Union mortar boats at Vicksburg relentlessly bombarded the Confederate defenders and civilian population of that city.
A resident of Vicksburg in early June 1863 described the Federal bombardment, noting “Twenty-four hours of each day these preachers of the Union made their touching remarks to the town. All night long their deadly hail of iron dropped through roofs and tore up the deserted and denuded streets.”
Vicksburg’s civilians tended not to stay in their homes, opting for the safety of caves dug from hillsides and along the river banks. Confederate forces were not so lucky; they had to remain on the defensive in Vicksburg’s trenches in order to repel any Union advances on their positions. The constant strain of risking one’s life while on duty would soon wear down Vicksburg’s defenders.