General Ulysses S. Grant arrived at Milliken’s Bend on 15 January 1863 and embarked upon a restless series of ‘Bayou Operations’, all proving futile, to weave a path through Vicksburg’s formidable natural defences. Eventually, having exhausted every other option, he elected to forge a route through New Carthage to Hard Times on the west bank of the Mississippi. While the main army crossed the river to Bruinsburg, on 29 April General Sherman made a diversionary attack at Snyder’s Bluff on the Yazoo River. This prevented the Confederates concentrating to repulse the offensive. Outnumbered Confederate forces under General John Bowen made a stand at Port Gibson on 1 May, but lacking cavalry, they were quickly outflanked and forced to retreat. Realizing they were in danger of encirclement, they quickly repaired 10 miles (16 km) north to Warrenton, on the outskirts of Vicksburg, abandoning the fortifications of Grand Gulf.
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