Recovery of Post-Civil War Vicksburg, Mississippi
Honorable Mention winner of the Friends of Fondren Library Research Awards, Undergraduate Category, 2018. This paper was originally prepared for Course Hist 207, Fall 2017: Spatial History and Historical GIS, given by Professor Kennedy, Sheridan W., Department of History.
Two decisive battles came at the turning point of the American Civil War in July 1863: the Battle of Gettysburg and the Battle of Vicksburg. While Gettysburg followed the traditional mode of a short engagement between the colliding Confederate and Union armies, Vicksburg represented a military, economic, and strategic stronghold. With the topographic situation of the city, Union Major General Ulysses S. Grant initiated a prolonged siege of Vicksburg. The devastation—emotional and physical—left a lasting scar on the city, and Vicksburg did not celebrate the Fourth of July for another eighty-one years. Although Reconstruction officially ended with the Compromise of 1877, this paper examines key questions about the lasting effects of the Civil War in Vicksburg, Mississippi. This study used Historical GIS and spatial analysis to test the persistence of the siege and bombardment on urban landscape. This investigation tests the hypothesis that regions harder hit by Grant’s artillery have a lower socioeconomic level in 2017. The findings reveal a degree of correlation between the extent of shelling and the modern economic level of Vicksburg’s neighborhoods.