Introduction - Battle of VicksburgFrom May 18th to July 4th 1863 the Union Army and Confederate Army fought for control of the strategically important city of Vicksburg; located along the Mississippi River in Mississippi. US president Abraham Lincoln realized the importance of capturing Vicksburg; and said "Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket." Below is a list of interesting facts about this major American Civil War battle including why this battle was so important, who the Generals were, and how the Union won.
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Basic Battle of Vicksburg Facts
- This siege and battle pitted Union General Ulysses S. Grant up against Confederate General John C. Pemberton.
- The Union Army force was approximately 75,000 soldiers compared to the greatly outnumbered Confederates who had about 34,000.
- In late December of 1862 Union General Ulysses S. Grant started moving his forces into Mississippi with a plan to take the crucial Confederate city of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River. This Union offensive is referred to as the Vicksburg Campaign.
- As Grant and the Union Army moved towards Vicksburg they clashed with Confederate forces in a series of battles including the Battle of Port Gibson fought near Port Gibson Mississippi on May 1st 1863. This Union victory secured the Union position on the Mississippi River and opened the way to an attack on Vicksburg.
- In 1863 the Union Army launched two major attacks against the Confederate fortifications at Vicksburg; the first was on May 19th followed by an attack three days later on the 22nd of May. Both offenses resulted in heavy Union casualties.
- After the two failed Union attacks on Vicksburg in May of 1863 the Union forces besieged the city. The siege was successful; after 45 days the Confederates with supplies running out and no sign of reinforcements coming to their rescue surrendered the town to the Northerners on July fourth 1863.
- The Union Army suffered about 4,800 casualties; the Confederates had about 3,300.
Interesting Battle of Vicksburg Facts
- Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold along the Mississippi River and was a major obstacle for Union supply ships sailing along the river.
- The taking of Vicksburg along with the Confederate surrender of Port Hudson five days later gave the Union Army control of the strategically important Mississippi River; which they would maintain for the rest of the American Civil War.
- The capture of Vicksburg on July 4th 1863 along with the Union Armyï¿½s victory at the Battle of Gettysburg the day before is considered by most historians as the turning point of the war in favor of the Union.
- The 1863 siege and battle at Vicksburg was not the first time the Union attempted to take the town from the Confederates. In the summer of 1862 the Union attacked but failed to take the town.
- General Grants reputation as a winning commander surged after his victory at the Battle of Vicksburg. By the next summer Lincoln made him commander of all the Union armies.
- To end the siege Grant agreed to not take the Confederate soldiers defending Vicksburg as prisoners. He would come to regret this decision as most of the soldiers returned to the Southern army to fight in later battles.