By: Madison Hill
In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.
Dred Scott was a slave and social activist who served several masters before suing for his freedom. His case made it to the Supreme Court (Dred Scott v. Sandford) prior to the American Civil War.
Having concentrated his army around the small town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Gen. Robert E. Lee awaited the approach of Union Gen. George G. Meade’s forces. On July 1, early Union success faltered as Confederates pushed back against the Iron Brigade and exploited a weak Federal line at Barlow’s Knoll. The following day saw Lee strike the Union flanks, leading to heavy battle at Devil's Den, Little Round Top, the Wheatfield, Peach Orchard, Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill. Southerners captured Devil’s Den and the Peach Orchard, but ultimately failed to dislodge the Union defenders. On the final day, July 3rd, fighting raged at Culp’s Hill with the Union regaining its lost ground. After being cut down by a massive artillery bombardment in the afternoon, Lee attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge and was repulsed in what is now known as Pickett’s Charge. Lee's second invasion of the North had failed, and had resulted in heavy casualties; an estimated 51,000 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or listed as missing after Gettysburg.