Page:Confederate Military History - 1899 - Volume 7.djvu/606

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123
CONFEDERATE MILITARY HISTORY.

mander Smith, and 6,000 men on transports under General Ross, was sent to try the first, and Admiral Porter and Grant in person made a reconnoissance on Deer creek.

Work was also resumed on the old canal begun by Butler’s order, and a brigade was set to work clearing out a channel by way of Lake Providence and the Tensas, and digging a second canal to open up a passage by way of Willow and Roundaway bayous. These last three passages were desired to carry the army to a safe landing-place below Vicksburg without the danger of passing the guns of the forts.

Meanwhile, to experiment on running the batteries, the ironclad Queen of the West, under Commander Ellet, who won notoriety by the first bombardment of Vicksburg, was sent down with orders to destroy a Confederate vessel before Vicksburg. He ran past successfully, but failed to injure the steamer, and then made a cruise down the river, capturing two Confederate steamers; but on going up Red river his boat was taken in very neatly by Gen. Richard Taylor. The captured ironclad, manned by Confederates, and assisted by the Webb, then attacked and sunk the Indianola near Palmyra Island. Col. Wirt Adams, Mississippi cavalry, made an ineffectual attempt to raise the latter vessel to add it to the Confederate navy. Grant’s work on the canal was soon checkmated by Pemberton, who strengthened the fortifications at Warrenton.

The expedition down the Coldwater and Tallahatchie, led by the powerful ironclad Chillicothe, was met by General Loring, who constructed Fort Pemberton with cotton bales, covered with earth, on the narrow neck of land just west of Greenwood, and obstructed the Tallahatchie with a raft and the sunken steamer Star of the West. The Federal gunboats began an attack March 11th, but Loring, with some Louisiana troops and the Twentieth and Twenty-sixth Mississippi, easily held his