Vicksburg: The Bloody Siege that Turned the Tide of the Civil War

Vicksburg: The Bloody Siege that Turned the Tide of the Civil War

by Samuel W. Mitcham Jr.


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WALL STREET JOURNAL review: "In Vicksburg: The Bloody Siege That Turned the Tide of the Civil War," Samuel W. Mitcham Jr, a retired professor and prolific chronicler of World War II, re-examines the struggle, making clear at the outset his mission. 'Here,' he says, 'the Rebel side will be told'... Mr. Mitcham's prose is straightfoward, and he turns a nice phrase—he describes one faltering infantry charge that 'choked on its own blood.'"

It was one of the bloodiest sieges of the war—a siege that drove men, women, and children to seek shelter in caves underground; where shortages of food drove people to eat mules, rats, even pets; where the fighting between armies was almost as nothing to the privations suffered by civilians who were under constant artillery bombardment—every pane of glass in Vicksburg was broken.

But the drama did not end there. Vicksburg was a vital strategic point for the Confederacy. When the city fell on July 4, 1863, the Confederacy was severed from its western states of Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. Its fall was simultaneous with General Robert E. Lee’s shattering defeat at Gettysburg far to the north. For generations, July 4 was no day to celebrate for Southerners. It was a day or mourning—especially for the people of Mississippi.

Yet this epic siege has long been given secondary treatment by popular histories focused on the Army of Northern Virginia and the Gettysburg campaign. The siege of Vicksburg was every bit as significant to the outcome of the war. The victorious Union commander, Major General Ulysses S. Grant, learned hard lessons assaulting Vicksburg, “the Confederate Gibraltar,” which he attempted to take or bypass no less than nine times, only to be foiled by the outnumbered, Northern-born Confederate commander, Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton.

At the end, despite nearly beating the odds, Pemberton’s army was left for dead, without reinforcements, and the Confederacy’s fate was ultimately sealed.

This is the incredible story of a siege that lasted more than forty days, that brought out extraordinary heroism and extraordinary suffering, and that saw the surrender of not just a fortress and a city but the Mississippi River to the conquering Federal forces.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781621576396
Publisher: Regnery History
Publication date: 06/04/2018
Pages: 380
Sales rank: 540,620
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

About the Author

Samuel W. Mitcham, Jr. was a professor of history at Henderson State University, Georgia Southern University, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and a visiting professor at West Point. He is the author of Bust Hell Wide Open, a biography of Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest, as well as more than twenty books on World War II, including Hitlers Commanders: Officers of the Wehrmacht, the Luftwaffe, the Kriegsmarine, and the Waffen-SS (2012) and Triumphant Fox: Erwin Rommel and the Rise of the Afrika Korps (2009). A U.S. Army combat veteran and helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, he lives in his native state of Louisiana.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Vicksburg: The First Siege 1

2 John C. Pemberton 17

3 Northern Mississippi, 1862 33

4 Chickasaw Bluffs 53

5 The Canal, the Lake, and the River 75

6 The Yazoo Pass Expedition 87

7 The Steele's Bayou Expedition 99

8 To Grand Gulf 111

9 Port Gibson 137

10 Raymond 151

11 First Battle of Jackson 163

12 Champion Hill 175

13 The Big Black River 195

14 Into Vicksburg 203

15 The Assaults 219

16 Siege 243

17 The Surrender 293

18 Port Hudson 311

19 Aftermath 323

20 Conclusions 333

21 A Historical Footnote 339

Epilogue: What Happened to Them? 345

Notes 357

Bibliography 377

Order of Battle, Army of Mississippi at Vicksburg 389

Index 393

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