June 3, 1863: Grant goes after Johnston

Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball
Brig. Gen. Nathan Kimball

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Contrary to the Richmond Daily Dispatch’s claims, Grant had an excellent supply line on the Yazoo River as long as he held Snyder’s Bluff, north of Vicksburg. His concern was that Johnston could concentrate at Mechanicsville, northeast of the city, and push the siege lines away from the bluffs. He’d requested reinforcements, but they took some time to arrive. He’d had Frank Blair probe northward once in late May, and he came back with tales of significant rebel infantry up there. When Kimball showed up with fresh troops from Memphis, Grant decided to send his whole division up the Yazoo to Satartia, and then to head for Mechanicsburg. If he could destroy the railroad bridge over the Big Black at Way’s Bluff, it would put a serious kink in Johnston’s supply line. Meanwhile Logan and Blair were to prepare for a breakout attempt by Pemberton.

Official Records:

NEAR Vicksburg, MISS., June 3, 1863.
Brigadier General NATHAN KIMBALL.

You will proceed with your command* to Satartia, on the Yazoo River, thence to Mechanicsburg, 3 miles distant. You will find General Mower there with one brigade, and a force of 1,200 cavalry in addition. Being the senior officer, you will have command of the whole force.

Instructions have been given for a movement to destroy Black River bridge, on the Mississippi Central Railroad. General Mower will inform you of the instructions given.

The object of placing troops at Mechanicsburg is to watch the movements of the enemy, who are said to be collecting a large force in the vicinity of Canton.

With your cavalry you will watch all the ferries over Big Black, north of Bridgeport. Obstruct all roads leading WEST from the river, not wanted by yourself, in every way possible. Collect all the forage, cattle, and provisions you can, and destroy what you cannot bring away. It is important that the country be left so that it cannot subsist an army passing over it. Wagons, horses, and mules should be taken from the citizens to keep them from being used with the Southern Army. All negroes coming into your lines send to Haynes’ Bluff,, unless their services are required with your command. One gunboat and one transport, besides the commissary boat, should be kept at Satartia at all times.

The chief quartermaster at Chickasaw Bayou Landing, and ordnance officer at same place, will supply everything required for your command from their respective departments. It is desirable that all possible information should be acquired of the movements of the enemy, and sent promptly to these headquarters.

You are, therefore, authorized to employ spies, and send orders on the chief quartermaster, Lieutenant-Colonel Bingham, to be approved at these headquarters, for payment.



NEAR Vicksburg, MISS., June 3., 1863.
Major General John A. LOGAN,

GENERAL: It having been rumored that the enemy intend to make an attempt to cut their way out to-night, Major-General McPherson directs that you cause your command to sleep on their arms and to be turned out under arms at 2 a. m., and so remain until after sunrise.

You will also please instruct your chief of artillery to have the men on the watch, and the whole artillery command to stand to their guns at the same hour.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

Assistant Adjutant-General.


near Vicksburg, MISS., June 3, 1863.
* * * * * * *

IX., Major General F. P. Blair will proceed, with the five brigades temporarily under his command, to the left of the investing army. The position to be occupied by him will be designated by Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson, assistant inspector-general.

When General Blair’s forces are placed in position, Brigadier-General Lauman will move forward with his DIVISION, occupying as advanced a position as possible, intrenching the ground taken. He will construct covered ways from one position of his command to another, and, with the assistance of troops on his right and left, will connect his parallels with them.

Major-General Blair will be charged with making the investment of the south side of the city so perfect as to prevent the possible ingress or egress of couriers of the enemy, and will also commence and push his approaches on their works with all possible dispatch.
By order of Major General U. S. GRANT:

Assistant Adjutant-General

This entry was posted in Francis Preston Blair, John A. Logan, Mississippi, Nathan Kimball, Ulysses S. Grant, Vicksburg. Bookmark the permalink.

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