President Abraham Lincoln carefully monitored Ulysses Grant’s campaign against Confederate held Vicksburg, Mississippi. On March the 20th the president telegraphed General Stephen Hurlbut at Memphis, Tennessee, noting: “What news have you? What from Vicksburg? What from Yazoo Pass? What from Lake Providence? What generally?”
Hurlbut responded with a litany of unsuccessful attempts to reach the city. The following day at Steele’s Bayou Union gunboats, supported by William Tecumseh Sherman’s troops, were once again harassed by Confederate sharpshooters hiding along the banks of the bayou.
The only good news from Vicksburg was that Union Admiral David Farragut’s gunboats had at long last anchored just below the city on the Mississippi River. An anxious Lincoln hungered for any good news about the Union’s military fortunes in the American West.