On May 25, 1863, after his several failed assaults, Grant
realized that he had no choice but to begin a siege on Vicksburg. At first, Grant had only 50,000 men, a number that he deemed insufficient to surround the entire city. He requested reinforcements, which were provided by the thousands. By the end of the siege, Grant had over 77,000 troops under his command. To begin, these Union soldiers began to entrench themselves around Vicksburg in the traditional zigzag formation, creeping closer and closer to the city of Vicksburg. Union gunboats in the Mississippi River also bombarded the city from the water. However, Pemberton refused to surrender hoping to receive reinforcements from General Johnston, his superior. Over time, when no reinforcements arrived, the soldiers and citizens of the city began to starve. Many, from both sides, were killed by disease. Towards the end of the siege, soldiers began to sieze all things edible, including mules, dogs, and shoe leather. During the siege, Union gunboats sent over 22,000 shells into the town
while the army bombarded the town with artillery for hours without end. Despite
this, less than a dozen civilians were killed, since many had constructed temporary homes in the nearby yellow clay hills. Finally, on July 4, 1863, surrender was finalized, resulting in a Union victory.
Picture: Siege of Vicksburg
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