The Bugler

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The Siege of Vicksburg

During the War Between the States, President Lincoln recognized the significance of the town situated on a 200-foot bluff above the Mississippi River. He said, "Vicksburg is the key, the war can never be brought to a close until that key is in our pocket." The map below vividly shows how the Mississippi River makes a dramatic turn above Vicksburg and how it would be impossible to transport goods down the river without controlling the city. Lincoln charged Major General Ulysses S. Grant with bringing him the key. In the April 16th issue of The Bugler the excitement was building as Grant, commander of the US Army of Tennessee, directed his troops to run the batteries at Vicksburg. In preparation for the battles to come Grant had his troops march undetected down the Louisiana side of the Mississippi and "in the largest amphibious operation ever conducted by an American force prior to World War II, Grant and Porter transferred 24,000 men and 60 guns from the west bank to the east" ( The Federal troops were now south of the city with plans to begin the march back to the north.

Siege of Vicksburg, Wikipedia images.

Vicksburg was under the command of Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, a West Point-trained engineer and native Pennsylvanian with a Southern wife, who had chosen to fight for the Confederacy. A series of battles were held beginning on May 12, 1863 with Grant trying to gain Vicksburg and Pemberton trying to cut Grant's supply line. Heavy casualties were had on both sides and by the last week of May, Grant decided that a siege of the city was his only option. Soon "reinforced to over 70,000 strong, for weeks his men dug trenches that zigged and zagged but steadily brought them closer to Pemberton's positions. One group tunneled underneath the Third Louisiana Redan, named for its defenders, and on June 25 detonated barrels of black powder that blasted a hole in the works." A second mine was exploded on July 1st. With the civilians holed up in caves to avoid the non-ending cannon fire, and a population of soldiers and civilians that were reduced to eating dogs, cats and rodents to avoid starvation, Pemberton met with Grant on July 3rd to discuss surrender. On July 4th, 1863, the Confederate troops surrendered. According to the National Park Service website, casualties of the Battle of Vicksburg had been over 19,000, with 10,142 US troops killed or wounded and over 9,000 Confederate casualties. Troops killed during the siege had been light and over 29,000 men surrendered. See for more detailed information about the battles.

Additional information about the Battle of Vicksburg and other battles of the Civil War can be found at This website also has numerous maps and diagrams showing the different battles. There is also a YouTube video that reenacts the siege.

2013 National High School Drill Team Championships

Glendale was in Daytona Beach, Florida over the weekend of May 4th where over a hundred high school teams from across the nation competed in the annual Drill Nationals event. In addition, Adam Jeup, who writes periodic columns for The Bugler, competed in the ISIS World Championships. Once again a shout out to all the wonderful students who participate in JROTC programs and their commanders and parents and volunteers who support these programs throughout the year. Following are a couple of the many pictures we took. Congratulations to all the participants.

Flour Bluff High School NJROTC, Corpus Christi TX, Unarmed Regulation Drill.

Seneca High School MCJROTC, Louisville KY, Armed Exhibition Drill.

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