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 failure of Louisiana soldiers’ defense at the subsequent siege of Jackson, 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.