Siege and Capture of Vicksburg ismay4julyi863

The Army of the Tennessee crossed the Big Black River on May 17, and closed on Vicksburg. On May 19, Grant re-established contact with Admiral Porter's fleet on the Yazoo River. Unaware that Pemberton had two fresh divisions in Vicksburg, Grant thought the victories at Champion Hill's and Big Black River had crushed the Confederates' morale. But Pemberton's units held in force earthworks guarding Graveyard, Jackson and Baldwin's Ferry roads, along which the Federals were approaching.

On May 19, Sherman advanced against the Graveyard road defenses, but rugged terrain disrupted the lines. The Confederates riddled the Federals with shot, pinning them down. On Sherman's left McPherson and McClernand seized ground near the Vicksburg perimeter After dark, Sherman withdrew his men.

Now painfully aware that Pemberton's army had not been badly damaged, Grant regrouped and prepared for an all-out offensive. On May 22, cannon hammered the Confederate works, while Porter's ironclads bombarded the river forts south of the city. At 10 a.m. the artillery fell silent, and Grant's three corps charged. Sherman's and McPherson's rushes were blunted, but McClernand stormed Railroad Redoubt. Grant renewed the assaults. Pemberton's fresh reserves counterattacked, driving the Federals back. Grant suspended the attack. The Union had lost 3,199 men; the Confederates less than 500.

On May 25, Grant began siege operations to cut off supplies and reinforcements to the city. Porter controlled the Mississippi, and the Louisiana shore was occupied. Trenches were pushed toward the Confederate defenses and breaching batteries established. Federal artillery hurled thousands of shells into the city. To escape the horrors of the bombardment, citizens dug caves into the hillsides. On June 25 and July 1, mines were exploded under the Third Lousiana Redan, but a Federal attack following the first mine failed.

Grant called for reinforcements, and by the third week of June he had more than 77,000 troops. President Davis provided General Johnston with reinforcements, but Johnston was over-cautious and Confederate attacks on Federal enclaves west of the river were repulsed.

By the end of June rations in Vicksburg were running low; the troops began to eat mules and horses. The heat sapped the men's vigor, and morale sagged as it became clear Johnston was not coming to their relief.

By July 2 Pemberton had two options: to cut his way out or surrender. Realising his men were in no condition to attack, Pemberton met Grant on July 3 to discuss terms. Grant demanded unconditional surrender; Pemberton refused. Grant modified his terms, and on July 4 the Confederate army, 29,500 strong, surrendered. Grant took possession of Vicksburg.

Union officers relax on the platform of "Whistling Dick" within the defenses of Vicksburg after the city's surrender (below). The rifled eighteen pounder had been one of the Confederates' most feared artillery pieces and had gained its name from the distinctive sound made by its shells as they passed overhead.

4 ■ May 17-19: Grant's army approaches

" Vicksburg: Sherman via Benton and Graveyard Roads, McPherson via Jackson Road, McClernand via Baldwin's Fern: Road f^ May 19,1.30 ptu-dark: Grant assails Confederate works but is repulsed g May 20-22, dawn: Grant cmplaces artillery and occupies ground doser to Confederate perimeter

May 22,6.10 am: federal artillery and Porter's srondads bombard Vidibtirg

May 22, lOam-dark: Grant astaiis Confederate defenses From 26th Louisiana Redoubt to Square Fort. Porter attacks South Fort, federals repulsed with heavy losses

' g May 25: As Confederate defenses prove - too strong to storm, Grant calls for siegi operations and reinforcements

attempting u> gauge strength of Confederate upper water batteries

May 25-July 3: Federals forge an ring sealing the defeases MLhin the perimeter

1 Mile throw up nine miles of earthworks guarding land approaches to Vicksburg

May 17,1863: Pemberton and two Confederate divisions retreat into Vicksburg perimeter

''o May 18: Confederates occupy and strengthen Vicksburg defenses

4 ■ May 17-19: Grant's army approaches

" Vicksburg: Sherman via Benton and Graveyard Roads, McPherson via Jackson Road, McClernand via Baldwin's Fern: Road f^ May 19,1.30 ptu-dark: Grant assails Confederate works but is repulsed g May 20-22, dawn: Grant cmplaces artillery and occupies ground doser to Confederate perimeter

May 22,6.10 am: federal artillery and Porter's srondads bombard Vidibtirg

May 22, lOam-dark: Grant astaiis Confederate defenses From 26th Louisiana Redoubt to Square Fort. Porter attacks South Fort, federals repulsed with heavy losses

' g May 25: As Confederate defenses prove - too strong to storm, Grant calls for siegi operations and reinforcements

attempting u> gauge strength of Confederate upper water batteries

May 25-July 3: Federals forge an ring sealing the defeases MLhin the perimeter

1 Mile

Port Hudson Campaign may 8 - july 91863

By the spring of 1863, Confederate General Franklin Gardner had transformed Port Hudson into a bastion more formidable than Vicksburg. Hoping to achieve a bloodless victory, Admiral Farragut and General Banks, from March 14 until May 7, attempted to force Gardner to abandon Port Hudson by severing his supply line with the Trans-Mississippi. When this strategy failed, Banks began his encirclement of Port Hudson. Three Federal divisions moved down the Red River to strike from the north, while two others advanced from Baton Rouge and New Orleans to attack from the east and south. By May 22, Banks's 30,000 Federal troops and Farragut's fleet had isolated Gardner's 7,500 men.

Terrain, vague orders, and uncooperative senior officers prevented the five Federal divisons from attacking simultaneously on May 27 Federal troops first struck the fortifications opposite the Confederate left. Reinforcements from the center enabled defenders to repulse the assaults along Little Sandy Creek. The fighting in this sector ended three hours before Sherman's and Augur's divisions assailed the Confederate center This delay enabled Gardner to abandon his center to reinforce his left without

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