Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vicksburg Surrounded

Siege of Vicksburg
After defeating the Confederate army yet again in the Battle of Big Black River Bridge, the Federal forces continued their pursuit. Pemberton had received orders from Johnston to abandon Vicksburg and save his army. He had written:
If Haines Bluff is untenable, Vicksburg is of no value and cannot be held. If, therefore, you are invested at Vicksburg, you must ultimately surrender. Under such circumstances, instead of losing both troops and place, we must, if possible, save the troops. If it is not too late, evacuate Vicksburg and its dependencies, and march them to the northeast.
That was something Pemberton would not agree to do. President Jefferson Davis had said the city would be held to the last ditch, and that's what Pemberton would do. He fell back to the city, and the Union forces moved in to surround him, 150 years ago today. The siege of Vicksburg had begun. The Confederates had 18,500 troops in the town's nearly impregnable 6 ½ miles of defenses, Grant had 35,000 with more coming, and the support of the navy. Grant had finally succeeded in crossing the river, and maneuvering to position himself in front of the city. Now he just had to capture it, but that would prove to take many more weeks.


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