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Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi: Ruined Depot of Shreveport and Texas Railroad

Object Number: 
1945.580.36
Date: 
1863
Medium: 
Graphite and black ink wash on ivory paper
Dimensions: 
Overall: 9 5/8 x 13 1/4 in. ( 24.4 x 33.7 cm )
Inscriptions: 
Inscribed at upper left in graphite: "smoke from Union Batteries beyond the hills"; at lower center: "Ruined depot of / Shreveport & Texas R.R."
Description: 
Civil War Drawings Collection. Engraved for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 11 July 1863 (XVI:406):248-9, as "Siege of Vicksburg--View of the Doomed City from De Soto [Point]". After a series of failed assaults, Grant realized that he would have to isolate Vicksburg from its supply lines. Federal troops began construct elaborate entrenchments that surrounded the city and moved closer to the Confederate fortifications. With their backs against the Mississippi and Union gunboats firing from the river, Confederate soldiers and citizens alike were trapped. Grant's army began to fill the 12 mile ring around Vicksburg. In short time it became clear that even 50,000 Union soldiers would not be able to effect a complete encirclement of the Confederate defenses. Maj. Gen. Halleck quickly shifted Union troops in the West to meet Grant's need. With the arrival of Herron's, Washburn's, and Parke's divisions, Grant had 77,000 men around Vicksburg. The Confederates were stranded with munitions but little food. By the end of June, half were sick or hospitalized. During the siege, Union gunboats lobbed over 22,000 shells into the town and army artillery fire was even heavier. As the barrages continued, suitable civilian housing in Vicksburg was limited. A ridge located between the main town and the rebel defense line provided citizens with lodging during the siege. Over 500 caves were dug into the yellow clay hills of Vicksburg. Whether houses were structurally sound or not, it was deemed safer to occupy the dugouts.
Credit Line: 
James B. Wilbur Fund
Provenance: 
John T. Kavanaugh Collection, Rutherford, New Jersey, 1945
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group