Why Vicksburg Canceled the Fourth of July – For a Generation

From May through early July 1863, Vicksburg, Mississippi, a strategically important city on the Mississippi River, was besieged by Federal forces under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, and by a flotilla of gunboats in the river commanded by Admiral David Porter. The city was surrounded by outlying Confederate lines of defense, but the Union forces also shelled the city itself, which was full of civilians, who dug caves into the clay hills of Vicksburg for protection from the artillery bombardment. The siege lasted 47 days, until the city and its Confederate defenders were at last starved into submission. The Confederate commander, Gen. John C. Pemberton, surrendered on July 4, 1863. So bitter were the feelings and memories of the people of Vicksburg afterward that they did not officially observe the Independence Day holiday for the next 81 years (not returning to its observance until 1945).

In his book Vicksburg 1863, published in 2010, historian Winston Groom noted the following: “From the river, Porter’s mortar boats kept up a regular bombardment of the city’s environs, while from landward Grant’s artillery relentlessly threw barrages of shells into the town. The shocking part of it was that much of the naval firing was deliberately aimed at the civilians.” (emphasis added)”

Read more at the Abbeville Institute Website

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

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