The Vicksburg Campaign and Siege
A Guide to the Campaign Trail
— Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Parker Hills —
In April of 1861, rumors of Civil War became a reality at Charleston harbor when Fort Sumter was fired upon by Southern forces. Many leaders, both North and South, believed that a dash to capture the opposing side's capital city would bring a quick political end to the war. But Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were Western-born men and realized that the Mississippi River, king of the waterways, was a geographic key to victory. It was the River that meandered southward for 2,320 miles and delivered commerce and prosperity to the vast interior region. As the River bordered the state of Mississippi for over 600 strategic miles, it was only a matter of time before the Magnolia State would become a battleground for control of the Lower Mississippi River Valley.
When the war closed the River to Northern commerce, the states of the Old Northwest demanded action, and by August all the manpower and treasure the Union could muster was aimed at reopening "the spinal column of America." A shallow-draft fleet of gunboats was rapidly built, and by mid-1862 the ironclad monsters roamed with impunity on the Western waters. Yet Vicksburg held fast,
In the first months of 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant masterminded a joint operation to open the last stretch of the River. Using multiple diversions to distract Confederate General John C. Pemberton, Grant achieved an unopposed river crossing at Bruinsburg, Mississippi, on April 30. He quickly overpowered a Southern force at the Battle of Port Gibson on May 1, and two days later entered Grand Gulf to establish a base to supply his campaign. Then, instead of marching directly north to Vicksburg, Grant surprised both friend and foe by marching northeast toward Pemberton's railroad line of communications.
On May 12, a Confederate force unsuccessfully struck Grant's right flank at the Battle of Raymond. Grant quickly changed his scheme of maneuver and pivoted east, capturing Jackson on May 14. The Federals then raced west toward Vicksburg and defeated Pemberton's army at the Battle of Champion Hill on May 16, and at Big Black Bridge on May 17. After attacks on Vicksburg on May 19 and 22 were beaten back, siege operations began. Almost two months later, Vicksburg and its army surrendered on July 4, and Port Hudson fell on July 9. The River was open and, as Lincoln declared. ''The Father of Water again flows unvexed to the sea."
"The sun did not shine more certainly
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior; the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Vicksburg; City of Port Gibson and City of Raymond; Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Mississippi Development Authority Division of Tourism.
Topics. This memorial is listed in these topic lists: War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 31° 57.035′ N, 90° 59.154′ W. Marker is in Port Gibson, Mississippi, in Claiborne County. Memorial is on Church Street (U.S. 61) south of Horton Drive, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1601 Church Street, Port Gibson MS 39150, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Van Dorn House (here, next to this marker); Claiborne County (a few steps from this marker); a different marker also named Claiborne County (within shouting distance of this marker); Samuel Gibson House (within shouting distance of this marker); Dependency (within shouting distance of this marker); Idlewild (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Spencer Home (approx. ¼ mile away); Heath Home (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Gibson.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 25, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 13, 2019, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 231 times since then and 62 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 13, 2019.