Grant became aware of the plan in November 1862 and reshuffled his staff before heading his army down into Mississippi. Grant put William T. Sherman, another of his generals, in command of a second prong of the attack, hoping that Sherman could beat McClernand to the punch. An initial attack on Vicksburg by Sherman failed, and the armies soon set up winter camp just over the Louisiana border. Lincoln sent a newspaperman to spy on Grant that winter to see if the general was actually worthy of command–and the spy quickly became one of Grant's biggest supporters. Grant, realizing he could probably take Vicksburg from the north, set about digging trenches and dredging new rivers that could move the troops south of the city. In April, a flotilla of Navy gunboats, under heavy fire, ran the blockade at Vicksburg to come to Grant's assistance. Now under Grant's control, McClernand and Sherman crossed the
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