Sunday, July 03, 2005


July 3rd 1863, the turningpoint of the war between the states, and the beginning of the end for the confederate army.
Gettysburg, PA, after 2 days of unsuccessfully trying to turn the Union flanks Gen. Robert E. Lee decides the weakness must be in the center of their lines. He orders Longstreet to organize an attack up the middle of a mile wide valley between two ridges following a massive artillery barrage directed against the union lines. Longstreet's advance, better known as Pickett's charge started strong, but came under heavier fire and artillery as it advanced, eventually coming under fire from three sides. The Confederates reached their goal, but were so decimated by that time they were killed or captured. Lee's army had achieved some of their goals, but the idea of a northern campaign to end the war favorably for the south had failed.

The very same day 1000 miles southwest in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Gen. John C. Pemberton decided to surrender the stronghold on the Mississippi to Gen. U.S. Grant. Having held out as long as they could, the starving citizenry and garrisoned soldiers had been reduced to eating Mule meat and rats with bread made from cow peas. Grant's siege of the city had begun an astonishing eight months before in Oct. of 1862. Completely cut off and having endured daily bombardment by Union forces Pemberton sent word that he would surrender on the following day, Ironically, July 4th... Independence day. The loss of the Vicksburg was a far worse blow to the Confederacy than was Gettysburg, due to the fact it was the last open port to receive supplies from her European allies.

(side note: The citizenry of Vicksburg, Miss did not celebrate the 4th of July again until World War II almost 75 years later)



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