It is one of the more remarkable campaigns of the American Civil War. For many a hard fought month, Ulysses S. Grant and his Union soldiers had been trying to wrest away the strategic Confederate river fortress of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Previous, direct attempts to take this important town high above the Mississippi River were blocked by deft rebel counter moves and some of the most pernicious terrain in the entire Western theater.
In late April 1863, Grant would undertake a new and bold campaign against Vicksburg and the Confederate defenders under John Pemberton. After conducting a surprise landing below Vicksburg at Bruinsburg, Mississippi, Grant’s forces would rapidly move inland, pushing back the threat posed by Joseph E. Johnston’s forces near Jackson. Once his rear was clear, Grant would move back towards Vicksburg, from the East.
Victories at Champion Hill and Big Black Bridge would leave Pemberton’s forces weakened and besieged in Vicksburg. With the fall of Vicksburg and the surrender of Pemberton’s forces on July 4, 1863, one of the greatest Union victories of the Civil War would be secured.