Chronology of the Operations Against Vicksburg

May 18, 1862 - July 4th, 1863

For a discussion of sources on the Vicksburg operations, click here.

Chronology entries in blue refer to Union operations; those in gray to Confederate operations; those in red to actual combat.

Date: Event:
May 18 Farragut arrives at Vicksburg with the fleet that has taken New Orleans and Baton Rouge, and demands the surrender of the city, but is refused. After a few days of ineffectual shelling of the city, he returns to New Orleans, leaving a small flotilla at Vicksburg.
June 20 Maj. Gen. Earl Van Dorn placed in command of the Confederate Department of Southern Mississippi and East Louisiana, and is charged with the defense of Vicksburg.
June 25 Farragut returns to Vicksburg and begins shelling the defensive batteries with mortars.
June 27 Brig. Gen. Thomas Williams begins work on a canal across the neck of land opposite Vicksburg.
June 28 Farragut's Federal fleet runs past the Vicksburg batteries.
July 1 Commodore Davis arrives at Vicksburg with the Mississippi River gunboat squadron.
July 15 Federal gunboats Carondolet, Tyler, and Queen of the West encounter the Confederate ironclad Arkansas in the Yazoo River. The Arkansas disables the Carondolet but takes several hits. Nonetheless, she enters the Mississippi and runs the gauntlet of the Federal fleet before taking refuge under the Vicksburg shore batteries.
July 22 Essex and Queen of the West attack the Arkansas as she lies moored at Vicksburg, but are unable to do substantial damage.
July 24 Farragut again retires from Vicksburg downriver.
July 28 Commodore Davis takes the gunboat fleet north to Helena, Arkansas
Oct. 1 Maj. Gen. John C. Pemberton placed in command of the new Confederate Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana, replacing Van Dorn.

David Dixon Porter placed in command of the Mississippi Squadron, replacing Charles Davis.

Oct. 20 Lincoln authorizes Maj. Gen. John C. McClernand to recruit in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa.
Oct. 25 Maj. Gen. U.S. Grant appointed as commander of the Federal Department of the Tennessee.
Nov. 6 Grant begins his overland advance through central Mississippi.
Nov. 29 Grant establishes his headquarters at Holly Springs, Mississippi
Dec. 1 Federal troops reach the line of the Tallahatchie.
Dec. 3 Grant occupies Oxford, Mississippi.
Dec. 12 Federal ironclad Cairo sinks in the Yazoo River after hitting a mine.
Dec. 20 Sherman leaves Memphis with 32,000 troops.

Van Dorn's cavalry force destroys Grant's main depot at Holly Springs, Mississippi. In conjunction with a raid by Forrest against the Tennessee railroads, this action forces Grant to halt his advance and retire northwards.

Dec. 26 Sherman lands at the mouth of the Yazoo.
Dec. 29 Sherman attacks at Chickasaw Bluffs, is repulsed.
Date: Event:
Jan. 2 McClernand joins Sherman at Milliken's Bend (upriver from Vicksburg, on the west bank of the river) and takes command of the expedition.
Jan. 4 McClernand takes his force up the Arkansas River to reduce Arkansas Post.
Jan. 11 Battle of Arkansas Post results in Federal victory and some 5,000 prisoners.
Jan. 19 McClernand's expedition returns to Milliken's Bend
Jan. 22 Sherman's troops begin work on excavating the canal across DeSoto Point.
Jan. 30 Grant takes command of all troops operating against Vicksburg.
Feb. 2 The ram Queen of the West runs the Vicksburg batteries and embarks on a mission to disrupt Confederate river traffic on the Mississippi and Red Rivers.
Feb. 3 Federal engineers blow a passage through the levee that separates the Mississippi from the Coldwater River, opening a possible route south towards Vicksburg.
Feb. 5 Grant orders McPherson (XVII) to begin work on opening a passage through to the Red River via the Lake Providence route.
Feb. 7 Transports carrying 4,500 Federal troops enter the Coldwater River via the breached levee.
Feb. 13 Federal ironclad Indianola passes the Vicksburg batteries, with two barges in tow. Her mission is to join with the Queen of the West in disrupting Confederate commerce on that part of the Mississippi still under Rebel control.
Feb. 14 The Queen of the West runs aground and is abandoned by her crew.
Feb. 24 The Indianola is attacked by a Confederate squadron (including the captured and now repaired Queen of the West) and is forced to surrender.
March 7 The Mississippi River breaks through the canal but not enough to make a reasonable passage; in any event, Confederate batteries have been sighted to fire on the exit. Although work continues briefly, the project is abandoned within two weeks.
March 11 The Yazoo Pass expedition reaches Fort Pemberton on the lower Yalobusha River, some 90 miles from Vicksburg.
March 14 Porter's flotilla enters Steele's Bayou in another attempt to reach dry land north of Vicksburg.
March 16 After several attempts to bombard Fort Pemberton into submission, the Federals are forced to admit defeat and begin to withdraw.
March 18 The levee near Lake Providence is breached, creating a channel deep enough for boats of six foot draft, but this route is soon abandoned in favor other plans.
March 19 Confederates begin to close in on Porter's flotilla, felling trees ahead and behind the boats, hoping to capture them.
March 22 Federal troops under Sherman arrive where Porter is trapped, and enable the gunboats to retreat to the Mississippi.

Grant orders McPherson to concentrate his troops at Young's Point, effectively ending the Lake Providence expedition.

March 23 A reinforced Federal expedition returns to Fort Pemberton, but is almost immediately ordered to withdraw.
April 16 Porter's fleet runs the batteries.
April 17 Col. Benjamin Grierson sets out from LaGrange, Tennessee, with three Federal cavalry regiments, to raid Pemberton's supply and communication lines.
April 29 Porter's fleet fails to reduce Grand Gulf.

Sherman (XV) demonstrates north of Vicksburg.

April 30 McClernand (XIII Corps) and McPherson (XVII Corps) begin crossing the river at Bruinsburg.
May 1 Battle of Port Gibson; McClernand and McPherson defeat Bowen.
May 8 XV Corps (Sherman) joins Grant.
May 12 Battle of Raymond; McPherson defeats Gregg.
May 14 Battle of Jackson; Sherman and McPherson defeat Johnston.
May 16 Battle of Champion Hill. Pemberton defeated, Loring's division separated from Pemberton's army.
May 17 Battle of Big Black River Bridge; Pemberton loses 1700 prisoners.
May 19 First assault.
May 22 Second assault.
June 7 Battle of Milliken's Bend; Confederates under Richard Taylor attack Grant's base on the west bank of the Mississippi, are repulsed.
June 18 McClernand relieved.
June 28 Anonymous soldiers warn Pemberton the garrison is close to mutiny over rations.
July 3 Flag of truce appears between the lines, and discussions begin between Grant and Pemberton as to the surrender of the city and its garrison.
July 4 Pemberton surrenders the city and its garrison.