Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Seige of Vicksburg

On Monday Aaron and Jake traveled the least amount of miles since the 4th of July.  They paddled 50 miles to mile marker 410 some 27 miles south of Vicksburg, Mississippi.  They were faced with three obstacles that contributed to the "low" mileage.  First, they woke up to strong winds.  You would think if the wind is out of the west they could find protection on the west shoreline.  This isn't always the case because the Mississippi Valley acts as a wind tunnel so it seems like wind is always in their face.  The second obstacle was the oppressive heat which is starting to have a cumulative affect on  Aaron and Jake's mind and body.   The other obstacle Aaron and Jake faced was a buffet at the river boat casino in Vicksburg.  For the past week or so they have been eating oatmeal for breakfast, a few energy bars for lunch and a supper of cooked noodles or rice.  When they got in line at the buffet they were actually shaking with excitement with the prospect of unlimited and varied food choices.  This was no siege, it was a flat out no holds barred assault.  They ate until they couldn't eat anymore, they dragged their full bellies back to the canoe and struggled to paddle a painful 27 miles to mile marker 410.

Siege of Vicksburg (written by Aaron prior to departure)

The Siege of Vicksburg was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the Civil War. Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton and his confederate army were driven into the defensive lines surrounding the city of Vicksburg by the Union army and Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, in a series of maneuvers. Grant and his army relentlessly besieged the Confederate garrison until, with no re-enforcement, dwindling supplies, and after holding the fort for 40 days, they surrendered on July 4, 1863.

This victory, combined with the fall of Port Hudson on July 9, gave the Union forces control of the Mississippi River for the remainder of the war. The Siege of Vicksburg is often considered a crucial turning point in the war, along with Gen. Robert E. Lee’s defeat at Gettysburg the day before.

The City of Vicksburg would not celebrate Independence Day until World War II as a result of the loss; 80 years later.

Posted by Aaron's dad

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