Storming Vicksburg: Grant, Pemberton, and the Battles of May 19-22, 1863

Univ. of North Carolina. Oct. 2020. 400p. ISBN 9781469660172. $40. HIST
Rendering daily and sometimes minute-by-minute coverage of the Siege of Vicksburg, MS, Hess (The Battle of Peach Tree Creek) carries readers through the campaign as it occurred. His richly detailed narrative spans from Union and Confederate political centers to the battlefront with singular analysis and insight. The author locks on the period from May 18 to May 25, 1863, when General Ulysses S. Grant surrounded the city and tried to overpower its defenses. Vicksburg would not capitulate until a six-week siege ended with surrender on July 4. Hess amply succeeds in showing how Grant’s assaults were hampered by a host of combat disadvantages including the general’s own “mode of command,” rugged site topography, poor unit interaction, and low morale among troops. He also shows how the siege gave control of the Mississippi River to the North, a critical supply line, and was an integral part of the Anaconda Plan to sever outside trade to the Confederacy.
VERDICT The latest book by Hess has deservedly reached the apex of Vicksburg scholarship to date and does justice to its author’s historical acumen. Highly recommended for all U.S. Middle Period and Civil War historians and biographers, together with students of military command and field strategy.
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