In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

320CIVIL WAR HISTORY manuscript and printed sources. The result is the best one-volume history of the struggle for Vicksburg yet published. Arnold depicts the triumvirate of Union leaders—Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and David D. Porter—as talented men who worked unusually well together but were not without a full complement of flaws and quirks. He depicts the situation on the Confederate side in a very different light. Joseph E. Johnston and John C. Pemberton come across as defeatist mediocrities unfit for their positions; the former a moral coward, the latter possibly a physical one. When the Vicksburg campaign began, the Confederates had nearly every advantage imaginable, but when it ended they had suffered their most catastrophic defeat of the war. Arnold convincingly demonstrates that the difference was leadership. The author has written previously about Grant and Union soldiers, so it is not surprising that his focus is on the overland aspects of the Vicksburg operation, especially the fast-moving events that transpired once Grant gained a foothold on the east bank of the Mississippi River. He presents a coherent narrative of the movements of both Union and Confederate armies and provides thorough accounts of the desperate little battles at Port Gibson, Raymond, and Jackson in which outnumbered Confederate detachments strove to slow the Union juggernaut . He devotes an entire chapter to the critical but often overlooked clash at Champion's Hill, Pemberton's last chance to halt Grant short of the Vicksburg fortifications. Unfortunately, Arnold's narrative fades towards the end. His overview of the grueling six-week siege is sketchy in places and somewhat less than satisfying. WhileArnold seems to be on solid ground when discussing military matters, his grasp ofnaval terminology and technology is a tad less certain. The city-class gunboats on the western rivers did not have turrets or armored stems, to note but two minor errors in the chapters devoted to affairs on the water. On the whole, however, this reviewer found little to question or criticize. In sum, Grant Wins the War is a solid piece of work that should gain a wide audience among Civil War enthusiasts. Historians familiar with the subject may not find anything new, but they will enjoy a "good read," a rare treat in a profession awash in turgid prose. The main title is an exaggeration but the subtitle is not. All subsequent Union victories in the West—the victories that did win the war—were made possible by what happened at Vicksburg. William L. Shea University of Arkansas, Monticello Battle on the Bay: The Civil War Strugglefor Galveston. By Edward T. Cotham Jr. (Austin: University ofTexas Press, 1998. Pp. ix, 241. $37.50, cloth; $16.95, paper.) While there have been various articles written about the Civil War struggle for control of Galveston Bay, this reviewer believes that this volume will be recog- book reviews321 nized as the definitive study about the topic. The struggle began in 1861 when the first Union gunboats appeared to enforce the Union's blockade of the bay. The blockade was part of Flag Officer David Farragut's responsibility. He was ordered to seal off the Southern ports on the Gulf Coast from southern Florida to the Rio Grande. Galveston was most important, being one of the best natural harbors on the Gulf. After Farragut took New Orleans in 1 862, Galveston Bay became even more important; it became a major lifeline for the Confederacy. Blockade runners who could reach the bay delivered all manner of supplies, all kind of materials which would then go overland to Vicksburg. From there, goods could be dispensed as needed to both the eastern and western theaters of war. Farragut and other Union commanders certainly understood the importance ofGalveston. By October of 1 862, Union plans called for the attack and capture of the bay. On October 4, Comdr. William B. Renshaw led a squadron of eight ships into the harbor. The capture was relatively easy. Brig. Gen. Paul O. Hebert, the commander of the Confederate District of Texas, believed that Galveston was indefensible and had already removed most artillery from the island. The Union occupation lasted until January of 1863. By that...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 320-322
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.