Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Book News: Vicksburg Besieged

I've mentioned the upcoming Vicksburg Besieged (Volume Seven in SIU Press's rebranded Civil War Campaigns in the West series) more than once in passing, but the official description has now been fleshed out enough to give us a good idea about its content. The third of five planned Vicksburg Campaign installments, it follows The Vicksburg Campaign, March 29-May 18, 1863 (2013) and The Vicksburg Assaults, May 19-22, 1863 (2019). The contributor list to Vicksburg Besieged includes series editors Steven Woodworth and Charles Grear along with Andrew Bledsoe, John Gaines, Martin Hershock, Richard Holloway, Justin Solonick, Scott Stabler, and Jonathan Steplyk. Together their essays examine:

• "the role of Grant’s staff"
• "the critical contributions of African American troops to the Union Army of the Tennessee"
• "both sides’ use of sharpshooters and soldiers’ opinions about them"
• "unusual nighttime activities between the Union siege lines and Confederate defensive positions"
• "the use of West Point siege theory and the ingenuity of Midwestern soldiers in mining tunnels under the city’s defenses"
• "the horrific experiences of civilians trapped in Vicksburg"
• "the failure of Louisiana soldiers’ defense at the subsequent siege of Jackson"
• "the effect of the campaign on Confederate soldiers from the Trans-Mississippi region"
• "how the Confederate Army of Mississippi and residents of Vicksburg faced food and supply shortages as well as constant danger from Union cannons and sharpshooters"

Also, let's take a moment to briefly revisit the original list of planned series titles and see how things are going so far (the links are all to my reviews):

1. The Shiloh Campaign (2009)
2. The Chickamauga Campaign (2010)
3. The Chattanooga Campaign (2012)
4. Vicksburg: Mississippi Blitzkrieg, May 1863 [Presumably, this is the retitled The Vicksburg Campaign, March 29–May 18, 1863 (2013)]
5. The Tennessee Campaign of 1864 (2016)
6. The Vicksburg Assaults, May 19-22, 1863 (2019)
7. Forts Henry and Donelson
8. Vicksburg Besieged (June 2020)
9. The Kentucky Campaign of 1862
10. Vicksburg: To Chickasaw Bayou
11. The Atlanta Campaign from Rocky Face Ridge to Oostenaula: The Battle of Resaca
12. Vicksburg: Grant's Winter Endeavors
13. The Atlanta Campaign from the Oostenaula to the Etowa: Dallas, New Hope Church, 14. and Pickett's Mill
15. The Atlanta Campaign from the Etowa to the Chattahoochee: The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
16. Iuka and Corinth
17. Peachtree Creek
18. The Battle of Atlanta, July 22, 1864

With seven titles published and three years at most between releases, that's pretty steady progress. Hopefully, the skipping over of Henry & Donelson is only temporary.


  1. Hi Drew

    Thanks for the information. I really enjoy this series. I think it is strange there is no volume for Stones River?

    Don H.

    1. Yes, in terms of major western theater battles that is probably the most notable omission. To be honest, though, it doesn't bother me. I would much rather see more series coverage of subjects like Iuka & Corinth (i.e. battles/campaigns that don't already have a multitude of modern book-length reading options).


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