1863 January 14: First News of the Battle of Arkansas Post
The Prescott Journal of January 14, 1863, contains two big war articles, including this one on the Vicksburg campaign. The campaign consisted of many naval operations, troop maneuvers, failed initiatives, and eleven distinct battles from December 26, 1862, to July 4, 1863. The Battle of Arkansas Post had just taken place on January 9-11, 1863, under the direction of General John A. McClernand, who conducted the operation without the approval of General Ulysses S. Grant. McClernand was victorious, but Union losses were high and the victory did not contribute to Grant’s main objective, which was the capture of Vicksburg. Grant will personally assume command of the campaign on January 13 at Milliken’s Bend, Mississippi, which is 15 miles northwest of Vicksburg.
THE VICKSBURG EXPEDITION ABANDONED.
A New Base of Operations Selected.
ANOTHER POINT OF ATTACK DECIDED UPON.
OFF THE MOUTH OF YAZOO RIVER,
By Cario, Jan. 11th.
The expedition against Vicksburg was abandoned yesterday, safely. A signal attack by the enemy was repulsed by our gunboats. The Yazoo is abandoned as a base of operations the enemy being impregnable on the front facing that stream. There has been no fighting of moment since last Monday ; nothing has been heard of Banks [Nathaniel P. Banks] or Farragut [David G. Farragut]. Gen. McClernand arrived here on Thursday night. The army is now in transports at Millikens Bend.
The enemy was reinforced to the number of 60,000 men. They had 160 guns on their batteries besides their field artillery.
Our losses in Yazoo will amount to 2,500 or 3,000. The loss of the enemy is unknown.
It has been raining here incessantly for the past thirty-six hours, causing a heavy rise in the Mississippi.
A council of war was held at Vicksburg to operate against some other place. A point of attack was decided upon, but its publicity is forbidden.
The following day both fleets got under way. There was no coal for the gunboats and they were unable to raise steam. There was a flood in the river at this time, with wood in abundance. The transports in two and moved slowly along. The advance arrived here last evening, and met coal going down the river. There was considerable excitement at the mouth of the Arkansas river. The ram Ponchartrain is down the river, the gunboats and rams are waiting for her.