After a struggle to find a suitable cause for the Round Table to sponsor several members have suggested Champion Hill.
In 2007 the American Battlefield Trust acquired land from the Champion family in the form of an easement and they have set a donations deadline of 30th June 2021.
Having received members' overwhelming approval the ACWRT(UK) has made an immediate donation to the cause of preserving part of this historic battlefield site.
The Mississippi River was widely recognised during the civil war as the main artery of the nation. If the Union could gain control of it they would have access all the way down to the major port of New Orleans and furthermore, they would effectively cut the Confederacy in two.
Standing in their way was the hilltop city of Vicksburg, known as the Gibralter of the West. Vicksburg sat high atop a bluff overlooking the mighty Mississippi and was considered to be impregnable. Ships trying to sail by would be blasted out of the water and the Confederates had built a series of redoubts on the land side to thwart attack from that side.
The man given the uneviable task of trying to achieve the seemingly impossible was General Ulysses S Grant. He decided to head east, away from Vicksburg. He believed he would be able to defeat Johnston first and then turn on Pemberton.
On May 1st 1863 he fought a battle at Port Gibson which was followed up a few days later at Raymond. Further east General Sherman attacked the Mississippi state capital of Jackson. At this point, General Johnston felt he could do no more and retreated.
Grant now turned westwards and attacked and beat General Pemberton's troops in the climactic and bloody battle at Champion Hill on 16th May 1863. The battle started well for the Union pressing the enemy back, then the Confederates countered before the northern troops rallied and defeated the southerners causing them to head back to Vicksburg. There was a final battle at Big Black Bridge on 17th May. This Grant had fought and won five battles and beating two armies in 17 days.
This was followed by the famous 47 day seige of Vicksburg after which General Pemberton and his troops surrendered on 4th July 1863.
All donations to Champion Hill are in connection with the Ed Bearrs Tribute Fund which is exclusively geared to funding the preservation of the Vicksburg Campaign. As many people will know, Ed Bearrs was one of the absolute doyens of Civil War preservation and education. He was especially known for his amazing work over many years on the whole Vickburg Campaign and many years ago he wrote the definitive work on the campaign with a trilogy of remarkable books.
We also have another project in mind, Cape Charles in Virginia, but at the moment we are awaiting confirmation that this will proceed.