War of the Rebellion: Serial 109 Page 0710 Chapter LXIV. SW. VA., KY., TENN., MISS., ALA., W. FLA., & N. GA.

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mouth of Chickasaw Bayou on the Yazoo River, five miles in the rear of Vicksburg, the army rapidly disembarked on the 26th of December, 1862, and at once moved on the enemy's works. After two days' gallant though unsuccessful fighting, on the orders of General Sherman, I prepared eleven of the largest transports, by protecting the boilers and machinery with bales of hay, to move General Steele's command of 13,000 men for a night attack upon the strong fortifications at Haynes' Bluff, on the Yazoo. The order was executed and the command on board within twelve hours after it was given, but, owing to a fog, the movement was rendered impracticable, and the next evening, the 31st day of December, 1862, at about 4 o'clock of one of the shortest days of the year, I was directed by General Sherman to embark the whole army in the shortest possible time, as it was under orders to leave its position, three mil to the shore, and embark without delay. Many of the transports had at the time left their positions and were scattered for miles in procuring fuel, or were in use for hospital and other purposes, yet they were again brought together, arranged in proper order, and the whole army, with all its transportation and supplies, embarked before 8 o'clock the next morning, without the loss of a single animal, gun, or a pound of stores brought to the shore, and left the river free from accident or loss of life from the advancing enemy. Of the work of such a night no oe can have any proper conception who was not on the ground or is not intimately familiar with similar military movements, and I question if a like speedy and safe embarkation of so large an army in the face of a victorious enemy was ever before effected under any commander. On reaching the Mississippi the expedition, under Major-General McClernand, who there assumed command, moved north to the mouth of White River, thence through the cut-off up the Arkansas at an extremely low stage of the river, and on the 9th of January, having moved nearly 300 miles from the Yazoo, notwithstanding the great difficulties of procuring fuel, was again disembarked near Arkansas post, and, in connection with the navy, surrounded, attacked and caried the enemy's elaborate fortifications at that place, captured nearly 7,000 prisoners with all their supplies, destroyed their works, dispatched the prisoners northward, re-embarked within five days from the time of lading, again moved southward, and soon after fanded opposite Vicksburg, to commence the celebrated siege of that place.

In the month of March, 1863, on the orders of General Grant, I dispatched about thirty small boats to Helena for a movement upon the rear of Vicksburg, to be made by opening a passage during the high water of the Mississippi through the levee near Helena into an old channel termed Yazoo Pass. The troops composing the expedition, numbering about 10,000 men, under command of General Ross, entred the pass upon twenty-two boats and proceeded through Moon Lake, Coldwater and Sumflower Rivers, to near Fort Pemberton, on the Sunflower at its junction with the yazoo, a distance of 270 miles from the Mississippi. The expedition occupied about a month, and was one of the most difficult and dangerous of the war, owing to the extreme narrowness and irregularity of the channel, constantly obstructed by overhanging or fallen trees, and often passing amid dense forests, well adapted for the operations of guerrillas. Through the cool bravery and energy, not more of our troops than of the officers and men connected with the transports, all the boats engaged in the expedition returned to the Mississippi, though many of them in a greatly damaged condition. In