Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863
Small Towns in a Big War
What was the Battle of Champion Hill?
Even before he learned of the burning of Jackson, Mississippi, General Pemberton decided to fight Grant outside of Vicksburg. Leaving the fortified city, Pemberton brought about thirty thousand men to Champion Hill to await Grant’s movements. Pemberton’s men dug in, but they were not ready for the fierce assault that came their way on May 18.
Grant’s men were, by now, so battle hardened and accustomed to difficulty that any force would have had a difficult time resisting them. The Battle of Champion Hill was exceptionally one-sided, with Pemberton losing two thousand men killed, wounded, or missing and Grant suffering less than half as many.
Champion Hill meant that Pemberton would not fight Grant again in the open, and it meant that the fight for Vicksburg would be a siege. How long that siege would be was partly up to Grant.