On this day, July 1st, in 1863 began the most famous battle of the American Civil War when elements of General Henry Heth’s Confederate division stumbled onto dismounted Federal cavalry troops from General John Buford’s division near Gettysburg, PA.
Reinforcements from both sides poured in and over the next two days a see-saw battle would rage with both sides claiming tactical victories and seizing or holding key terrain with no clear outcome.
But on July 3rd in a desperate attempt to break the Union center on Cemetery Ridge, General Robert E. Lee threw over 12,000 relatively fresh Confederates into the attack. The result was a devastating defeat for the south in what has come to be called, “Pickett’s Charge”, named for one of the division leaders of the assault, General George Pickett.
On July 4th, 1863, with both armies nearing exhaustion, General Lee ordered a withdrawal. Commander of the Union Army of the Potomac General George Meade saw no capability to launch his army after the retreating Confederates, so Lee’s army would survive to fight for nearly two more years.
Although not readily apparent at the time, the Battle of Gettysburg, along with the Confederate’s loss of the fortress at Vicksburg, Mississippi, represented the turning point in the American Civil War. Lee’s losses at Gettysburg could not be replaced, and never again would the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia take the strategic offensive.
Just so you guys know: I’m from Vicksburg, Mississippi and I lived there until I was 19. When I make posts that are all, “Ain’t y’all tobacky damnyankee city folks mud ridin,” I’m just phonetically rendering the way I actually talk.
And everybody tells me my accent gets noticeably more pronounced when I’m all worked up. Usually when I’m talking about politics.
So, like, if you’d ever like to hear a gorgeous Southern belle pontificate on the finer points of gender theory and historical materialism, stop on by the home place sometime.
Jassen Todorov, an award-winning photographer from San Francisco, has collected hundreds of images of iconic bridges from around the world.
Among the highlights of his collection, Jassen has captured the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and London’s Tower Bridge, which dates from 1894.
He has also captured the Seven Mile Bridge connecting South Florida with the Florida Keys, the Glen Canyon Bridge in Arizona (one of the highest bridges in the U.S.), the Jubilee Parkway in Alabama (one of the longest in the U.S.), and the historic Old and New Vicksburg Bridges over the Mississippi River.
Jassen says, “Photographing bridges from above is an ongoing project of mine. I find it very exciting and fascinating to fly over these marvels of engineering.” (Caters News)
“We will lose 5,000 men before we take Vicksburg, and we may as well lose them here as anywhere else.”
-Gen. William T. Sherman
At the opening of the campaign to take Vicksburg, Mississippi, Grant and Sherman were looking for a weak spot in the Confederate defense. Vicksburg stood on a bluff over the Mississippi, strongly fortified and completely controlling the river. Grant and Sherman selected Chickasaw Bluffs on the Yazoo River just north of Vicksburg.
Philip Reilly wrote of the attack:
“Batteries that had hitherto been silent now opened upon us with fearful effect. Solid shot, shell, grape, cannister, rifle balls and musketry poured down upon us from all sides. The effect was terrible. It seemed as if the heavens and earth were coming together far as the eye could reach. You might behold riderless horses with distended nostrils galloping wildly to and fro and quivering with affright while over the plain you might behold headless bodies, legs and arms scattered to and fro. …We advanced steadily into this human slaughter pen until we drove them from their first rifle pits were our brave boys were so badly cut up that they/we, I mean, were forced to retreat.”
In 1863, on the 87th American Independence Day, the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi fell to the heroes of the United States Army. Vicksburg was part of the treasonous Confederacy, of course, and it was the last holdout preventing unimpeded Union cargo and naval traffic on the Mississippi River.
The commanders of the Vicksburg campaign would soon become famous throughout the land–Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman. Upon hearing of their success, President Lincoln remarked that “the Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea,” because apparently there was a time when being a complete dolt was not a desirable trait in US Presidents.
Historian James McPherson called Grant’s Vicksburg campaign “the most brilliant and innovative campaign of the Civil War.” The US Army, going one further, noted in the 1986 Field Manual 100-5 that this was “the most brilliant campaign ever fought on American soil.”
Local legend (I cannot vouch for the veracity of this) states that the city of Vicksburg did not celebrate US Independence Day until about 80 years later. And the fact that such a story even exists tells you something about the sorry-ass, recalcitrant, whiny-ass-titty-babies who crow about the glory of the Lost Cause and wave their stupid traitor flags.
On this day in 1867 Sarah Breedlove (later known as Madam C.J. Walker) was born in Delta, Louisiana. She was born on a cotton plantation to sharecropper parents who had recently been freed from slavery. At the age of seven Sarah was orphaned, and moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi where she found employment on a plantation. She longed to escape the oppressive working environment and soon married and moved to Missouri, while attending night school. In the 1890s Breedlove developed a scalp disorder which caused her to lose much of her hair, and led her to experiment with home remedies to help her hair. Breedlove soon founded her own company and, with the help and encouragement of her second husband, came to be known as Madam C.J. Walker. Her company, which made hair products for African-American women, was a huge success and earned her millions of dollars and eventually expanded overseas in Latin America and the Caribbean. Walker is also known for her philanthropy and promotion of the rights of African-Americans and women - stipulating that only women could be president of her company. She died in 1919, aged 51, leaving a large part of her fortune to charities and her children. Walker is remembered as an important figure in African-American history and a remarkable woman, who was born in a log cabin as the first free-born member of her family and, through hard-work and business acumen, became the first female self-made millionaire in American history.
“I got my start by giving myself a start.” - Madam C.J. Walker
Hand-colored ambrotype portrait of Union soldier Seneca Flint who served with the 2nd Regiment Wisconsin Volunteer Cavalry during the Civil War. He died of disease in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on October 25, 1864.
Check out my other multi-chapter Destiel stories on the tumblr master post or on Archive of Our Own. This story is a series, meaning there will be several 5-chapter or 10-chapter stories like books in a published series. Each book will be listed below.
Bound To War
Backstory: In the sticky, sultry summer of 1863, Private Dean Winchester fights and hacks his way through the swamps surrounding Vicksburg, Mississippi. War has a way of stripping great men of their brass and he doesn’t recognize his brigade commander, General Castiel Novak, while on patrol and barks Winchester attitude at him. He just knows the general will have him put up on charges of insubordination, but little does he know, General Novak notices him for an entirely different purpose. Suddenly promoted to the general’s aide-de-camp, the two embark on a secret relationship that opens newly promoted Major Winchester’s eyes to an underground society where love is free and expression of love comes in tantalizing forms. But will Major Winchester choose to remain bound to General Novak once the war is over?
As the Civil War draws to an end, Major Dean Winchester and General Castiel Novak must adjust to the new conditions of peacetime life. Castiel takes Dean home to New York City where they can blend in as a pair of men in love easier than they could in Dean’s home of Kansas. In spite of a burgeoning social life going to parties in Molly houses, places known to host men who preferred men, they live in fear every day of the illegal nature of their affair. A police raid on a popular Molly house lands Dean and Castiel in prison, a result of the meddling of Meg, the wife Castiel rejected to be with him during the war. Her taste for revenge threatens their lives. They must depend on friends like the Harvelles and Singers to set them free in a society designed to destroy same-sex love.