- Battle Name: Battle of Vicksburg
- Battle Start Date: May 18th, 1863
- Battle End Date: July 4th, 1863
- Battle Belligerents: United States and Confederate States
- Battle Winner: United States
- Generals: Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant for the Union Army and Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton for the Confederate Army
- Total Casualties: 37,000+
17 Battle of Vicksburg Facts for Kids
- The Battle of Vicksburg was the last major military battle of the American Civil War.
- The Battle of Vicksburg is also known as the Siege of Vicksburg.
- The Battle of Vicksburg was part of the Vicksburg campaign.
- The Battle of Vicksburg was fought between the United States and the Confederate States.
- At the start of the Battle of Vicksburg the United States had around 77,000 troops and the Confederate States had around 33,000 troops.
- The Battle of Vicksburg resulted in a total of 8,037 casualties.
- The United States had 4,835 casualties, 766 killed, 3,793 wounded and 276 captured or missing.
- The Confederate States had 32,697 casualties with 3,202 of the casualties being killed, wounded or missing.
- The Confederate States had 29,495 of its troops captured as prisoners of war.
- The Confederate States lost 172 cannons to the United States after the Battle of Vicksburg.
- After the United States victory at the Battle of Vicksburg then United States President Abraham Lincoln was quoted saying “The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea.”
Where Did the Battle of Vicksburg Take Place?
- The Battle of Vicksburg was fought in Warren County, Mississippi. The Battle of Vicksburg was fought because part of the United State’s Anaconda Plan was to capture the last major Confederate stronghold, seize control of the Mississippi River and effectively divide the Confederate States.
- The Union was successful and gained control over the River. It even separated Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana from the Confederate States.
The Role of African Americans
- African Americans also had a role in the Battle of Vicksburg. The Union did not initially recruit them. Escaped slaves were already employed in some units for menial work.
- The Union recruited more during 1863, and the tally reached 180,000 colored soldiers. All of them had to work under white supervisors.
- The Confederates attacked the Unions on 7th June to cut off the supply line to Maj. Gen. Grant. The black soldiers, with their inferior weapons, fought off the attack using gunboats. Around 652 lost lives, while causing 152 causalities to the Confederates. This diminished the Confederate’s chances of winning.
What Happened at the Battle of Vicksburg?
- Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant played a vital role in the Battle of Vicksburg and the American Civil War. He led the troops to victory through a series of strategies that included assaults and siege, depending on the situation.
- Grant wasn’t successful without a few hiccups and failures. His first few assault attacks on the Confederate Army failed and lead to many casualties and injuries. Grant decided to siege only when the assaults failed.
- The attack planned for 22nd May was successful. Grant made sure the troops were well-fed and ready for the battle. The Union troops yelled, ‘hardtack’ on the previous night and were supplied with the same along with beans and coffee.
- The bombing of Vicksburg began on the 21st night and continued the next day. The Union troops used different methods to enter Vicksburg and surround it from all sides. The breakthrough wasn’t as easy as they expected.
- A lot happened on 22nd May, including the partially misleading communication sent by Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand, leading XIII Corps. This eventually led Grant to consider siege instead of another assault attack on Vicksburg.
- The Battle of Vicksburg had a small truce period before the siege took place. The injured and dead soldiers and animals from the Union troops polluted the place. The decay was faster in the summer heat. Grant had to finally relent and call for a truce.
- The Confederate Army ceased fire as the Union troops recovered the bodies. The two parties worked alongside for the time being.
- Maj. Gen. Grant planned the siege and took help from Maj. Gen. Henry W. Halleck, who was the General in Chief of the Union Army. Major General William T. Sherman also helped Grant in planning the siege.
- The Union Army gunboats fired more than 22,000 shells. The army continued heavy artillery fire on the side. This caused major destruction in Vicksburg.
- The citizens moved into ‘bombproof’ caves of around 500 dug in the region. They furnished the caves and stayed there, trying to align their outside movements with the attacks. The Vicksburg citizens also had to protect their food gardens and crops from the starving Confederate Army.
- The town had fewer people and animals walking around as the siege extended through June. Despite the relentless attacks, not many citizens seemed to have lost their lives in Vicksburg. The town was nicknamed Prairie Dog Village by the Union troops as the citizens survived by hiding in the caves.
- The Crater at the Third Louisiana Redan had historical significance in the Battle of Vicksburg. The Union troops dug a tunnel under the Crater and filled it with 2200 pounds of gunpowder. They blew it up on 25th June, dividing the Confederate lines.
- The Confederate Army continued to defend and even managed to pin the Union troops under the Crater. However, The Pioneers in the Union Army widened the cater on the 2nd and 3rd of July for the troops to pass through. This proved unnecessary as Pemberton sent a note for surrender on the same day.
- John Clifford Pemberton was the Confederate General in the American Civil War. He took charge as a lieutenant general in October 1962 for Tennessee, eastern Louisiana, and Mississippi. Pemberton did his best to defend Vicksburg but wasn’t successful. The lack of access to food and water due to Grant’s siege left him no option but to surrender to the Union in July 1963.
How Long was the Battle of Vicksburg?
- The first attack (bombardment) on Vicksburg happened a year earlier, in 1962. It set the stage for the Battle and Siege of Vicksburg in 1863 and was called the First Battle of Vicksburg. The Union naval vessels continuously bombarded Vicksburg.
- The Battle of Vicksburg was fought between May 18th, 1863 and July 4th, 1863. It lasted for a 1 month, 2 weeks, and 3 days.
Who Won the Battle of Vicksburg?
- The Battle of Vicksburg was won by the United States.
- The United States victory at the Battle of Vicksburg removed the last major stronghold of the Confederate States and gave them ultimate control of the Mississippi River.
- Pemberton realized that the Confederate Army was starving and had no chance of winning. They suffered from malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, scurvy, and other health issues. He contacted Grant on 3rd July asking for peace negotiations.
- Grant changed his demand from unconditional surrender to paroling the prisoners after the defeat. The Confederate Army surrendered on 4th July, Independence Day, with an old oak tree as a witness to the event.
- The Union recorded a victory at Port Hudson five days after the siege at Vicksburg. It went on to control the Mississippi River and divided the Confederate States into two. The Union Army under Grant next registered a win at Eastern Tennessee.
- Though some say that Vicksburg didn’t celebrate 4th of July again until the Second World War, there is no evidence of this statement. In fact, records of the celebrations in the region during 1907 can be found.
Battleground and Its Importance Post-War
- National Park Service preserves and maintains the battlefield. The Vicksburg National Military Park is located in Vicksburg (Mississippi) and Delta (Louisiana).
- The Vicksburg National Military Park is spread across 1800 acres. It has 1325 historical monuments and the Vicksburg National Cemetery. Around 17000 Union soldiers rest in this cemetery. It has trenches, tour roads, trails, cannons, earthworks, restored gunboats, etc., and is open to the public.
Pictures of the Battle of Vicksburg
Find More Facts About the Battle of Vicksburg
- Timeline of the Battle of Vicksburg – View the timeline of the Battle of Vicksburg during the Civil War on the Civil War Timline website.
- Battle of Vicksburg Pictures – Look at some old pictures of the Battle of Vicksburg on the Battlefields website.
- Battle of Vicksburg – Wikipedia – Read more about the Battle of Vicksburg on the Wikipedia website.