By mid-June 1863 the Union siege of Vicksburg worsened. A Confederate major noted, “One day is like another in a besieged city—all you can hear is the rattle of the Enemy’s guns, with the sharp crack of the rifles of their sharp-shooters going from early dawn to dark and then at night the roaring of the terrible mortars is kept up sometimes all this time.”
On Saturday, June the 20th the city endured an especially heavy, six-hour Union bombardment by both Union army and navy guns. Little food remained in the city, and disease began to take its toll. Fewer and fewer horses, mules, and dogs were seen wandering Vicksburg’s streets, and shoe leather became a last resort of sustenance for many of the city’s beleaguered citizens and defenders.