While Abraham Lincoln visited with Union General Joseph Hooker and his Army of the Potomac in Virginia, the fighting around Vicksburg, Mississippi continued. Federal troops under General John McClernand continued their operations below Milliken’s Bend.
McClernand’s task was to build a military road to New Carthage, Louisiana and bring in supplies, preparatory to a move south to Hard Times, Louisiana, a village opposite Bruinsburg, Mississippi. This seventy mile road which followed Roundaway Bayou, Bayou Vidal and Lake St. John was completed on April 7, 1863, despite Confederate skirmishers frequently harassing their Union attackers.
Within weeks, Ulysses Grant, utilizing McClernand’s road, would move his forces into proximity of Vicksburg, Mississippi, successfully threatening the city which Jefferson Davis described as “essential to the life of the Confederacy."