1863 – Down The Yazoo


[Note:  The following is one chapter of a larger work, entitled “1863”

an epic poem of the ‘Turn of Events’ at that time from the two major events that year: Vicksburg and Gettysburg.  Several sources have been used and acknowledged.]




Down through the Yazoo’s

Magnolia leafed region

come a great body,

the bluebelly hoard.


Stretching from Winter

and through the next season,

marching, Grant’s army

comes the four corps.


Of four corps is was,

a general for each,

gone South, to Mississippi,


to Mississippi to teach

the graybacks a lesson

on how to besiege.


Ulysses S Grant,

a bluecoat army,

a horde let unleashed:

the Union’s great army,

The Army of Tennessee.




One force affected

the hoard unexpected,

respected by Grant,

from the army of Gray.


When damage was done,

he’d ask of “which one?”

Then shrug it all off, and away.


Unless, but of course,

it was Nathan B Forrest,

the head of the forces of Gray.


Forrest alone

Grant could bemoan,

Forrest and his gray cavalry.


His horse would destruct

what least one should expect;

and then, in the end,

they would all get away.


The horde was denied

quick access and stride,

and slow was the army thus moving.


But the lesson was taught

when Forrest cut up,

burnt, and tore up

Grant’s supply trains –


Let the army then go out,

spread out, and rout

the country of its precious farm grains.



And Sherman arrived

on Twenty-five,

of December,

Eighteen Sixty-Two.


He came down the west,

from the Yazoo’s morass,

and landed at Milliken’s Bend.


Then on cross the river

to Johnson’s small farm,

little more than a patch of cleared ground.


A bayou on left,

a bayou on right,

all swamp, with the woods all around.


The Walnuts ahead,

a bluff overhead,

the graybacks moved in

to surround.



And Sherman then planned

for all found divisions

to make a show of attack.


But when it was over,

they fell for their cover.

In revision,

it showed Sherman was sacked.


“We accomplished nothing,

and our losses where something.”

A strategic offensive was lacked.


Unwilling to give up,

he moved troops to Haines Bluff,

hoping to lessen the slack.


And then he was told

the troops were on hold,

stuck in the bayou and muck.


Sherman withdrew

back to Milliken’s Bend,

where McClernand was waiting

to assume his command.


He updated Sherman

on Grant’s slow procession –

the Rebel harassment

had slow his advancement.



“Vicksburg is daily

growing much stronger.

To hold it, is what we will intend.”


So went the wire

of the General under fire,

the northern Confederate, Pemberton.


To Jefferson Davis and James Seddon,

Vicksburg, we plan to defend.


But Grant’s northern horde

just kept on coming,

no matter harassing,

and the great loss to men.


This time, a fighter,

no general back slider.

Grant took his losses

as the cost of a win –


the difference in conscience

which Lee had with him.

Two separate generals,

their paths were to cross in the end.




©2013, Marvin Loyd Welborn

22 July 2013



Poem’s Score: 2.5


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