The 1863 Vicksburg campaign was to prove decisive in the outcome of the American Civil War. Known as the 'Gibraltar of the West', Vicksburg was the last Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River; the only communication route left between the department of the Trans-Mississippi west of the river and the body of the Confederacy. In a masterly campaign Grant used riverboats and steamers to run his army past the batteries at Vicksburg and land south of the city. He then defeated the armies of Generals 'Joe' Johnston and John C. Pemberton. Pemberton allowed his force to become bottled up in Vicksburg and after an epic 47-day siege during which his men were reduced to eating cats, dogs and even rats, he was forced to surrender the remnants of his force to Grant on 4 July 1863, one day after Lee's defeat at Gettysburg. This was a long campaign, lasting some nine months altogether and featured forced marches, much devising and revising of plans, massive works of engineering on roads, bridges and waterways, a bold amphibious operation on the Mississippi, a rapid fighting advance of dash and brilliance, several pitched battles, and a final, relentless siege.
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