Sunday, June 30

Feathers will fly

Reel FX
You might think I'm ridiculously excited, but I can not wait until Free Birds (formerly known as Turkeys) is released in November.

Two buddy turkeys, Reggie and Jake travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to take turkey off the menu. They are joined by the feisty Jenny on an awesome adventure to save Turkey-kind. Catch it in theaters Nov. 1, 2013!

Time traveling turkeys?! Count me in!

This week in the Civil War: June 30, 1863

Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate surrender at Vicksburg

A Confederate army invading the North under Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Union Army of the Potomac led by Maj. Gen. George G. Meade collided over three blazing summer days at Gettysburg, Pa., 150 years ago this week in the Civil War. The July 1-3 battle on Pennsylvania farmland would mark the turning point of the war as the Union claimed its biggest victory, repulsing Lee's second incursion into the North. Gettysburg also would be the bloodiest battle with some 51,000 casualties and give rise to Lincoln's timeless "Gettysburg Address." The battle began July 1, 1863, when Lee massed his Army of Northern Virginia at a crossroads at Gettysburg, driving Union defenders back to Cemetery Hill. More troops arrived overnight for both sides and vicious fighting resumed the next day. The fierce combat raged over fields, a sunken road and on hilltops until nightfall. Through it all, the Union desperately held its positions, and then on July 3, momentum turned against Lee. Confederate infantrymen were flung backward. But a major Confederate assault, Pickett's charge, briefly punctured the Union line until frenzied federal fighters forced back the charge and the Union line held. By July 4, 1863, a defeated Lee began withdrawing southward toward Virginia, his bloodied and exhausted column strung out for miles. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg marked a turn for the worse for a Confederacy whose end would come ultimately in 1865. That July 4, 1863, also brought another Union victory: Confederate forces weathering a long siege at Vicksburg, Miss., capitulated to federal forces now in full control of the Mississippi River.

Saturday, June 29

The bullet that started World War I

Oops, I'm a day late but yesterday was the 99th anniversary of the assassination Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, both of whom were fatally shot on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo.

Six Bosnian Serb assassins worked together to kill the Archduke. The first two failed to throw their bombs or shoot. The third threw his bomb, but it bounced off the Archduke's automobile and damaged the car behind - wounding 20 people.

Shaken, the Archduke and his wife went on to their destination at the town hall where he gave a speech. However, after leaving town hall to go visit the wounded a fourth assassin successfully shot both the Archduke and his wife, fatally wounding both.

Why? The political objective of the assassination was to break off Austria-Hungary's south-Slav provinces so they could be combined into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia. The assassins' motives were consistent with the movement that later became known as Young Bosnia. Serbian military officers stood behind the attack.

Why was the assassination so important? The attack led to the outbreak of World War I one month later on
July 28, 1914. Nearly 10 million people died as a result.

Sunday, June 23

Good-bye Molly?

So much for my powers as a prophet.

Back on August 8, 2011 I foretold that Addy Walker was the next to go, followed by Molly McIntire.

However, it appears that Molly is heading into retirement first.

Rumors have been swirling for months, and at least one customer service representative has confirmed it, but there has been no official announcement.

But now, photos have appeared of a new American Girl catalog with Molly on its cover and the words, "Good-bye Molly! Soon we'll say farewell to Molly. Bring home Molly's 1940s world - before it moves into the American Girl Archives."

While I am sorry to see Molly go, I am relieved that Addy is not on the retirement wagon.


This week in the Civil War: Sunday, June 23, 1863

New Leader for Union's Army of the Potomac

This week 150 years ago in the Civil War, Joseph Hooker was sacked as commander of the Union's Army of the Potomac, replaced by George G. Meade. Hooker had served only months in the leadership post, promoted there by President Abraham Lincoln in January 1863 in place of Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside after Burnside's disastrous stint at the helm. Hooker was felled by infighting despite his deft moves to reorganize the Union army and better supply it with arms and rations for the fighting still ahead. But his undoing began at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in early May 1863 when Confederate Robert E. Lee outsmarted and divided a far larger Union force, seizing a key victory. Only days ahead, Meade would meet and defeat Lee at the historic Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. Already there were ominous signs that Lee's invasion of the North was on track. The Associated Press reported in a dispatch June 21, 1863, that Confederate cavalry had captured a number of horses near Hagerstown, Md., and that some 6,000 Confederate troops were on the northern side of the Potomac River. A second AP dispatch this week reports "rebels, in heavy force, were advancing on Pittsburg(h), Pa." In fact, Lee had been moving forces forward for days, poised to redirect fighting away from war-ravaged Virginia to the North — moving within potential striking distance of several Northern cities that also included Philadelphia and Baltimore.


Friday, June 21

Weird science

I'm sorry I haven't written for a few days, but I had to put my nursing cap on.


Momma came down with La Grippe and Grandpoppa got double pneumonia ... on the same day.

So I weakly take keyboard in hand to tell you two exciting things:

1. Steampunk Uhura is almost ready to report for duty!

2. Among the new items revealed this week at the new American Girl Store Columbus (Ohio) was a Science Lab Set for $36! It apparently comes with a microscope, five slides in a box, three test tubes in a rack, safety glasses, an apron, and a science book. 

Mwa ha ha!

So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?

Sunday, June 16

This week in the Civil War: June 16, 1863

Fighting in the Shenandoah Valley

More fighting rages in Virginia 150 years ago during the Civil War. after the major cavalry battle at Brandy Station, Va., Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee dispatches a sizable column of soldiers from the Army of Northern Virginia to scatter Union rivals from the Shenandoah Valley. The valley that slants northeastward in the shadow of the Appalachian mountains will in coming weeks become a corridor for Lee to march his army into Pennsylvania, where the pivotal Battle of Gettysburg will be fought in July 1863. Thousands of his troops massed at Winchester, Va., and fighting raged from June 13 to June 15, 1863. All told, hundreds of federal troops eventually surrendered and were captured in what was an important Confederate victory. For Lee, the importance of victory meant the Shenandoah Valley would now be largely clear of Union troops, opening a door for his second invasion of the North and the eventual showdown at Gettysburg.

Saturday, June 15

The Indian Capital of the World

As previously mentioned, the only city we visited last weekend that is actually mentioned in the song Route 66 was the city of Gallup, N.M. 

Gallup (Navajo: Naʼnízhoozhí) is is the county seat of McKinley County and the most populous city between Flagstaff, Ariz., and Albuquerque, N.M.

Gallup was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The city was named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. 

During World War II, the city fought successfully to prevent 800 Japanese American residents from being placed in wartime internment.

Gallup is sometimes called the "Indian Capital of the World", for its location in the heart of Native American lands, and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes. Gallup's nickname references the huge impact of the Native American cultures found in and around Gallup. 

One of Gallup's biggest events is the Red Rock Balloon Rally, which is the second largest balloon festival in the world and has been held annually in Gallup since 1981. The three-day event features a Friday lift off from both the Red Rock Park and Fox Run Golf Course.

The largest hot air balloon festival in the world is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta which takes place in Albuquerque, N.M. during early October. The balloon fiesta is a nine-day event, and has around 750 balloons.

Sadly, we did not see Saige while in New Mexico.

Friday, June 14

Happy birth/steampunk/flag day!

Wow, what a day!

Just in case you forgot, today is birth/steampunk/flag day!

Happy Birthday, H.G. Wells!

Happy International Steampunk Day!

Happy Flag Day!

H.G. Wells, the Victorian author of science fiction pieces such as The Time Machine, was born on June 14, 1866 and so steampunk lovers around the world chose this date to celebrate everything steampunk.

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened on that day in 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Flag Day became a holiday on June 14, 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation.

Honor America Days are a United States Federal Observance observed June 14 to July 4. According to 36 United States Code § 112, the 21 days from Flag Day through Independence Day is a period to honor America. On these days, there be public gatherings and activities during that period at which the people of the United States can celebrate and honor their country in an appropriate way.

Travel the wigwam way

I was able to show Phoebe (and Clementine) one of my favorite pieces of Americana when we drove down historic Route 66 in Holbrook, Ariz.: Wigwam Village #6.

Arizonan Chester E. Lewis first became aware of the distinctive wigwam designs when he was passing through Cave City, Ky., in 1938. He purchased the rights to Frank A. Redford's design (Redford called the buildings "wigwams" because he didn't like the word tipi), as well as the right to use the name "Wigwam Village."

Opening in 1950, Lewis operated Wigwam Village #6 successfully until closing it in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Two years after his death in 1986, children Clifton, Paul, and Elinor bought it back and renovated the motel, finally reopening it in 1988. The Lewis family continues to run and maintain Wigwam Village #6. 

Fifteen concrete and steel wigwams are numbered from 1 to 16 (there is no teepee 13). Each wigwam is 14 feet wide and 32 feet high. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower.

Rooms currently contain the original restored hickory furniture, two double beds, cable television, and a window-mounted air conditioner; there are no telephones, Internet access, or ice machines (although ice is available in small buckets upon request).

Vintage restored automobiles from the 1960s and earlier are located throughout the parking area. Small green metal benches etched with the words "Wigwam Village #6" are scattered throughout the complex as well.

Seven Wigwam Villages were built between 1933 and 1949, but only three remain - two of which are on Route 66.

Better get your kicks while you can!

Thursday, June 13

Resistance is futile

Steampunk Uhura
Woo hoo!

Steampunk Uhura has arrived and begun her transformation!

Remember how Nichelle Nichols, the original Uhura from Star Trek: The Original Series, met Phoebe and me at Phoenix Comicon and wanted her very own version of Moi?

Surprisingly, Momma found an Addy Walker on eBay that looks remarkably like me - complete with tiny braids in her hair and the beginnings of silver-eye in her right eye.


In the meantime, Momma has been assembling Steampunk Uhura a duplicate outfit:

I am (of course) one of a kind, but it is flattering to watch the creation of My Twin for none other than the fabulous Nichelle Nichols.

Miss Navajo
Phoebe, Clementine and I were quite excited to discover we were in the presence of Navajo royalty when we visited Navajoland last weekend. 

Miss Navajo 1963-1964: Anna Mae Begay Fowler!

Anna Fowler, who is married to
The Rev. Jack Fowler, Rector Emeritus of All Saints Church in Farmington, N.M., was one of the most beautiful and gracious women any of us had ever met.

(In fact, we were quite smitten.)

Miss Navajo Nation is a pageant that has been held annually on the Navajo Nation since 1952. The name has changed over the years from Miss Navajo, to Miss Traditional Navajo and Miss Modern Navajo, back to Miss Navajo, to Miss Navaj
o Nation.

Currently, pageant contestants must be unmarried, over 18 years of age, be a high school graduate, and be able to speak the Navajo language. They compete in such activities such as answering questions about traditional and modern Navajo customs both in Navajo and English, sheep butchering, and performing a contemporary and Navajo cultural talent.
The role of Miss Navajo Nation is to exemplify the essence and characters of First Woman, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman and to display leadership as the Goodwill Ambassador.

Miss Navajo Nation represents womanhood and fulfills the role of "grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister" to the Navajo people and therefore she can speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, adviser and friend.
I was fascinated to learn more aboout Anna Fowler, according to the Miss Navajo Council website:

  • Hometown: Black Mountain, AZ
  • Age during reign: 20
  • Education: Intermountain Indian school for Junior High School, Window Rock High School, B.S. in Elementary Education, minor in Early Childhood Education at Univ of New Mexico
  • I am (Nishlí): Red Running into the Water Clan (Naasht’ezhi dine’e Tachii’nii)
  • Born for (Báshíshchíín): Bitter Water Clan (Todich’ii’nii)
  • My Maternal Grandparents are (Dashichei): Salt Clan (Ashiihi)
  • My Paternal Grandparents are (Dashinálí): The Water Flow Together Clan (To’aheedliinii)

I was born Dec. 17, 1943, in Black Mountain, Arizona (Chinle). Herded sheep ‘til 8 years old. Then enrolled in Chinle Boarding School, where I continued ‘til sent to Intermountain Indian school (Brigham City, Utah) for Junior High School. After that, I attended high school at Window Rock High School living in the dormitory at Good Shepherd Mission, Fort Defiance, Arizona. It was from there that I competed for Miss Navajo 1963. Later on, I found my future husband at Fort Defiance and married following my reign. These years of our marriage we have raised five children, now all married and who have given us 13 grandchildren. My career as a graduate of UNM in Elementary education has spanned a variety of teachings and administrative positions. Sharing God’s love as a minister's wife has been a satisfying part of my career. My years as Miss Navajo Nation contributed richly in preparing me for my life’s work.

What do you feel were your significant accomplishments during your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? The public relations and goodwill that I accomplished for the Navajo Tribe through my visibility.

What do you feel are your accomplishments in your career? My graduation from University of New Mexico and the success I achieved with early childhood and pre-kindergarten children.

What is your greatest accomplishment? Motherhood and grandmotherhood which I am accomplishing.

What do you feel are your accomplishments in your life? Teaching for modern living and teaching the tradition of the Navajo people in school and outside the school setting. Understanding and accepting the two cultures that I live in that I can get along with the other culture and people. Using my god-given gifts as a mother and grandmother to help my children and grandchildren to cope in this world.

What are your fondest memories of your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? I was attendant to the Sun Bowl Queen in El Paso, Texas along with several other royalties. My Clearwater and St. Petersburg (Florida) trip when I received the key to the City of St. Petersburg from the Mayor and the pride that I felt in sharing information about my people.

What challenges did you face as Miss Navajo Nation? I was trying to finish high school at the same time during my reign, but made it with a lot of studying on my part.

What was your greatest learning experience during your reign as Miss Navajo Nation? That I can be a winner and believe in myself and that I can reach my life goals. Interacting with people different than myself helped improved my self-image.

What was required of you when you were running for Miss Navajo Nation? Commitment and persistence to improve my skills in both modern and traditional categories as I was the first to compete in both. In the traditional, the weaving, spinning and carding for a rug and sung a song, jokes. Modern; typing, sewing and public speaking.

What is your advice to future Miss Navajo Nations? To make sure full backing of family and friends first as well as a good sponsor. Even if you don’t win, the experience in worth it. Go for it!

I'll bet Phoebe's Momma won't get to meet the Queen of England while she's in Great Britain!

National treasure

You might recall me mentioning Mary J. Colter last year when we went to the Grand Canyon.

In 1901, the Fred Harvey Company (of the famous Harvey Houses and Harvey Girls) offered Colter, an American architect and designer, the job of decorating the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, N.M.

Colter began working full-time for the company in 1910, moving from interior designer to architect. For the next 30 years, working as one of few female architects and in rugged conditions, Colter completed 21 projects for Harvey.

Of all of her work, Colter considered the sprawling, hacienda-style Spanish Colonial Revival architecture La Posada Hotel (1929) in Winslow, Ariz., her masterpiece. She designed the entire resort from the building to its gardens, furniture, china—even the maids' uniforms.

She also created a series of landmark hotels and commercial lodges through the southwest, including the Phantom Ranch buildings (1922) at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and five structures on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. (Four "M.E.J. Colter Buildings," were listed as a group as a National Historic Landmark in 1987.)

The La Posada closed to the public in 1957 and its furnishings were auctioned off in 1959. It had been scheduled for demolition several times before The National Trust for Historic Preservation found out about La Posada’s peril and added it to their endangered list.

Thankfully, it was purchased from the Santa Fe Railway in 1994 and a $12 million restoration has restored the hotel to Colter's original vision of La Posada as the grand hacienda of a wealthy Spanish landowner.

Josefina should be so lucky!


Wednesday, June 12

The Main Street of America

Have you gotten your kicks on Route 66?

We did!

Route 66 was established on Nov. 11, 1926. (Road signs erected the following year.) The highway became one of the most famous roads in America and ran through eight states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Covering a total of 2,448 miles, it was recognized in pop culture by many books as well as a hit song and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s. Sadly, Route 66 declined in popularity with the completion of Interstate 40 in 1984.

I don't know if Phoebe has ever taken the highway that is best (since she lives in Pennsylvania) but she hit three towns on this trip - although only one (Gallup, N.M.) is mentioned in the song.

The (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66 lyrics read as a mini-travelogue as you head west: Chicago, Ill., St. Louis, Mo., Joplin, Mo., Oklahoma City, Okla., Amarillo, Texas, Gallup, N.M., Flagstaff, Ariz., Winona, Ariz., Kingman, Ariz., Barstow, Calif., San Bernardino, Calif., and Los Angeles, Calif.

(Winona is out of sequence with the rest of the cities because the author of the song, Bobby Troup, needed a word that rhymed with "Arizona.")

If you ever plan to motor west,
Travel my way, take the highway that is best.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

It winds from Chicago to LA,
More than 2,000 miles all the way.
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Now you go through Saint Louie
Joplin, Missouri,
And Oklahoma City is mighty pretty.
You see Amarillo,
Gallup, New Mexico,
Flagstaff, Arizona.
(Don't forget Winona,)
Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino.

Won't you get hip to this timely tip:
When you make that California trip
Get your kicks on Route 66.

Did you know, of the eight states through which the actual route passes, only Kansas and its cities (Route 66 spends just 11 miles inside Kansas' southeast corner) are not mentioned by the song?

Monday, June 10

Take it easy

Phew, it will be a busy week telling you about our adventures in Navajoland and northeastern Arizona, but one of my geeky favorites was Winslow, Ariz.

You know, the small town mentioned in The Eagles 1972 hit song, "Take It Easy."

Well, I'm a standing on a corner
In Winslow, Arizona
And such a fine sight to see
It's a girl, my lord
In a flatbed Ford
Slowin' down to take a look at me

The city of Winslow erected a life-size bronze statue and mural in 1999 commemorating the song at the Standin' On The Corner Park.

The statue of a man holding a guitar stands near a lamp post, and a metal sign, crafted in the style of U.S. Route 66 shields, displays the words "Standin' On The Corner."

The trompe-l'œil mural on the wall behind the statue is that of a storefront, and what appears to be the reflection of a red flatbed Ford pickup truck driven by a blonde-haired woman. The second floor of the mural features an eagle perched in one of the windows.

(It is literally a wall. A fire destroyed the building in 2007. A grassy park now occupies the space behind the wall.)

If you ever make it to Winslow, make sure you go to the northwest corner of Second Street (Route 66) and Kinsley Avenue.

Sunday, June 9

This week in the Civil War: June 9, 1863

Battle of Brandy Station, Va.

While Union forces were besieging points along the lower Mississippi River, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was beginning to look for an opening to strike at the North. On June 9, 1863, Union cavalry corps unleashed a surprise attack on J.E.B. Stuart's Confederate cavalry forces at Brandy Station near the Rappahannock River in Virginia. The fighting rage for an entire day and marked the largest battle of the war predominantly pitting cavalry against each other. Though the momentum swung repeatedly from one side to the other, Union fighters failed to detect a major infantry camp of Lee's nearby in Culpeper, Va. The fighting at Brandy Station would mark the prelude to Lee's push northward into Pennsylvania that would culminate in the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863.

Saturday, June 8

Fancy that

Oh boy, we got to attend a Gourd Dance tonight!

First we attended a banquet with many delicious foods, including traditional Navajo fry bread and mutton stew.

Then they danced!

The Gourd Dance is a Native American celebration dance and ceremony that originated with another tribe, not the Navajo.

The Master of Ceremonies tonight told us that four men went off to war, but one became ill so the others went for help. They heard an unusual sound coming from the other side of a hill, where they saw a red wolf singing and dancing on its hind legs. The wolf spoke to them and told them to take the songs and dances back to The People. A "howl" at the end of each Gourd Dance song is a tribute to the red wolf.

Veterans or their families traditionally do the gourd dance, but women can do the Shawl Dance around them. Most of the women were wearing plain street clothes, but their beautiful shawls reminded me of Kaya's Fancy Shawl Outfit of Today.

The women's Shawl Dance represents the opening of a cocoon when the butterfly emerges. The shawl is frequently the most extravagant piece of their wardrobe.

Fancy dance was originally created by Native Americans in the 1920s and 1930s in an attempt to preserve their culture. Fancy dance was considered appropriate to be performed for visitors to reservations and at "Wild West" shows. But today, fancy dancers can be seen at many powwows across the nation and even the world.

Friday, June 7

Navajo lullaby

We finally arrived in Farmingon, N.M. after a seven hour drive.

I don't know about Momma, but we need our beauty sleep!

I sleep in beauty
Yes I do, yes I do,
I lie in beauty
Yes I do, yes I do,
Just for you and only you
Hay ya ha na

Wednesday, June 5

The truth is out there

American  Girl
Phoebe, Clementine, and I are so excited we can hardly stand it.

(So is my big sister.)

We leave Friday for the Navajoland Convocation in
Farmington, NM! 

Farmington was settled by the Anasazi Indians in the 7th Century with ruins still visible. The Navajos, Jicarilla Apaches, and Utes moved into the area when the Anasazi left, and part of the region is known in Navajo as "Totah," which means "where three rivers meet."

Although Spanish and American mineral prospecting happened in the area, there were few permanent settlements. In 1868, the Navajo Nation was created taking up the western half of San Juan County, NM.

In 1901 the town was incorporated and named Farmington with a population of 548. The population expanded significantly with construction of a developed road connecting Farmington to U.S. Route 66 and Albuquerque in the 1940s, but the development of Interstate 40 and the 1970s energy crisis resulted in an economic downturn. 

On March 18, 1950, Farmington was the site of a mass Unidentified Flying Object sighting when more than half the town's population reported seeing large objects in the sky flying at rapid speeds.

You can be sure I've got my telescope and binoculars packed!

Tuesday, June 4

The 12th Doctor

Sew Fun Doll Clothes
It was announced on June 1, 2013 that Matt Smith plans to leave the Doctor Who television series - sob! 

The 11th Doctor plans to regenerate during the 2013 Christmas special.

Matt Smith is my favorite Doctor, but my favorite companion was Martha Jones.

Who will replace him and become the 12th Doctor?

Many, of course, think it is time to see a female Doctor.

 I hereby announce my candidacy. 

Can't you just see me as the 12th Doctor, with Clementine as my Companion?!

I have my fez enroute, and I already have a sonic screwdriver.

What else could you ask for?

Monday, June 3

Grumpy Addie

I may seem to be on a cat kick lately, but I was delighted to discover this weekend that Internet celebrity Tardar Sauce, also known as "Grumpy Cat," is an Arizona resident.

Tardar Sauce is a female cat known for her grumpy facial expression. Her owner says that her grumpy face is due to feline dwarfism.

Grumpy Cat's popularity originated from a picture posted to a social news website and was made into a meme with various grumpy captions.

"The Official Grumpy Cat" on Facebook has more than 970,000 Likes. Tardar Sauce has an agent, and a book and film are due later this year.

Amazingly, Grumpy Cat was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal (The Wall Street Journal!) on May 30, 2013.

I wonder what I need to do to get featured on The Wall Street Journal?

Maybe my pal Angry Jess can give me some pointers.


Sunday, June 2

This week in the Civil War: June 2, 1863

Union offensive continues on the Mississippi River

Union forces 150 weeks ago during the Civil War continued raining cannon shot and rifle fire down Confederates ensconced behind defensive works at Port Hudson, La. For 48 days the siege of the enemy garrison at Port Hudson would go on even as Union forces sought to dislodge Confederates defending Vicksburg, Miss. In May and June of 1863, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant mounted the prolonged siege of Vicksburg, a city on bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Grant knew that taking control of the Mississippi River's entire lower stretch was a major key to splitting the Confederacy and turning the momentum of war to the Union side. Ultimately Grant would succeed in that operation, eventually forcing the capitulation of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, and inducing the surrender of Port Hudson days later. His military achievements along the Mississippi also would serve to catapult Grant to the post of general-in-chief of the Union armies.