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The Mississippi

The Mississippi by Francis Vinton Greene
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"It is safe to say that three-fourths of those who have professed any knowledge of the campaigns which resulted in the opening of the Mississippi have generally given undue prominence to minor events, and almost wholly ignored the essentially important; indeed, this campaign calls up in most minds a confused jumble of gunboats and batteries, bayous and swamps. We know that Vicksburg was taken and the river opened, and that is about all. This book, however, is a properly proportioned narrative of the series of operations, and its perusal gives a complete exposition of the difficulties and the solution of the problem"

"The author indicates in his introduction the general scheme of operations, and enables us to understand it in its simplicity; states clearly the object of the gathering of the mighty forces in the West, and the essential value to both contending parties of the possession of the great river. The several defensive lines of the Confederates, the causes which led to their adoptiois, and the movements which brought about their successive loss, are next clearly delineated and explained. Then follows a clear account of the campaign terminating in the battles of luka and Corinth, which resulted in placing the Confederates on the defensive for the retention of Vicksburg."

"The first of the three series of operations undertaken for the capture of the city was a combined movement on the part of Grant and Sherman, the former moving by the Mississippi Central Railroad, and the latter from Memphis by the river route. Such cooperative movements rarely succeed, and this resulted in failure. The brilliant raids of Forrest and Van Dorn against Grant’s long line of communications forced him back, and the wide separation of the two commands prevented Sherman from becoming aware of the changed circumstances in time to countermand his order to assault at Haines’s Bluff. The second series, known as the "Bayou Expeditions", comprised every possible attempt by the river route, and were all attended with complete failure. The author clearly narrates the difficulties encountered, the hardships endured, and the pertinacity with which each new venture was tested to the utmost in the vain attempt to reach solid ground within striking distance of Vicksburg. The third and final effort was the campaign in the rear of the city, the account of which is especially commendable, and full of graphic interest. We see Grant, bold, aggressive, self-reliant, against Pemberton, timid, undecided, deferring to councils of war. The author makes a happy analysis of the characters of Pemberton and Johnston, and brings out unconsciously the unmistakable military talent of Grant. He well says 'that the deeds of these eighteen days challenge comparison with the most brilliant campaigns of history.'"

"Although Lieutenant Greene was not a participant in the events he so graphically describes, he has had access to the fullest official data, and has visited the fields of operation and verified disputed points by personal inspection. To a sound knowledge of strategical and tactical principles he unites a happy faculty of lucid description and a technical acquaintance with the vocabulary of his profession - all of which, together with the excellent maps, containing every reference of the text, and the quite complete appendices, make the volume all that could be desired in so small a compass." -- The Century, vol. 25, issue 4 (Feb 1883).

Digital Scanning, Inc.; January 2001
296 pages; ISBN 9781582185668
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Title: The Mississippi
Author: Francis Vinton Greene