Vicksburg is one of the more remarkable campaigns of the American Civil War. Ulysses Grant and his army of Tennessee had been trying to capture the strategic Confederate river-fortress at Vicksburg, Mississippi. Previous attempts to conquer this important town, high above the Mississippi River, had been blocked by Confederate countermoves. The dangerous terrain made advancement difficult.
In late April 1863, Grant began a new and bold campaign against Vicksburg and the Confederate defenders led by John Pemberton. After conducting a surprise landing below Vicksburg at Bruinsburg, Mississippi, Grant’s forces moved rapidly inland, pushing back the threat presented by forces near Jackson. Once the rear was clear, Grant turned towards Vicksburg. Pemberton’s forces were weakened following the Union Victories at Champion Hill and Big Black Bridge, forcing the Confederate general to retreat to Vicksburg’s defense.
The Union army attacked the Confederate stronghold on May 19 and 22. They were turned back, but so many Union soldiers were killed that Grant decided to lay siege to the city to avoid further loss of life. Soldiers and civilians alike endured the hardships of siege warfare for 47 days before Pemberton’s forces surrendered. With the Mississippi River now firmly in Union hands, the Confederacy's fate was almost sealed.
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