Vicksburg and Gettysburg: The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War
It’s a poignant irony in American history that on Independence Day, 1863, not one but two pivotal battles ended in Union victory, marked the high tide of Confederate military fortune, and ultimately doomed the South’s effort at secession. But on July 4, 1863, after six months of siege, Ulysses Grant’s Union army finally took Vicksburg and the Confederate west. On the very same day, Robert E. Lee was in Pennsylvania, parrying the threat to Vicksburg with a daring push north to Gettysburg. For two days the battle had raged; on the next, July 4, 1863, Pickett’s Charge was thrown back, a magnificently brave but fruitless assault, and the fate of the Confederacy was sealed, though nearly two more years of bitter fighting remained until the war came to an end.
In Receding Tide, Ed Bearss draws from his popular tours to chronicle these two widely separated but simultaneous clashes and their dramatic conclusion. As the recognized expert on both Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Bearss tells the fascinating story of this single momentous day in our country’s history, offering his readers narratives, maps, illustrations, characteristic wit, dramatic new insights and unerringly intimate knowledge of terrain, tactics, and the colorful personalities of America’s citizen soldiers, Northern and Southern alike.
This book has originated from videotapes of Bearss’ tours of Vicksburg and Gettysburg. They have been transcribed, and J. Parker Hills has edited them and written brief transitions in the narrative. The words clearly belong to Bearss in their detail of the fighting, the characterizations of individuals and the overarching strategy behind the movements. The result is a smooth narrative of compelling force. — Jeffry D. Wert, Civil War News. Read the entire review.