Vicksburg is interesting in may ways from a historical perspective. Situated on high bluffs above the Mississippi River, it was settled in 1811 and incorporated in 1825. Long an important port on the Mississippi River, it would play a vital role in the War Between the States.
At the outbreak of the war, The Mississippi River was the main economic highway from the heartland of the United States, allowing transport of crops and cargo of all kinds to the port of New Orleans. The Vicksburg and Meridian Railroad, finished in 1846, was the only East-West Railroad between New Orleans and Memphis, and would be vital in supplying munitions to the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy and moving cattle and hogs to the Eastern Confederacy.
Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America owned a plantation a few miles South of town. On February 9, 1861, after Mississippi and six other states had seceded from the Union, the provisional Confederate Congress met in Montgomery, Alabama and elected Jefferson Davis as President of the CSA. Two days later, in Vicksburg, President Davis gave his first address as the President of the Confederate States of America.
Vicksburg has a strong connection with the SCV founder, Lt. Gen. Stephen D. Lee, who in later years, worked tirelessly to establish the Vicksburg National Military Park. Stephen Dill Lee was an American soldier, and the youngest Confederate lieutenant general of the American Civil War. He was the first president of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College (Mississippi State University)and served from 1880 until 1899. General Lee died in Vicksburg on May 28, 1908, becoming ill after giving a speech to former union soldiers from Wisconsin and Iowa. He is memorialized by a statue in the Vicksburg Military Park.
Located high on the bluffs overlooking the
Mississippi River, the Confederate earthworks
formed a crescent-shaped ring of manned gun
emplacements aimed at all potential Union
avenues of approach to the city by land and by
river. The earthworks were initiated in September
1862, and remained untested until the spring of
1863, when, pushing southward from Illinois by
land and northward from the Gulf of Mexico by
river, the Union army and naval units attacked the
Confederate strong-points from both ends of the
line. They captured post by post and city by city
until. . . . Vicksburg alone barred complete Union
possession of the Mississippi River. Then began
the Union campaign for Vicksburg. Waged
between March 29 and July 4, 1863, the campaign
included battles in west-central Mississippi at Port
Gibson, Raymond, Jackson, Champion Hill, and
Big Black River Bridge, as well as forty-seven days
of Union siege operations against the Confederate
forces defending the city of Vicksburg before
victory was achieved. The surrender of
Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, effectively left the
Confederacy split in two and vulnerable to Union
attack in the Western Theatre. This decisive
campaign, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson,
Louisiana, five days later, divided the South and
gave the North undisputed control of the river.