The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002 Page: 93
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Notes and Documents
A Texan Records the Civil War Siege of Vicksburg,
Mississippi: The Journal of Maj. Maurice
Kavanaugh Simons, 1863
DOUGLAS LEE BRAUDAWAY*
THE FEDERAL VICTORY AT GETTYSBURG ON JULY 3, 1863, IS OFTEN
presented as the turning point of the American Civil War. The bat-
tle proved that the Confederate army could not destroy a Union army,
nor could it control territory in the northern states. However, the
Federal victory at Vicksburg the following day is more significant. The
conclusion of the siege of that Southern city proved that a Federal
army could destroy a Confederate army and control territory in the
southern states. That makes the fall of Vicksburg on Independence
Day, 1863, the second most important event of the war, second only to
the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House in 1865. The
four years of warfare forced many sacrifices from the men who served
on both sides of the fight. When the conflict ended, many of the veter-
an soldiers were missing body parts. Maurice Kavanaugh Simons
entered the conflict already missing one leg, an odd situation for
someone joining the infantry. Despite such an infirmity, he left his
wife and daughter to go to war and eventually found himself a partici-
pant in and a chronicler of one of the most important events of that
war, the siege of Vicksburg.
Vicksburg was a fortress with massive artillery commanding a sharp
bend in the Mississippi River. This "Gibraltar of the Confederacy" con-
trolled movement and trade on the "Father of Waters" and linked Texas
* Douglas Lee Braudaway is an instructor at Southwest Texas Junior College in Del Rio,
Texas, and is a member of the Val Verde County Historical Commission. He has authored two
books, on Val Verde County history and the Southern Pacific Railroad in West Texas, as well as
an article about segregation and school district consolidation in Del Rio.
VOL. CV, No. 1 SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY JULY, 2001
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/m1/101/?rotate=180: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.