The Union Assaults at Vicksburg: Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17-22, 1863

The Union Assaults at Vicksburg: Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17-22, 1863

by Timothy B. Smith


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It was the third week of May 1863, and after seven months and six attempts, Ulysses S. Grant was finally at the doorstep of Vicksburg. What followed was a series of attacks and maneuvers against the last major section of the Mississippi River controlled by the Confederacy—and one of the most important operations of the Civil War. Grant intended to end the campaign quickly by assault, but the stalwart defense of Vicksburg’s garrison changed his plans. The Union Assaults at Vicksburg is the first comprehensive account of this quick attempt to capture Vicksburg, which proved critical to the Union’s ultimate success and Grant's eventual solidification as one of the most significant military commanders in American history.

Establishing a day-to-day—and occasionally minute-to-minute—timeline for this crucial week, military historian Timothy B. Smith invites readers to follow the Vicksburg assaults as they unfold. His finely detailed account reaches from the offices of statesmen and politicians to the field of battle, with exacting analysis and insight that ranges from the highest level of planning and command to the combat experience of the common soldier. As closely observed and vividly described as each assault is, Smith’s book also puts the sum of these battles into the larger context of the Vicksburg campaign, as well as the entire war. His deeply informed, in-depth work thus provides the first full view of a key but little-studied turning point in the fortunes of the Union army in the West, Ulysses S. Grant, and the United States of America.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780700629060
Publisher: University Press of Kansas
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Pages: 504
Sales rank: 229,061
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Timothy B. Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. His many books include, most recently, Grant Invades Tennessee: The 1862 Battles for Forts Henry and Donelson as well as Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation and Shiloh: Conquer or Perish, all published by the University Press of Kansas.

Table of Contents

List of Maps



1. "I Will Fortify Vicksburg and Prevent It Capture"

2. "The Accomplishment of This One Object"

3. "Tumbling Back into Vicksburg in Utter Confusion"

4. "Within Musket-Range of the Defenses of Vicksburg"

5. "My Whole Division Dashed Forward"

6. "The Enemy Are Evidently Preparing for an Assault"

7. "Each Column Will Attack by the Watch"

8. "There Was Not a Twig between Us and the Fort"

9. "They Seemed to Be Springing from the Bowels of the Earth"

10. "I Could Not Disregard His Reiterated Statements"

11. "The Assault Was Feeble Compared with the Fierce Onslaughts Earlier in the Day"

12. "It Is Absolutely Necessary That They Be Dislodged"

13. "Five Days of Peril, Hardship, and Privation"


Appendix A: Union Order of Battle at Vicksburg, May 17-22, 1863

Appendix B: Confederate Order of Battle at Vicksburg, May 17-22, 1863




Photo gallery follows page 205

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