Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, - The Defender of Vicksburg

Pemberton, a West Point graduate, was cited twice for gallant actions in the Mexican War, married a Virginia belle, resigned his U.S. Army commission and cast his lot with the Confederacy. He had great engineering talent, was rapidly promoted and was transferred to take command of the Dept. of Mississippi and Eastern Louisiana, embracing the stronghold of Vicksburg, providing access to the supplies and manpower of the Trans-Mississippi. Many are contemptuous of Pemberton's military record, but it is a hard fact that he and his generals repeatedly frustrated the efforts of Grant and Sherman. On May 7 President Jefferson Davis sent Gen. Pemberton a telegram emphasizing the importance of holding Vicksburg at all costs. General Joe Johnston arriving in Jackson on May 13, ordered Pemberton to save his army, abandon Vicksburg and join with him against Grant. Pemberton was in a quandary: Should he obey President Davis, his Commander-in-Chief, or his immediate field commander, General Joe Johnston? His torment shows in his eyes in this painting. Pemberton left enough troops at Vicksburg to hold the city against a Union invasion, took most of his army and marched east trying to form a juncture with Johnston. He collided with Grant east of the Edwards Depot, fought and lost the key battle of the Vicksburg

Campaign, the Battle of Champion Hill, one of the most important battles of the war. After that battle Pemberton retired to the Vicksburg fortifications and after a 47-day siege was forced to surrender the city. After being exchanged, Pemberton resigned his commission as a lieutenant general and faithfully fought the remainder of the war as a lieutenant colonel.
James West Thompson, Historian, Jackson, Mississippi.

This painting has been shown many times on the History channel where he was called "the saddest man in Vicksburg". The life-size painting of Pemberton hangs in the Old Courthouse Museum in Vicksburg, Mississippi and illustrated in the book Pemberton - A Biography by Michael B. Ballard.

Prints will soon be available in a limited number. Please contact us.

Jerry McWilliams, Artist
Southern Heritage Productions, Inc.
"Southern Cedars"
1357 Kimbell Road
Terry, Mississippi  39170

| Home | Civil War & Historic Art | Southern Cedars | The Artist | Contact Us |

Copyright (c) Southern Heritage Productions, Inc.,  2002.  All Rights Reserved.