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Port Gibson and Grand Gulf Area


Grand Gulf, Mississippi

Grand Gulf Maps

By the Spring of 1863, General Grant and his army had failed to capture the key river town of Vicksburg through various movements on the city. Originally, in the fall of 1862 down through northern Mississippi. Later in seven separate attempts at progressing up rivers, building canals and in December 1862, he had General Sherman attack at Haynes bluff in the failed Chickasaw Bayou expedition. In late April 1863 he decided to try to attack the city from below Vicksburg, from a plan developed by James H. Wilson.  The plan was to destroy the defenses at Grand Gulf and then to cross the river at Hard Times, Louisiana and envelop Vicksburg from the rear. On the evening of April 16th 1863, Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter, with the gunboats Benton, Lafayette, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburg, and Carondolet and the transports Henry Clay, Forest Queen and Silver Wave with the ironclad Tuscumbia in the rear, they proceeded past the defenses of Vicksburg to coordinate an attack on Grand Gulf, Mississippi. As the armada glided by the batteries at Vicksburg, the confederates opened on the ships which hit the transport Henry Clay and it burned to the waterline.

Grand Gulf Military Park

On April 29th, for a period of five hours the ironclads fired shell after shell into the fortifications at the town of Grand Gulf. After reducing Fort Wade, he found his attempt was inadequate, so he canceled the attack on the defenses and his crossing at Hard Times.

Fort Wade


Fort Cobun


Grand Gulf Cemetery


Port Gibson, Mississippi

     Grant then decided on a plan to move his troops farther south to make a crossing at Bruinsburg, six miles below Grand Gulf and move on the confederates at Vicksburg from the rear, crossing the land and severing his supply lines, and foraging off the land.  Which on his earlier attempt through northern Mississippi had failed as Earl Van Dorn had captured his supply depot at Holly Springs. This caused Grant to retreat as he didn’t think he could survive without a supply line. But this time, was different.
     On the morning of April 30th, Grants 30,000 troops were ferried from near the De Shroons Plantation across the Mississippi on the transports and proceeded on the Bruinsburg road marching toward Port Gibson.   As McClernand’s Divisions marched up onto the bluffs they viewed the Mississippi River Valley and the Windsor Mansion, one of the most beautiful homes they had seen in the south. McClernand marched his divisions south to the Rodney Road at Bethel Church.

The Bruinsburg Road

Moving in the late afternoon the troops of General McClernand’s divisions of Generals Carr, Hovey and Osterhaus, took the Rodney Road east at Bethel Church and marched through the hills towards the town of Port Gibson, which had many steep ravines with high ridges making movement of troops treacherous.  Mclernand had heard that the Confederates were on the Bruinsburg Road. 

The Old Rodney Road


The A. K. Shaifer House


Magnolia Church Site


Wintergreen Cemetery at Port Gibson


Rodney Presbyterian Church


Rocky Springs Methodist Church


Vicksburg Main Page


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