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Vicksburg Besieged

Vicksburg Besieged

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Edited by Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear


Hardcover (Other formats: E-book)
200 pages, 6 x 9, 16 illustrations

Civil War Campaigns in the West


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About the Book

A detailed analysis of the end of the Vicksburg Campaign and the forty-day siege
Vicksburg, Mississippi, held strong through a bitter, hard-fought, months-long Civil War campaign, but General Ulysses S. Grant’s forty-day siege ended the stalemate and, on July 4, 1863, destroyed Confederate control of the Mississippi River. In the first anthology to examine the Vicksburg Campaign’s final phase, nine prominent historians and emerging scholars provide in-depth analysis of previously unexamined aspects of the historic siege.

Ranging in scope from military to social history, the contributors’ invitingly written essays examine the role of Grant’s staff, the critical contributions of African American troops to the Union Army of the Tennessee, both sides’ use of sharpshooters and soldiers’ opinions about them, unusual nighttime activities between the Union siege lines and Confederate defensive positions, the use of West Point siege theory and the ingenuity of Midwestern soldiers in mining tunnels under the city’s defenses, the horrific experiences of civilians trapped in Vicksburg, the Louisiana soldier's defense of Jackson amid the strains of piano music, and the effect of the campaign on Confederate soldiers from the Trans-Mississippi region.

The contributors explore how the Confederate Army of Mississippi and residents of Vicksburg faced food and supply shortages as well as constant danger from Union cannons and sharpshooters. Rebel troops under the leadership of General John C. Pemberton sought to stave off the Union soldiers, and though their morale plummeted, the besieged soldiers held their ground until starvation set in. Their surrender meant that Grant’s forces succeeded in splitting in half the Confederate States of America.

Editors Steven E. Woodworth and Charles D. Grear, along with their contributors—Andrew S. Bledsoe, John J. Gaines, Martin J. Hershock, Richard H. Holloway, Justin S. Solonick, Scott L. Stabler, and Jonathan M. Steplyk—give a rare glimpse into the often overlooked operations at the end of the most important campaign of the Civil War.


Steven E. Woodworth, a professor of history at Texas Christian University, has authored, coauthored, or edited more than thirty books on the Civil War era, including Nothing but Victory: The Army of the Tennessee, 1861–1865, and Jefferson Davis and His Generals: The Failure of Confederate Command in the West. He is a coeditor of the Civil War Campaigns in the West series.
Charles D. Grear, a professor of history at Central Texas College, has written extensively on Texas and the Civil War, including Why Texans Fought in the Civil War. In addition, he has edited several books, among them The Tennessee Campaignof 1864 and The Vicksburg Assaults, May 19–22, 1863. He is a coeditor of the Civil War Campaigns in the West series.

Contributions by Andrew S. Bledsoe, John J. Gaines, Charles D. Grear, Martin J. Hershock, Richard H. Holloway, Justin S. Solonick, Scott L. Stabler, Jonathan M. Steplyk, and Steven E. Woodworth 


"The overall organization is logical, and the collective result is a readable assemblage of chapters that flow together seamlessly. Interestingly, the dangers and opportunities presented by fraternization between Union and Confederate soldiers appears as a common thread in multiple essays. As with the previous volumes in the series, Vicksburg Besieged targets readers who possess a working knowledge of the campaign and an interest keen enough to absorb essays on specific facets of the operations."—Bradley R. ClampittH-Net Reviews

"[The authors] have assembled an impressive group of historians who bring a wide array of professional perspectives to the project, including university faculty, park rangers, and professional battlefield guides. That intellectual diversity is on full display in this fine, brief volume that examines one of the most important events of the entire American Civil War."—Bradley R. ClampittH-Net Reviews

“The eight essays in Vicksburg Besieged are all well written, and they shed new light on one of the war’s most significant campaigns. Civil War buffs will definitely want to add this volume to their military libraries.”—Roger Cunningham, Journal of America’s Military Past

“An impressively informative body of original Civil War scholarship.”—James A. CoxMidwest Book Review

“Topically diverse in addressing matters on and off the battlefield (mostly the former), Vicksburg Besieged is another solid entry in the ongoing Civil War Campaigns in the West series and a notable contribution to our understanding of the still relatively understudied siege phase of the Vicksburg Campaign.”—Andrew WagenhofferCivil War Books and Authors

"Drawing on many decades of study, the contributors to Vicksburg Besieged supply welcome new perspectives on a pivotal moment in Civil War history. While these well-written essays will appeal chiefly to students of the war’s military history, historians of the environment, health, food, and the senses will discover much fodder for their future work."—Brian Matthew JordanCivil War Monitor

“Despite the battlefield being preserved in the Vicksburg National Military Park, the Siege of Vicksburg garners much less attention than other phases of the campaign. Yet its importance as the capstone of the campaign, where victory and defeat finally came, cannot be diminished. Scholars are slowly beginning to turn more attention to these events, and this collection of topical essays provides a wonderful introduction to several areas of importance in the siege.”—Timothy B. Smith, author of The Decision Was Always My Own: Ulysses S. Grant and the Vicksburg Campaign
“This collection of essays includes some of the best recent history written about the events during the siege of Vicksburg. It illuminates the importance of Vicksburg and how its surrender was a blow from which the Confederacy could not recover. The loss of Vicksburg was a turning point in the Civil War, because it effectively isolated the Trans-Mississippi from the rest of the Confederate states, and this excellent book provides a new look at various activities during the siege.”—Anne J. Bailey, author of The Chessboard of War: Sherman and Hood in the Autumn Campaigns of 1864