VNMP lecture series examines crucial year

Published 11:30 am Thursday, June 12, 2014

Vicksburg National Military Park will host the first in a three-part lecture program Friday highlighting crucial events of 1863.

All three programs will begin at 7 p.m. at the park’s Visitor Center.

“The concept of these programs is to illustrate that the Campaign and Siege of Vicksburg did not happen in a vacuum,” said supervisory ranger Tim Kavanaugh. “There were campaigns occurring in each of the three main areas of operations in that summer of 1863 that were all inter-related and affected each other in execution and outcome.”

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During Friday’s program, ranger Jake Koch will discuss the battles of Chancellorsville, Gettysburg and Mine Run, all of which occurred in what is commonly referred to as the war’s Eastern Theater.

Chancellorsville preceded the Siege of Vicksburg by about a month and is perhaps most famous for being the battle where Confederate Lt. Gen. Stonewall Jackson was killed. Gettysburg took place during the finals days of the Siege of Vicksburg, and Mine Run occurred in late 1863. Mine Run is commonly viewed as the final straw that caused Union Maj. Gen. George Meade to be replaced by Ulysses S. Grant, who had commanded the Union army at Vicksburg.

The second program on June 20 will look at the campaigns for Vicksburg and Port Hudson.

Both fortress cities were the last remaining Confederate strongholds along the Mississippi River in 1863. Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Grant on July Fourth. Port Hudson, where Union forces outnumbered Confederates by 4 to 1, surrender five days later after a 48-day siege.

The final program, also presented by Koch, on June 27 will look at the campaigns in Middle Tennessee and North Georgia. Battles raged from Tennessee into Georgia in late 1863 as a lead-up to William T. Sherman’s Atlanta Campaign in 1864. Some of the major battles during that time period include Chattanooga and Chickamauga.

For more information about the lecture series, visit or call 601-636-0583.