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The Civil War split our nation Americans fighting Americans brother against brother The war lasted four long years a key battle fought westward was the turning point in the war the Battle of Vicksburg Between Cairo Illinois and the Gulf of Mexico the Mississippi River twists and winds for nearly 1000 miles Commonly referred to as the trunk of the American tree The river was vital to both the American Government and to the Confederate forces in the west The city of Vicksburg Mississippi 250 feet high overlooks the Mississippi River on the Louisiana-Mississippi state border Confederate forces mounted artillery batteries ready to challenge the passage of Union ships Receiving control of Vicksburg and the Mississippi River was a huge benefit in the war Due to the Geographic location made it ideal for defense Before the outbreak of the Civil War Vicksburg Mississippi had become one of the most prosperous and sophisticated towns on the old southern frontier The city was a booming center of trade its wharves crowded with boats carrying all manner of goods and commodities It boasted a municipal orchestra a Shakespeare repertory company and an imposing courthouse in the Greek revival style To its proud citizens Vicksburg was the Queen City of the Bluff and a center as one of them wrote of culture education and luxury All this was to change with coming of the war By early 1862 the peaceful town had become one of the most strategically important spots in the entire Confederacy- and would soon be one of the most bitterly fought over From the beginning of the war in 1861 to protect their most prized possession the Confederacy put up fortifications at strategic points along the river Federal forces eventually captured post after post After fighting their way southward from Illinois and northward from the Gulf of Mexico
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