MISSISSIPPI: Vicksburg Surrenders

In the final days of the siege, the people of Vicksburg ate rats, cane shoots and bark. For 47 days Gen. Ulysses S. Grant ringed the city with 75,000 Union troops. Cannon balls crashed in; the sound of musketry seldom died. Finally the city surrendered. The date was July 4, 1863. After that, for the people of Vicksburg, the Fourth of July was never a day to be celebrated.

National holiday or no, banks and stores stayed open in Vicksburg. Firecrackers never popped, skyrockets never tore the night sky. Instead, the story of the black day was passed on from...

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