Siege of Vicksburg 1863

What was happening in 1863?

In 1863, the American Civil War was raging in different parts of USA. The war had started in 1861 when the southern states and the northern states had divided into two different blocks.

The northern states remained loyal to the Union under the President Abraham Lincoln while the southern states formed their own government called the Confederacy. The north fought the war in order to bring the southern states back into the Union. The south fought the war in order to become free of the Union.

Background of the Siege of Vicksburg

The Siege of Vicksburg took place as part of the Vicksburg Campaign which took place in the western theater of the war. The Campaign had been launched by one of the Union armies to take back the control of Mississippi and the surrounding areas.

The Union army had many successes during the campaign. After defeating the Confederate armies in many battles, the Union army was able to push them back all the way to Vicksburg. Now Vicksburg was a very important strategic city. This city had a port and this was the last port on Mississippi River that Confederacy still controlled.

Commanders on both sides

The Union army was led by General Ulysses S. Grant who commanded an army of 35,000 men. This was called the Army of Tennessee. William T. Sherman was another Union general who was a part of this army.

The Confederate army was led by General John Pemberton who commanded an army of 18,000 men. This was called the Army of the Mississippi.

When and where did the siege take place?

The Siege of Vicksburg involved laying siege to the city of Vicksburg by the Union army. The Union army began the siege on May 18, 1863 and it was on July 4, 1863 that the city finally surrendered.

Siege of the city

Before reaching Vicksburg, the Union army under General Ulysses S. Grant defeated the Confederate army in a number of battles. The Union army moved slowly towards Vicksburg and when they reached near the city, they took control of the railroad so that no supplies or help could reach the Confederate army in the city.

On May 18, 1863, the Union army finally moved towards the city. The city had good defenses and the Confederate army guarded these defenses well. Despite repeated attacks, the Union army was not able to force their way in.

After suffering heavy losses, General Ulysses S. Grant decided to lay siege to the city. Since no help or supplies could reach the city, the people in the city gradually ran out of all food and other provisions. This finally forced the Confederate army to surrender the city on July 4, 1863.

Results and Aftermath

The success of the Union army at the Siege of Vicksburg brought the city and its port under Union control. This was a serious blow to the Confederacy. Now the Confederacy didn’t control any part of the Mississippi River and the western states of the Confederacy such as Texas and Louisiana could no longer send help or supplies to the southern states of Confederacy.

Vicksburg, 1863 (Vintage Civil War Library) Paperback – April 20, 2010

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