Course Research Paper – Vicksburg Campaign
History 101 – 87 N –
06 May 2015
The Campaign of Vicksburg was “the key”, to ensuring victory and the assurance of commerce to world markets. Where the march of Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, March 1863 to July 1863, would prove compelling is that Grant would out generalize Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and eventually start the fall of Richmond and the Confederacy of Jefferson Davis. That the campaign was a central ingredient for success according to President Abraham Lincoln and would divide the Confederacy while, giving the Union complete control of the Mississippi transportation route. With the capture of Vicksburg, the Union led by risky, ...view middle of the document...
” The stance of Lincoln was upheld by over a year of agricultural products demanded, but never acquired by the Union and especially the world markets that depended on the exports.
Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy realized this also; while in the first year of the war Vicksburg was very obtainable and defended by merely a sparse garrison and very little entrenched support to defend the “key” of the South. Recognized as the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy”, the defenses where more heavily fortified, and Davis referred to Vicksburg as “the nailhead that held the South’s two haves together.” The rebel instillation by the time of the siege had grown to 30,000 men, and was under the command of Pemberton. Compared to what would become an account of 70,000 troops encircling the town of Vicksburg and complete blockade of Pemberton by Grant and his Army of the Tennessee.
The Vicksburg campaign was to be one of the most remarkable strategic plans to be developed by the Union and Grant. Grants military campaign involved many naval operations, troop movements, failed initiatives, and eleven distinct battles including the largest amphibian assault in history prior to World War II. Military experts agree and divide the campaign into 2 separate and consequential periods: Operations against Vicksburg (December 1862-January 1863) and Grant’s Operation against Vicksburg (March 1863-July 1863). For my discussion of this paper I will discuss the events from the second phase, although the events leading up to the spring of 1863 were the direct result in the Union seize and capture of Vicksburg.
For a month, the Union had made desperate frontal assaults that were out maneuvered and failed in part to tactics of rebel forces, but moreover the geography of Vicksburg and its bluffs along the Mississippi River. The revised plan of Grant was developed by dividing his army and using a two-sided frontal approach aided by Gen. William T. Sherman, after failed attempts by Grant earlier in the spring. Upon his failure again, Grant sketched and executed a series of “bayou” exercises that would enable the use of the water frontage to engage the Confederate forces south of the batteries of Vicksburg, which also was a failure, due to the use of wooden boats in the dense tree coverage in the “bayou”.
Finally, in late April 1863, using deception and diversion, with the use of gunboats and troop transports, the Union forces, led by Rear Admiral David D. Porter ran the artillery gauntlet and landed at Bruinsburg, Mississippi. With little opposition, Union troops swiftly moved inland and met up with Grants overland march from Louisiana. Grant wanting to protect the rear of the formation quickly advanced toward Jackson, Mississippi and Brig. Gen Joseph E. Johnson, (the highest-ranking officer to resign his commission after session) and the chance for Pemberton to be reinforced which had already been slowed by Col. Benjamin Griersons’ Calvary raid in April and the destruction of...