The March Minus Reporters
A S SPRING 1863 turned into summer, the Vicksburg siege continued. The increasingly hot, sticky weather made the dull backbreaking work of canal and trench digging correspondingly more exhausting. Progress was slow; Vicksburg seemed more impregnable each day as the Mississippi River refused to be diverted to a new channel by Federal shovels. Spirits were low, and confusion was rampant. Union forces seemed incapable of capturing the Gibraltar on the Mississippi.
Newspapers mirrored this uncertainty. Throughout that spring, contradictory rumors filled newspapers columns. As early as 22 April 1863, the New York Herald reported the Confederate evacuation of Vicksburg. On 25 May it headlined: "Vicksburg is Ours." On the twenty-seventh, it admitted its mistake, but two days later again reported rumors of Vicksburg's capture, only to have to retract the following week.1
This press confusion continued into the summer