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Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi
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Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  74 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Michael Ballard provides a concise yet thorough study of the 1863 battle that cut off a crucial river port and rail depot for the South and split the Confederate nation, providing a turning point in the Civil War. The Union victory at Vicksburg was hailed with as much celebration in the North as the Gettysburg victory and Ballard makes a convincing case that it was equally ...more
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published October 25th 2004 by University of North Carolina Press
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Josh Liller
Jul 19, 2013 Josh Liller rated it really liked it
Shelves: military, civil-war
The Vicksburg campaign usually refers to Grant's operations against the city beginning in November/December 1862. This book takes a broader scope of the campaign, including operations on the Mississippi (not all of them against Vicksburg) before Grant. It also looks at the city itself, with a brief history including the locals sentiments on secession and the war. Over a hundred pages pass before the traditional start of the campaign with Grant's failed overland push from Tennessee.

The failed ope
...more
Lindsay
Aug 02, 2011 Lindsay rated it really liked it
Not my usual history book, but I find military history fascinating and would love to learn more about it. I also took a Civil War class last year and that time period ranks a close second behind my specialty (Early American history). Since I was on vacation this week, I also figured I'd have lots of concentrated time on my flights and on the beach to focus on the complex details. I know it's not a typical beach read, but I rarely do things in a typical manner.

I really enjoyed reading this book a
...more
Darrell Fawley
Sep 30, 2016 Darrell Fawley rated it liked it
This book is okay but doesn't offer much new. My two issues are his continual, long asides to talk about what the soldiers felt and wrote that interrupts the narrative of the campaign and that fact that Ballard, an archivist not an historian or military leader, continually makes judgements about what the commanders should have done with absolute certainty this would work. It is distracting and not good scholarship.
Jerome
Jan 13, 2016 Jerome rated it really liked it
A dense, informative, and well-researched history of the Vicksburg campaign. Ballard argues that the Union was able to achieve victory through superior generalship and naval power. As Ballard tells it, Union forces operated as part of a remarkably smooth team effort, while the Confederates were just about the complete opposite; Ballard is sympathetic towards Pemberton, but less so of Johnston, who appears to have few admirers among historians of the war. He is surprisingly sympathetic with ...more
Rob Humphrey
This book was required reading to prepare for a staff ride to Vicksburg. While the book provides intricate detail, it is severely lacking in maps / sketches.
Vince
May 20, 2013 Vince rated it it was amazing
This is currently the best examination of the campaign, the culmination of which on July 4th, 1863, doomed the Confederacy to final defeat. Unfairly overshadowed by the Battle of Gettysburg in the popular mind, Ballard, through his extensive research and fine writing, forcefully conveys the larger importance of this campaign which lasted over a year and had a much wider range and greater impact than any one battle . Most of northern Mississippi was devastated to the point of recovery taking ...more
Ian Fleischmann
Sep 15, 2014 Ian Fleischmann rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
Ballard's account of the Vicksburg campaign is both detailed and complete, covering the strategic setting, pre-campaign activities, the battles themselves, and the resulting aftermath of Grant's victory. Drawing heavily on primary source correspondence, Ballard describes the perceptions and decisions of various confederate and Union commanders and the resulting impact of those decisions in a clear concise manner.
The maps presented in the 2004 edition are acceptable but not as easy to read and un
...more
Justin
Oct 08, 2011 Justin rated it liked it
Shelves: abandoned
I'll admit it - I didn't finish this book. I picked it up from the library prior to a trip to Mississippi that would include a half-day at the Vicksburg battlefield. I was only about 80-90 pages in when we actually went on the tour, and in the weeks since, I haven't felt the need to go back. This is a reflection of my fickle literary attention span as much as it is the excellence of the Vicksburg audio tour.

Even though I haven't finished, I can venture some opinions. The book is incredibly well-
...more
Fredrick Danysh
Jun 01, 2013 Fredrick Danysh rated it really liked it
Vicksburg was the Gibralter of the confederacy on the Mississippi River and its conquest by Union forces was necessary in order to split the Confederacy in half. The city controlled the river and it took numerous campaigns and a siege to defeat it.
jenn Lindsay
Jul 07, 2009 jenn Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Yes, I am a total history dork, but I enjoyed this thorough yet concise (I think that's what it said on the jacket) history of one of my favorite battles. yes, i have favorite battles.
Sean Chick
Apr 25, 2015 Sean Chick rated it liked it
Long and rambling book that fills a hole in the literature, but strangely lacks many details on commanders and maps are sorely lacking. The defintive one volume account has yet to be written.
David Eppenstein
Dec 14, 2014 David Eppenstein rated it really liked it
A highly informative and entertaining book about a battle unfairly and foolishly over-shadowed by events at Gettysburg.
Jonathan
A detailed, thorough and readable account of the campaign to take Vicksburg and open the Mississippi. A very good popular narrative.
Matt
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Jan 14, 2010
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