The same day — April 30, 1863 — that the Army of the Potomac stopped its advance into the Wilderness around the Chancellor house, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant began his move across the Mississippi River south of Vicksburg.
Apparently distracted by the stream of reports from the east and Hooker’s defeat at Chancellorsville, the Democratic Banner did not publish anything on Grant’s movement until May 23, when this item appeared:
“The capture of Jackson, Miss., by Gen. Grant is fully confirmed. Gen. Hurlbut reports to the War Department that Grant whipped Gregg’s bridge (brigade?) Tuesday, killing and wounding 700 men, that the next day he followed the rebels up to Mississippi Station and then drove them toward Jackson, which was taken after a half-day’s fight.”
Most generals, upon crossing the river, would have stayed close, using the Navy to bring him supplies and trying to attack Vicksburg from the south.
Grant, however, after seeing the terrain he would have to cross to get to Vicksburg, cut loose from his supply lines and headed east towards Jackson. He reasoned that if the area could support the Confederate army and population, it could support his force.
Jackson was a logical target because if Confederate Gen. Joe Johnston could assemble a force large enough to help the rebel army under Gen. Pemberton at Vicksburg, it would come through Jackson.
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