The siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi by Union forces under Major General Ulysses S. Grant began 150 years ago on May 18, 1863. Confederates forces would surrender the fortress city after 40 days, effectively yielding control of the Mississippi River to the Union.
Map of the Siege of Vicksburg, Miss., By the U. S. Forces Under the Command of Maj. Genl. U. S. Grant, U. S. Vls., Maj. F. E. Prime, Chief Engr. Surveyed and constructed under direction of Capt. C. B. Comstock, U.S. Engrs., and Lt. Col. J. H. Wilson, A. I. Genl. 1st Lt., Engrs….Drawn by Chs. Spangenberg, Asst. Engr., 08/20/1863
Another Submission for #NationalParksWeek!
— Michael (@georgiadog)
Map of Colorado Territory Embracing the Central Gold Region, 1862
Colorado was first organized as a Territory on February 28, 1861, in the midst of the Colorado Gold Rush. It would become a state on August 1, 1876, following the same boundaries.
Croquis of the Battlefield of Prairie Grove, Arkansas. December 7th, 1862. Drawn by T. W. Williams, 15 Ills. Infy., 12/07/1862
Fought on December 7, 1862, the Battle of Prairie Grove resulted in a strategic Union victory, enabling them to secure northwest Arkansas from the Confederacy.
October 17, 1962 — Day Two: Maps of the Cuban Missile Crisis
President Kennedy scribbled handwritten notes on the first map during early meetings on the Cuban Missile Crisis, marking each missile site with a black X. The second, more detailed map was used by senior military officials and political advisers to catalog the many pieces of Soviet military equipment already on Cuba, including helicopters, transports, and missiles of varying size and range capabilities.
The National Archives’ latest exhibit: “To the Brink: JFK and the Cuban Missile Crisis” covers the 13 days when the world teetered on the brink of thermonuclear war.
Flying deep into Germany
Dated August 17, 1943, this chart outlines the routes to and from the targets of the first American deep-penetration bombing raid of World War II: the ball-bearing factories of Schweinfurt and the Messerschmitt aircraft factory in Regensburg. Also noted are encounters with anti-aircraft fire or “flak” and engagements with various types of German aircraft. 60 of 376 aircraft were lost on this mission.
On May 4th, 1970 Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State University who were protesting the American invasion of Cambodia. In a period of 13 seconds, the National Guard troops wounded nine and killed four. This map, prepared for the Commission on Campus Unrest, shows “the Commons” area on the Kent State Campus, the movement of the National Guardsmen, and the locations where students were shot.
Happy Evacuation Day!
Following the arrival & emplacement of artillery liberated from Fort Ticonderoga, the Siege of Boston was lifted when occupying British forces evacuated the city on March 17, 1776. (Which just happens to coincide with another big event in Boston…)
Sketch of British and American Lines and Fortifications in Boston Area by John Trumbull, 1775
More details via the National Archives at Boston on Facebook »
Completely surrounded in the town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, the 101st Airborne Division held off besieging German forces for eight days until their relief by General George Patton’s Third Army on December 26, 1944. The break in German lines surrounding Bastogne is shown at the center of this situation map from December 27, 1944.
“Situation 1200 hours 27 December 1944 Twelfth Army Group”; Records of Allied Operational and Occupation Headquarters, World War II; Record Group 331
On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers staged a surprise attack on U.S. military and naval forces in Hawaii. In a devastating defeat, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties and the loss of or severe damage to 188 planes, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, and 4 miscellaneous vessels. Japanese losses were less than 100 personnel, 29 planes, and 5 midget submarines.
Four years after the attack, Congress established the Joint Committee on the Investigation of the Pearl Harbor Attack. Their task was to make a full and complete investigation of the facts relating to the events and circumstances leading up to or following the attack. In its investigation, the committee sought to determine whether shortcomings or failures on the U.S. side might have contributed to the disaster and, if so, to suggest changes that might protect the country from another attack in the future. The committee’s public hearings began on November 15, 1945, and continued until May 31, 1946.
The Radar Plot of Detector Station Opana was an exhibit of the Joint Committee. The 22 x 31-inch radar plot was made by Privates Joseph L. Lockard and George Elliot at the Opana Radar Station on the morning of December 7, 1941. It indicated a large number of aircraft approaching the island of Oahu. The control officer whom Lockard and Elliot called believed the radar signals announced the approach of American B-17s scheduled for arrival the same day. It wasn’t until they arrived back at camp that they learned of the Japanese attack and surmised that the planes they had observed on the radar were the same ones who led the attack.
Learn more about the documents relating to the Pearl Harbor attack by visiting our featured document on the Day of Infamy.
Radar Plot from Station Opana, exhibits compiled 11/15/1945 - 5/31/1946, Records of the Joint Committees of Congress (ARC 2600930)