Chickasaw Bayou, MS

Date(s): December 26-29, 1862

Campaign(s): Grant’s Operations against Vicksburg [1862-1863]

Battles in Campaign:

Situation:

  • In November 1862, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, commanding Union forces in Mississippi, began a campaign to capture the city of Vicksburg.

  • Grant split his 70,000-man army into two wings—one commanded by himself and one commanded by Major General William T. Sherman.

  • Grant planned to advance along the Mississippi Central Railroad in the northern part of the state and send Sherman and a combined army-navy force downriver against Vicksburg.

  • Sherman's seven gunboats and fifty-nine troop transports arrived above Vicksburg on Christmas Eve.

  • After advancing up the Yazoo River, the transports unloaded 32,000 Union troops north of the city.

  • Facing the Federal advance was a formidable maze of both natural and man-made defenses. First was a thick entanglement of trees, which was broken intermittently by swampland. Chickasaw Bayou also acted as a potential barrier to Sherman's men because it was parallel to the planned line of advance and could interrupt communication between units. Furthermore, the Confederates had formed a defensive barrier using felled trees.

Commanders:

  • Union: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman

  • Confederate:  Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton

Principal Forces:

  • Union: Right Wing, XIII Army Corps (32,00)

  • Confederate: Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (15,000)

Description:

  • On December 26, 1862, three Union divisions, under Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, disembarked at Johnson's Plantation on the Yazoo River to approach the Vicksburg defenses from the northeast while a fourth landed farther upstream on the 27th.

  • On the 27th, the Federals pushed their lines forward through the swamps toward Walnut Hills, which were strongly defended.

  • On the 28th, several futile attempts were made to get around these defenses.

  • On December 29th, Sherman ordered a frontal assault which was repulsed with heavy casualties.

  • Sherman then withdrew. This Confederate victory frustrated Grant's attempts to take Vicksburg by direct approach.

Slide Presentation: None

Classification2: B

Casualties3:

  • Union: 1,776

  • Confederate: 207

Results: Confederate Victory

Battlefield Websites:

Lodging and Restaurants: Mississippi Tourism

Recommended Resources:


1 National Park Service summary.

2 Classification:

  • A - having a decisive influence on a campaign and a direct impact on the course of the war

  • B - having a direct and decisive influence on their campaign

  • C - having observable influence on the outcome of a campaign

  • D - having a limited influence on the outcome of their campaign or operation but achieving or affecting important local objectives

3 Casualties are someone killed, injured, wounded, captured or missing.

Revised 04/12/2013