Vicksburg Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy
“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.
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The surrender of Vicksburg, Mississippi, on July 4, 1863, was the decisive victory of the Civil War, writes historian Donald L. Miller. Grant’s conquest of the river citadel opened the Mississippi to Union commerce and severed the Confederacy, isolating the slave states of Arkansas and Texas and part of Louisiana. The Vicksburg campaign, Miller argues, also ignited a social revolution in Mississippi and eastern Louisiana that culminated in violent overthrow of plantation slavery.
In 1861 Ulysses S. Grant was a washed-up veteran of the Mexican War, drummed out of the army for drinking. But in electrifying fashion he won a succession of major battles in the Mississippi River Valley at Forts Henry and Donelson and at Shiloh on the Tennessee River. Tasked with taking Vicksburg, the last remaining rebel stronghold on the Mississippi, and aided by the ironclad gunboats of the Union navy in the largest amphibious assault of the war, Grant spent nine months trying and failing to subdue the river bastion, nearly losing his command in the process. In this history-changing campaign, a battle against a hostile environment as well as a resolute enemy, nearly 100,000 slaves liberated themselves, going over to Union lines for protection; more than 26,000 became Union soldiers. Others remained on their plantations after their owners fled Grant’s invasion, running them as before, this time for their own benefit.
In the end, a forty-seven-day siege and bombardment forced Vicksburg into submission. The victory, which came one day after the Battle of Gettysburg, elevated Grant to commander of all Union armies and brought him east to take on Robert E. Lee, while his Vicksburg army, under the command of his closest friend, General William T. Sherman, swept devastatingly across the lower South, fighting an unremitting war that Grant had begun in Mississippi.
Donald L. Miller has drawn on original sources to create a richly revealing portrait of Ulysses S. Grant in this enthralling story of the most significant military campaign of the Civil War.
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