Grants Second Vicksburg Campaign

Phase 1 january 8 - may 2 1863

Grant determined to operate against Vicksburg from a base on the Mississippi, and in the last days of January 1863 he established his headquarters at Milliken's Bend. This position would enable him to utilize Admiral David D. Porter's gunboats operating above Vicksburg, and supply his army by steam boat. Grant's Army of the Tennessee consisted of four corps: Sherman's XV Corps at Young's Point; McClernand's XIII at Milliken's Bend; McPherson's XVII at Lake Providence; and Stephen A. Hurlbut's XVI in West Tennessee.

Grant's aim was to position his army on high ground north or south of Vicksburg, and on the east side of the river. To achieve this plan with safety required bypassing Vicksburg.

Sherman's corps, therefore, began to dig a canal across De Soto Point, but his men were plagued by high water McPherson's corps cut a canal from the Mississippi to Lake Providence. But efforts to open the circuitous waterways between the lake and the Tensas River proved futile.

Grant then sent engineers 325 river miles north of Vicksburg to open a route from the Mississippi into the Coldwater by way of Yazoo Pass. A navigable channel was open ed, but it was March 2 before vessels carrying a Federal division debouched into the Coldwater, mooring north of Greenwood on March 10.

But Pemberton had sufficient warning. He despatched a small party to Yazoo Pass to obstruct the waterway, and another to Green wood to fortify the narrow neck separating the Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers, naming the fortifications Fort Pemberton. Two Federal ironclads attacked the fort on March 11, and again on 13th, but the Confederates held their own. Discouraged, the Federals retreated up the Tallahatchie.

Grant feared disaster, but accepted Porter's proposal that his ironclads, supported by the army, could relieve the Yazoo Pass Expedition by navigating the waterways of The Delta to reach the Yazoo above Confederate-held Snyder's Bluff. On March 14 five ironclads, followed by Sherman's corps in transports, ascended the Yazoo to Steele's Bayou, but were met and turned back in Deer Creek by a Confederate force sent by Pemberton. Porter was relieved by Federal infantry which drove off the the Confederates. The gunboats, covered by

"t attribute our failure to the strength

JL of the enemy's position, both natural and artificial, and not to his superior fighting, but as we must all in the future have ample opportunities to test this quality, it is foolish to discuss it."

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

(j^) Jan 24-March 29: Sherman Iries March 20: Confederate force but fails to cut canal across De Soto Point

@Jan 30: Grant establishes his H.Q. at Milliken's Bend

milliken's Bend to port Gibson

January 30 - May 1, 1863

Feb 2-March 29: McPherson tries but fails to open route from Lake Providence to Bayou Macon

For annotations 4 ¡3 see map right

Feb 3: Federals breach levee at Yazoo Pass and gain access to Moon Lake and Coldwater River

Feb 23-March 10: Union boats navigate Yazoo Pass and descend Coldwater and Tallahatchie rivers turns back Porter's gunboats at Rolling Fork

March 21-27: Porter and Sherman abandon the Steele's Bayou route and return to their Mississippi River bases

April 2-25: Steele's division advances down Deer Creek, destroying food supplies

April 5-10: The Yazoo Pass expedition returns to Helena. Arkansas

April 17-May 2: Grierson's cavalry divert the Confederates' attention from Grant's march south by their dash from La Grange, Tennessee, to Baton Rouge, Louisiana

April 29-May 1: Sherman ascends Yazoo and threatens Snyder's Bluff distracting Confederate attention from place where Grant intends to cross the Mi

Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

milliken's Bend to port Gibson

January 30 - May 1, 1863

For annotations 4 ¡3 see map right

Feb 3: Federals breach levee at Yazoo Pass and gain access to Moon Lake and Coldwater River

Feb 23-March 10: Union boats navigate Yazoo Pass and descend Coldwater and Tallahatchie rivers

April 5-10: The Yazoo Pass expedition returns to Helena. Arkansas

Axe DrainageGeneral Grant Vicksburg Campaign Map

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