by Robert L Killion
July 4, 1863 Vicksburg the battle for Vicksburg ended after 44 days. Hoping to cut the Confederacy in half Major General Ulysses S. Grant had assaulted Vicksburg on May 19 and again on the 22. Resigned to a siege, Grant had his troops dig in and began a steady shelling of Vicksburg. Confederate Lt. General John C. Pemberton was determined to hold the city and wait for relief. Grant quickly discovered his 50,000 men could not encircle the city and fill the 12 mile perimeter. 22,000 more Federal troops were transferred to Grant to fill the Union lines. Life inside the city was grim. With plenty of munitions, but little food, the Confederate forces hunkered down in a city being torn apart. The populace attempted to conduct business and maintain a since of normalcy. J.M. Swords continued printing his newspaper The Daily Citizen. Printing on the back of wallpaper when newspaper ran out. July 2, 1863 Swords set the type for his last newspaper, July 3 Pemberton begins negotiations of his surrender on July 4th. Union troops entering the city find the typeset and add their own copy( below) and printed the edition.
“JULY 4, 1863 Two days bring about great changes, The banner of the Union floats over Vicksburg. Gen. Grant has "caught the rabbit;" he has dined in Vicksburg, and he did bring his dinner with him. The "Citizen" lives to see it. For the last time it appears on "Wall-paper." No more will it eulogize the luxury of mule-meat and fricasseed kitten - urge Southern warriors to such diet nevermore. This is the last wall-paper edition, and is, excepting this note, from the types as we found them. It will be valuable hereafter as a curiosity. “
One of the most reproduced newspapers; copies were made as early as the 1870’s. At least 30 different editions and thousands of copies were sold or given as souvenirs over the years. PHS has one of the rare original copies; possibly brought back by a member of the 77th Illinois Volunteer Infantry which took part in the battles and siege.