From Ohio History Central
A victory at the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1863 gave the Union control of the Mississippi River in the American Civil War.
Following the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant's Northern army moved south. Grant hoped to secure control of the Mississippi River for the Union. By having control of the river, Northern forces would split the Confederacy in two and control an important way to move men and supplies.
By the third week of May 1863, the Northern troops had driven the Confederates into Vicksburg. A siege began, which lasted from May 22, 1863 to July 4, 1863. At the start of July, Confederate troops and civilians were starving. Many people survived by eating rats and other animals in the city. Pemberton surrendered his army on July 4, 1863. This victory followed the North's victory at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863 and helped increase Union morale. In the siege of Vicksburg and the battles leading up to the siege, Grant lost over four thousand men. The Southern military lost over thirty-five thousand soldiers.