Nonfiction > James Ford Rhodes > History of the Civil War, 1861–1865 > Page 253
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James Ford Rhodes (1848–1927).  History of the Civil War, 1861–1865  1917.
 
Page 253
 
 
touch with the Confederates, whom they outnumbered. Skirmishing began, developing as it grew light into a general battle. “The fighting continued all day,” said Grant, “and until after dark, over the most broken country I ever saw.… The enemy were driven from point to point.” They were “sent in full retreat.” Next day he had Port Gibson and the Confederates evacuated Grand Gulf. From that fort, Grant wrote a long despatch to Halleck, giving an account of his success. “This army is in the highest health and spirits,” he said. “Since leaving Milliken’s Bend they have marched as much by night as by day, through mud and rain, without tents or much other baggage and on irregular rations without a complaint and with less straggling than I have ever before witnessed.” 1 Could the army have transmitted a collective despatch, they might have said, Our general has been subject to the same discomforts as we; he has shared all our hardships.  49
  Grant, with his force of 43,000, had a secure base of supplies at Grand Gulf but he did not continue to supply his army from that point. Stopping only long enough to arrange for the transport of his ammunition and to get up what rations he could of hard bread, coffee and salt, he cut loose from his base and lived upon the country, where he found a sufficiency of beef, mutton, poultry, bacon, molasses and forage. Opposed to him were Pemberton, with probably 40,000 in Vicksburg and along the line of the railroad, and Joseph E. Johnston with nearly 15,000 in Jackson. Moving with extraordinary rapidity and throwing upon each detachment of the Confederates a superior force, Grant defeated them in detail and cleared the way to his final objective point. In nineteen days, 2 he had crossed the great river into the enemy’s territory, had
 
Note 1. O.R., XXIV, Pt. I, 32; Grant, 484. [back]
Note 2. April 30–May 18. [back]
 

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