Is Bearss' Vicksburg Trilogy worth the cost?

OldReliable1862

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I've been eyeing up some used copies of Edwin C. Bearss' monumental Vicksburg trilogy; even most of the used copies are on the pricey side.

So what I'd like to know: is Bearss' Vicksburg Trilogy worth the price, or would William Shea's one-volume work (among others) do the job about as well for less?
 

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chucksr

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I found the commendably well researched tome to be ponderous in the extreme--it took me much longer to finish the work than it took Grant to capture Vicksburg. I would recommend the books for anyone that has a compelling interest in the Vicksburg campaign but it is not light reading--very detailed.
 

alan polk

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I've been eyeing up some used copies of Edwin C. Bearss' monumental Vicksburg trilogy; even most of the used copies are on the pricey side.

So what I'd like to know: is Bearss' Vicksburg Trilogy worth the price, or would William Shea's one-volume work (among others) do the job about as well for less?
It really depends on the level of understanding you wish to have about the Campaign. For instance, if you are not necessarily interested in the precise movement of troops from, say, the line of the Bayou Pierre on May 3 to the Big Black River Bridge on May 5, then I would not suggest you invest your money in such a work.

If you really just want a work that gives a decent overview, then Bearss and Grabau are probably not what you want. The works by Bearss and Grabau have more of an academic “feel” to them and are not really written for mass consumption. However, if you are “eaten up” with the Campaign and can’t get enough detail, Bearss and Grabau are like Christmas times 10!!!
 

Deleted User CS

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In my opinion, any books written by Ed Bearss is well worth the money, no matter the cost . They become an investment. Those Vicksburg volumes when I purchased them many years ago from Morningside Books they came with several large maps. I also have a book Bearss and his wife published which is very difficult to find anymore. David.
 

Deleted User CS

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I just looked this up - used it starts at 400.00. That's a chunk of change.
I cannot believe that price. When I purchased mine from Morningside Books in Dayton, Ohio, I only paid $250.00 for the three volumes and the complete set of maps. When I bought books from Morningside I usually purchased a lot and the owner would give me a pretty good discount however he would not discount the Vicksburg books. Thanks for the information. David.
 

gary

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If I recall correctly, the first two volumes were heavily reliant on the O.R. The last volume had more outside research in it.

I bought mine years ago when Bob Younger still ran Morningside Press. Get yours via the inter-library loan. I consider myself fortunate in getting Bearss to autograph most of his works that I have. We had him as a speaker at a Civil War Conference.
 

ucvrelics

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All of Ed's books are worth the cost and then some. Ed was very helpful to me when I was looking for the CS camps at Enterprise Mississippi. We sat down one day and I should him my research and where I had eliminated, he looked at me and said "Go South on the old railroad" He was right the camp was almost to Stonewall Mississippi. Point is his research and knowledge of the CW in Mississippi is remarkable.
 

mobile_96

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Even "Ninety-Eight Days" is not a cheap book, prices range from $85 to $189. Glad I got mine when it first came out. Also got Bearss set on Vicksburg for $125 by no maps. Got the set when I found out our CW group was going there.
Surprised no one mentioned "Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi" by Ballard, that can be picked up for $4.99. I thought it pretty good.
 

OldReliable1862

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I've been thinking about asking the University of Nebraska press on the possibility of a reprint, is this the correct course to take, or should we go another route?
 

Legion Para

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Perfect assessment !

My exact thoughts.
As a resource on the Vicksburg Campaign, it can't be beat. But for enjoyment purposes, I find it rather dry. If you want to read a very well researched and well written one volume book on Vicksburg, I recommend Ninety-Eight Days by Warren Grabau.
Perfect assessment !

My exact thoughts.
Agreed. With that said, they are a must have for any serious student of the Vicksburg Campaign.

vicksburg-campaign-volumes-bearss-1st_1_2ce9d62ef33bbef284db0efb593c1701.jpg
 

tony_gunter

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Ed Bearss, Grabau, Terry Winschel, and Ballard are all personal friends. The story as told by all of them is fairly consistent. If Bearss has an insight, most of the time you can find the same insight in the others, and where Bearss whiffs big time you can almost be assured the others will repeat the assertion.

I noticed this when doing detailed research on the Battle of Raymond. Bearss claimed the 68th Ohio turned tail and ran at the start of the battle. In reality, I found that the 68th Ohio was ordered to the far flank at the beginning of the battle where it sat mostly bored and unengaged.

I don't have all my books in front of me, but if I remember correctly Grabau, Winschel, and Ballard repeat the assertion.

I think Ballard's book is a good one-volume summary. I enjoyed reading Grabau more, although he has some strange assertions of his own. Grabau's "inversion layer" assertion for why the Confederates didn't know an entire division was in their front is easily debunked by first-hand descriptions of the cloud of dust on the battlefield and a battlefield sketch showing the same.
 

huskerblitz

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Ed Bearss, Grabau, Terry Winschel, and Ballard are all personal friends. The story as told by all of them is fairly consistent. If Bearss has an insight, most of the time you can find the same insight in the others, and where Bearss whiffs big time you can almost be assured the others will repeat the assertion.
I will say without reading Bearss trilogy that I think Bearss and Winchel differ on some conclusions in regards to Chickasaw Bayou, at least the best I have been able to uncover and reading only excerpts of Bearss and Winchel's article in Blue and Gray Magazine.
 


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