Surrender (July 4)
On the hot afternoon of July 3, 1863, a cavalcade of horsemen in gray rode out from the city along the Jackson Road. Soon white flags appeared on the city's defenses as General Pemberton rode beyond the works to meet with his adversary — General Grant. The two officers dismounted between the lines, not far from the Third Louisiana Redan, and sat in the shade of a stunted oak tree to discuss surrender terms. Unable to reach an agreement, the two men returned to their respective headquarters. Telling Pemberton he would have his final terms by 10 p.m., Grant was true to his word, and his final amended terms were forwarded to Pemberton that night. Instead of an unconditional surrender of the city and garrison, Grant offered parole to the valiant defenders of Vicksburg. Pemberton and his generals agreed that these were the best terms that could be had, and in the quiet of his headquarters on Crawford Street, the decision was made to surrender the city.
At 10 a.m., on July 4, white flags were again displayed from the Confederate works, and the brave men in gray marched out of their entrenchments, stacked their arms, removed their accouterments, and furled their flags. The victorious Union army now marched in and took possession the city.
When informed of the fall of Vicksburg, President Lincoln exclaimed, "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea."
The fall of Vicksburg, coupled with the defeat of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in the battle of Gettysburg fought over July 1-3, 1863, marked the turning point of the Civil War.
Last updated: April 14, 2015