In addition to the fact that the Battle of Vicksburg was the final stage of one of the longest campaigns of the American Civil War, it was also as decisive a victory as the Battle of Gettysburg. The Confederate surrender at Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 4, 1863, combined with Confederate general Robert E. Lee's surrender at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on the previous day, can be considered the turning point of the war. The surrender at Vicksburg was formalized by an old oak tree which, within a short time, disappeared as fragments of it were cut and taken as souvenirs.Continue Reading
After the failure of two major assaults against the fortress city of Vicksburg, the battle became a siege tactic during which Union troops surrounded and blockaded the city in which a garrison of more than 30,000 Confederate troops and the city's civilians held out for more than 40 days before surrendering. Located on the eastern side of the Mississippi River, the city of Vicksburg was also bombarded from the west by over 22,000 shells coming from the Union gunboats on the river.
The siege of Vicksburg resulted in the boxed-in Confederate troops and civilians eventually succumbing to starvation and disease. Dogs, horses and mules began to disappear from the streets, with shoe leather becoming a last resort food source. Fearing the constant bombardment, civilians sheltered themselves in hundreds of caves that they dug in the clay hills of Vicksburg. Surprisingly, less than 12 civilians were reported killed during the heavy siege.Learn more about US History