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8534Re: Understanding Vicksburg

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  • brooksdsimpson@yahoo.com
    Nov 13, 2001
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      --- In civilwarwest@y..., "Dave Smith" <dmsmith001@y...> wrote:

      > I've also thought that perhaps a Gordon Rhea-style approach - a
      > series of relative standalone books, which encompasses the whole,
      > might well work. The problem is, I think, that the part people
      > to get to - post Bruinsburg - comes later in such a series.
      > they'd have to be written out of order.
      > I'd be interested to hear Brooks's thoughts on this.

      I think that it is true that the lead-up to the April movements would
      be slow going for some people -- I know that I found myself impatient
      to get on to the crossing when I wrote my chapter on Vicksburg -- and
      that the period after May 22 is largely ignored (which is one reason
      the Yazoo bender story gets so much play -- the assumption is that
      nothing was going on, when in fact a great deal was going on).

      There's probably room for two solid single-volume studies. One would
      be primarily a military study, not as detailed as that offered in
      Ed's OR-bound narrative; I found the recent James Arnold book to be a
      disappointment in that it simply reoffered what was offered before.
      The second would be a study that took a larger view of the campaign,
      complete with its relation to politics and social change -- life
      inside Vicksburg, what happened along the line of march, the
      induction and training of black soldiers, and so on.

      The military study might also shift the camera from Grant to
      Pemberton once in a while. Too often the Confederate leaders are
      treated as objects, awaiting Grant's next decision. Put yourself in
      Pemberton's place on April 15, 1863, and tell me what you do for the
      next five weeks.

      Finally, I don't think people appreciate how this was truly Grant's
      finest hour. We give that notion lip service, but the fact is that
      Grant was simply brilliant during the campaign. Not flawless, but
      brilliant -- with a good bit of guts thrown in.
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