The Civil War, Day by Day

Dilger at Gettysburg (detail)

Seige of Vicksburg Begins

Grant and his troops had surmounted great obstacles to reach Vicksburg. The previous day, Confederate soldiers had burned the bridges crossing the nearby Big Black River. Grant’s men, with the rapid assistance of General William T. Sherman, replaced those bridges with ones built from trees, planks, and cotton bales. As they approached the city, Sherman told Grant they were reaching “the end of one of the greatest campaigns in history.”

According to Vicksburg resident Emma Balfour, the siege was a “grand and awful spectacle. The darkness was lit up by burning houses all along our line. They were burnt that our firing (upon the Union Army) would not be obscured. It was so sad to see…but the stern necessity of war had caused their destruction.”

As Confederate General John Pemberton waited in Vicksburg, President Jefferson Davis dispatched General Joseph Johnston to the city for support. This move proved futile. Vicksburg finally surrendered on July 4, the day after the Confederate’s bloody defeat at Gettysburg.

Mort Künstler painted this dramatic scene, a detail from Dilger at Gettysburg, which typifies what took place during the siege of Vicksburg.

May's Archived Features:

Monday May 1, 2023
Tuesday May 2, 2023
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Thursday May 4, 2023
Friday May 5, 2023
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All illustrations by Mort Künstler. Text by Michael Aubrecht, Dee Brown, Henry Steele Commager, Rod Gragg, Mort Künstler, Edward Lengel, James McPherson, and James I. Robertson, Jr. - Copyright © 2001-2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means without written consent of the artist.