On Sunday, March 29, 1863, General Ulysses Grant changed his offensive strategy against Confederate held Vicksburg. For weeks Grant had attempted to move on Vicksburg from the north, traversing boggy marshes and swamps while constantly harassed by Confederate forces.
Now Grant ordered John McClernand’s infantry to march south from Milliken’s Bend on the west side of the Mississippi to New Carthage, below Vicksburg. The commands of William Tecumseh Sherman and James McPherson were to follow.
At this time Sherman’s men were digging another canal, known as the Duckport Canal, to the west of Vicksburg. Their efforts were failing, just as prior diggings had failed in the past. This shift in Ulysses Grant’s tactics marked the opening salvo in the movement which would lead to the eventual capitulation of Vicksburg.