It’s a poignant irony in American history that on Independence Day, 1863, not one but two pivotal Civil War 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, Edwin Cole Bearss draws from his popular Civil War battlefield 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.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword: An American Icon 7
Introduction: Trinity and Tide 11
Chapter 1 Richmond and the River 15
Chapter 2 A Series of Experiments 43
Chapter 3 War Has Responsibilities 77
Chapter 4 What Will the Country Say? 111
Chapter 5 To the Railroad East of Vicksburg 153
Chapter 6 Concentration of Troops 185
Chapter 7 On the Offense 223
Chapter 8 Commit No Blunder 257
Chapter 9 The Devil's to Pay 299
Chapter 10 The Best Three Hours' Fighting 325
Chapter 11 Give Them the Cold Steel 359
About the Blue and Gray Education Society 391