See our collection of photos from the Vicksburg battlefield.
(13 photos in gallery)
The Key to the South
Before interstate highways or even railroads, the Mississippi River was the primary avenue for the transport of goods from the American northwest to Southern ports and the world at large. Located atop the bluffs overlooking the river, Vicksburg and its railroad connected the two halves of the Confederacy, making it the focus of strategic considerations for both armies.
During the May 19 and 22 assaults on Vicksburg, Gen. William T. Sherman's Union corps was ordered to assault these works here astride the grimly named Graveyard Road. In both assaults, Sherman's men managed to plant their colors on the works, but were still compelled to withdraw with heavy loss.
Assault on the Railroad Redoubt
After a more thorough reconnaissance, Grant renewed his offensive on May 22. As part of that assault, the McClernand's Thirteenth Corps assaulted the Confederate works guarding the Southern Railroad and were repulsed with heavy loss.
With picks and shovels, work parties from Gen. John A. Logan's division of the Union Seventeenth Corps, began digging an 8 foot wide, 7 foot deep "approach trench" on May 26, 1863. Their objective, the 3rd Louisiana Redan, was roughly 400 yards from this spot when construction began.
3rd Louisiana Redan
This earthen fortification along the Jackson Road was the focus of operations of the Federals under Gen. John A. Logan, culminating with the explosion of a mine under this work on June 25, 1863.
The Fight in the Crater of Fort Hill
Library of Congress
At 3:30pm on June 25, 1863, Union sappers detonated a mine beneath the 3rd Louisiana Redan and Federals rushed forward to exploit the breach. After more than 20 hours of fruitless combat – much of it in darkness – Grant recalled his troops. The siege would continue.
Clearing the Trees
The National Park Service is currently working to clear some of the vegetation that has grown in the 150 years since the battle, thus restoring the historic landscape to its wartime appearance.
Confederate commander Gen. John C. Pemberton used this house as his headquarters during the siege of Vicksburg and made the decision to surrender the city in one of these rooms.
Surrender Interview Site
This upturned cannon marks the spot where the Union and Confederate commanders first met to discuss the surrender of Pemberton's army.
This 202 foot tall obelisk commemorating the United States Navy efforts at Vicksburg is the tallest monument in the national park. Four statues at its base memorialize the naval commanders David D. Porter, David G, Farragut, Andrew Foote, and Charles Henry Davis.
The Old Court House
Completed in 1860, the historic court house in downtown Vicksburg was the target of many a Union artillerist during the siege of Vicksburg, but only suffered one direct hit. On July 4, 1863, the victorious Federals raised the Stars and Stripes atop this building, signifying the end of siege of Vicksburg.
Illinois State Memorial
Dedicated in 1906, this white marble structure commemorates the 36,325 Illinois soldiers who participated in the siege of Vicksburg. 47 steps--one for each day of the 1863 siege--lead to the monument's entrance.
Cedar Hill Cemetery
Established in 1866 by the Ladies Confederate Cemetery Association of Vicksburg, the Cedar Hill Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 1,600 Confederate soldiers who died during the Vicksburg Campaign.