Grant's next major mission took him to Vicksburg, Mississippi, a heavily fortified city located high atop bluffs along the Mississippi River's eastern shoreline. Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold along the Mississippi.
Grant knew that if he could capture the city, Northern control of the river would be complete. The eastern Confederate states would have no way of getting grain, cattle, and other desperately needed supplies from Confederate lands west of the river like Texas, Arkansas, and western Louisiana.
At first, Vicksburg's rebel defenders pushed back every one of Grant's offensives. But in April 1863, the Union general launched a daring and brilliant plan to capture the stronghold. He marched his troops southward down the western banks of the Mississippi, then ferried his army across the river on boats that had earlier dashed past Vicksburg's mighty cannons under cover of darkness.
Grant's strategy worked flawlessly. By the end of April, he had successfully transported his army across the river to the eastern shoreline. Grant's army was now on the same side of the river as Vicksburg itself. Over the next few weeks, he steadily advanced on Vicksburg, destroying rebel supplies and small Confederate armies with ease. By mid-May, Grant had captured the town of Jackson, chased off the main Southern army in the region, and completely encircled Vicksburg.
Shortly after surrounding Vicksburg, Grant tried to take the city by force. When these attempts failed, however, he settled in for a long siege of the city. By stopping all shipments of food and supplies into Vicksburg, Grant planned to starve the city into surrendering. Once again, Grant's strategy worked. On July 4, the Confederate garrison surrendered the city to Grant, and Union troops moved in. A few days later, Grant took control of Port Hudson, Louisiana, a smaller rebel outpost on the Mississippi. Thanks to Grant's brilliant campaign, the entire Mississippi River Valley now belonged to the North.
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