[Map of the country between Millikens Bend, La. and Jackson, Miss. shewing the routes followed by the Army of the Tennessee under the command of Maj. Genl. U.S. Grant, U.S. Vols. in its march from Millikens Bend to the rear of Vicksburg in April and May 1863.
Source: Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.]
[Detail of above map highlighting Hard Times; Port Gibson in shown toward the lower right hand side.]
Here's a disparaging comment about Hard Times from a regimental history of the 24th Iowa:*
Here the army...proceeded on its way down the river to a point about four miles above Grand Gulf, and which is well named Hard Times, it having the appearance of being able to maintain a very poor family in a very poor way during a favorable season.I found the following description of the 24th Iowa's movements leading up to April 28, 1863, in a 1910 historical sketch:
Upon the return of the regiment to Helena, in the early spring, the troops with which it was associated were transferred to the Thirteenth Army Corps and ordered to join General Grant's army, in its operations against Vicksburg, and were conveyed on transports to Milliken's Bend, where they disembarked and marched, over difficult and sometimes almost impassable roads, to Perkens' Landing. Here, on the 28th of April, they again embarked on transports and barges and moved down the river to a point about four miles above Grand Gulf, where, without disembarking, they witnessed the tremendous artillery combat between the gunboats and the rebel batteries at Grand Gulf, which lasted for several hours. The troops had, in the meantime, been awaiting orders to land and co-operate with the gunboats in their attack upon the enemy's works, but, after prolonged bombardment, without apparent effect, the gunboats withdrew, and the attack by land was also abandoned. The troops disembarked and marched down the levee to a point three miles below Grand Gulf, where they bivouacked until morning.Very soon Dick Worden would face his first enemy fire during the attack on Port Gibson on the east side of the Mississippi River.
*Iowa and the Rebellion: A History of the Troops Furnished by the State of Iowa to the Volunteer Armies of the Union, which Conquered the Great Southern Rebellion of 1861-5. Lurton Dunham Ingersoll, J.B. Lippincott and Company, 1866 - Iowa - page 504. Available as a free e-book here.
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