the gunboats, and continued fiercely for more than five hours. The following is the despatch of Admiral Porter respecting tho attack:
Flag Ship Beaton, Below Grand Gulf, Mi83., > April Wth, 1802. <, Him. Gulf on Welles, Secretary of the Savy:
I have the honor to inform you that, by an arrangement with General Graut, I attacked the batteries at Grand Gulf this morning, which were very formidable. After a fight of five hours and thirty minutes, we silenced the Tower batteries, but failed to silence tho upper one, which was high, strongly built, had guns of very heavy caliber, and the vessels were unmanageable in the heavy current. It fired but feebly toward the last, and the vessels all laid by and enliladed'it, while I went up a short distance to communicate with General Grant, who concluded to land the troops and march over to a point two miles below Grand Gulf. I sent the Lafayette back to engage the upper battery, which she did, aud drove the persons out of it, as it did not rcspoud after a few fires. At C P. M. wc attacked the batteries again, and, under cover of the fire, all the transports passed by in good condition. The Benton, Tuscumbia, and Pittsburg were much cut up, having twenty-four killed and fifty-six wounded; but they are all ready for service.
We laud the army in the morning on the other side, and march on Vicksburg. DAVID D. PORTER, Acting Rear-Admiral.
Gen. Grant, who was a spectator of the scene, says: "Many times it seemed to me that the gunboats were within pistol shot of the enemy's batteries. It soon became evident that the guns of the enemy were too elevated and their fortifications too strong to be taken from the water side. The whole range of hills on that side were known to be lined with rifle pits. Besides, the field artillery could be moved to any position where it might be useful in case of an attempt at landing." He therefore determined to run the enemy's batteries again, and to turn his position by effecting a landing at Rodney, or at. Brninsburg, between Grand Gulf and Rodney. Rodney is a small village on the east bank of tho Mississippi, some miles below Grand Gulf. Brninsburg is a small place between the two others. A reconnoissanoe was made to a point opposite Brninsburg, and information was obtained from a negro that
there was a good road from that place to Port Gibson. Gen. Grant determined to make the landing on the east side of the Mississippi, at Brninsburg. Accordingly the troops were immediately ordered to land at Hard Times, and march across to the point below Grand Gulf, and at dark the gunboats again engaged the batteries, and all tho transports were run by. They received but two or three Bhots during the passage, and these caused no injury.
At daylight on the morning of the 30th, the work of ferrying the troops across the Mississippi was commenced both by the gunboats and the transports. Tho thirteenth corps, as soon as landed and supplied with three days' rations, was started on the road to Port Gibson. The seventeenth corps followed as rapidly as it could bo taken across the river. Port Gibson was a flourishing village on Bayou Pierre, 28 miles from its mouth, and about 65 miles southwest from Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. It was. connected with Grand Gulf by a railroad.
About two o'clock on the next morning. May 1st, the advance of the enemy was met eight miles from Bruinsburgh, on the road to Port Gibson. They were forced to fall back, but as it was dark, were not pursued far until daylight. Then Gen. McClernand with his corps pressed forward within four miles of Port Gibson. Here the. road divided in opposite directions. Both branches, however, led to Port Gibson. Tire enemy took a position on each branch, and thus divided the pursuing force. Tho nature of the ground was such that a very small force could easily retard the progress of a much larger one for several hours. Iw roads run on narrow, elevated ridges, with deep and impenetrable ravines on each side. The corps of Gen. McClernand was so divided that on the right were the divisions of Gens. Hovey, Carr, and Smith, and on the left the division of Gen. Osterhaus. The three former succeeded in driving the enemy from position to position steadily back toward Port Gibson. On the left, Gen. Osterhaus was unable to move tho enemy until he was reenforced by a brigade of Gen. Logan's division, which yas the advance of Gen. McPherson's corps. Another brigade of the same division was sent to Gen. McClernand on the right, and the enemy were so badly repulsed there as to be able to make no further stand south of Bayou Pierre. Late in tho afternoon, Gen. Osterhaus was successful in repulsing the enemv, whom he p«r' sued toward Port Gibson, but night closing m and the enemy making the appearance ot another stand, the troops slept upon their arms until daylight. On the morning of the 2d, « was found that the enemy had retreated across Bayou Pierre, on the Grand Gulf road, and a brigade of Gen. Locan's division was sent to divert his attention whilst a floating bridge was thrown across the Bayou at Port Gyj*on' This bridge was completed," and Gen. McPherson's corps passed over and marched eig" miles to the north bank of Bayou Pierre, built a bridge over that stream, and-the advance commenced passing over it at five o'clock on the following morning. On the 3d, the enemywere pursued to Hawkinson's Ferry, with sli.'lit skirmishing all day, during which quite a number of prisoners, mostly stragglers, were taken. The following despatch from Gen. Grant was scut to "Washington:
Grand Gulf, May Irh. Ti Jfaior-General HalUck, Generalin- Chief:
We landed at liruinsburg, April 30, moved immediately on Port Gibson, met the enemy, 11,000 strong, four miles south of Port Gibson, at 2 o'clock A. M., on the 1st instant, and engaged him all day, entirely routing him, with the loss ot many killed "and about 500 prisoners, besides the wounded. The enemy retreated toward Vieksburg, destroying the bridges over the tiro forks of the Bayou Pierre. These were rebuilt, and the pursuit was continued until the present time, fesides the heavy artillery nt this place, four field pieces were captured, and some stores, and the enemy was driven to destroy many more. The country is the mst broken and difficult to operate iu I ever saw. Our victory has been most complete, and the enemy if thoroughly demoralized.
Very respectfully, U. S. GRANT,
These movements of Gen. Grant had caused the evacuation of Grand Gulf, and Admiral Porter, upon making a movement to attack that position on the 3d, found that it had been abandoned, lie then sent the following despatch to the Navy Department:
Flag Snip Tjeston, Grand Gtri.F, Miss.,) May 3d, 1S03. S To tie Son. Gideon ]Yel!e*, Sic'y of the JS'aty:
Sm: I have the honor to report that I got under way this morning with tho Lafayette, Carondclet, Mound City, and Pittsburg, and proceeded up to the forts at Grand Gulf, for the purpose of attacking them again if they had not been abandoned.
The enemy had left before wo got up, blowing up their ammunition, spiking their large guns and burying or taking away their Tighter ones. The armament consisted of thirteen guns in all. The works are of the most extensive kind, and would seem to defy tho efforts of a ranch heavier fleet than the one which silenced them.
The forts were literally torn to pieces by the accuracy of our fire. Col. Wade, tlio commandant of the batteries, was killed; also his chief of staff. Eleven men were killed that we know of, and our informant says many were wounded, and that no one was permitted to go inside the forts after the action, eiwpt those belonging there.
We had a hard tight for these forts, and it is with great pleasure that I report that the navy holds the door to Vieksburg. Grand Gulf is the strongest place on the Mississippi. Had the enemy succeeded in finishing tho fortifications, no fleet could have taken them.
I have been all over the works, and find them as follows: One fort, on a point of rocks 75 feet high, calculated for six or seven guns, mounting two 7-inch rifled and one S-inch, and one Parrott gun on wheels, which was carried off. On the left of this work is a triangular work, calculated to mount one heavy gnn.
These works are connected with another fort by a covered way and double rifle pits extending a quarter of a mile, constructed with much labor, and showing peat skill on the part of the constructor. The third tart commands the river in all directions. It mounted one spleudid lilakely 100-pounder, ouo 8-inch and two
30-pounders. The latter were lying burst or broken on the ground.
The gunboats had so covered up everything that it was impossible at first to see what was there, with tho exception of the guns that were dismounted or broken. Every gun that fell into our hands is in good condition, and we found a large quantity of ammunition. These are by far the most extensively built works, with the exception of those at Vieksburg, that 1 have seen yet, and I am happy to say that we hold them.
I am dismounting the guns, and getting on board the ammunition.
Since making the above examination, new forts have been passed nearly finished. They had no guns mounted, but were complete of the kind as regards position, and had heavy field pieces in them.
(Signed) DAVID 1). PORTER,
ActiDg Rear-Admiral, Com'g Mississippi Squadron.
Gen. Grant now made the necessary arrangements for changing his base of supplies from Bruinsburg to Grand Gulf. From Milliken's Bend to New Carthage a water communication had been opened by the Roundaway bayou, and troops occupied positions along the route from Milliken's Bend to Dallas and thence to New Carthage. A strong body also occupied Richmond, situated in the angle formed by the junction of the Brash y with Roundaway bayou.
When tho army moved from Milliken's Bend, the fifteenth corps, under Maj.-Gen. W. T. Sherman, remained to be tho last to follow. Gen. Sherman had also been ordered to make a demonstration on Haines's Bluff, in order to prevent heavy reinforcements leaving Vieksburg to assist the Confederate forces at Grand Gulf. Gen. Sherman moved upon Haines's Bluff, landing his forces on tho south bank of tho Yazoo, and the attack was made chiefly by the gunboats, on the 6th of May. The ironclads De Kalb and Choctaw, with other gunboats, engaged the batteries for six hours, during which the Choctaw was struck fifty-four times. Tho enemy displayed a strong force, and anticipated a battle. On the 7th the expedition returned, and the military part prepared to join Gen. Grant. It was entirely successful in preventing reenforcements to the enemy at Port Gibson.
It had been the purpose of Gen. Grant, tip to the time of crossing the Mississippi, to collect all his forces at Grand Gulf, and to get on hand a good supply of provisions and ordnanco stores, before moving against Vieksburg from tho south. He had also determined, in the mean while, to detach an army corps to cooperate with Gen. Banks on Port Hudson, and effect a junction of forces. But this plan was given up by him in consequence of learning that Gen. Banks could not return to Baton Rougo from his position west of the Mississippi before the 10th of May; and that by tho reduction of Port Hudson he could not join Gen. Grant with more than 12,000 men. The delay also for the arrival of Gen. Banks at Baton Rouge, and then for tho reduction of Port Hudson, would bo so great that the addition of 12,000 men to his forces would not mako him relatively so strong for the attack upon