Grant's Canal - 1863

Grant's Canal - 1863 (HM1L60)

Location: Delta, LA 71233 Madison Parish
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Country: United States of America
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N 32° 19.252', W 90° 55.982'

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The remains of the canal you see here today are the result of the second Union effort to bypass Vicksburg.

In January 1863, laborers and troops under the command of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant resumed work on the canal begun in June 1862. They worked to create a ditch 60 feet wide and six feet deep - large enough to accommodate most Union boats. Their efforts failed when high water flooded Union camps and illness afflicted both soldiers and laborers. When Confederate guns at Vicksburg eventually drove away the Union dredges, work on the canal ended.

More than 500 blacks labored on the Union excavation — far fewer than had been pressed into service here the previous year. At Grant's approach, area planters fled with their families and the strongest of their slaves. "Only the old and sickly (blacks) with the house servant are left here," recorded a local diarist. Still, the work of blacks on the canal signaled their increasing importance to the Union war effort.

(Left Drawing Caption)
The Federals hoped the canal would force the river to change channels and bypass Vicksburg. Though the canal filled with water, it did not catch the scouring effect of the current and began to fill with sediment. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman admitted the canal "don't amount to much."

(Right Drawing Caption)
The Federals used two steam dipper dredges to speed work on the canal. But the big machines were ready targets for Vicksburg's long-range batteries. After only a few weeks work, the dredges were forced to withdraw.
HM NumberHM1L60
Placed ByNational Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, June 17th, 2015 at 10:03pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15S E 694571 N 3577879
Decimal Degrees32.32086667, -90.93303333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 32° 19.252', W 90° 55.982'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds32° 19' 15.12" N, 90° 55' 58.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)318
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Levee Rd, Delta LA 71233, US
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