"Vicksburg is the key," said President Abraham
Lincoln. "The war can never be brought to a
close until that key is in our pocket."
The United States government had to control
the lower Mississippi River in order to move
agricultural products to world markets, to split
the South and sever its supply lines. In the
spring of 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant
launched the Army of the Tennessee on a series
of maneuvers and battles to pocket Vicksburg
and end the war.
"The most brilliant campaign ever fought on
American soil" involved deception and counter-
intelligence, rapid marches, naval actions, a
large-scale amphibious crossing, and fighting
in difficult terrain and harsh climate. Grant's
invading force brought war to the interior of the
Deep South and eventually captured Vicksburg
and an entire Confederate army, re-opening the
In the Vicksburg campaign region,visitors will
encounter some of the most varied and difficult
terrain of any military campaign. Some of the
sites and nearby roadways have changed little
since the Civil War. At several sites along the
way, and at the Vicksburg National Military
Park, interpretation is provided.
One Battle, Two Names
Sometimes a Civil War battle was called by two
names—one used by northerners the other by
southerners. Above is a Union map of the battle of
Champion Hill, with the Confederate below.
Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, USA, (far left) and Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, CSA, (left) commanded
the two opposing armies of the Vicksburg Campaign.