"Admiral Porter's Fleet Running the Rebel Blockade of the Mississippi at Vicksburg," Currier & Ives, 1863

The Beginning of the End

In April 1863, Union gunboats moved General Grant’s troops down the Mississippi River to a position below Vicksburg; from there, they marched northeast and laid seige to the city for six weeks. After the Confederates surrendered on July 4, 1863, Lincoln announced, “the Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea” and called Grant’s campaign “one of the most brilliant in the world.” Coupled with the victory at Gettysburg, the fall of Vicksburg signaled the beginning of the end for the Confederacy.