Comments about ‘Lee Benson: The second best Fourth in Vicksburg, Mississippi’

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Published: Monday, July 1 2013 3:13 p.m. MDT

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CaryT
VICKSBURG, MS

Good article, Lee, but you left out one important detail that helps give perspective and understanding as to why July 4 has only recently been a day of celebration in Vicksburg. General Pemberton and the rest of the Confederate troops were ready to surrender and wanted to do so formally on July 3rd but General Grant, in an extra measure of insult, refused to accept their formal surrender until July 4. Because of this perceived disrespect, for many decades locals did not venture out of doors on July 4 and when they did, they wore black armbands.

Thankfully the past has finally become the past and the City of Vicksburg has an official celebration with fireworks over the water, parades, picnics and all the trappings of any American city - but that didn't come about until the 1990's - about the time I moved to Vicksburg. I don't agree with their response, but it helps to understand that the locals here were reacting to the spite with which they were treated by Gen. Grant and that lasted for many generations.

UncleSam
Chicago, IL

CaryT, I understand that education is not a priority in Mississippi and that may have led to the perpetuation of the fallacy of Grant insulting Vicksburg by refusing surrender on the 3rd. Perhaps the words of General Pemberton from his own report can shed a little light on the subject.

"If it should be asked why the Fourth of July was selected as the day for the surrender, the answer is obvious. I believed that upon that day I should obtain better terms. Well aware of the vanity of our foes, I knew they would attach vast importance to entrance on the Fourth of July into the stronghold of the great river, and that, to gratify their national vanity, they would yield then what could not be extorted from them at any other time."

Pemberton chose the 4th in an effort to exact the most favorable terms possible for his men and the city.

The fact that Vicksburgh appears to have held a roughly 130 temper tantrum based upon a slight that never occurred makes me truly sad. Perhaps the money saved on fireworks displays and bunting would have been well spent on education instead of black arm bands.

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