Winner of the Civil War Round Table of New York’s Fletcher Pratt Literary Award
Winner of the Austin Civil War Round Table’s Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Book Prize
Winner of an Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award
“A superb account” (The Wall Street Journal) of the longest and most decisive military campaign of the Civil War in Vicksburg, Mississippi, which opened the Mississippi River, split the Confederacy, freed tens of thousands of slaves, and made Ulysses S. Grant the most important general of the war.
Vicksburg, Mississippi, was the last stronghold of the Confederacy on the Mississippi River. It prevented the Union from using the river for shipping between the Union-controlled Midwest and New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Union navy tried to take Vicksburg, which sat on a high bluff overlooking the river, but couldn’t do it. It took Grant’s army and Admiral David Porter’s navy to successfully invade Mississippi and lay siege to Vicksburg, forcing the city to surrender.
In this “elegant…enlightening…well-researched and well-told” (Publishers Weekly) work, Donald L. Miller tells the full story of this year-long campaign to win the city “with probing intelligence and irresistible passion” (Booklist). He brings to life all the drama, characters, and significance of Vicksburg, a historic moment that rivals any war story in history. In the course of the campaign, tens of thousands of slaves fled to the Union lines, where more than twenty thousand became soldiers, while others seized the plantations they had been forced to work on, destroying the economy of a large part of Mississippi and creating a social revolution. With Vicksburg “Miller has produced a model work that ties together military and social history” (Civil War Times).
Vicksburg solidified Grant’s reputation as the Union’s most capable general. Today no general would ever be permitted to fail as often as Grant did, but ultimately he succeeded in what he himself called the most important battle of the war—the one that all but sealed the fate of the Confederacy.
In this elegant Civil War history, Miller (Masters of the Air) meticulously details Ulysses S. Grant's success on the yearlong campaign to take Vicksburg, Miss., "the last obstacle facing Union forces struggling to regain control of the great river of America and split the Confederacy in two." Miller's enlightening chronology explains how the campaign established Union dominance on the western front despite Vicksburg's natural bluffs, which aided the defending Confederate army as it waited desperately for relief that never came. Drawing on military records, personal letters, and diaries, Miller fleshes out the effects of the relentless campaign on the mistake-prone generals on both sides, newly freed slaves impressed into Union service, and the frightened but defiant Vicksburg residents, some of whom left mansions to hide in caves during the siege. Miller reveals that Grant's perseverance despite several significant setbacks (both military and personal he struggled with alcoholism) won him an unusual written apology from Abraham Lincoln and a promotion. Miller mistakenly repeats the assertion that rape by military personnel was uncommon during the war, but overall this account is well-researched and well-told, incorporating a variety of perspectives and events without becoming shaggy. Military buffs will delight in Miller's rendering of Grant's audacity.
Don Miller takes to the total strategic and tactical events including the several serious mistakes Grant made. After reading this you will place Grant as not only the greatest General of all times but the General who invented mobile warfare..