Vicksburg Under Siege - Visit Vicksburg


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Vicksburg Under Siege

Looking at Vicksburg now, you’d never know it was once a war-torn city riddled with trenches, caves and enemy fire. But that’s exactly what happened during the Siege of Vicksburg of the American Civil War. While the evidence of battle is all but gone, memorials around the city keep the memory alive. Plan a trip to see them all with help from Visit Vicksburg.

The Importance of Vicksburg During the Civil War

In the early 1860s, Abraham Lincoln was president and the country was divided in a war over states’ rights, slavery and a way of life. When the Siege of Vicksburg took place in 1863, the war had already been going on for a couple of years. The Union, led by General Ulysses S. Grant, had made several attempts at conquering the Confederates at Vicksburg leading up to the siege.

Why did the Union want Vicksburg so much? Vicksburg is situated at a prime location along the lower Mississippi River. Throughout the war, the two sides fought for control of the river, as it was a major part of America’s economy. Grant had his sights set on Vicksburg from the beginning, making moves to put his strategy, the Anaconda Plan, into play.

General Grant and President Lincoln understood well the importance of taking Vicksburg from the Confederacy. Lincoln said, “See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key! The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket.”

The Battle of Vicksburg

The Siege of Vicksburg began on May 16, when forces met at Champion Hill just outside of the city. Grant defeated Confederate Lt. General John C. Pemberton and forced him to retreat to Vicksburg. Once there, Grant sealed off the city with 15 miles of trenches.

Lt. General Pemberton and the Confederate forces were severely outnumbered and supplies dwindled. Innocent civilians were forced to seek shelter in caves they carved out of the hillsides. So, on July 4, 1863, after 47 days, Pemberton surrendered to Grant. It would be one of General Ulysses S. Grant’s most successful feats of the war.

Discover a Piece of America’s History

Get a firsthand look at the Battle of Vicksburg on The Key to Civil War History route through the city. To make sure you don’t miss anything, contact Visit Vicksburg today.

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