Vicksburg, Mississippi (Location Key)


Although a small city, Vicksburg played a big role in the Civil War. Located on steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, it was a strategically important Confederate stronghold, especially after it became the last point on the river to remain outside Union control. That made it the target of several major campaigns, including a naval assault led by Admiral David Farragut that began in May 1862 and continued into June and July of that year, and the army campaign led by General Ulysses S. Grant that lasted over half a year. It ended when, after a 47-day seige, the Confederate garrison surrendered on the symbolic date of July 4, 1863, giving the North command of the whole Mississippi River and control of the war's western theater. It is in this context that Vicksburg appears in The Unvanquished stories. The first written of these, "Ambuscade," may begin just after the fall of Vicksburg - though the project's editors are divided on that date. The last written, "My Grandmother Millard," takes place earlier, allowing Faulkner's narrator - and perhaps in a moment of Southern nostalgia Faulkner himself - to call Vicksburg "all we had left of the River" (669). In the Go Down, Moses stories, both the bi-racial Nat Beauchamp and Roth McCaslin's bi-racial mistress have aunts who live in the city, and in Intruder in the Dust the oldest son of Nub Gowrie is the "manager of a delta cotton plantation" near Vicksburg (160). Finally, near the end of "Race at Morning," Faulkner's last short story, the young narrator acknowledges how he came to live with "Mister Ernest" - because his mother "went off with the Vicksburg roadhouse feller" (307).

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Vicksburg, Mississippi
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Vicksburg, Mississippi