previous next

On the banks of this, the greatest river in the world, the most decisive and far-reaching battle of the war was fought. Here at Vicksburg over one hundred thousand gallant soldiers and a powerful fleet of gunboats and ironclads in terrible earnestness for forty days and nights fought to decide whether the new Confederate States should be cut in twain; whether the great river should flow free to the Gulf, or should have its commerce hindered. We all know the result — the Union army under General Grant, and the Union navy under Admiral Porter were victorious. The Confederate army, under General Pemberton, numbering thirty thousand men, was captured and General Grant's army set free for operating in other fields. It was a staggering blow from which the Confederacy never rallied. Lieutenant-General Stephen D. Lee, C. S. A., at the dedication of the Massachusetts Volunteers' statue at the Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi, November 14, 1903.

The Mississippi River, in its lower course, winds like a mighty serpent from side to side along a vast alluvial bottom, which in places is more than forty miles in width. On the eastern bank, these great coils here and there sweep up to the bluffs of the highlands of Tennessee and Mississippi. On these cliffs are situated Memphis, Port Hudson, Grand Gulf, and Vicksburg. The most important of these from a military point of view was Vicksburg, often called the “Gibraltar of the West.” Situated two hundred feet above the current, on a great bend of the river, its cannon could command the waterway for miles in either direction, while the obstacles in the way of a land approach were almost equally insurmountable.

The Union arms had captured New Orleans, in the spring of 1862, and Memphis in June of that year; but the Confederates still held Vicksburg and Port Hudson and the two hundred and fifty miles of river that lies between them. The military

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Ulysses S. Grant (4)
D. D. Porter (2)
John C. Pemberton (2)
Stephen D. Lee (2)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
November 14th, 1903 AD (2)
1862 AD (2)
June (2)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: