Sunday, January 19, 2020

The Vicksburg Campaign of the Civil War in January 1863

On Jan. 20, 1863, the 69th Indiana regiment of the Union Army that trained in Richmond, Indiana first laid siege to Vicksburg in the Civil War.

From the diary of Private John C. Kitselman :

"The latter part of the winter of 1862 and 1863 may truthfully be called the ‘winter of our discontent.’ Rebellion and treason were running at the high-water mark. From the 20th of January to the 31st of March, the 69th passed through what was in my opinion the most soul-trying experience of its history, though during that time we never fired a shot at the enemy. But there were other battles to be fought rather than those of musketry and canon. Each of us had to fight a battle within his own breast against discouragement, and I might say death, for death was sure to come, and soon, if one gave up to the influences which at that time surrounded and imperiled us.

Disease was a bigger problem than the Confederates:

The 69th Indiana, one of six regiments formed in Richmond and composed mostly of Wayne County volunteers, by war’s end had casualties of three officers and 77 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, and three officers and 248 enlisted men dead from disease. This was one-third of total initial enlistment.)


Strictly speaking, the siege of Vicksburg, as distinct from other military operations, did not begin until May 25, 1863 when Lt. Col. John A. Rawlins issued Special Orders No. 140 for Grant. writes

On May 25th, Grant decided to besiege the city. With no reinforcements coming, food and supplies nearly gone, and after holding out for more than forty days, Pemberton finally surrendered on July 4th. Grant's Vicksburg campaign was one of the most brilliant of the war.


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