The Siege of Vicksburg battlefield is one of the most important Civil War battlefields. The Confederate Army of Mississippi surrendered as a result of the Union General Ulysses S. Grant’s successful siege of the city, which also cut off the Confederacy from the western states of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas and severely hindered their war effort. Here are a few facts you may not know about the Battle of Vicksburg:
Grant Paroled the Confederate Soldiers: When negotiating the terms of surrender with his Confederate counterpart, General John C. Pemberton, Grant initially demanded a complete surrender. However, he changed his mind, worrying that Union camps wouldn’t be able to handle 30,000 new prisoners, and allowed the surrendering soldiers to go free. Grant would ultimately come to regret this decision, as many of the soldiers from the Army of Mississippi would find their way back to other Confederate units and rejoin the war.
The Armies Teased Each Other: During the siege, the lines were close enough that Union and Confederate soldiers could lob friendly taunts and insults at one another throughout the day. According to Grant’s recollection, a common taunt from the Confederate side was “Well, Yank, when are you coming into town?”, to which the Union soldiers would respond, “We propose to celebrate the 4th of July there!” This proved to be prophetic, as Pemberton’s surrender would indeed come on July 4th.
The Union Tried to Blow Up the Confederate Lines with Gunpowder: Late in the siege, Grant directed his men to dig tunnels under a Confederate embankment and fill them with barrels of gunpowder. When they lit the powder, the resulting explosion completely destroyed the embankment, but the subsequent assault failed and the Confederate line held. Union General Ambrose Burnside would later use the same plan during the Battle of Petersberg, with similarly unimpressive results.
To learn more about the Siege of Vicksburg, we recommend checking out our Vicksburg Battlefield Self-Guided Driving Tour, or you can sign up for Action+ for access to over 100 tours for a single yearly price.
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