Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Siege of Vicksburg

Commander K. "Invades" Vicksburg
America Invades Van & Illinois Memorial
Vicksburg National Military Park

Besieged as all of us are today due to COVID-19, we can, perhaps relate better the those Confederate soldiers at the siege of Vicksburg in the US Civil War.  Vicksburg was the Confederate Gibraltar.  Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, declared that Vicksburg was "the nailhead that holds the South's two halves together."  This mighty fortress on the Mississippi River was of paramount importance in the struggle to win the Civil War.  Lieutenant General John Pemberton, a Pennsylvanian, was in command of the Confederate forces charged with defending Vicksburg.

USS Cairo Ironclad
Vicksburg National Military Park
Vicksburg, MS

In the Mississippi chapter of America Invaded ( we wrote...

"On May 30, 1862, Major General Henry Halleck captured Corinth after a month-long siege. Corinth would become a major Union supply base from which the struggle for Vicksburg was launched.
On October 3–4, 1862, the Confederates struck back in Mississippi at the bloody Second Battle of Corinth. Union Major General Rosecrans fought Van Dorn with evenly matched forces, and around 5,000 men were killed, with both sides suffering similar losses.  The Confederates withdrew.

Ulysses S. Grant
Victor of Vicksburg
Galena IL
Ulysses S. Grant identified the critical nature of the fortress city of Vicksburg in his memoirs:

Vicksburg is important to the enemy because it occupied the first high ground coming close to the river below Memphis. From there a railroad runs east, connecting with other roads leading to all points of the Southern States. A railroad also starts from the opposite side of the river, extending west as far as Shreveport, Louisiana. Vicksburg was the only channel ... connecting the parts of the Confederacy divided by the Mississippi. So long as it was held by the enemy, the free navigation of the river was prevented.

Vicksburg, therefore, became a major strategic target for Union forces. David Farragut, the Union admiral from Virginia, had been the  first to attempt to storm “the Confederate Gibraltar” in June of 1862. Farragut even tried to build a canal in the river bend south of Vicksburg to avoid having Union ships shelled from the blu -top batteries. Farragut’s fleet passed by under the guns of Vicksburg on June 28 with minimal damage, but the admiral recognized that the Union could not hope to capture it without ground troops.
Lt General John Pemberton
1814 - 1881
Vicksburg National Military Park

In the fall of 1862, Ulysses S. Grant with the Army of Tennessee and Admiral Porter of the Union Navy mounted a combined-arms siege of Vicksburg.  The city was defended by 40,000 troops of the Army of Mississippi, commanded by John Pemberton.  The Confederate Cavalry general, Nathan Bedford Forrest, would attempt to interdict Grant’s long line of supply back to Kentucky. General Sherman also skirmished with Confederate forces at the Battle of Chickasaw Bayou about six miles from Vicksburg in late December of 1862. Admiral Porter’s fleet engaged Confederate shore defenses on April29, 1863, in the Battle of Grand Gulf.  The Union fleet ferried Grant’s Army safely across the Mississippi.

The siege of Vicksburg intensified from the spring of 1863 into the summer. On May 16, Grant won the Battle of Champion Hill, forcing the Confederate forces back into the rapidly closing trap of Vicksburg. On July 4, Pemberton  finally surrendered a Confederate Army of nearly 30,000 men in Vicksburg.  The Confederacy has effectively been cut in two along the line of the Mississippi River. Lincoln exulted, 'The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.'"

Vicksburg Battlefield
Vicksburg National Military Park

For much more entertaining history buy your own signed copy of America Invaded: A State by State Guide to Fighting on American

Tourist Notes:

Vicksburg National Military Park is a must see for anyone with a serious interest in the US Civil War (  Hundreds of monuments and statues remind us of the enormous sacrifice made during the bloodiest war in American history.

Gift Shop
Old Depot Museum
Vicksburg, MS

Signed copies of all my books can be found at the Splendid Old Depot Museum in Vicksburg (  This museum has a miniature model of the Vicksburg Battlefield, a collection of trains and much more.

The Gumbo Pot is a terrific Vicksburg restaurant to enjoy gumbo, oysters Rockefeller and much more (

54th Ohio Infantry
Vicksburg National Military Park

You will get a delicious breakfast and quiet stay at the friendly Corners Mansion Inn in Vicksburg (

You can find signed copies of our books at 
these web sites...

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