Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Book News: The Vicksburg Assaults, May 19–22, 1863 (updated)

I always look forward to the next volume in SIU Press's Civil War Campaigns in the West series (formerly the Civil War Campaigns in the Heartland series). Five books have been published so far, the most recent covering the Tennessee Campaign of 1864, and I've liked them all. We now have some solid intel regarding when we'll see the next one.

The release of The Vicksburg Assaults, May 19–22, 1863 is currently scheduled for late spring 2019, so patient anticipation is in order. It picks up where the first Vicksburg entry in the series, The Vicksburg Campaign, March 29-May 18, 1863, left off and there will be more to follow. Grant's two failed assaults in front of Vicksburg after a string of devastating victories have never had an entire book devoted to them. I am very curious to discover what the contributing authors have to say.

This is easily the most micro-focused of the series entries, and I did wonder how the editors planned to fill the typical Civil War anthology book complement of eight to ten chapters. More information has come out since the original news post, and the answer appears to be that they are breaking the mold and going with five, presumably longer form, essays (from only four contributors) instead. If accurate, that sounds fine with me.

From the description: "Ranging from military to social history, the essays examine the assaults while furthering historical debates on more prominent topics, such as the reactions of Midwesterners to the first failures of Grant’s Vicksburg campaign. The assaults symbolized a turning point in social and economic views of the campaign. Two essays from opposing sides analyze the controversial decisions surrounding the Railroad Redoubt, the site of the bloodiest fighting on May 22. Another examines how the tenacity of Texan reinforcements forced Union soldiers to abandon their gains." More: "By zeroing in on the two assaults, the contributors offer essential clarity and understanding of these important events within the larger scope of the Civil War’s Vicksburg Campaign."

The current release date is early May 2019.


  1. Drew

    Thanks for the update. I find this series very enjoyable to read.


  2. Drew, I heard Tim Smith's next book is on the Vicksburg Assualts after the Grierson book. (He was at our Roundtable last Friday night - but I did not get a chance to ask him if this is the book I have heard he was working on) Do you happen to know if he is the editor, perhaps a contributing essayist or is he working on his own separate book

    1. Hi Curtis,
      I only know that he's not the editor of this book. The names of the four contributing historians aren't revealed anywhere that I'm aware of yet, just the editors Grear and Woodworth.


  3. Drew/Curtis: The book Tim is working on is a stand-alone volume for the Kansas U Press on the assaults. He is not one of the four authors in the upcoming SIU volume (although it was certainly reasonable to assume he might be, given his deep knowledge of the campaign). I think we know that when his book is ready for publication it likely will be worth the wait.


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