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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1a20000The Schreiner University Department of History is honoring the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War with a series of short vignettes focusing on events from 1861 through 1865. The Civil War was the most destructive conflict in American history, but it was also one of our most defining moments as a people and as a nation. Let us know what you think about "This Week in the Civil War." E-mail your comments to Dr. John Huddleston at jhuddles@schreiner.edu.Airs: Weekdays at 5:19 a.m., 8:19 a.m., 4:19 p.m. on KTXI and 4:49 a.m., 9:29 p.m. on KSTX.

This Week in the Civil War - 568

Confederate General Joseph Johnston had been in command of all Confederate troops in Mississippi, including those at Vicksburg, for less than a week when Ulysses Grant decided to attack Jackson, the state’s capital, before assaulting Vicksburg. 

With only 12,000 troops Joseph Johnston had to abandon the city, evacuating critical supplies and withdrawing to the north.  On Thursday, May 14, 1863 after overwhelming the two Confederate brigades left behind to affect a delaying action, Federal forces occupied Jackson. 

Johnston knew that Union forces under John McClernand occupied parts of the rail line linking Jackson to Vicksburg, thus separating Johnston’s forces from John Pemberton’s beleaguered Confederates at Vicksburg.  Grant now had the latitude to turn west from Mississippi’s capital city and move directly against Vicksburg, while preventing Johnston and Pemberton’s forces from uniting.