The American Iliad: The Epic Story of the Civil War as Narrated by Eyewitnesses and Contemporaries

By Otto Eisenschiml; Ralph Newman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
The Struggle for the Mississippi

GRANT'S VICKSBURG CAMPAIGNS

From July 1862, when General Halleck was called to Washington, to October of that year Grant had lain idle at Jackson, Tennessee, straining at the orders which held him there. On October 16, however, he finally regained power of movement. His chief opponents, Generals Sterling Price and Earl Van Dorn, had suffered a severe defeat before Corinth and apparently needed no longer be feared, at least not for the present. Grant now set out to take Vicksburg by a combined army and navy attack.

Since Farragut's daring passage of the forts and capture of New Orleans practically all of the Mississippi had been opened to the Union except Vicksburg. By taking this point Grant could put the entire river in Federal hands.

Before starting on this campaign, Grant went to Cairo to see Admiral David D. Porter, who had been given command of the Mississippi squadron. Porter tells of the plans they discussed at the meeting.

Soon after my arrival at Cairo I sent a messenger to General Grant informing him that I should be happy to co-operate with him in any enterprise he might think proper to undertake.

Supper had been served when I saw one of my officers, Captain McAllister, usher in a travel-worn person dressed in citizen's clothes. McAllister introduced the gentleman to me as General Grant and left us to talk matters over.

I gave the general an account of my interviews with the President and with General McClernand, who was then raising troops in Illinois, and he inquired, "When can you move with your gunboats and what force have you?"

-415-

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