General Grant sets out to capture Vicksburg. He wins assorted small battles and besieges the city; it surrenders on July 4.
Historical allusions in this piece include:
"In the early part of May": Grant actually brought his forces across the Mississippi below Vicksburg on April 30, 1863
"Grand Gulf": On May 1, two Confederate brigades arrived from Grand Gulf to dispute Grant's crossing. The actual battle was fought at Port Gibson, and resulted in a rebel defeat. The survivors then abandoned Grand Gulf to Grant.
"Raymond": After crossing the river, Grant had intended to head downstream and capture the auxiliary fortress of Port Hudson, but instead decided that Vicksburg was his primary objective. He moved inland, defeating a small force at Raymond, Mississippi on May 12
"Jackson" and "the seniors of rebellion": There were two rebel forces in central Mississippi: Pemberton's Vicksburg garrison, and an additional force under Joseph E. Johnston near Jackson. Johnston was the senior officer in the west, and in theoretical charge of Pemberton -- but he couldn't get Pemberton to obey him, and his own force was small (no more than 12, 000 men, and probably less than 10,000). Grant, with at least a 4:1 advantage, beat the force at Jackson on May 14, freeing him to deal with Pemberton without worrying about his back.
"Champion Hill": Properly Champion's Hill. Johnston had vainly tried to get Pemberton to pitch into Grant's army while Johnston was still fighting. Pemberton sat -- then finally came on on May 15, changed his mind, and awaited Grant on the hill. Grant attacked on May 16, and after a bloody battle pushed Pemberton back toward Vicksburg
"Black River": On May 17, Pemberton tried a rearguard action at the river crossing. Grant forced a crossing without much trouble, and Pemberton was trapped. Grant besieged the city starting May 19, although his initial assault was defeated
"Genral Pem": Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton (1814-1881), the commander of the Vickburg garrison. His handling of the campaign was so inept that some confederates accused him of treason (he was born in the North).
"General Logan": John A. Logan (1826-1886). Commander of a division in the Union army
"Their works he undermined": Union engineers twice (June 25, July 1) exploded mines under the confederate works. Neither explosion produced a breakthrough, though they may have influenced Pemberton's decision to surrender.
"All hope of Johnston's aid": After the battle of Jackson, Johnston tried to assemble a relieving force, but the only troops available were green as grass. In addition, Grant was given some 30,000 additional troops, with which to hold off Johnston. Johnston declared on June 15 that Vicksburg could not be saved. - RBW