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Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  312 ratings  ·  66 reviews
The astonishing story 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 prev
Hardcover, 688 pages
Published October 29th 2019 by Simon & Schuster
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Porter Broyles
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Most battle books bore me.

Vicksburg does not. Perhaps it is because of the length of the siege? Perhaps it is because it was a combined naval/army operation? Or perhaps it is because it was arguably the most important battle of the Civil War?

I do not think that Miller overstates the battle's importance when he gave the book the subtitle, "Grant's Campaign that Broke the Confederacy."

Vicksburg was the last Confederate strong hold on the Mississippi. It's position---jutting out into the river---ma
David Eppenstein
Apr 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have read two other books by Miller and both were good reads and excellent history. I am happy to report that this book was no less an enjoyable read and an excellent history. While the title is Vicksburg that is somewhat misleading since this book covers Grant's entire Mississippi campaign from September, 1861 until near the end of 1863. It covers the battles for Forts Henry and Donelson and Shiloh as well as numerous other "minor" actions along the way. It is also a fairly good biography of ...more
Jan 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
A comprehensive, engaging and well-researched history of the campaign.

Much of the book deals with Grant, and Miller provides a nuanced and balanced portrait of him and his growth, and a vivid narrative of the campaign. Miller ably covers the war’s impact on slavery, the campaign’s influence on slavery’s demise, the role played by subordinates like Sherman, the experience of soldiers, and the obstacles faced by the Union. He also emphasizes the importance of Union naval forces and Grant’s grasp o
Nemo Nemo
Oct 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing

This book written by Professor Emeritus Donald L. Miller is already heralded as a potential best seller. This does not surprise me because having read this rare gem I also hold that opinion. Miller guides us through the evolution of strategies used by Grant, Porter, and Sherman. Professor Miller’s review of the history of the Campaign at Vicksburg was the singular pivotal event leading to the final minutes of the South at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Vicksburg was thought completely impregn
patrick Lorelli
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
A book that takes you through the entire battle of Vicksburg. From first a naval siege almost a year prior. You get a look once again at Grant's life before the war and also the battles leading up to this one. This was a very important victory for the North and I always felt that most people did not think about the travel of the Mississippi River and once having control from North to New Orleans it changed everything. The author takes you through the politics between the generals and Washington, ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: acw, mississippi
A new, well written, extensively researched popular history which includes an excellent bibliography.
That said, nothing particularly new for students of the Vicksburg campaign, no new revelations, no new analytic leaps. Good book for the general public; not so for the aficionado nor deep students of the war in Mississippi.
Donna Davis
4 stars plus. Donald Miller’s treatment of Vicksburg is one of the best I’ve seen to date; it’s clear, easy to read, well documented, and in parts, vastly entertaining. Thanks go to Net Galley and Simon and Schuster for the review copy. This book is for sale now.

The siege and battle of Vicksburg was the single most significant event in the American Civil War. When the Union emerged victorious, it seized control of key arteries of commerce, food, and military supplies by capturing access and use
Nathan Albright
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challenge-2020
For whatever reason, there are a lot of books that have been written about the Vicksburg campaign and many of them are broadly similar, which suggests that a market for such works has been recognized and that enough readers are interested in the campaign or at least potentially may be (among the huge body of people interested in the Civil War) to take a look at a book like this.  The similarities between the books I have read on Vicksburg indicate either a copycat desire to do what others have d ...more
Andy Miller
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Vicksburg seemed impregnable from Union attack. As long as it was held the Confederacy could transport supplies and troops between its Western and Eastern halves and the Union could not take real advantage of using the Mississippi River. Its hold contributed to the seeming stalemate of the Civil War giving strength and success in the 1862 elections to Copperhead Democrats sympathetic to the South.
This book tells of Grant's campaign that led to the capture of Vicksburg which turned the tide of th
Jean Marie Angelo
Jun 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I learned of the importance of the Battle of Vicksburg through recent documentaries and Ron Chernow’s Grant. I was struck by the fact that Grant’s strategy on how to take this important city on the Mississippi is studied today by modern military strategists. I had to know more.

This is a fascinating read. Vicksburg was a well situated city on the bluffs of the Mississippi River. It was a wealthy city and a major transportation hub. A naval bombardment in the summer of 1862 could not take it. A la
Carole Hardinge
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I visited Vicksburg Military Park a couple years ago, I had not read any books on the subject. Then the next year while I visited Gettysburg I read a book about the battle that greatly enhanced that experience. While Vicksburg was still fresh enough in my memory I read Donald Miller’s book. During my visit, I focused on the memorials built long after the battle, but while reading the book, I focused on the history. I highly recommend reading a historical account before or during a visit to ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent and well researched book on the Battle of Vicksburg. Vicksburg was a strong Confederate port for its war supplies and armaments. Union general Ulysses S. Grant made a bold invasion of Vicksburg and used troops and artillery to besiege the port city as well as as ironclad gunboats of the Union navy, which was the largest amphibious assault during the Civil War. After forty seven days Vicksburg surrendered.
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book goes into great detail about the Vicksburg Campaign during the Civil War. Really, that is my only complaint, at times the book gets bogged down in the details. Mr. Miller had to have done months or years worth of research to get to the level of detail he did. This is great information in most sections of the book but it does get lost at times.
Casey Wheeler
This book covers the campaigns during the civil war that led to the seige of Vicksburg and its final defeat. The book focuses on the Ulysses Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman primarily, but also addreses a number of others who played key roles in the seige. It is the most comprehensive book on the battle that I have read and I learned a number of things that I did not know prior to this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who is looking to gain a better understanding of Ulysses Grant and his t
Craig Pearson
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. This book is a very good compliment to Grant's 'Memoirs'. General histories of the Civil War do not give much detail to the problems Grant had in the Vicksburg campaign. One annoying aspect of this book is Miller's annoying use of casual refernces to the major players. Calling General Sherman 'Tecumseh' seems too familiar in this situation.
Peter Goodman
Nov 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing

“Vicksburg: Grant’s campaign that broke the Confederacy,” by Donald A. Miller (Simon and Schuster, 2019). The campaign down the Mississippi, which Miller argues was the most important and the capture of Vicksburg the decisive moment of the war. He begins at the beginning: the early, unpromising history of Hiram Ulysses Grant (never called Hiram), and his unerring strategic eye. From his arrival at the incipient Union base of Cairo, Ill., Grant saw that the US needed to conduct a campaign down th
Michael Reilly
Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
First rate military history. This is deeply researched, well written and does something new with a much told story.

This is really the story of the Union campaign to conquer the Mississippi. The first half of the book is Grant's capture of Forts Henry and Donaldson, his near disaster at Shiloh, the Navy's capture of New Orleans and conquering of the lower Mississippi and Grant's unsuccessful overland plan to attack Vicksburg. It is all well told.

At page 262, Miller quotes Grant as saying, "the
Donald Luther
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a military history that takes a much broader view of the events being examined. First of all, being a treatment of a campaign rather than of a single battle, there is the opportunity for taking that wider panoramic. And Miller takes full advantage of the scope his subject offers. At his narrowest focus, he discusses the leadership personnel on both sides. Biographical sketches tell us where they came from and how they came to be in this place, the forces the worked on their thinking and ...more
Bruce Cook
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have read a fair amount about the Civil War, but mostly about the battles in the East, and the poor Union generals prior to Grant's coming on the scene. So, although I knew about the battle of Vicksburg, I just took it as one in a string of battles that seemed to be going good for the Union in the West. But this book was an eye opener. Vicksburg was by no means an easy campaign. It presented a very difficult logistical problem. How to get at Vicksburg.
Vicksburg appeared impregnable from the r
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
It seems whenever there is a book written about the Civil War it tends to concentrate on the war in Virginia. The Army of the Potomac however, initially led by the cowardly and insubordinate General George B. McCllelan, had very little success in the first years of the war. The real action was in the war in the west which became a frantic dash to seize control of the Mississippi. Whoever controlled the Mississippi would control all commerce and troop transportation for the duration of the war. G ...more
Devin Poore
Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donald L. Miller's book is a mid-level look at the events from Grants first arrival at Cairo, Illinois, in 1861, up through the capture of Vicksburg in 1863. Miller covers the planning and thought behind the push to recapture the entire Mississippi river valley, focusing more on plans, logistics, and political intent than on the soldier's eye view of the conflict; there's still some of this, but those looking for pages of "a day in the life" of the soldiers on the line, they need to look elsewhe ...more
Gregory Howe
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This fine work has been my constant companion since February. In the beginning I found it a little hard to distinguish when the author was referencing combatants from the Grand Army of the Republic or from the Confederate States of America. This is the first book I've read about Vicksburg so I was a little unfamiliar with anyone other than the well known generals. The breadth of the subject is amazing, from Cairo, IL to New Orleans, LA!

I was amazed at the level of the details presented that surr
Larry Nicholl
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
An encyclopedic account of the battle—events leading up to the siege and the surrender. I especially focused on the change in attitudes of the Union soldiers towards the African American slaves. Most of the Union soldiers had never met a black person. They had read accounts about slavery but had no idea what it really meant. When they started marching through Mississippi and saw the reality of life on a plantation for the slaves, they were shocked. When thousands of runaway slaves welcomed them ...more
Chris Jaffe
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Miller tells a story of not just Vicksburg, but of the entire Mississippi River conquest and the rise of Grant through July 1863. He does a good job telling his story, as it's engaging throughout and avoids getting bogged down in military minuta. In fact, he does a good job relating the campaign to non-military elements, such as how the Vicksburg campaign took place as the nature of the war itself changed, from a mere political reunion to a social revolution. Grant began the campaign skeptical a ...more
Aug 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the Vicksburg book I had been waiting for. I read a few books on the Vicksburg Campaign and none of them were really good to me, just so-so. Donald Miller wrote a comprehensive, well-researched, and history all people can enjoy. I think history should be written in an enjoyable matter instead of scholarly all the time. Miller covers Grant's life and the entire campaign. It took Grant a few tries, but he eventually succeeded in capturing the city and giving the North total control of the ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
An excellent book about the Vicksburg campaign and specifically about Grant. This book is a deep dive about the battle which truly turned the tides of the Civil War and was fundamentally the beginning of the end for the confederacy. While Grant is considered by many a great general (and he may well have been), the book equally showcases a number of his mistakes/shortcomings. I do not envy the men who sit in the back and gamble the lives of troops based on their ideas. The civil war was especiall ...more
John T
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really good read a unbiased look at not just the battlefield but those around it. Wars cannot be fought with just soldiers and weapons there are many other circumstance that determine their outcome. Disease and deprivation play as much of a part as bullets and bombs. Vicksburg proved if anything even people of the strongest resolve can be brought to their knees. Well written and researched the book carries the story in a way that makes for enjoyable reading and a feel for the flow of the war a ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
Best Vicksburg book I've read.

Miller covers not only the full scope on the land side, but on the naval side, starting with Farragut's attempt to force surrender by naval bombardment only in the summer of 1862, not too long after the fall of New Orleans, while noting Hallack's failure to release Grant from what was essentially "occupation and defense" duty in northern Mississippi.

Miller then does good analysis of Grant as a military commander from Henry & Donelson up to this point. He doesn't thr
Nick Roser
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Listened to via Overdrive and read in between as well. This, in essence, felt like a “Lite” version of Chernow’s “Grant” up thru the Vicksburg Campaign. This is a good thing. In order to fully comprehend the gravity of the final campaign and it’s intricacies, Miller covers the exploits and failures of Grant, Porter, and Sherman from the start of the war up thru Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Iuka/Corinth, and finally the siege. This is a fluid read and finds a solid balance between the strategic, operat ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
I really only knew the broad basics of the Civil War until I met my husband. He is a Civil War buff so while I have learned a lot since we've been together, there is still much I don't know. I found this book to be so interesting. I knew absolutely nothing about Grant's youth or even his early years in the Army. I had no clue that he actually had to resign from the Army (before the Civil War) due to his drinking. I knew even less about Sherman so to find out he suffered bouts of severe depressio ...more
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Dr. Miller is the John Henry MacCracken Professor of History at Lafayette College and an expert on World War II, among other topics in American history. Three of his eight books are on WWII: D-Days in the Pacific (2005), the story of the American re-conquest of the Pacific from Imperial Japan; Masters of the Air: America’s Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany (2006); and The Sto ...more

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