“On Tuesday or Wednesday night, Admiral Porter will run the Vicksburg batteries”

Apr 12 1863.  I sent a letter to Gen. McClernand outlining the plan for moving his troops across the river.

MILLIKEN’S BEND, La., April 12, 1863.

Major General John A. McClernand, Comdg. Thirteenth Army Corps:

I was anxious to have seen you and had a conversation upon present movements before your leaving, if I could have done so. I will, however, probably go over to New Carthage before you get away.

On Tuesday or Wednesday night, Admiral Porter will run the Vicksburg batteries, and I will send, at the same time, four steamers and all the barges then ready, probably twelve. If these all get through safely, you will have 300,000 rations aboard, and transportation, by close packing, for two batteries and from 6,000 to 8,000 men. It is desirable that you should take all the men possible, with the transportation at your hands, on the start.

It is my desire that you should get possession of Grand Gulf at the earliest practicable moment. Concentrate your entire corps there with all rapidity, and, as soon as transportation can be got through for them, move down the river to Bayou Sara. From there you can operate on the rear of Port Hudson, in conjunction with Banks from Baton Rouge. I will write to General Banks, to be sent down by the gunboats, informing him of present plans, and timing our movements as near as possible.

It is expected that General Banks will garrison Port Hudson with a few troops, and, with the remainder of his effective force, come up to co-operate in the reduction of Vicksburg. This will give us increased facilities for moving troops from New Carthage to Grand Gulf.

I wanted particularly to see you about the facilities for getting troops from Smith’s plantation to New Carthage and the chances for embarking them; also to consult upon the probable effects of letting the water into the canal, upon the levees between Richmond and Carthage.

The water will be let in on Monday or Tuesday. You will want to have your men guard against all contingencies. As water is now flowing through the same channels, in great volume, from various crevasses, commencing just below the canal, I cannot see that this new cut is going to have much effect. We must be prepared for the effect, however, whatever it may be. I have been more troubled to know how to supply you with ammunition, until water communication is established, than on any other subject. If roads hold good, there will be no difficulty, but, without them, there will be. It is not safe to send by the river, as we do coal.


The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 56-7

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p 188-9

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