Vicksburg and the Civil War

The world of rich plantation owners and slavery came to an end with the Civil War.  The war devastated the Southern economy where most of the fighting occurred.

An hour and a half north of Natchez, is Vicksburg, famous for its strategic location on the Mississippi River  during the Civil War.

The significance of Vicksburg in the Civil War is witnessed at the NATIONAL MILITARY PARK CIVIL WAR SITE and CEMETERY here.

“Vicksburg is the nail head that holds the South’s two halves together” “Vicksburg is the key”. President Davis knew it was vital to hold the city for the Confederacy to survive. President Lincoln wanted the key to gain control of the river and divide the South.

Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates this campaign and its significance as a critical turning point of the Civil War.

The Civil War began in 1861 when southern slave-holding states, fearing the institution of slavery was under threat in a nation governed by northern free states, seceded from the US after the election of President Abraham Lincoln.   

General Grant besieged the city for 47 days, until its surrender on July 4, 1863 at which point the North gained dominance over North America’s greatest river.

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.  It also cut off communication with Confederate forces in the Trans-Mississippi Department for the remainder of the war.

It Is an epic story that has shaped the US for good and bad ever since: brothers, sons and fathers divided in the same family, friends finding themselves on opposite sides, deep inhumanity and chivalry co-existing.

The war ended in 1865 with the surrender of the southern, or Confederate forces, to the Union army; slavery was officially abolished by constitutional amendment that year.

At  the  Vicksburg cemetery is the largest  Civil War cemetery in the US.  Over 17,000 soldiers are buried here.Almost 13,000 are unidentified .

The US Civil War was the bloodiest, most devastating conflict in American history.  An estimated 750,000 soldiers died in the war.