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Mississippi

Vicksburg Campaign: Final Phase


Grand Gulf to Vicksburg

After suffering through months of fits-and-starts trying to get at Vicksburg from the north and east, Grant decided move most of his army west of the Mississippi River, march south, cross back over the river below Vicksburg, and then attack the main Confederate supply line to the city.

Grant needed transportation with gunboat support to get his army back across the river at some point south of Vicksburg, so he ordered Adm. David Porter’s fleet to run the guns under Vicksburg, which it did April 16, 1863. The next day, Grant ordered a cavalry raid under Col Benjamin Grierson against Confederate supply and communication lines, keeping Pemberton preoccupied and off balance in Vicksburg.

While Grant planned a good crossing point, Porter bombarded the Confederate river defenses at Grand Gulf April 29 but failed to neutralize the position. Grant continued to move his army south, crossing near Bruinsburg then moving inland toward Port Gibson. Confederates waited for him there but superior Union numbers prevailed May 1 and the Union army continued northeast.

Grant encountered stiffer resistance at Raymond May 12. The battle there and the fact that Confederate Gen. Joseph Johnston, overall commander in the west, was moving into Jackson made Grant turn toward the Mississippi capital.

Grant’s move toward Jackson with most of his army unnerved Johnston, who evacuated the city May 14 without much of a fight. Johnston then ordered Pemberton to join him in Canton, north of Jackson, which meant giving up Vicksburg.

Meanwhile, hoping to strike a blow against Grant, Pemberton had moved east toward Jackson, hoping for cooperation with Johnston. But Grant moved quickly to the west and forced Pemberton back toward Vicksburg after the decisive battle of Champion Hill May 16.

Grant now could see the prize in view. After brushing aside a Confederate rear-guard at the Big Black River, he approached Pemberton’s well-developed defenses of Vickburg itself.

New Vicksburg Campaign Trail: battleofchampionhill.org/trail


Port Gibson Area

Port Gibson Visitor Center
1601 Church St, Port Gibson MS
601-437-4351
Open Monday–Friday 8 am–4 pm

Grand Gulf

Grand Gulf Military Monument
12006 Grand Gulf Road, Port Gibson MS 39105
(8 miles northwest of Port Gibson)
601-473-5911
   Union Adm. David Porter bombarded the Confederate defenses here for five hours without success on April 29, 1863, hoping to secure a landing spot for Grant’s army advancing on the west bank of the river.
    Check in at the museum, more than half its content is devoted to the area’s Civil War history. Artifacts and maps tell the story of the battle here. Exhibits on the grounds include a Civil War-era mortar, 19th-century and earlier structures including those originally here during the war, and remnants of Civil War fortifications.
    Open 8 am–5 pm. $3/adults.

Ruins

Windsor Ruins
Located 14 miles southwest of Port Gibson in Bruinsburg (take Rodney Road from Port Gibson)
   Grant landed more than 24,000 troops unopposed here, crossing the Mississippi April 30–May 1, 1863. This is known as one of the largest amphibious landings in history. A reminder of that time is the Windsor ruins, 29 45-foot columns from a mansion once used as a Confederate lookout over the Mississippi River and then as a Union hospital after the Battle of Port Gibson. The building was destroyed by fire in 1890.

Battle of Port Gibson
Between the Windsor Ruins and Port Gibson
   Advancing from his “beachhead” at Bruinsburg, Grant encountered stiff Confederate resistance here May 1, 1863. After a 17-hour battle on the country roads to Port Gibson, the Confederates withdrew. A series of historic buildings and markers along the roads between the Windsor Ruins and Port Gibson describe the battle.

Port Gibson

Town of Port Gibson
   Grant purportedly said that Port Gibson was “too beautiful to burn.” See for yourself. Confederate Gen. Earl Van Dorn ard the Southern dead from the battle are buried in Port Gibson’s Wintergreen Cemetery.


Raymond

Raymond Military Park
Trail parking lot at intersection of Route 18 and Port Gibson Street, south of Raymond High School, about 2 miles from the Raymond Town Square
 Road map 
   A Confederate attack May 12, 1863, against one of Grant’s columns southeast of Raymond failed to stop the Union advance north toward the Southern Railroad connecting Vicksburg and Jackson. After initial Southern success here, far greater Union numbers finally won the day during a confusing, back-and-forth battle. Visitors to the battlefield now find a new ¾-mile interpreted, paved walking trail through 24 acres of preserved battlefield property.
    For maps and descriptions of the walking trail see www.battleofraymond.org.

City of Raymond
    A driving tour brochure for Historic Raymond is available from the City Hall, 110 Courtyard Square, and local merchants. The tour includes the Confederate Cemetery, 310 Port Gibson St, where many of the dead from the battle are buried, as well as the Hinds County Courthouse and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, which were used as a hospitals.


Jackson

Jackson

Old Capitol Museum
100 S State St, Jackson MS 39205
601-576-6920
 ROAD MAP 
    The 1839 building has been restored to its 19th-century appearance. An orientation film and galleries explore the history of the building and the area, including Civil War. Open 9 am–5 pm Tuesday–Saturday and 1–5 pm Sunday. Free.

Manship House Museum
420 E Fortification St, Jackson MS 39202-2340
601-961-4724
 Road map 
   Home of Charles Henry Manship, mayor of Jackson 1862-‘63. A Confederate fortification was located nearby. The house has been restored and interpretation represents a 19th-century family life. Closed for restoration.

Oaks

The Oaks House Museum
823 N Jefferson St, Jackson MS 39202
601-353-9339
 Road map 
   This small 1853 house was raided by Union troops during the war and reportedly used for a short time by Grant. Interpretation here is about activity and family life in the home 1853-1863. Open Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-3 pm. $4.50/adults.

Battlefield Park
953 Porter St, Jackson MS 39204
601-960-0716
 Road map 
    Remains of part of the Jackson fortifications built by Union troops in July 1863.


Champion Hill

Champion Hill

Champion Hill Battlefield
West of Jackson, south of I-20, between Bolton and Edwards
   Deciding the best way to both strike Grant and defend Vicksburg, Pemberton decided to move with more than 20,000 troops toward Grant’s long and vulnerable supply line, expecting cooperation from Johnston in Jackson. When Johnston evacuated Jackson, he wanted Pemberton to join him. Before that could happen, on May 16, Grant’s forces attacked in the vicinity of Champion Hill near the main Jackson Road and the Southern Railroad. After brutal fighting on the hot day, Pemberton gave way and fell back to the Big Black River. The battlefield today remains much as it was that day and is the subject of preservation and interpretation projects. Consult battleofchampionhill.org, which includes a virtual tour, battle maps and accounts, and a fascinating audio remembrance of battlefield tours by Margie Riddle Bearss.


Website links to Mississippi places: Mississippi Links