The Second Texas Lunette (a crescent-shaped fortification) was the Confederate defensive work constructed to guard the Baldwin Ferry Road entering Vicksburg. In 1863, the road approached the city from the southeast, passed in front of the lunette, and then entered the city. The lunette is named after the Second Texas Volunteer Infantry which held the position throughout the siege.
The lunette was the subject of tremendous artillery bombardment and repeated, furious Union assaults on May 22. However, the determination and bravery of the attacking Federals was matched by the Confederates, whose withering defensive fire consistently forced the Union soldiers to retire. After the assaults, the commander of the Second Texas stated, "along the road [Baldwin Ferry] for more than 200 yards the bodies lay so thick that one might have walked the whole distance without touching the ground."
With so many casualties, the Federals changed their strategy of attack against the Second Texas Lunette, and commenced mining operations by digging approach trenches. At the time of the Vicksburg surrender, one of the trenches was within 10 yards of the outer ditch of the fortification.
This tract of land is now partly occupied by the Jewish Anshe Chesed Cemetery. Deeded to the synagogue in 1864, a year after the siege, the land became the re-interment site for original congregation members. The first new burial in the cemetery most likely took place in May 1865, when a man named Mayer was interred in grave No. 1. This shows the cemetery's creation to be almost 40 years prior to the establishment of Vicksburg National Military Park, which now surrounds the cemetery.
Last updated: April 14, 2015