The Siege of Vicksburg

For years the Union Army tried numerous ways to gain control of Vicksburg, the last hold out of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River and known as “the Gibraltar of the Confederacy”. Vicksburg had high bluffs and the river as natural defenses. Finally in 1863 with the help of the Union Navy, General Ulysses S. Grant succeeded in surrounding Vicksburg and cutting off all the supply lines. For 47 days the Union forces bombarded and starved the town until Lt. General John C. Pemberton surrendered on July 4. This gave the Union full control of the Mississippi River and pretty much sealed victory for the north.

State of Illinois Monument
Rolling hills and trenches on Union side
Looking across to Confederate side.
The soldiers on opposite sides were so close in proximity that they could talk to each other at night.
Top of Illinois Monument
Interior of Illinois monument

There were many more monuments throughout the park, including ones representing most of the northeastern states other than Maine.

General, later President, U.S. Grant
Top of the Union Navy Monument
We took this photo for the deer sighting, but it clearly shows how close troops of the two sides were, from one side of this valley to the other.


Site of the Surrender

The USS Cairo was sunk in December of 1862 by a mine. It was one of seven ironclad gunboats named in honor of towns along the upper Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. In 1964 (corrected from 1864!) the Cairo was raised out of deep silt and sand. It was restored and constitutes an interesting exhibit at Vicksburg because it is so well preserved.

The Cairo is housed in an elaborate pavilion.

Starboard Rudder
Port rudder
Starboard guns and sheathing
Capstan

In the journal is the following observation after our days touring Natchez, Vicksburg, and the Vicksburg National Military Park: “The South is still steadfast about its determination to win independence and the exhibits are certainly slanted to the Confederate position.”

2 thoughts on “The Siege of Vicksburg

  1. How interesting to see a ship that was raised on the Mississippi while the war still raged! This is reminiscent of the (five?) ships that Peter Christian Asserson raised on the rivers of Virginia AFTER the war. What a precious commodity they must have been.

    Liked by 1 person

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