The Battle of Vicksburg
At the time of the Civil War, the Mississippi River was the most important economic feature of the continent. When the Southern States succeeded, Confederate forces closed the river, which threatened to block northern commercial benefit.
President Abraham Lincoln told his civil and military leaders, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key. The war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket. We can take all the northern ports of the Confederacy, and they can defy us from Vicksburg". Lincoln assured his listeners that he was familiar with that region and he knew what he was talking about, he also said Vicksburg will be more important than New Orleans to them.
It was important for the administration in Washington to get back control of the lower Mississippi River, so opening that important avenue of trade enabling the rich agricultural produce of the Northwest to reach world markets.
It would also split the South in two, sever a vital Confederate supply line, achieve a major objective of the Anaconda Plan, and effectively seal the doom of Richmond. In the spring of 1863, Major General Ulysses S. Grant launched his Union Army of the Tennessee on a campaign to pocket Vicksburg and provide Lincoln with the key to victory.
The spring of 1863 was the beginning of the final and, for the Union, the thriving phase of the Vicksburg Campaign as General Grant launched his Army of the Tennessee on a march down the west side of the Mississippi River from Milliken's Bend to Louisiana. Leaving their military camps on March 29, Union soldiers took up the line and struggled southward over a muddy road.
Building bridges and corduroying roads, Grant's column...