Vicksburg campaign Vicksburg campaign, in the American Civil War, the fighting (Nov., 1862–July, 1863) for control of the Mississippi River. The Union wanted such control in order to split the Confederacy and to restore free commerce to the politically important Northwest. New Orleans and Memphis fell to Union forces in the spring of 1862, but an attempt to take Vicksburg, Miss., by water failed (May–June). As a result the South still held 200 mi (320 km) of the river between Port Hudson, La., and Vicksburg. Early in Nov., 1862, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant , commanding the Dept. of the Tennessee, planned a converging assault on Vicksburg; Gen. William T. Sherman led an expedition down the river from Memphis to attack the city from the north, while Grant himself advanced overland from the east. However, Confederate cavalry under Earl Van Dorn and Nathan B. Forrest cut Grant's line of communications, forcing him to retreat, and Sherman was repulsed in the battle of Chickasaw Bluffs (Dec. 29, 1862). In Jan., 1863, Grant concentrated his
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