Grant Wins the War: Decision at Vicksburg

James R. Arnold, Author John Wiley & Sons $30 (387p) ISBN 978-0-471-15727-4
More than any other element, Union control of the Mississippi River, according to Arnold (Presidents Under Fire), determined the outcome of the Civil War. The capture of the port of Vicksburg was essential, for without Vicksburg, supplies from the Arkansas and Red River valleys could no longer reach a beleaguered Confederacy. The key to the siege of Vicksburg was Grant's brilliant campaign of maneuvers waged against the city during April, May and June of 1863--and that campaign began at the vicious battle of Champion's Hill on May 16. Confederate General John Pemberton's failure to break through the Union lines condemned his army, like that of Napoleon III at Sedan in 1870, to fall back into fortifications it could not hold. Grant triumphed, the author explains, by unobtrusively doing the right things at the right time, and by recognizing and correcting his own errors with a self-awareness rare in high command. Far from being the head-down ""butcher"" of legend, Grant appears in these pages as a master of the field, able to inspire his troops, compensate for the shortcomings of subordinates still learning their craft and cooperate with his naval counterparts in an early example of ""jointness."" A particular strength of this work is its demonstration that modern weapons left no shortcuts to victory, and little room for command virtuosity. Henceforth, a successful general would be one who knew how to take pains and use time. Grant learned that lesson at Vicksburg and spent two years applying it, until the Confederate army had been destroyed. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997
Release date: 10/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 387 pages - 978-0-471-35063-7
Open Ebook - 387 pages - 978-0-470-25545-2
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-1-62045-672-9
Open Ebook - 391 pages - 978-0-585-27745-5
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