Vicksburg National Cemetery sits on 116 acres of land in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The cemetery is the final resting place for over 17,000 Civil War Union Soldiers. This number exceeds that of any other national cemetery. The cemetery sits within the Vicksburg National Military Park. This park maintains and preserves the site of the Battle of Vicksburg during the American Civil War. The Battle of Vicksburg lasted about a month from May to June in 1863. The Siege of Vicksburg was the final major military action of the Vicksburg Campaign, which was a set of battles in Mississippi, or the “Western Theater”, of the Civil War. Vicksburg was a Confederate controlled city in the Confederate controlled section of the Mississippi River. Ulysses S. Grant was able to gain control of the river by capturing Vicksburg, which was a major strategic city for the Confederacy as it joined the two halves of the South. Taking control of Vicksburg allowed the Union to slowly suffocate the south and was a major part in their plan.
Vicksburg Campaign was a set of battles during the American Civil War aimed at
Vicksburg, Mississippi. The city represented a section of Confederate
controlled area of the Mississippi River. The Union Army, under the lead
of Ulysses S. Grant, were able to acquire control of the river by capturing
Vicksburg. The military engagement consisted of naval and troop maneuvers
from December 26, 1862 to July 4, 1863.
General Grant, commander of the Union Army of Tennessee, planned an attack on
Major General William Sherman, commander of Confederate army. The nature of the
plan was for half of Grant’s men would move to the Yazoo River and into
Vicksburg from the northeast and Grant would take the rest of the army down the
Mississippi Central Railroad. This plan along with five other initiatives by
Grant failed. Eventually, Union gunboats and boats transporting soldiers were
able to run the batteries at Vicksburg and pair up with Grant’s men who had
been marching from Louisiana. Over two
days in April, Grant and his army were able to cross the Mississippi River and
in a series of diversions they were able to trick the Confederates into not
knowing where they were coming in. Once inland, Grant orchestrated his army
inland and won five battles in seventeen days.
He was able to capture the state capital and take Vicksburg.
wasn’t uncommon, in battle, for fallen soldiers to be buried near where they
died. Often times there was a very basic wooden marker to acknowledge the
resting place and if their name was known, that would be carved into the
wood. These rudimentary materials don’t usually withstand the test of
time, weather and progress and are often lost. This lack of permanent
fixture left some of the soldiers unnamed during the efforts of the War
Department to create cemetery and mark the graves.
were other burial sites throughout the town of Vicksburg prior to the creation
of the cemetery. To the best of their ability, the U.S. Army attempted to
locate these bodies and place them in appropriate cemeteries across the
country. Most of them, over 50%, remain unknown as record keeping and
grave marking were not very exact in those times. Some states, like North
Carolina’s Salisbury National Cemetery have up to 99% of their soldier grave
population as unknown. The Vicksburg National Cemetery is no longer open for
burial since 1961, unless it was reserved previously and is controlled by
the Vicksburg National Military Park.