Friday, December 28, 2012

Preparations at Chickasaw Bayou

Having set out from Memphis, Tennessee with fifty transports on December 20th, Sherman's army was landed just ten miles north of the Confederate stronghold at Vicksburg on December 24th. However, the path into Vicksburg would not be easy. Between the Yankees and the town was very treacherous terrain, with bayous running at the foot of the high bluffs of the Walnut Hills, where the Confederate defenders would make their stand.

There was much confusion in the Union army as the troops landed. As the main army prepared to make an attack Sherman sent two brigades on December 26th to make a reconnaissance and check for weak spots in the Confederate line. Then 150 years ago today, on December 28th, Brigadier General Frederick Steele's division was sent to try to turn the Confederate right. But they advanced on a narrow front, and were driven back by Confederate artillery fire. However, undeterred by this reverse, Sherman decided to continue with plans for the attack the next day. As he said, "We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and may as well lose them here as anywhere else.”


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