Best book on the campaign....

Notocraptus

Cadet
Joined
Jul 18, 2021
Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign That Broke the Confederacy by Donald L. Miller
I've read this book and it is pretty good, though it probably should be said that it takes a few hundred pages to get to Vicksburg due to the fact that it recollects not just Vicksburg, but also most of Grant's early western campaigns. Other than that, it's a pretty good book and it has some of the most endnotes I've ever seen in any book (not including Rick Atkinson books, since that's practically a given.)
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I haven't found one single book that covers everything. Grabau's book is my favorite, but it leaves out the 1862 events and most of the riverfront part of the siege (as do they all). The only way to get everything is through Bearrs' books, even though their quality isn't the best of what's available. To me, Bearrs' sources were the most reliable and most of what others wrote was largely colored by modern-day views, especially Northern (except for Foote's which had Southern bias, but it was poorly written).

I think part of the problem is that some writers consider everything Grant did during the months leading up to the 1863 siege, as being so important that it warranted equal time in their books, and also that different value is placed on the various failed attempts at getting into Vicksburg. A lot of the interpretation of Grant's campaign up to arrival in Louisiana is very subjective - if you don't agree with the writer's interpretation, you'll likely not read the book with much enthusiasm. It's also a matter of personal taste - if it were my choice, there would be a smaller amount of material on everything up to where Grant set up on the Louisiana side, more on the 'probing' that Farragut was responsible for in the summer of 1862, as his interaction with the riverfront batteries had a large impact on the 1863 siege, and more on the river defense during both 1862 and 1863. Most books just focus on the Eastern side of the city and the plight of people in the city, largely repeating the same stuff. Grabau's is the best of such books and from my poor memory, also covers the riverfront part of the siege fairly well, although it has errors regarding battery placement that I found odd.

So I don't think there is a single best book, which is why I have about twenty plus all of the official records.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2013
Location
Southwest Mississippi
I think the original question was " is there a work that covers the basics of the Vicksburg Campaign" .

IMO, the easy answer is yes. Quite a few.

But like others have said, I too am partial to the "in depth studies", rather than the very many good introductions.
I guess that's because Vicksburg was in my back yard .

I really like Graubau and the Bearss trilogy .
But those are not introductions.

it takes a few hundred pages to get to Vicksburg due to the fact that it recollects not just Vicksburg, but also most of Grant's early western campaigns.
Well, to understand Vicksburg, one must sort through all of Grant's early objectives.

The Vicksburg Campaign started during 1862.
I guess I don't consider Champion Hill as part of a series, it's a stand-alone.

Had there not been the battle of Champion Hill, there might not have been the Siege of Vicksburg.
This has me thinking of maybe selling my copy. Wow...that's insane.
:bounce:

I know !
I still can't believe how much that book is selling for.

I bought my copy when it was about $ 60.00. But I will sell it for $1000.00.

:laugh:
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
:bounce:

I know !
I still can't believe how much that book is selling for.

I bought my copy when it was about $ 60.00. But I will sell it for $1000.00.

:laugh:

I paid the same (~$60) and thought "highway robbery", then I received it and started reading. At that point I thought $60 was very fair. It's a shame that this fantastic work isn't easily accessible to more people who are seriously interested in the Vicksburg campaign.

Ironically, given what I said in a previous post, I now remember that as I began reading Grabau's book, it was so impressive that I felt I should go back and more carefully study Grant's campaign up to that point. That became a rabbit hole for me and I have not yet gotten back to Grabau. Reading so many different accounts of Grant's efforts prior to 'the siege', and before that, Farragut and Porter's efforts in 1862, it was difficult to figure out what was really going on, the mistakes that were made on both sides, and what 'might have been'. Such thoughts are evidenced by how varied the existing interpretations of those events are.

But once you get past all of that, it's absolutely time for Grabau.
 

Forrest

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 25, 2015
I've read this book and it is pretty good, though it probably should be said that it takes a few hundred pages to get to Vicksburg due to the fact that it recollects not just Vicksburg, but also most of Grant's early western campaigns. Other than that, it's a pretty good book and it has some of the most endnotes I've ever seen in any book (not including Rick Atkinson books, since that's practically a given.)

To clarify my comment on Shelby Foote's book - I enjoy reading anything he writes; however, his intent was for his historical books to read more like novels, so he leaves out footnotes, etc. It's the exact opposite of Miller's technique. I personally 'need' the source info.

I have a minty copy of Miller's Vicksburg book, as well as an almost-unread copy of Grabau's Vicksburg book. I'm about to post both for sale, but wanted to mention it here first, as I would rather sell to a researcher than a flipper. As soon as I see a response to this post I'll submit my ad in the classifieds.

(If no one responds 'soon', I'll go ahead and submit my 'for sale' post in the classifieds) ... 'For sale' thread now posted.
 
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