About Vicksburg Battlefield
Vicksburg Battlefield was the site of one of the most important Union victories of the American Civil War and, together with the Battle of Gettysburg, marked a pivotal moment during the conflict.
With its strategically vital location near the Mississippi River, wealth of resources, access to Richmond and ability to split the south, President Abraham Lincoln considered Vicksburg to be “the key” to winning the war. Thus, Lincoln launched the Vicksburg Campaign to seize the town from the Confederates and, in 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant led the Union Army of the Tennessee towards the fateful battlefield.
Vicksburg was heavily defended and, only after two failed attempts on 19 and 22 May 1863, did Grant’s Union army manage to penetrate them. Grant changed his tactics from those of force to instigating a siege, cutting the Confederate troops at Vicksburg off from their communication and supply routes and preparing the way for an attack.
Then, from May 26, the Federal troops undertook a campaign to undermine the Confederate defences by tunnelling underneath them and destroying them with explosives. Two mines were indeed detonated in June together with several clashes and ongoing gunfire.
Finally, on 3 July, Confederate General Pemberton rode to meet Grant, displaying white flags. Initially unable to agree terms, the final Confederate surrender was signed the next day on 4 July 1863. The Union had gained their key to the South.
Today, Vicksburg Battlefield is a National Historic Park, which houses over a thousand monuments commemorating the siege of Vicksburg and its surrounding events together with a restored Federal navy boat, the USS Cairo, with its accompanying museum and a National Cemetery.
There are various activities at Vicksburg Battlefield, including an in-car tour of the site and a visitor centre with several exhibits. Nearby are related sites including the batteries at Louisiana Circle and Navy Circle as well as South Fort.