The next Union attempt to capture the town was an expedition down the Yazoo Pass. It was believed that by cutting a levy the Union might be able to find a passage through the Yazoo Pass and along the Tallahatchie River to bypass Vicksburg. On February 3rd, a levee was breached sending Mississippi River water down a channel, thus raising the Yazoo River. One Union officer wrote:
By 11 p.m. the opening was 40 yards wide, and the water pouring through like nothing else I ever saw except Niagara Falls. Logs, trees, and great masses of earth were torn away with the greatest ease. The work is a perfect success.An expedition set off down the river, but it was slow, hard going. Trees had to be felled to get the gunboats through, and obstacles placed by the Confederates had to be cleared. It would take weeks of hard work to discover if this narrow channel would prove the key to the Vicksburg Campaign.