General Grant’s relentless march against Confederate held Vicksburg continued as Federal gunboats and troops attempted to traverse the tangle of bayous from Yazoo Pass on the Mississippi to the Yalobusha River, ninety miles from Vicksburg. To stop this, Confederate General W.W.
Loring built Fort Pemberton near Greenwood, Mississippi. The fort, constructed of earth and cotton bales on low lying, flooded ground, successfully repelled several attacks by Union gunboats on March 11th and 13th.
On March 16, 1863 Grant abandoned his movement against Fort Pemberton and shifted his efforts against Vicksburg via Steele’s Bayou, attempting to approach the city behind the Confederate fortifications. Once again the terrain and Confederate defenses worked to slow Grant’s drive against the last major garrison on the Mississippi.