Battle of Vicksburg

May 18, 1863-July 4, 1863

Why was the Battle fought?

The Battle of Vicksburg was a very fierce battle, with many lives lost. This battle was fought because of Grant’s idea to split the Confederacy down the middle by the Mississippi, and take the West easily. This battle was part of what is called The Vicksburg Campaign. The first attackers was the Union army because it was a Siege to split the Confederacy. To split the Confederacy was a big objective for Ulysses S. Grant, but he took it on anyway to win a major battle in The Civil War.

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Generals in the Battle

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Quote of John Pemberton

"I think it due to myself, in bringing this portion of my report to a conclusion, to state emphatically that the advance movement of the army from Edwards Depot on the afternoon of May 15 was made against my judgment, in opposition to my previously expressed intentions, and to the subversion of my matured plans. In one contingency alone I had determined to move toward Jackson; the safety of Vicksburg was of paramount importance; under no circumstances could I abandon my communications with it."
General John C. Pemberton

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Siege of Vicksburg

After earlier attempts to do so had failed, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, in command of the Union forces, marched westward into Jackson, where he hoped to capture the Confederate garrison of Vicksburg. On May 12, 1863, Grant and his marching forces collided with the troops under Lt. General John Pemberton, resulting in the battle of Champion's Hill. When Grant won the battle in overwhelming numbers, Pemberton retreated. Then, on May 17, Union forces under Brig. General Michael Lawler's brigade found a weakness, reducing the Confederate forces under Pemberton to 5,000. They retreated back to the garrison of Vicksburg, making his total forces only about 30,000. Amidst the optimistic situation, Grant ordered a series of attacks, which were all repulsed by the Confederate defenses. Finally, Grant initiated a legendary plan to take the town by siege. Grant's men of about 70,000 men dug trenches that came steadily closer to the town. Finally, the strongholds were blown up, and Grant's men reached the city. With the supplies blocked and the city under attack, Pemberton surrendered.

Map of the Battle

This battle was the trek undergone by Grant and his men to capture the city of Vicksburg. The Union troop movements are shown below in blue while the Confederate defenses that they encountered are shown in red. Once Grant reached the city he was able to trap the Confederate general, John Pemberton, who was forced to surrender, which gave the city over to the Union forces.
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U.S. Grant's Letter to his Father

JUNE 15, 1863

ULYSSES S. GRANT

The following is a letter from U.S. Grant to his father explaining his position and the situation during the Siege of Vicksburg.

DEAR FATHER:

I have received several letters from Mary and yourself, but as I have to deal with nineteen-twentieths of those received, have neglected to answer them.

All I can say is that I am well. I have the enemy closely hemmed in all round. My position is naturally strong and fortified against an attack from outside. I have been so strongly reinforced that Johnston will have to come with a mighty host to drive me away.--I do not look upon the fall of Vicksburg as in the least doubtful. If, however, I could have carried the place on the 22nd of last month, I could by this time have made a campaign that would have made the State of Mississippi almost safe for a solitary horseman to ride over. As it is, the enemy have a large army in it, and the season has so far advanced that water will be difficult to find for an army marching, besides the dust and heat that must be encountered. The fall of Vicksburg now will only result in the opening of the Mississippi River and demoralization of the enemy. I intended more from it. I did my best, however, and looking back can see no blunder committed.

ULYSSES.

Casualties

Union Casualties: 806 killed, 3940 wounded, and 164 missing and captured

Total: 4910

Confederate Casualties: 805 killed, 1938 wounded, and 29620 missing and captured

Total: 32492

What were the Effects of this Battle?

Union victory at this battle allowed for the capture of the Confederate river fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863. With the capture of this, the Union had the Mississippi River, which split the Confederacy in half, and Confederate forces in the east could no longer get supplies and troops sent from the West. However, the North could now use the entire length of the Mississippi River for transportation. The fate of the Confederacy was all but sealed.