During the winter of 1862 and spring of 1863, General Grant conducted a series of amphibious operations aimed at taking the city of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was of strategic importance, being situated on a steep bluff standing guard over a bend in the Mississippi River. The city was protected from the Union forces by artillery batteries along the river and an intricate maze of bayous, swamps and creeks to the south and north. So far during the war, Vicksburg had stood fast against the Union Army.
The goal of Grant's amphibious operations,
also known as The Bayou Expeditions, was to open up Vicksburg to the Union
troops via the bayous, swamps and creeks, recently swollen by the spring
rains. One of these expeditions was known as the Steele's Bayou Expedition.
This failed expedition encompassed an area north of Vicksburg including
Deer Creek, Steele's Bayou and other creeks and extended into a large portion
of Issaquena County. The following reports included detailed first-hand
information about this expedition. Many old Issaquena County landmarks,
plantations and names are mentioned in the reports.
March 14-27, 1863 - The Steele's Bayou Expedition (to Rolling Fork, Miss., by Muddy, Steele's and Black Bayous and Deer Creek), with skirmishes (21st and 22d) on Deer Creek and (24th and 25th) on Black Bayou.
(click on thumbnail for full size illustration)
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