Monday, April 27, 1861 was Ulysses Grant’s forty-first birthday. It also marked the completion of his first-stage preparations for getting his troops across the Mississippi in order to assault Vicksburg’s land defenses.
All four Union divisions of McClernand’s corps were at Hard Times, Louisiana, the embarkation point for the landing at Grand Gulf, five miles downstream, in close proximity to Vicksburg’s defenses. Before the day was over, Grant ordered McClernand to begin moving his troops, advising “Commence immediately the embarkation of your corps, or so much of it as there is transportation for.”
The showdown for Vicksburg was clearly at hand, but Grant was yet to disclose the final plans for his assault on Vicksburg. He wanted to keep the city’s defenders guessing about his chosen point of attack.