Vicksburg History



Above on the left is a view of the sunset from the Fort Hill area of Vicksburg, Mississippi. On the right above is the Old Court House Museum and Eva W. Davis Memorial located on Cherry Street in Vicksburg.  The first impression of the Vicksburg Civil War site for an outsider is the ruggedness of the countryside so close to the Mississippi River. The high bluffs and deep gorges created a natural fortification to guard the city and river port. The city and fortress came under siege by the Union forces in May of 1863 after unsuccessful attempts by the Union Army to storm the Confederate defenses on May 19th and 22nd.  On the left below is the "Belle of the Bends", one of the stately old homes near the riverfront in Vicksburg. On the right below is a scenic view to the northwest from the Confederate Battery on Fort Hill. The National Cemetery can be seen below.

Vicksburg is located where the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers meet, high on the bluffs that helped make Vicksburg a historic battleground in the last days of the Civil War.

Founded between 1814 and 1819 by Rev Newitt Vick. Vicksburg was not surveyed into lots until after Vick's death from Yellow fever in 1819. After some legal battles, his son-in-law and administrator of his will, Rev. John Lane had the town surveyed and "laid out".

Vicksburg was also known as the Spanish Fort Nogales in the late 1700's, and later Walnut Hills because of immense walnut trees growing on hills, before being chartered in 1825 as Vicksburg.

Vicksburg's biggest fame comes as a Confederate stronghold during the Civil War because of the city's natural fortress, the bluffs along the river. In order to open the Mississippi to river traffic so Union troops could get supplies, the Union army laid siege to the city in 1863. Residents fled to caves outside the city and endured a 47day siege before they city surrendered on July 4, 1863.

Vicksburg rallied from the ravages of war only to suffer a disastrous fire in 1866, a cut off by the river in 1876, the yellow fever epidemic in 1878 and yet another fire in 1883.  Vicksburg was also hard hit by the flood of 1927.

Before the Mississippi changed course in 1876, river traffic was heavy at Vicksburg. Even today, the river still provides a great part of Vicksburg's economy. Vicksburg and surrounding areas also boast fertile soil for farming and timber resources.

Vicksburg's city limits have changed several times over the years. Many older communities, such as Warrenton, have been absorbed into the existing city limits. Residents still refer to areas of the city as Warrenton, Redbone, Jeff Davis, King's and Culkin. The early settlement of Open Woods about 7 miles northeast of downtown, which was surveyed by Foster Cook in the early 1800's, is now a subdivision called Openwood.

Vicksburg is a city rich in history and lore. There's much more history in Vicksburg and Warren county but it's more fun if you find out for yourself!