Portrait of William Loring

Major General William W. Loring’s Confederate division constructed formidable defenses along the Yazoo River during Major General William T. Sherman’s Yazoo Pass Expedition in 1863. Loring (pictured here) named the defenses Fort Pemberton in honor of his commanding officer, Major General John C. Pemberton. [Wikimedia Commons]

Battle of Fort Pemberton Facts

March 11–18, 1863

Key facts about the Battle of Fort Pemberton.


Also Known As

  • Battle of Fort Greenwood

Date and Location

  • March 11–18, 1863
  • Leflore County, Mississippi


Principal Union Commanders

  • Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith (USN)
  • General Leonard F. Ross (USA)

Principal Confederate Commanders

Union Forces Engaged:

  • Naval flotilla (8 gunboats, 2 rams, 1 mortar raft)
  • 13th Army Corps (partial)

Confederate Forces Engaged:

  • Army of Vicksburg (Fort Pemberton garrison)

Number of Union Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 5,000

Number of Confederate Soldiers Engaged

  • Roughly 2,000

Estimated Union Casualties

  • Roughly 20

Estimated Confederate Casualties

  • Fewer than 20


  • Confederate victory


  • The Battle of Fort Pemberton was the only significant engagement of the Yazoo Pass Expedition.
  • Fort Pemberton was a hastily erected Confederate series of artillery batteries, protected by earthworks and cotton bales, which were connected by lines of rifle pits and entrenchments.
  • Fort Pemberton was located at the junction of the Tallahatchie and Yazoo Rivers in Leflore County, Mississippi.
  • Union officials referred to Fort Pemberton as Fort Greenwood, due to its proximity to Greenwood, Mississippi.
  • The Battle of Fort Pemberton began when Confederate artillerists fired on the USS Chillicothe as it approached Fort Pemberton, on the Tallahatchie River, at about 10 a.m. on March 11, 1863.
  • The fighting of the Battle of Fort Pemberton ended on March 16, when the USS Chillicothe and USS De Kalb made an unsuccessful assault on Fort Pemberton.
  • On March 17, 1863, Lieutenant Commander Watson Smith reported himself unfit for duty due to illness and relinquished command of the Yazoo Pass Expedition to Lieutenant Commander James P. Foster, captain of the USS Chillicothe.
  • On March 18, 1863, Lieutenant Commander James P. Foster ordered the U.S. naval flotilla to return to Helena, Arkansas, on the Mississippi, ending the Battle of Fort Pemberton.

Timeline of the Vicksburg Campaign

These are the main battles and events of the Vicksburg Campaign in order.


Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Article Title Battle of Fort Pemberton Facts
  • Coverage March 11–18, 1863
  • Author
  • Keywords Battle of Fort Pemberton
  • Website Name American History Central
  • Access Date July 27, 2021
  • Publisher R.Squared Communications, LLC
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update March 14, 2021
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