Battles & Leaders of the Civil War
THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN
VICKSBURG FROM THE NORTH - AFTER THE SURRENDER.
THE VICKSBURG CAMPAIGN (1) BY ULYSSES S. GRANT, GENERAL, U. S. A.
IT is generally regarded as an axiom in war that all great armies moving in an enemy's country should start from a base of supplies, which should be fortified and guarded, and to which the army is to fall back in case of disaster. The first movement looking to Vicksburg and the force defending it as an objective was begun early in November, 1862, and conformed to this axiom. [See map, p. 442.] It followed the line of the Mississippi Central Railroad, with Columbus, Kentucky, as a base, and soon after it started, a cooperating column was moved down the Mississippi River on trans ports, with Memphis as its base. Both these movements failing, the entire Army of the Tennessee was transferred to the neighborhood of Vicksburg, and landed on the opposite or western bank of the river at Milliken's Bend.
The Mississippi flows through a low alluvial bottom many miles in width; and is very tortuous in its course, running to all points of the compass, sometimes within a few miles. This valley is bounded on the east side by a range of high land rising in some places more than two hundred feet above the bottom. At points the river runs up to the bluffs, washing their base. Vicksburg is built on the first high land on the eastern bank below Memphis, and four hundred miles from that place by the windings of the river.
The winter of 1862-63 was unprecedented for continuous high water in the Mississippi, and months were spent in ineffectual efforts to reach high land above Vicksburg from which we could operate against that stronghold, and in making artificial waterways through which a fleet might pass, avoiding the batteries to the south of the town, in case the other efforts should fail.
In early April, 1863, the waters of the Mississippi having receded sufficiently to make it possible to march an army across the peninsula opposite
(1)"Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant." Copyright, 1884, by U. S. Grant.