This paper explores the city of Vicksburg, its political history, the battles that were fought between the union and the confederates and finally its capture. The paper further looks at the political and military effects of the capture of Vicksburg. HISTORY OF VICKSBURG Vicksburg city is named after Newitt Vick; a Methodist minister who was an objector of revolution. Vicksburg is located in Warren county Mississippi. The first settlers in the area were the French who then built the Saint Pierre in 1719 in the present day Redwood.
Ten years later Native Americans took over the land and inhabited there, the Spaniards then established a military outpost known as Nogales which later changed to Walnut hills in1798 when the Americans took possession of the land. The city of Vicksburg is remembered in history. The soft drink Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time on March 12 1894 by Joseph Biedenharn, a local confectioner. Vicksburg was also the main gathering point for refugees and a site of temporary housing during the Great Mississippi Flood which occurred in 1927 and led to the submergence of the Mississippi delta.
Vicksburg’s history also consists of racial discrimination. Racial discrimination was characterized by numerous lynching like the lynching of December 7 1874 where more than fifty black residences were murdered. The killings were because whites were fighting to remove black elected officials in Vicksburg the violence cooled down when federal troops were deployed to the city to cool the violence. BATTLES IN THE OPERATION AGAINST VICKSBURG
Vicksburg was extremely important to the Confederates because it was strategically located to block the movement of the Union down the Mississippi river and it also facilitated communication of the city with the states which were located west of the river, this was necessary for the Confederates to obtain their agricultural supplies. The city is located on a high bluff overlooking the De Soto Peninsula. This location gives the city an ideal natural defense which earned the city the nickname “The Gibraltar of the Confederacy”.
Since the city was almost impossible to be approached by ship without being noticed. Before the capture of the city by the union, the union and the confederates went into a series of battles most of which resulted in a high number of casualties from both sides. These battles went down in history as the Vicksburg campaigns. We will look at some of these battles, those involved and their effects. 1. Battle of Chickasaw bayou ( Dec 26- Dec 29 1862) Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman led a union attack at Yazoo River.
On the Confederate side the confederate forces in Mississippi were under the command of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton. This battle resulted in a lot of casualties and losses of artillery on the side of the confederates and when Lt. Gen Pemberton realized that he was not going to win this battle he then withdrew his forces. 2. Battle of Arkansas Post (January 9 – January 11, 1863) Union troops arrived in boats under the leadership of Rear Adm. David Dixon Porter and began landing troops near Arkansas. They attacked the confederates and the battle ended in the surrender of the confederates.
The Union faced a lot of losses and although the victory did not contribute to the capture of Vicksburg, it eliminated a big hindrance to the Union shipping on the Mississippi river. 3. Grants bayou operations (Jan-march) 1863 Maj. Gen Ulysses Grant carried out initiatives aimed at finding alternative ways to approach Vicksburg without requiring a direct approach so as to capture Vicksburg; he called these initiatives “Grant’s Bayou Operations”. Operation aimed at expanding the grants canal. The Williams Canal which was later referred to as Grants canal was situated across De Soto Peninsula.
It had been previously abandoned by Adm. Farragut and Brig. Gen. Williams in July 1862, but grant saw it could offer a route downriver that bypassed Vicksburg’s attacks. The lake providence expedition which involved the expansion of the grant Lake Providence, Maj. Gen Grant ordered the construction of a canal from the Mississippi to Lake Providence. The Yazoo pass expedition which involved blowing up dikes on the Mississippi river which would make it difficult for the ships to be seen as they approached the city.
Steele’s Bayou Expedition which was an effort to go up the Yazoo Delta via Steele’s Bayou, which was located north of Vicksburg. This expedition was led by Admiral David Farragut who demanded the surrender of Vicksburg. Farragut did not have enough troops to force the surrender of Vicksburg so he went back to New Orleans and returned to Vicksburg with an armored ship in June 1862, but their attempts to attack the fortress into surrender failed. They fought some minor battles with a few Confederate vessels but their forces were insufficient to attempt a landing, and they gave up.
Farragut thought of ways of bypassing the fortified cliffs by digging a canal across the De Soto Peninsula. On June The Duckport Canal was dug under Grant’s orders. The canal from Duckport Landing to Walnut Bayou was dug. They employed laborers who were locals and some troops, most of the laborers suffered tropical diseases and heat exhaustion forcing them to abandon the work. By the time the canal was almost finished the level of water had declined and most boats could not go through. Another attack was in 1862 by Maj. Gen. Henry W.
Halleck Granted a major move down the Mississippi to Vicksburg; he believed the navy could capture Vicksburg on its own although he was wrong since the job needed more troops and the confederates had reinforcement at the time. 4. Battle of Snyder’s bluff This is one of the battles that occurred at the Snyder’s bluff and ended in the favor of the union but with few casualties. 5. Battle of Fort Gibson (May 1) This battle was fought by Grants army which ended in the defeat of the confederates, this defeat showed that the confederates were unable to defend the Mississippi river. 6. Battle of Raymond (May 12)
This was another Battle led by Gen Johnson that turned out unsuccessful it resulted in losses on both sides in terms of weaponry, casualties of war and economic losses. 7. Battle of Champion Hill (May 16) The Union forces engaged the Confederates and the Battle of Champion Hill began. Maj. Gen Pemberton’s force drew up into a defensive line along a crest of a ridge overlooking Jackson Creek and this battle ended in the favor of the Union. 8. Battle of Big Black River Bridge (May 17) The Confederates reached Big Black River Bridge on May 16 – May 17 and Lt. Gen. John C Pemberton ordered Brig.
Gen. Bowen to man the east bank of the river and to stop Union pursuit. They divided into three divisions called corps. The division of McLennan’s corps moved out and corps encountered the union forces they lost the battle and the Union forces captured approximately 1,800 troops, a loss that the Confederates suffered a great deal. (Bears Edwin 1985 The campaign for Vicksburg, Morningside House) 9. Battle of Milliken’s bend (June 7) Confederates attacked the union troops at Milliken bend which was usually lightly manned the defenders lost. 10. Battle of Goodrich’s landing (June 29-june30)
This battle that took place resulted in the defeat of the Union by the confederates. 11. Battle of Helena. Union’s Lt. Gen. Theophilus H. Holmes’s troops attacked Helena, Arkansas, in an attempt to relieve pressure on Vicksburg. Although the Confederates had more troops and did initially capture some of the fortifications, the Union forces repelled them, after a series of battles which lasted ten days the union emerged successful. They suffered losses in form of casualties and armor (Ballard, Michael B. , 2004,Vicsburg, the campaigns that opened the Mississippi, University of North Carolina).
THE OPPOSING FORCES The confederate forces were led by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton led an army of about thirty thousand troops. General Joseph E. Johnston’s forces who were also a confederate led an army of six thousand so in total the army of Mississippi had about thirty six thousand troops. Lt. Gen John C. Pemberton knew he had the advantage of terrain and fortifications that made his defense nearly impregnable and Abraham Lincoln also had interest in the city of Vicksburg, he saw the importance of Vicksburg that is why he had intended to capture it and he gathered armies to attack the city.
THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG The siege of Vicksburg was the last attempt of the capture of Vicksburg in the Vicksburg campaign. After a series of maneuvers Maj. Gen Ulysses grant and his army of Tennessee managed to cross the Mississippi river and drove away the confederate army of Lt John C. Pemberton. After two attempts the confederates suffered a lot of casualties and they surrendered to the army of Tennessee this marked the success of the Union. The Union Army of the Tennessee finally gained control of the river by capturing this stronghold and defeating Lt. Gen. John C.
Pemberton’s forces stationed there. MILTARY CONSECUENCES OF THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG After the battle and the fall of Vicksburg the confederates had to surrender to defeat. The atmosphere was filled with relief after the tension that characterized war. Slaves and prisoners of war were freed, the union troops mingled with the confederates in unity, They shook hands and they shared food, the stores of those of who had been hoarding food during the war were broken into and the food was thrown on the road for the people who were starving to take as much as they wanted.
(Ulysses Grant, Personal memoirs of US Grant, chapter. 38). Confederate casualties resulted to about 2,872 and the Union casualties were about 4,910. Both armies also suffered great losses in artillery. POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE BATTLE OF VICKSBURG The most important political effect of the battle was the control of the Mississippi river. Vicksburg was important because it was strategically located. Its location blocked the movement of shipment down the Mississippi river and it enabled communication of the city with the states which were situated west of the river.
The split of the confederate forces into two was also another big effect of the capture of Vicksburg. The disintegration of the Confederates signified the loss in their military and political power. Some of the confederates went into war with New Orleans after the capture of Vicksburg and lost. This showed how weak the confederates were after the spit. Grant was the victor of the Vicksburg Campaign. He was rewarded for his victory by President Abraham Lincoln with a promotion to major general in the army; he even received a letter congratulating him from the president Abraham Lincoln.
CONCLUSION The difficult battles and finally the capture of Vicksburg had a lot of political and military consequences. It is evident that the military effects of the battle of Vicksburg were of much less consequence than the political effects. Every battle was characterized by looses of lives and firearms and The surrender of the confederates on Independence Day was a great significance to the union since they were able to control a major water way and control a city that had great strategic location for war.
The capture of this city also signified independence as slaves and prisoners of war were released and the confederates and the union troops made peace with each other. REFERENCES Albert Castel (2003). Society for military history. New York; New York University press. Ulysses S. Grant (1822-82). Personal memoirs of U S Grant. New York; Charles L Webster Company Ballard, Michael B. , (2004). Vicksburg, the Campaign that Opened the Mississippi. North Carolina; University of North Carolina Press.Sample Essay of Custom-Writing