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Civil War Mississippi

A Guide

Michael B. Ballard

Publication Year: 2000

In the Civil War Mississippi experienced a protracted and devastating invasion, and Confederate and Union armies fought fiercely at Corinth, Holly Springs, Iuka, Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and many other sites throughout the state.

With both tourists and Civil War buffs in mind, archivist Michael Ballard has written Civil War Mississippi: A Guide, the first comprehensive coverage of the war in the state. Containing easy-to-follow maps and a wealth of historical material, the book discusses the campaigns, the present-day battlefields, the battles, and the soldiers and generals who fought.

The war was complex in Mississippi, for it involved sieges, trench warfare, naval bombardments, and brilliant cavalry engagements. Some of the most storied names of the war-- Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and John Pemberton-- experienced their most triumphant and harrowing moments on Mississippi battlegrounds.

Ballard captures all the destruction, drama, and bravery of Mississippi's war. He examines the major campaigns, emphasizing why engagements occurred, how the battles ended, and how the war in Mississippi affected the ongoing struggle nationwide. Maps include current highways and Ballard has added present-day photos and recommendations about touring the sites.

Both the novice and the Civil War expert will relish this tour of the state's war legacy. Michael Ballard is University Archivist and Coordinator of the Congressional Collection for Special Collections of the Mississippi State University Libraries. Author of numerous works on the war, he has published A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy, and Pemberton: A Biography with the University Press of Mississippi. Both were History Book Club selections.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 7

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pp. 9-10

Civil War battles in Mississippi played a major role in determining who won the war in the western theater. This fact has taken on new meaning in recent years as many Civil War historians have argued that the outcome of the entire war was decided in the west. Battles in...

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pp. 11-14

In the spring of 1862, Union forces in the war's western theater had made significant progress in fracturing a long, and in most places lightly defended, Confederate defense line that extended from western Virginia to the Mississippi River. The line had been breached by...

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1. Silent Guns: The Battle of luka

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pp. 15-21

Ulysses S. Grant had become more and more obsessed with Sterling Price's intentions. Was Price trying to block the rail line to keep Grant from sending troops to Don Carlos Buell? Grant knew that Earl Van Dorn was bringing a small army northeastward from...

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2. Van Dora's Folly: The Battle of Corinth

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pp. 22-34

In his early forties, the brash Earl Van Dorn cut a fine figure astride his horse. The epitome of the mythical southern cavalier, Van Dorn, a West Point graduate in the same class as William Rosecrans, loved the army life, sought danger, dreamed big, and, all in all, was in...

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pp. 35-38

The Mississippi River was both an economic and a psychological factor for Union and Confederate commanders as they plotted their strategy in the west. For many years, the river had served as a vital waterway for midwestern farmers shipping their goods to the eastern...

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3. Gunboats: The First Attack on Vicksburg

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pp. 39-44

David Farragut had been around and in the United States Navy most of his life, dating back to experiences as a young boy in the War of 1812. Even though a southerner by birth and having two wives from Virginia (not at the same time), Farragut had been in the old navy...

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4. Grant's Failures: Vicksburg, October 1862–April 1863

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pp. 45-54

As the fall and winter seasons of 1862 approached, U. S. Grant may often have sat and wondered at his up-and-down career. A solid Mexican War performance, numerous personal problems including several failures in civilian occupations, glory with his capture of forts...

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5. Grant Triumphant: Vicksburg, Final Campaign and Siege

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pp. 55-74

The steady tramp of Union infantry and the clatter of artillery drifted through the steep ravines and across the high ridges west of Port Gibson. On they came, their path lit by moonlight filtering through the moss and leaves of large hardwood trees. These were...

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In the aftermath of the Vicksburg campaign, William T. Sherman went east, besieged Joseph Johnston at Jackson, soon forcing him to the Mississippi hinterland. Johnston had marched his men to the Big Black, but had arrived there only in time to hear of Vicksburg's...

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6. Securing a Victory: The Meridian Campaign

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pp. 77-88

William T. Sherman had reason to be confident. He knew that the Confederate commander in Mississippi, Leonidas Polk, did not have enough men to successfully contest the movement of Union troops in Mississippi. Because Folk's troops were scattered over a wide area,...

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7. The Wizard's Magic: The Battle of Brice's Cross Roads

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pp. 89-98

Some called him the "Wizard of the Saddle," and, by the summer of 1864, many in the North conceded that Nathan Bedford Forrest had earned the name, one that made even his most seasoned opponents nervous. Though he had never studied military science, Forrest had...

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8. Turning the Tables: The Battle of Tupelo

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pp. 99-109

In the aftermath of the Union defeat at Brice's Cross Roads, Gump Sherman grew more determined than ever to eliminate Bedford Forrest. Sherman was convinced that Forrest was "the very devil" and that there would never be peace in Tennessee until that devil was...

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Conclusion: The Legacy of the War in Mississippi

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pp. 110-113

The Civil War took a heavy toll on Mississippi. Many of the state's political and economic elite either fell in battle or saw their fortunes ruined by the devastation and economic upheaval wrought by the conflict. Some white families managed to hang on to a semblance of...

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Touring the War

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pp. 115-120

luka is located in the northeast corner of Mississippi at the intersection of highways 72 and 25. The battlefield is southwest of town along Highway 25 and has not been preserved, although a historic marker identifies the general location. Another interesting site near...

Major Campaigns and Battles

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pp. 121-122

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Other Engagements

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pp. 123-126

The following list is selective, not comprehensive, but demonstrates the large number of minor battles and skirmishes that occurred in the state. The cluster of fighting in north Mississippi resulted from Confederate attempts to protect dwindling supply...

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Civil War Cemeteries

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pp. 127-129

There are very few Mississippi cemeteries of nineteenth-century origin that do not contain the remains of at least one Confederate soldier. Many graves are not in cemeteries. For example, several unknown soldier Union marked graves can be found on an old...

Other Places to Visit

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pp. 130-131


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pp. 133-135

E-ISBN-13: 9781621032137
E-ISBN-10: 1578061962
Print-ISBN-13: 9781578061969

Publication Year: 2000