“I therefore leave it to you whether to make such a demonstration.”

Apr 28 1863.  One of my greatest worries about the coming attack on Grand Gulf is that Rebel Gen. Pemberton will move his troops from Vicksburg to oppose our landing.  I know that they are very sensitive to attacks along the Yazoo River and I have decided to offer the suggestion of a demonstration against the Rebel fortifications there to distract them.  I wrote Gen. Sherman,

SMITH’S PLANTATION, La., April 27, 1863.

Major General WILLIAM T. SHERMAN, Comdg. Fifteenth Army Corps:

If you think it advisable, you may make a reconnaissance of Haynes’ Bluff, taking as much force and as many steamers as you like. Admiral Porter told me that he would instruct Captain Breese to do as you asked him with his fleet.

The effect of a heavy demonstration in that direction would be good so far as the enemy are concerned, but I am loth to order it, because it would be so hard to make our own troops understand that only a demonstration was intended, and our people at home would characterize it as a repulse.

I therefore leave it to you whether to make such a demonstration.

If made at all, I advise that you publish your order beforehand, stating that a reconnaissance in force was to be made for the purpose of calling off the enemy’s attention from our movements south of Vicksburg, and not with any expectation of attacking.

I shall probably move on Grand Gulf to-morrow.



The Papers of Ulysses S Grant, Vol 8, p 130

O.R., I, xxiv, part 3, p240

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