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of railroad and telegraph, he arrived at Baton Rouge on May 2d, with a loss of three killed, seven wounded and nine missing.
Grant now looked to Admiral Porter for promised co-operation. He must have gunboats for protection, barges in which to ferry his troops to the east side of the Mississippi, and since it was nearly impossible to get supplies by land from Milliken's Bend, transports laden with stores. But how were these helpless vessels to pass the Vicksburg batteries? The transports were loaded, and then protected with hay and cotton bales. They were manned by volunteer crews, and on the night of April 16th, the steamers, each towing a fleet of barges, steamed down to the great bend, preceded by the iron clad boats. Grant remained on a transport at the Bend to watch the operations. The night was dark. Porter led the way on the Benton, and reached the first battery befor", he was discovered. Then the artillery opened from we bluffs. The gunboats responded with a rapid fire. Houses in the city were set on fire to light up the river. This made every gunboat, steamer, barge fleet, and transport a target. Shot and projectiles of every form were rained on them from the forts, and some were badly disabled. One transport was set on fire by a shell and burned. All in all, the attempt was successful, and on the night of April 22d, it was repeated with a larger number of vessels and tows, most of which got past the batteries with slight injury.
These daring manœuvres secured to General Grant the supplies he needed and the co-operation of Porter's naval force below Vicksburg. It remained for him to select a point of crossing to the east bank of the Mississippi and to throw his army over.
Neither New Carthage nor Perkin's, now held by his advance corps under McClernand, would make good starting points. They were really above the Confederate line of fortifications on the east side, which line may be said to have had its southernmost limit at Grand Gulf. Still they would do
if Grand Gulf could be captured and the Confederate left turned there. Admiral Porter urged a combined attack on it at once. Grant ordered McClernand to co-operate with his corps in barges. But there was unaccountable delay in embarking, much to Grant's annoyance, for the Confederates were making use of every hour to strengthen Grand Gulf, a point fast becoming vital to them. The General, when apprised of the situation, resolved to push his headquarters from Milliken's Bend to Perkin's and assume direct control of the operations. Though suffering with an outbreak of boils, he took to the saddle and rode forty miles to Perkin's, to deliver his instructions in person to McClernand. But the golden opportunity had fled. Though Porter attacked the Grand Gulf batteries with vigor, April 29th, and was supported by an ample force ready to land and storm the place, they were perched too high for his guns. Like those of Vicksburg they were practically out of range and invincible.
In order to have his army well in hand and all ready for a speedy crossing in case Grand Gulf should fall, General Grant had pushed it, over very bad roads, from Perkin's to a place called Hard Times, twenty miles below, and opposite Grand Gulf. As soon as he saw the result of Porter's attack, which he witnessed from a tug in the stream, he signalled to be taken aboard the flagship. Here, after a personal interview with Porter, he requested that brave and ever willing officer to run the Grand Guif batteries that night, April 29th, while he pushed his land forces from Hard Times to De Shroon's, three miles below. Porter ran his fleet past without much damage, and on the morning of the 30th, found the Thirteenth Army Corps at De Shroon's.
DAVID D. PORTER.
Now for a good dry point on which to land on the east side of the river. Bruinsburg lay nearly opposite him and six miles below Grand Gulf. From this point a good road led inland to Port Gibson, twelve miles distant. This then would make a good landing place. A foothold once secured there, the enemy's left would be completely turned and the problem of access to his rear would be solved, unless he were strong enough to yet defeat it by a pitched battle. Against this contingency Grant had provided in more ways than one. In order to provide a disguise for his entire movement from Milliken's Bend to De Shroon's, and for his proposed crossing of the river, and at the same time prevent the enemy from marching out of Vicksburg and concentrating on him after he had crossed to the east side of the Mississippi, he ordered Sherman to make a bold and heavy demonstration, simultaneously with the attack on Grand Gulf, from Milliken's Bend, against Hayne's Bluff upon the Yazoo, which, we have seen, was the extreme right of the Vicksburg fortifications, and the point near which Sherman had failed to get a foothold on his former Yazoo Expedition. Sherman seeing its importance, undertook the expedition with ten regiments and the portion of Porter's fleet still above Vicksburg. He moved so vigorously and made such a plausible disposition of his forces, that the enemy engaged him for two days, under the apprehension that his attack was real. On May ist, Grant sent him word that the object of the diversion had been achieved, and that he should desist and hasten to follow McPherson's Corps to Perkin's, and beyond, so as to be within reach of the head of the army and participate in the crossing if necessary.
Meanwhile Grant's advance was not losing a moment of time. He felt that amid all his obstacles, something substantial was being done. On April 29th, he wrote Halleck: “I feel now that the battle is more than half over." On the zoth he issued a batch of orders to all the corps' commanders to be
ready for prompt movement and co-operation, and for other tugs with barges loaded with supplies to run the blockade. On the same day the Thirteenth Corps, McClernand's, and two divisions of the Seventeenth, were ferried across the river from De Shroon's, and effected a landing at Bruinsburg. Grant and his staff crossed early in the morning. The distance from the starting to the landing point was six miles, although the river itself is but little over a mile wide. Every available boat was pressed into service, and in order to get the most men over in the shortest time, not a tent, wagon or horse was allowed on board. To effect a landing, gain the highlands back from the river front, control the road to Port Gibson, and establish a base of operations, all before the enemy could become aware of his movement, was a matter of the greatest moment with General Grant. Never were the energies of an entire army more keenly directed to a single point, and never in a similar move was there heartier co-operation between land and naval forces.
Before sunset of April 30th, the highlands were reached by the landing forces, and a strong vanguard was pushed by forced marches out to within four miles of Port Gibson. Here it struck the enemy, five thousand strong, under Bowen who, having discovered the crossing and knowing that, if successful, it would turn his flank, had marched his forces out of Grand Gulf toward Port Gibson to protect his left and rear. This was to be the battle for position which Grant had anticipated and for which he was now ready. All four divisions of McClernand's corps and Logan's division of McPherson's were pushed to the front. Bowen was rapidly receiving reinforcements from Vicksburg, so that by May ist, he had eleven thousand men with him in a strong defensive position. The battle opened at 10 A. M. As soon as Grant heard the firing he started on a borrowed horse for the scene and assumed direct command. McClernand was pressing the enemy on their
left, but their right and centre were stubbornly resisting Osterhaus' division. It was speedily reinforced by Logan with two brigades of McPherson's Corps, and then began to gain ground. But the extreme right was the enemy's strong point. It was admirably protected by a sunken road and a deep, difficult ravine. Smith's brigade was ordered to Osterhaus' support, and Grant and McPherson both accompanied it. Osterhaus' increased the fury of his attack and the fresh brigade of Smith charged across the ravine. This was successful. The strong right of the enemy was turned, and his entire line broken and swept away. Bowen fell back toward Port Gibson, leaving his dead and wounded on the field. He was closely pursued till within two miles of that place and nightfall called a halt. During the night he withdrew from Port Gibson, burnt the bridge over Bayou Pierre, and took position between that stream and Grand Gulf. Here he was joined on May 2d by Loring's division from Jackson. But Grant crossed a new bridge hastily thrown over the Bayou, and was upon them before they could resist. They crossed the Big Black and were ordered by Pemberton to the vicinity of Vicksburg. The garrison at Grand Gulf, seeing their rear completely occupied and covered, beat a hasty retreat, leaving that stronghold to the Federals. It was quickly occupied, and Grant transferred his base thither from Bruinsburg
The importance of a victory at or near Port Gibson was appreciated by both armies. It was to settle the fate of Grand Gulf at once, and also the success of that bold and brilliant move which had landed a Federal army on the left and in the rear of the “Gibraltar of America,” as President Jefferson Davis had styled Vicksburg. Both Bowen and Grant knew the value of time and energy. The former secured all the reinforcements he could in the hours allotted to him. Grant drove his forces forward with desperate energy.