Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

July 4, 1863: Vicksburg Falls

Posted in Memory by Andy Hall on July 4, 2017

One hundred fifty-four years ago today, Vicksburg fell to General Grants army after a siege of 46 days. My great-great-grandfather, William Colder Demnan of the 30th Alabama Infantry, was one of the 18,000 Confederate troops surrendered on that day. The Confederate commander, Pemberton, later said he chose Independence Day to surrender because he felt he could get better terms of surrender on that day than on any other.

Grant wrote of the aftermath in his memoirs:

Pemberton and his army were kept in Vicksburg until the whole could be paroled. The paroles were in duplicate, by organization (one copy for each, Federals and Confederates), and signed by the commanding officers of the companies or regiments. Duplicates were also made for each soldier and signed by each individually, one to be retained by the soldier signing and one to be retained by us. Several hundred refused to sign their paroles, preferring to be sent to the North as prisoners to being sent back to fight again. Others again kept out of the way, hoping to escape either alternative. . . .

As soon as our troops took possession of the city guards were established along the whole line of parapet, from the river above to the river below. The prisoners were allowed to occupy their old camps behind the intrenchments. No restraint was put upon them, except by their own commanders. They were rationed about as our own men, and from our supplies. The men of the two armies fraternized as if they had been fighting for the same cause. When they passed out of the works they had so long and so gallantly defended, between lines of their late antagonists, not a cheer went up, not a remark was made that would give pain. Really, I believe there was a feeling of sadness just then in the breasts of most of the Union soldiers at seeing the dejection of their late antagonists.

The painting above hangs in the Governor’s Suite of the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. (It was one of several paintings that were recently threatened with relocation, but I understand that plan was shelved after public outcry.) It depicts the Fourth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry leading Federal troops into the city. It was painted by Francis D. Millet (1846-1912) sometime after 1905. Millet, one of the best-known American artists of the period, was himself a Civil War veteran. Millet died in April 1912 in the sinking of Titanic.

h/t Kevin Dally

Update: A blog reader notes that Millet also designed the Army Campaign Medal issued to CW veterans:



4 Responses

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  1. James F. Epperson said, on July 5, 2017 at 11:23 am

    18,000? I think 28,000 is closer to the accepted figure.

  2. Cotton Boll Conspiracy said, on July 28, 2017 at 9:12 am

    I was unaware of the push to relocate the Civil War art in the Governor’s Suite in St. Paul until I read your post. Strange times we live in.

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