January 23, 1863: The view from Vicksburg

Canal opposite Vicksburg

We’ve seen a good bit of the Union army and Northern public’s view of the events at Vicksburg; here we see the Southern side of the picture, from an article reproduced in the New York Times. The Jackson Appeal reports that Grant’s troops are hard at work on the cut-off canal opposite Vicksburg, but they anticipate a frontal assault on the city from the river.

Correspondence of the Jackson (Miss.) Appeal.
VICKSBURGH, Friday, Jan. 23, 1863.

The arrival of the National army above this city is now reduced to a certainty. For several days past there have been rumors and other indications of the approach of the fleet. On Wednesday movements among the gunboats in the distance apprised us of their presence, and a continued augmentation of their number was apparent, and yesterday it was announced that a fleet of fifty transports and twelve gunboats was near by. So distinctly can the dark colums of smoke be traced toward the mouth of Old River, that there is no longer any doubt about the enemy being again upon us.

From all that can be learned it appears that the Yankees have adopted a new programme for the next attack, and that the gunboats will not wait for the land army to fight its way into the rear, but will at once commence to shell the city, under the pretence of engaging our river batteries, by which means they hope to create a panic in town, and perhaps to silence some of the batteries, when a landing of the troops could be effected and a lodgment in the city secured as a base for their operations.

Yesterday afternoon a part of the fleet was reported to be moving up the Yazoo, but nothing reliable of their manoeuvres has yet been ascertained, and the probabilities are that none of the boats have yet ascended that stream, or we should have had information of it by this morning. They are at present engaged in reconnoitering the country bordering on the Mississippi, their experience along the banks of the Yazoo during the Christmas holidays having satisfied them of what kind of a country that is which they found in the vicinity of Haines’ Bluff.

This morning a large fleet is plainly in sight of the town above the canal, at which they seem to be engaged. A large force yesterday was engaged in reconnoitering that famous ditch, and a small number of citizens who were making their way across the bottom on the Vicksburgh and Shreveport road were captured. It is believed that the enemy is trying to work some of its light artillery across the peninsula to some point below for the purpose of intercepting our steamers and cutting off communication by the river between Vicksburgh and Port Hudson. The range of some of our best guns have been tried this morning, but the wary Yankees are still too far off to be reached. There is no doubt of the intention on the part of the enemy to push matters with great haste, and a general and ferocious attack upon the city is looked for in a day or two. Yesterday a flag of truce boat was reported at the point above the town, and much speculation was had as to what could be its mission. But this morning no confirmation of the report can be obtained. Great activity prevails among the military, and every preparation is being made to receive the enemy.

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