122 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SIEGE OF VICKSBURG Vicksburg was impregnable to Union forces for years because of its high bluffs and the rough terrain surrounding the city. Union forces laid siege to the city from May 26 to July 3, 1863. Disease, limited food, and casualties eventually made the Confederate forces vulnerable to the Union troops. The Confederates repulsed after the Union army tunneled under Confederate trenches and blew up charges. Two years later, after a siege lasting several months, 30,000 Confederate troops surrendered the city of Vicksburg and control of the Mississippi River to the 70,000 Union soldiers that had surrounded the city. In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln said Vicksburg was the key to defeating the Confederacy. The loss of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, caused the Confederate troops to lose supply lines, troops, morale, and split the Confederacy in two by changing who controlled traffic on the Mississippi River. crisis that would require government to take a greater hand than ever before to meet it. Overproduction of cotton and the resulting low prices drove farmers into bankruptcy. After the stock market crash of 1929, there were two waves of bank closures in Mississippi. Fortunately, neither was as bad in the Lower River counties as in much of the rest of Mississippi. Between January 1, 1930, and December 1, 1933, eighty Mississippi banks closed and had to be liquidated. The Federal Reserve Branch in Atlanta, the district headquarters, publicly and vigorously pursued a policy of extending credit to illiquid banks to prop up the banking system. This action may explain the virtual nonexistence of permanent closures in the Lower River counties. Beginning in 1933, the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt responded to the Depression with a variety of New Deal programs designed to alleviate the resulting hardships and deal with their underlying causes. The most vital to the Lower River counties were probably theAgriculturalAdjustmentActs of 1933 and 1938, which provided marketing quotas and price supports to render farmers less vulnerable to the vagaries of the market. Nearly as significant was the creation in 1933 of the Emergency Conservation Works Corps, later renamed the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the Lower River counties, the CCC, operating out of work camps throughout the region, brought systematic soil conservation through erosion control and replanting of forests.Among the projects on which its employees worked were the newly established Homochitto National Forest and the Natchez Trace Parkway. It could be said that the CCC had its origin in the