Initial Attempts to Take Vicksburg

Part 6 of Our Signature Vicksburg Campaign Study

October 16-20, 2019

A BGES Civil War Field University Program

Confederate fortifications in rear of Vicksburg. Photographed between 1861 and 1865.
Courtesy Library of Congress

U.S. Grant effortlessly overwhelmed the retreating Confederates at Big Black Bridge. With such a success, he assumed his triumphant forces easily would enter Vicksburg, and so he simplistically assaulted the fortifications of the Hill City. However, he soon discovered the interlocking fields of fire and earthworks were a substantial obstacle to his victory parade. With the initial failure on May 19, he regrouped and planned another general assault, maybe, for May 22. That also failed and was shrouded in intrigues that have only recently been tied to a larger agenda. You will walk the fields, talk the talk, and ponder the questions. The ramifications were significant, and Grant would wait another 43 days before achieving his objective. This is the tour if you want to study the actual fighting at Vicksburg–a superb program with a masterful teacher.



A retired brigadier general, Mississippi Army National Guard, who also served almost 32 years as a Regular Army and National Guard officer, Parker Hills is an expert on Mississippi battlefields. He has conducted the Military Staff Ride program for years for the state of Mississippi, conducts tours for Road Scholars (formerly Elderhostel), and is a corporate leadership trainer who founded Battle Focus. He is active in the preservation of Civil War battlefields and has served as president of Friends of Raymond and of Friends of the Vicksburg Campaign and Historic Trail. He was chair of the Mississippi Civil War Battlefield Commission and a member of the Mississippi Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission. He is the author of the BGES monograph, “A Study in Warfighting, Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads,” co-author of the “Driving Tour Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign,” and co-author of the prize-winning book Receding Tide, Vicksburg and Gettysburg, The Campaigns that Changed the Civil War. He has contributed a chapter entitled “Roads to Raymond” for Vicksburg: Mississippi Blitzkrieg, edited by Steve Woodworth, and his latest work, Vicksburg: Art of Commemoration, is an invaluable analysis of the art and architecture of the monuments at Vicksburg National Military Park.