The final acts in the moments leading to the surrender of Vicksburg were enacted before dawn on the morning of July 4, 1863. Having considered a final proposal from Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton (CS), Gen. Grant (US) sent a letter through the lines to his Confederate counterpart:
|Union battery before Vicksburg|
If you mean by your proposition for each brigade to march to the front of the lines now occupied by it, and stack arms at 10 a.m., and then return tot he inside, and there remain as prisoners until properly paroled, I will make no objection to it. - Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, USA (July 4, 1863).
|Confederate cannon at Vicksburg|
Pemberton reviewed the note and early on the morning of July 4, 1863, agreed to surrender Vicksburg, Mississippi, to the United States:
GENERAL: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of this day, and in reply to say that the terms proposed by you are accepted. - Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, CSA (July 4, 1863).
Later in the morning, as the Union forces crowded to the tops of their breastworks and fortifications to watch, the Confederate army came out of its trenches for the first time in more than 45 days:
|Former channel of the Mississippi at Vicksburg|
|Union cannon at Vucksburg|
...I can hardly contain myself. Surely will I not punish any soldier for being "uncohappy" this most glorious anniversary of the birth of a nation, whose sire and father was a Washington. Did I not know the honesty, modesty, and purity of your nature, I would be tempted to follow the examples of my standard enemies of the press in indulging in wanton flattery; but as a man and soldier, and ardent friend of yours, I warn you against the incense of flattery that will fill our land from one extreme to the other. Be natural and yourself, and this glittering flattery will be as the passing breeze of the sea on a warm summer day. To me the delicacy with which you have treated a brave but deluded enemy is more eloquent than the most gorgeous oratory of an Everett. - Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, USA (July 4, 1863).
|Old Courthouse in Vicksburg|
With the fall of Vicksburg, only one Confederate bastion - Port Hudson, Louisiana - remained along the full length of the Mississippi River. I will focus on events at that battlefield over coming days.
To learn more about the Battle of Vicksburg and the historic city itself, please visit www.exploresouthernhistory.com/vicksburg1.