• Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the Army of the Tennessee at Vicksburg. This image shows Grant as a Lieutenant General in Virginia in 1864. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

    Ulysses S. Grant

    Ulysses S. Grant, Commander of the Army of the Tennessee at Vicksburg. This image shows Grant as a Lieutenant General in Virginia in 1864. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

  • Skyline view of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

    Vicksburg

    Skyline view of Vicksburg, Mississippi. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

  • Lt. General John C. Pemberton, Confederate Commander of the Army of Vicksburg. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

    John C. Pemberton

    Lt. General John C. Pemberton, Confederate Commander of the Army of Vicksburg. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

  • "The Siege of Vicksburg: the Fight in the Crater of Fort Hill after the Explosion" sketched by A.E. Mathews of the 81st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 
This lithograph of the assault of June 25th 1863 shows the Union sharpshooter lines and approach trenches that were common throughout the siege lines at Vicksburg during the siege.(USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

    Fight in the Crater

    "The Siege of Vicksburg: the Fight in the Crater of Fort Hill after the Explosion" sketched by A.E. Mathews of the 81st Ohio Volunteer Infantry, This lithograph of the assault of June 25th 1863 shows the Union sharpshooter lines and approach trenches...

  • "Battle of Vicksburg," or "Siege of Vicksburg: Assault on Fort Hill" by Thure de Thulstrup, 1883.
This image displays the intense fighting between Union and Confederate forces on June 25th 1863, at the 3rd Louisiana Redan (known as Fort Hill during the siege) Union forces of Mortimer D. Leggett's 1st Brigade of Maj. Gen. John A. Logan's 3rd Division, Maj. Gen. James B. McPherson's XVII Army Corps assaulted Confederate forces of Brig. Gen. Louis Hébert's 1st Brigade of Maj. Gen. John H. Forney's Division, Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton's Army of Vicksburg were able to stop the assault which lasted 26 hours. (USAMHI, Massachusetts MOLLUS Photograph collection).

    "Battle of Vicksburg,"

    "Battle of Vicksburg," or "Siege of Vicksburg: Assault on Fort Hill" by Thure de Thulstrup, 1883. This image displays the intense fighting between Union and Confederate forces on June 25th 1863, at the 3rd Louisiana Redan (known as Fort Hill during the...

  • This painting titled "First at Vicksburg" is part of the US Army Center of Military History "US Army in Action" series.  Pictured are the Confederate Lines, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 19 May 1863. In this assault against bitter resistance the 1st Battalion, 13th Infantry, lost forty-three percent of its men, but of the attacking force, it alone fought its color up the steep slope to the top. General Sherman called its performance "unequalled in the Army" and authorized the 13th Infantry to inscribe "First at Vicksburg" on its color. Although it took two more months of hard fighting to capture Vicksburg and split the Confederacy, no episode illustrates better the indomitable spirit of Americans on both sides.

    First at Vicksburg

    This painting titled "First at Vicksburg" is part of the US Army Center of Military History "US Army in Action" series. Pictured are the Confederate Lines, Vicksburg, Mississippi, 19 May 1863. In this assault against bitter resistance the 1st...

By July 1863, the Civil War was into its third year. Early that month, Robert E. LeeAca,!a,,cs Army of Northern Virginia was deep inside Northern territory in Pennsylvania. Farther west, Ulysses S. GrantAca,!a,,cs Army of the Tennessee was positioned between two major Confederate forces. One his army was besieging inside the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The other was within striking distance of his armyAca,!a,,cs rear. It would be a decisive turning point for the ConfederacyAca,!a,,cs quest for independence if LeeAca,!a,,cs campaign was successful and GrantAca,!a,,cs army was destroyed.

Many thought that VicksburgAca,!a,,cs natural defensive position would prevent its capture. Sitting high on a bluff overlooking a horseshoe bend of the Mississippi River, it was surrounded by dense, impenetrable swamps. As long as the Confederates held Vicksburg, they controlled the Mississippi, maintaining lines of communication and supply with the ConfederacyAca,!a,,cs western regions. Many people believed that the Confederacy could not be beaten until the river was firmly in Union hands. Major General Grant was one of the UnionAca,!a,,cs most successful generals. Beginning his push south in 1861, by mid-February 1862, he had captured two key Confederate strong points and 12,000 prisoners. This caught the eye of President Abraham Lincoln and earned him the nickname Aca,!A"Unconditional SurrenderAca,!A? Grant.

By November 1862, Grant was ready to move against Vicksburg. He knew that capturing the Aca,!A"Gibraltar of the ConfederacyAca,!A? was essential for control of the Mississippi River. By cutting the Confederacy in two he would deliver a blow from which the South could never recover. The campaign lasted eight months and involved joint Army and Navy operations, several major battles, and a forty-seven day siege of the city. GrantAca,!a,,cs tenacity, and ability to learn from his mistakes, enabled him to continue toward his goal of cracking the nut that was Vicksburg. On July 4, 1863, white flags appeared atop the Confederate lines marking the campaignAca,!a,,cs end. GrantAca,!a,,cs victorious army marched into the city and took control of one of the ConfederacyAca,!a,,cs strongest points. Five days later the Confederate citadel at Port Hudson, Louisiana, fell to Major General Nathaniel Banks, allowing the Aca,!A"Father of WatersAca,!A? to flow unhindered to the sea.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16