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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Delta in Madison Parish, Louisiana — The American South (West South Central)
 

Mississippi Sidestep

 
 
Mississippi Sidestep Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
1. Mississippi Sidestep Marker
Inscription. In 1862, powerful Confederate guns along Vicksburg’s high bluffs kept the Mississippi River closed to Federal shipping. Union leaders decided the army should take the city by land to gain control of the river. But General Thomas Williams had a different idea—dig a canal across the foot of De Soto Point to bypass the batteries altogether.

In the June heat, Union soldiers labored alongside more than 1,200 formerly enslaved people to carve the 1.5 mile canal. Sunstroke, exhaustion, malaria, and dysentery plagued workers. Hundreds lost their lives. After just one month, Williams halted the project.

In January 1863, General Ulysses Grant took up the project once again. His plans were also hindered by widespread illness among the troops—and rising river waters that flooded Union camps. By March, Grant abandoned this dream of avoiding Vicksburg.

More to Explore
There’s a whole national park out there! Grant’s Canal is one of several locations in Vicksburg National Military Park. The green on the map protects and preserves the siege and defense lines where Union and Confederate forces faced off in 1863. Follow I-20 east to the main entrance on Clay Street.

You can see ...

 
Erected by National Park Service.
 
Location. 32° 19.258′ N, 90° 55.981′ W. Marker is in Delta, Louisiana, in Madison Parish. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Old Highway 80 East and Stafford Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is located in the Grant’s Canal unit of the Vicksburg National Military Park; the above directions are to the parking lot. Marker is in this post office area: Delta LA 71233, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Grant's Canal (here, next to this marker); a different marker also named Grant's Canal (here, next to this marker); U.S. Operations Against Vicksburg (here, next to this marker); Williams' Canal – 1862 (here, next to this marker); Grant's Canal – 1863 (a few steps from this marker); Freedmen Fight at Milliken's Bend (a few steps from this marker); U.S. African Brigade (within shouting distance of this marker); Ninth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Delta.
 
Also see . . .
General Grant attempted to complete the canal in 1863 image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
3. General Grant attempted to complete the canal in 1863
Close-up of lower drawing on marker

1. Grant's Canal. From the National Park Service website for Vicksburg National Military Park. (Submitted on June 17, 2015.) 

2. The Canal to Nowhere. An in-depth article by Terry L. Jones from the Disunion blog in the Opinionator section of the New York Times website. (Submitted on June 17, 2015.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansWar, US CivilWaterways & Vessels
 
Vicksburg National Military Park image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
4. Vicksburg National Military Park
Close-up of map on marker
Grant's Canal and Mississippi Sidestep Markers image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
5. Grant's Canal and Mississippi Sidestep Markers
Grant's Canal Unit of the Vicksburg NMP image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
6. Grant's Canal Unit of the Vicksburg NMP
View to southeast from Old Highway 80 East
Preserved Section of Grant's Canal image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 26, 2015
7. Preserved Section of Grant's Canal
View from Old Highway 80 East
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 17, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 263 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 17, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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