were cleverly foiled, and Grant was restricted to such approaches as he might find west of the river to obtain a foothold on Mississippi soil. Unfortunately the forces of the Confederacy in Texas and Arkansas were not employed to check the movements in that direction as a few determined men had done along the line of the Yazoo.
During these early months of 1863, there had been frequent raids in northern Mississippi from the Federal posts in Tennessee and Corinth, and to meet such inroads, the Confederate cavalry being insufficient, Rust’s brigade and two regiments under General Buford were transferred from Port Hudson to Jackson. General Chalmers, as soon as he had recovered from his wounds received at Murfreesboro, was given command of the Fifth military district of Mississippi, comprising the two northern tiers of counties, but with such troops only as he could obtain by concentrating the various small commands scattered throughout that region.
On March 11th, General Bowen and his brigade were ordered to Grand Gulf, to fortify that point, commanding the entrance to the Big Black river, and hold the approaches west of the river. Three days later Farragut, in the lower Mississippi, attempted to run the batteries at Port Hudson, but got only two boats through and lost one. These two continued up the river past the Grand Gulf batteries March 19th, and communicated with Grant from below Vicksburg, whereupon Porter sent down the Switzerland and Lancaster. The first got past with some damage, but the Lancaster was blown up. During the passage, the Hartford, one of Farragut’s boats, moved up and engaged the batteries at Warrenton, where General Barton was then in command.
On April 4th, Grant notified the Washington authorities that he had decided to send the fleet past the Vicksburg batteries, while the troops would be conveyed by small boats and barges through the bayous in Louisiana to Warrenton or Grand Gulf, "most probably the latter."