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The Civil War in Mississippi

The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battles

Michael B. Ballard
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 320
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    The Civil War in Mississippi
    Book Description:

    From the first Union attack on Vicksburg in the spring of 1862 through Benjamin Grierson's last raid through Mississippi in late 1864 and early 1865, this book traces the campaigns, fighting, and causes and effects of armed conflict in central and North Mississippi, where major campaigns were waged and fighting occurred.

    The Civil War in Mississippi: Major Campaigns and Battleswill be a must-read for any Mississippian or Civil War buff who wants the complete story of the Civil War in Mississippi. It discusses the key military engagements in chronological order. It begins with a prologue covering mobilization and other events leading up to the first military action within the state's borders. The book then covers all of the major military operations, including the campaign for and siege of Vicksburg, and battles at Iuka and Corinth, Meridian, Brice's Crossroads, and Tupelo. The colorful cast of characters includes such household names as Sherman, Grant, Pemberton, and Forrest, as well as a host of other commanders and soldiers. Author Michael B. Ballard discusses at length minority troops and others glossed over or lost in studies of the Mississippi military during the war.

    eISBN: 978-1-60473-843-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. xiii-1)

    Despite the fact that several excellent monographs have been written on the major Civil War campaigns and battles in Mississippi, no study has brought the significant conflicts together in one volume. The purpose of this book is to introduce readers to the stories of those campaigns and battles, the focus being on the struggles that had an important impact on the Civil War in Mississippi. My intent is to demonstrate how these conflicts grew out of strategic planning by both Union and Confederate War departments, planning that included the entirety of the western theater of the war as well as...

  5. PROLOGUE War Comes to Mississippi
    (pp. 3-12)

    The possibility of civil war did not frighten Mississippi fire-eaters, so-called because of their fiery defense of slavery and secession as constitutional rights. John Quitman, a Mexican War hero and prominent state politician, had been one of the major leaders, but he died in 1858, leaving individuals like John J. Pettus, elected governor the next year, to carry on. South Carolina’s secession fueled the fires of separation in Mississippi, and though no polls were taken, it seemed the fire-eaters dominated the state, though some of them had reservations about taking Mississippi out of the Union. Many other citizens did not...

  6. 1 CORINTH The Siege That Was Not
    (pp. 13-34)

    Two armies had slugged it out at Shiloh, and, since Union forces held the field and made a half-hearted pursuit of the Confederates, who retreated on the second day of the battle, April 7, 1862, the Federals had won. The cost had been tremendous on both sides. Union troops killed, wounded, and missing in Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Tennessee, reinforced by Don Carlos Buell’s Army of the Ohio on the 7th, numbered over 13,000. The Confederate army, now led by P. G. T. Beauregard after the death of Albert Sidney Johnston, had lost approximately 10,600 men. Though the...

  7. 2 VICKSBURG First Attack
    (pp. 35-54)

    During the Civil War, Vicksburg, Mississippi, sat, as now, on high bluffs between Memphis and New Orleans, overlooking the Mississippi River. In the early spring of 1862 the Union navy on the lower Mississippi seemed formidable. After victory in New Orleans, the Federal boats had ascended the river and taken Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi, without a fight. Neither of those towns had been prepared for defense, however, especially from attacks from an enemy navy. So the Union navy’s fighting abilities, despite victory at New Orleans, had not been tested over an extended period of time. Yet the string...

  8. 3 IUKA The Clash and the Quiet
    (pp. 55-76)

    Braxton Bragg made recommendations to Richmond, and he had asked that most of his army, some 30,000 men, go to Tennessee to counter Don Carlos Buell’s operations there. Buell had marched his men to Tennessee after the fall of Corinth, mainly to try to take east Tennessee away from Confederate general Kirby Smith, though establishing control of Chattanooga would also be significant. Receiving permission to carry out his plan, Bragg left behind 16,000 troops under the command of Sterling Price to watch northeast Mississippi. At Vicksburg, Earl Van Dorn had approximately the same number and could cooperate with Price if...

  9. 4 CORINTH Another Van Dorn Debacle
    (pp. 77-104)

    On March 7–8, 1862, Earl Van Dorn lost a battle at Pea Ridge (also called Elkhorn Tavern), in northwest Arkansas. Logistical problems and poor tactics had doomed Van Dorn’s army there, which included Sterling Price’s troops. Van Dorn’s biographer wrote of the Pea Ridge outcome that the general “chose to believe in the axiom that battles and campaigns are not won by idly standing by.” But Van Dorn had trouble realizing that the armies that fight those battles and conduct those campaigns must be trained, fed, and fit to fight. Van Dorn also believed in surprising the enemy. He...

  10. 5 VICKSBURG More Union Failures
    (pp. 105-138)

    After Henry Halleck left for Washington, D.C., Union forces cleared out Confederate influence in north Mississippi, and now Grant, his confidence still shaky, had a decision to make. The decision was not what to do; official Washington wanted the surrender of Vicksburg. What Grant had to decide was how to achieve it. Ultimately he took the risky action of moving his army south into Mississippi via the Mississippi Central Railroad.

    Like most commanders, Grant claimed he needed more troops before he could proceed to do anything. Halleck, now commanding all Union armies, was in a position to oblige, and he...

  11. 6 VICKSBURG Final Battles and Siege
    (pp. 139-171)

    The Union shift downstream from Milliken’s Bend had to be accomplished in stages. The Louisiana lowlands, flood prone under normal circumstances and even more so thanks to the many breaks in levees by Grant’s failed canal projects, held too much water for the Federals to move en masse. Grant ordered John McClernand, whose corps was in the forward position, to lead the way with his Thirteenth Corps. Grant still had little personal regard for McClernand, but in choosing the political general to blaze a trail for the rest of the army to follow, Grant demonstrated that he had more respect...

  12. 7 MERIDIAN CAMPAIGN An Evolution and a Portent
    (pp. 172-194)

    After Joseph Johnston evacuated Jackson for the second time, William T. Sherman decided against pursuit, mainly due to oppressive heat and the worn condition of his soldiers. But Sherman did not give up on the possibility of conducting a campaign across the middle of Mississippi, where the Southern Railroad still hauled Rebel supplies. When Johnston’s army went away, most of his men transferred elsewhere, and Sherman knew that the possibility of encountering a sizable Confederate army in Mississippi was not likely. By marching a relatively small army from Jackson to Meridian, he could destroy supplies and railroads and drive off...

  13. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  14. 8 BRICE’S CROSSROADS Confederates Win and Lose
    (pp. 195-219)

    After the Meridian campaign, William T. Sherman returned to Chattanooga. Significant changes were about to be made in the Union command hierarchy. In March Ulysses S. Grant was named commander of all the armies, replacing Henry Halleck, who became chief of staff, reporting to Grant. No one could have appreciated the irony more than Grant. After Shiloh, Halleck had taken away his command, and Grant reported directly to him. Now Halleck had voluntarily given up his post, and he would report to Grant. Grant appointed Sherman to command the military division of the Mississippi, an expansive area that included most...

  15. 9 TUPELO (HARRISBURG) Forrest versus Lee
    (pp. 220-243)

    William Sherman chose Andrew Jackson Smith to lead the second drive into Mississippi to get Nathan Bedford Forrest. Actually it was the third drive, but the second instigated since Sherman began his Georgia campaign. The additional one had been the disastrous Sooy Smith expedition in February 1864 when he had failed to join Sherman at Meridian. Except for the last name, A. J. Smith differed greatly from Sooy Smith. A Pennsylvania native who had been in Sherman’s Meridian campaign, he had more recently been involved in Nathaniel Banks’s ill-fated Red River campaign. Smith was passing through Memphis on his way...

  16. 10 MORE RAIDS Smith and Grierson
    (pp. 244-270)

    General William T. Sherman refused to let A. J. Smith’s puzzling action deter his determination to get Nathan Bedford Forrest. Sherman, from his faraway presence in Georgia, perhaps could not grasp all the nuances of Smith’s operation, nor could he understand what went on in Smith’s mind. Sherman assumed Smith had withdrawn in order to go to Ripley to get resupplied. All reports indicated Smith had won a great victory, so why march back to Memphis, leaving Forrest behind to cause more trouble, as Sherman fully expected the Confederate cavalryman to do? Sherman did know that whatever Smith’s reasons for...

    (pp. 271-272)

    Benjamin Grierson’s winter raid was the last military campaign of any consequence in Mississippi. Skirmishing continued well into the early months of 1865, but such skirmishes were relatively few in number. On January 24 Nathan Bedford Forrest took command of the Confederate district that included Mississippi. In late March Forrest led his command on their last campaign, as he failed to stop a raid by Union cavalry general James H. Wilson from the Tennessee River to Selma, Alabama. Mississippi was among the last of the Confederate states to be surrendered; on May 4 General Richard Taylor, who by then had...

    (pp. 273-276)
  19. NOTES
    (pp. 277-294)
    (pp. 295-296)
  21. INDEX
    (pp. 297-300)