Ulysses S. Grant
General Ulysses S. Grant's brilliant siege of Vicksburg had a significant impact on the surrender of the Confederacy. This Vicksburg campaign was significant due to the fact that it basically gave the Union total control of the Mississippi River. This meant the isolation of the West and basically a clear waterway for supplies to reach the Deep South. Once this waterway was open arms, food, and soldiers could be provided for the Union soldiers in the South and open a devastating wound in the heart of the Confederacy. Once Vicksburg had been taken the West would basically be isolated and under the Unions control; in addition Grant could focus on the heart of the South. Once Vicksburg was captured, and Grant advanced to the battle of the Wilderness, his inability to be stopped by the Confederates was clearly shown. Vicksburg basically signaled the beginning of the end of the Civil War.
Vicksburg was an essential position for the Confederacy because of its strategic geography. Vicksburg was far enough away from the Mississippi that it was very difficult for naval ships to bombard the city, secondly hills and swamps surrounded it so that it was very hard to reach by land. The city lay on top of the hills so that it was possible for the Confederates to bomb Union naval vessels that wanted to sail down the Mississippi. This made the Vicksburg campaign very difficult for the Union armies that were trying to take Vicksburg from the north. Grant describes the terrain as,
"The ground about Vicksburg is admirable for defense. On the north it is about two hundred feet above the Mississippi River at the highest point and very much cut up by the washing rains; the ravines were grown up with cane and underbrush, while the sides and tops were covered with dense forest. Farther south the ground flattens out somewhat, and was in cultivation. But here, too, it was cut up by ravines and small streams…"
Grant then continues to describe the enemy's positions upon the high bluffs of Vicksburg. It is very important to understand the extreme defensive location of Vicksburg, to perceive the superior leadership of General Grant to capture it.
"When New Orleans fell in the spring of 1862, the triumvirate Vicksburg, Grand Gulf and Port Hudson was destined to become the last obstacle to the total Federal control of the Mississippi." Abraham Lincoln thought Vicksburg was 'the key,' so Vicksburg was the focal point of Union strategy. Obviously, Vicksburg was one of the most important objectives of the Union army. General Ulysses S. Grant was placed in charge of the Vicksburg campaign. He was an exceptional strategist and arguably one of the best generals this country has ever seen.
"His campaign, while often overlooked by the general public, is considered by some historians to be brilliant. In this highly readable treatment of the Vicksburg campaign, historian James R. Arnold, makes the case that Grant's adroit...