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RESULTS OF THE VICTORY. 449
fifty Colt's pistols, forty cans of powder, one thousand six hundred and fifty rounds of shot, shell and canister for 10 and 20-pounder Parrott guns, three hundred and seventy-five shells, grape stands and canister; forty-six thousand rounds of ammunition for small arms; five hundred and sixty-three animals, together with a considerable quantity of quarter-master's and commissary stores, fell into our hands. Of these captures seven pieces of cannon had been destroyed by the fire of our artillery and the gunboats, besides one hundred and seventy wagons which were destroyed for want of means to bring them away.
"Our loss in killed was one hundred and twenty-nine, in wounded eight hundred and thirty-one, in missing, seventeen—in all, killed, wounded and missing, nine hundred and seventy-seven; while that of the enemy, notwithstanding the protection afforded by his defences, proportionately to his numbers, was much larger.
"The prisoners of war I forwarded to the commissioner for the exchange of prisoners at St. Louis; and utterly destroying all of the enemy's defences, together with all the buildings used by him for military purposes, I re-embarked my command and sailed for Milliken's Bend on the 17th inst., in obedience to General Grant's orders.
"Noticing the conduct of the officers and men who took part in the battle of the Arkansas, I must refer to the reports of corps, division, brigade and regimental commanders for particular mention of those who signalized their merit, but in doing so I cannot forbear in justice to add my tribute to the general zeal and capability of the former and the valor and constancy of the latter. Gen. Sherman, exhibited his usual activity and enterprise, General Morgan proved, his tactical skill and strategic talent, whilst Generals Steele, Smith, Osterhaus and Stuart, and the several brigade commanders displayed the fitting qualities of brave and successful commanders.. The members of my staff present, Colonel Stewart, Chief of Cavalry, Lieut.-Col. Schwartz, Inspector-General, Lieut.-Col. Dunlap,. ^Assistant Quartermaster, Major McMiller, Medical Director, Major Ramsey, Capt Freeman and Lieuts. Jones, Caldwell and Jaynes,, aids-de-camp, all rendered valuable assistance. Lieut. Caldwell,, who ascended into the top of a lofty tree in full view of the enemy and within range of his fire, and gave me momentary information of the operations both of our land and naval forces and of the enemy, particularly challenged my commendation and thanks. To Colonel Parsons, A. Q. M. and master of transports, I also offer my acknowledgements not only for the successful discharge of arduous duties in his department but also for important services as a volunteer aide in bearing orders in the face of danger on the field, and to Major Williams, Surgeon of the 2d Illinois light artillery, I am also indebted for professional usefulness. * * * * While mourning the loss of the dead, and sympathizing with the bereavement of their kindred and friends and the sufferings of the wounded, we should offer our heart felt gratitude to almighty God for the complete success vouchsafed to our arms in so just a cause."
Following so closely upon the defeat before Vicksburg, which had depressed the whole country, the battle and victory of Arkansas Post were a lifting of the clouds. It proved conclusively that the army was not demoralized by misfortune, that its courage was unshaken and its determination to hew its way through to the Gulf still irresistible. Loyal men breathed more freely and once more augured final success. The army itself began to assume new spirit and moral courage by contrasting the victory just achieved with its recent disaster. The President expressed his thanks to General McClernand and his brave troops for this victory, gained at a time when "disaster after disaster was befalling our arms," closing his letter with these words: "Your success on the Arkansas was both brilliant and valuable, and is fully appreciated by the country and government." Illustrative, also, of the estimation in which General McClernand and his army were held is the following incident with accompanying correspondence: One of the pieces captured, a Parrott gun with its muzzle broken off and the carriage shattered by a shot from our batteries, was sent by Gen. McClernand to Governor Yates, in behalf of the State of Illinois. Accompanying the piece, Governor Yates received the following letter from Gen. McClernand:
"headquarters 18th Army Corps, ) "Milliken's Bend, March 16, 1863. J"
"His Excellency^ Richard Yates, Governor of Illinois:
"I have the honor to send you a broken Parrott piece captured by the force
onder my command at Post Arkansas. The piece was broken by a shot from one
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of the guns of my batteries. Please accept it on behalf of the noble State you so worthily represent, as an humble testimonial of the esteem and admiration of the brave men whose valor wrested it as a trophy from the enemy.
"Your obedient servant, John A. Mcclernand,
il Major-General Commanding."
To this letter Governor Yates replied as follows:
"State Of Illinois, Executive Department, ) "Springfield, April 2, 1863. f
ilMajor-General John A. McClernand, Vicksburg, Miss.:
"My Dear General :—I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the broken Parrott gun, captured by the army under your command, at Arkansas Post, and to express my acknowledgments in the name of the people of the State therefor.
"It also gives me great pride and satisfaction to do so, from the fact that I regard the victory at Arkansas Post gained under the able and energetic generalship of a distinguished officer and citizen of Illinois, as second in importance and consequence only to that of Fort Donelson, in which that officer also prominently participated.
"Fort Donelson and Arkansas Post, my dear General, I regard as the two great positive victories of the war in the West. May your participation in the third be equally prominent and attended by as glorious results and substantial advantages.
"With sentiments of respect and esteem, I am, my dear General, your most obedi ent servant. Richard Yates, Governor."
The congratulatory order of Gen. McClernand, on this occasion, which was issued by him the day after the battle, was as follows:
"headquarters 13th Army Corps, ) "Before Vicksburg, February 13, 1863. \
"His Excellency, Abraham Lincoln, President, and Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, having honored Major-General McClernand and the officers and soldiers of the army of the Mississippi with congratulations upon their success on the Arkansas, Major-General McClernand feels it to be equally a duty and pleasure to publish the fact, together with the encouraging assurance of his Excellency, that 'that success was both brilliant and valuable, and is fully appreciated by the country and government.'"
General Grant and staff arrived at the Post a few days after the battle had been fought and won; and Gen. McClernand, who intended to take advantage of the rise in the river for striking a decisive blow at the rebels at Little Rock, the capital of the State of Arkansas, was peremptorily ordered by Gen. Grant to return with his army to Young's Point, opposite Vicksburg, for the purpose of digging out and enlarging the canal projected and commenced by Gen. Williams and Admiral Farragut in 1862.
Gen. Grant's Descent Of The Mississippi—The New Plan Of Operations Against Vicksburg—Canal Digging—The Williams, Lake Protidence And Moon Lake Canals—Their Failures—The Steele's Bayou Expedition And Its Failure— General Mcclernand's Movement Down The West Bank Of The Riyer—Capture Of Richmond—Difficulties Of The March—Running The Batteries—The IlliNois Volunteers—Failure Of The Movement Against Grand Gulf—Running Thk Batteries Again—The Advance On Port Gibson—Battle Of Port Gibson—GalLantry Of The Illinois Troops—Gen. Grant's Order—Evacuation Of Grand Gulf—Interesting Movements Of The Army.
WE have seen the fruitlessness of two movements against Vicksburg. We now come to other movements which after many bloody battles and many weary weeks and months of siege, resulted in final and complete success. Any further attempts to carry Vicksburg from the directions undertaken by Generals Grant and Sherman were abandoned. On the 29th of January, 1863, General Grant descended the Mississippi with gunboats and transports, landing a portion of his army at Milliken's Bend, and the remainder opposite Vicksburg, at Young's Point. Then commenced the stupendous canal operations which were also destined to result in failure. In the attempt upon Vicksburg by Commodore Farragut's fleet, General Williams had attempted to cut a canal across the peninsula opposite Vicksburg, hoping thus to change the course of the river and leave Vicksburg an inland town of no military importance, but the plan was abandoned on account of the low stage of water. General Grant's first attempt on Vicksburg was the renewal of this experiment. For six weeks thousands of men were at work in the trenches, but when the work was almost done, an unfortunate break flooded the canal with water. Before this could be THE CANALS. 453
repaired, the season of high water had passed and the work was abandoned.
The Lake Providence canal was the next attempt. Seventy miles north of Vicksburg is Lake Providence, connected with Swan Lake by a bayou full of snags, and winding through a thick, tangled forest. Swan Lake found an outlet in the Tensas River which emptied into the Black River, which last stream flowed sluggishly into the Red River. The attempt was made to cut a canal five miles in length through the morass, dig out the shallows and eradicate the snags and stumps, and was carried out, but the Father of Waters nevertheless refused to change his course. When the spring floods fell, the new channel was nothing but an insignificant creek and thus the Lake Providence canal was a failure.
There was a third plan to be tried. One hundred and fifty mileb north of Vicksburg, on the eastern shore of the river, is Moon Lake, from which the Yazoo Pass leads into the Coldwater River. This again enters the Tallahatchie, which in turn empties into the Yazoo, about seventy miles north of Vicksburg It was decided to cut a canal from the river to Moon Lake, clear the obstructions from the Yazoo Pass, and by this series of streams gain a position in the rear of the rebel fortifications at Haines' Bluff. The canal was cut and steamers succeeded after perilous exertions in getting into the Yazoo, but here they were met by formidable batteries unapproachable by land, and against which the wooden gunboats were unable to cope. They could not be reduced and they could not be passed. Thus the third plan failed.
Once more the streams and bayous around Vicksburg were tried. About seven miles up the Yazoo, from its entrance into the Mississippi, there is the mouth of a stream known as Steele's bayou. This bayou is connected with a labyrinthian net-work of creeks called Black Bayou, Rolling Fork and Sunflower River. These sluggish streams have several entrances into the Yazoo, and by them a complete circuit of Haines' Bluff can be made. Admiral Porter with his gunboat fleet attempted to force a passage through Jhem, accompanied by a heavy force of infantry, but by the time they had reached the Sunflower River, their peril became so manifest that the expedition was abandoned.