• View from Battery DeGolyer

    Vicksburg

    National Military Park Mississippi

Tour Stop 13 - Railroad Redoubt

Overlooking the Southern Railroad of Mississippi Tracks

Overlooking the Southern Railroad of Mississippi Tracks (now Kansas City Southern)

NPS Photo

The Railroad Redoubt was a Confederate fortification built to protect a vital entrance to the city — in this case the Southern Railroad of Mississippi.

On May 22, General Grant ordered a second major assault against the formidable Confederate positions. Union forces began their carefully planned attack with a fierce artillery bombardment, followed by the advance of the infantry.
 
Assault on Railroad Redoubt, May 22, 1863

Assault on Railroad Redoubt, May 22, 1863

Unlike other points along the Confederate defense line, the blue-clad soldiers found that the redoubt's southeast angle had been partially destroyed by the artillery bombardment. Union soldiers commanded by Sgt. Joseph E. Griffith of the 22d Iowa were able to exploit this brief breakthrough and quickly entered the redoubt in an attempt to storm the Confederate earthworks. The Confederates counterattacked and called up reinforcements. Waul's Texas Legion arrived to drive out the Federals and "seal the breach."
 
Artillery on Railroad Redoubt

Artillery Position on Railroad Redoubt

NPS Photo

Although Union forces sustained heavy losses, Griffith managed to withdraw, taking a dozen prisoners with him. By evening, the Federals had returned to their lines. There were no further attacks on the Railroad Redoubt, and mining operations commenced. By the time of the surrender on July 4, 1863, approach trenches had reached the redoubt's outer ditch.
 

Did You Know?

Did You Know?

President Abraham Lincoln, in speaking of Vicksburg's importance, is reputed to have stated early during the Civil War, "See what a lot of land these fellows hold, of which Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket."