10 Facts About the Battle of Vicksburg

The Battle of Vicksburg was fought from May 18 to July 4, 1863, during the American Civil War. It was fought in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and was a crucial Union victory.

The battle was fought between the Union Army of the Tennessee, led by General Ulysses S. Grant, and the Confederate Army of Mississippi, led by General John C. Pemberton.

The battle was part of the Union’s campaign to gain control of the Mississippi River, which would split the Confederacy in half and isolate its western states.

DatesMay 18 to July 4, 1863
LocationVicksburg, Mississippi, United States
CommandersUnion: Major General Ulysses S. Grant
Confederate: Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton
Forces InvolvedUnion: Around 77,000 troops
Confederate: Approximately 33,000 troops
CasualtiesUnion: Approximately 4,800 killed, 1,800 wounded, and 2,500 missing or captured
Confederate: Around 3,000 killed, 8,000 wounded, and 29,495 captured or missing
OutcomeUnion victory. The capture of Vicksburg gave the Union control of the Mississippi River, effectively splitting the Confederacy in two and providing a significant strategic advantage to the Union.

Battle of Vicksburg Facts

1. The Union army used siege tactics.

In May of 1863, the Union army under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant besieged the Mississippi city of Vicksburg.

Also Read: Battle of Vicksburg Timeline

The Confederate force, led by General John C. Pemberton, had a hard time holding out against the Union army’s artillery and supply cuts. The Union troops besieged the city for weeks, gradually increasing their pressure on it.

Having exhausted their food and supplies, the Confederate army capitulated on July 4, 1863.

Ulysses S Grant

2. The Union Took Control of the Mississippi River

The Union’s capture of the Mississippi River at Vicksburg was a major turning point in the Civil War.

By seizing Vicksburg and shutting off the Confederate army’s access to the Mississippi River, the Union effectively split the Confederacy in two and severely weakened its capacity to continue the war.

Also Read: Battle of Fort Sumter Facts

The Union army was able to more easily move men and supplies between the North and the South and conduct more offensives into Confederate territory once they gained control of the Mississippi River.

The Confederacy was severely hampered by the Union’s win at Vicksburg, which followed on the heels of the Union army’s triumph at the Battle of Gettysburg two days earlier. It was a turning point in the war that sealed the fate of the Confederacy.

3. The Rise of Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant’s rise to prominence as a military leader began with the decisive victory at the Battle of Vicksburg. Grant’s victory of Vicksburg after a lengthy siege proved his tactical and strategic prowess as a leader despite the criticism and disappointments he had experienced earlier in his military career.

Grant’s reputation as a formidable Union commander was bolstered by his success at Vicksburg and later campaigns in the Western Theater. He became the overall head of the Union army in 1864 and remained in that role until the end of the Civil War.

His ability to inspire his troops and stay the course throughout the Civil War was a major factor in the eventual Union victory that led to the collapse of the Confederacy.

His military plans and operations, especially the simultaneous assaults on several fronts, successfully weakened the Confederacy. In the end, this caused the Confederacy to fail, which ended the Civil War.

His victory at Vicksburg helped propel him to the top of the Union command and ultimately to the presidency as the nation’s 18th president.

Battle of Vicksburg

4. Vicksburg is now a National Military Park

The Vicksburg National Military Park is a United States National Military Park in Vicksburg, Mississippi, that commemorates the Siege of Vicksburg during the American Civil War.

There are 1,325 monuments, tablets, and markers in the park, as well as 20 miles of ancient trenches and earthworks, a 16-mile tour road, a 12.5-mile walking trail, and the reconstructed Union gunboat USS Cairo.

Visitors can also visit the restored Union and Confederate earthworks, view significant events from the siege, and learn about the battle’s history and significance in the Civil War.

The park also has a museum that presents a summary of the siege and fight, as well as relics and exhibits that assist visitors comprehend what happened there.

The park offers self-guided excursions, ranger-led tours, and tours of the USS Cairo Museum and Ironclad Gunboat. The park also includes a free audio tour that explains the Siege of Vicksburg and the Battle of Vicksburg in historical and interpretive terms.

The park is open all year and is a popular site for Civil War aficionados, history buffs, and other people who want to learn about this pivotal fight and its significance in American history.

5. Many Illustrations were Published

Thure de Thulstrup was an artist who gained notoriety for the illustrations of the American Civil War, notably the Siege of Vicksburg, that he created and had published in Harper’s Weekly and other magazines. These illustrations were recognized for their realism and detail.

He was well-known for his intricate and precise illustrations that showed various parts of the war, including as battlefields, troops, and civilians. His work garnered a lot of attention.

These illustrations were seen and read by a large number of people, and they served to provide those individuals with a visual representation of the War.

6. There were Many Smaller Skirmishes and Attacks

General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union army in a series of attacks and maneuvers in an attempt to conquer the city and compel the Confederate army, led by General John C. Pemberton, to surrender.

The Union army launched their campaign to conquer Vicksburg in late April 1863, with an attempt to bridge the Mississippi River above the city and attack from behind. After this failed, the Union forces laid siege to the city, cutting off its supplies and shelling it with artillery.

The Confederate force fought back with artillery of their own, and there were other smaller clashes and skirmishes around the city during the course of the siege.

For instance, on May 22, a Union brigade attempted to breach the Confederate fortifications at the “Stockade Redan” and was defeated with heavy losses. On June 25, the Union attempted but failed to mine the Confederate defenses.

These actions and many other lesser encounters, added to the extended siege of the city, and finally, the Confederate army was forced to surrender on July 4, 1863.

The Siege of Vicksburg was a difficult and hard-fought campaign that needed precise organization and execution on the part of the Union army, as well as resolute resistance on the part of the Confederate army.

Battle of Vicksburg

7. Many of the Soldiers were very Inexperienced

Many of the soldiers that fought in the Battle of Vicksburg were young and inexperienced. Men of all ages participated in the Civil War, but a huge proportion of soldiers were young men who had never experienced battle before.

Many were volunteers who had joined the army to fight for their country, and the Battle of Vicksburg was their first experience with warfare for some.

The majority of the Union army was made up of volunteers, many of whom were young and inexperienced, with no military training. They were sent to battle in the Siege of Vicksburg, a difficult and lengthy war that demanded a great deal of endurance, dedication, and heroism.

The Union men had to deal with the Mississippi River Valley’s intense heat and humidity, as well as the persistent threat of Confederate artillery fire.

The Confederate army was likewise made up of volunteers, many of whom were young and inexperienced, just like the Union army. They were protecting their homes and way of life, and the Siege of Vicksburg was one of the Civil War’s most tough and extended conflicts.

They were subjected to the same conditions as Union forces, but they were also under the pressure of being besieged and cut off from supplies, which exacerbated the situation.

For both sides, the Battle of Vicksburg was a cruel and arduous battle, and for many men, it was their first taste of war’s horrors.

8. Victory at Vicksburg helped President Abraham Lincoln win re-Election

The Union army’s victory at Vicksburg helped President Abraham Lincoln win re-election in 1864. The Union had suffered a lot of setbacks throughout the Civil War, which had lasted several years.

By the time of the 1864 presidential election, however, the tide of the war had begun to change in favor of the Union. The Union army’s victory at Vicksburg was a crucial turning point in the war, helping to bolster Northern morale and give them hope that the Union could eventually win the war.

The Union’s military victories, combined with Lincoln’s strong leadership and commitment to the Union’s preservation, helped guarantee his re-election in 1864.

Lincoln’s re-election insured that he would remain in office to see the war through to its completion, and that the Union would continue to prosecute the war effort.

Lincoln’s re-election also indicated the majority of the North’s support for the war, which was critical in maintaining public morale and troops’ willingness to fight.

9. The Siege at Vicksburg Lasted for 47 Days

After a 47-day siege, Confederate commander Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton surrendered his soldiers to Union commander Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

July began at the age of 18 and concluded at the age of 18. Throughout the siege, Grant’s Union force effectively ringed the city, cutting off all supply lines and assaulting Confederate positions with artillery.

Confederate troops were running low on food and supplies and were unable to breach Union lines to receive reinforcements.

Recognizing the futility of the situation, Pemberton requested capitulation terms from Grant on July 3, 1863. Pemberton accepted Grant’s terms, which included allowing Confederate soldiers to keep their personal property and officers to keep their side guns. On July 4, 1863, Pemberton and his troops marched out of the city and surrendered to Grant.

10. The Confederate army suffered the majority of the casualties

Due to the lack of accurate records from the time period, it is difficult to determine the precise number of casualties that were sustained during the Battle of Vicksburg.

On the other hand, estimates of the total number of casualties from the conflict, which include those who were killed, injured, captured, and went missing, range anywhere from 30,000 to 37,273.

Because they were the ones who were besieged, the Confederate army was unable to receive reinforcements or resupply throughout the 47 days that the siege lasted. As a result, the Confederate army suffered the majority of the casualties, which is a crucial fact to keep in mind.

As a result of having a significantly bigger force that could be rotated and resupplied on demand, the Union army incurred fewer casualties than the Confederate army during the war.

The casualties that were sustained by the Confederate army were a significant blow to the Confederate military. A large number of the soldiers who served in the Confederate army were from the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas; the loss of these soldiers was a blow not only to the military but also to the people who lived in those states.