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Field Guide Vicksburg: Gibraltar of the Confederacy

By Chris Howland 
Originally published by Civil War Times magazine. Published Online: May 30, 2008 
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This is the view the 26th Louisiana "enjoyed" of the Union 3rd Brigade's position during the siege (above, left). A stone re-creation of the tunnel Brigadier General John Thayer's Iowans built under the road for protection is visible at the bottom right of the slope (above, middle).

The Missouri State Memorial (above, right) on Confederate Avenue is unique in that the troops who fought on both sides during the Vicksburg Campaign (27 Union units, 15 Confederate) are honored on the same monument. It is located where two Missouri regiments clashed with each other at one point in the campaign.

There might not be a more dramatic monument on any NPS battlefield than the one honoring beloved Confederate Brigadier General Lloyd Tilghman at Vicksburg (above, left). Tilghman was killed by a Union cannonball at Champion Hill on May 16, 1863, so the monument's sculptor carved a tear (above, middle) in the general's torso to depict the moment (conveniently overlooking the reality that Tilghman was all but sliced in two by that cannonball).

The Confederates built the so-called Railroad Redoubt (above, right), to protect the approaches to the important Southern Railroad of Mississippi. In the morning of May 22, Union troops briefly captured the position before being forced out by Colonel Thomas N. Waul's Texas Legion.

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3 Responses to “Field Guide Vicksburg: Gibraltar of the Confederacy”

  1. 1
    Dennis says:

    My GR GR Grandfather was with the 76th IL Infantry and at the 47 day siege. I have in my posession a piece of the original "stunted oak" that Generals Grant and Pemberton met under. It is a great piece of American history.

  2. 2
    Chris Howland says:


    Could you please contact me at I'd love to talk you about that "stunted oak" piece. Thanks.

  3. 3
    Berdell Hardy says:

    The collapse on both fronts hastened the inevitable, i.e., the fall of the South. Unfortunately, fighting continued for almost two more years.. more death and distruction.

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