The Mississippi River Campaign, 1861–1863

The Struggle for Control of the Western Waters


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About the Book

Telling the story of the Civil War’s Mississippi River Campaign through the experiences of leading officers, ordinary soldiers, and civilians, this book explains how the river campaign came to be one of the key tenets of the Union’s strategy and a fundamental contributor to the war’s ultimate outcome. It describes the Union’s drive down the Mississippi River from Cairo, Illinois, the drive up the river from the Gulf of Mexico, and the capturing of key cities and rebel fortifications along the way, including New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Memphis, Vicksburg, and finally, Port Hudson, Louisiana. The text is supplemented with 24 historical photographs from the Library of Congress and the National Archives.

About the Author(s)

Formerly with the New York Times and the Saturday Evening Post, Benton Rain Patterson is an emeritus associate professor of journalism at the University of Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Benton Rain Patterson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 282
Bibliographic Info: 24 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-5900-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0253-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1

Part I: 1861

1. The Drive Begins      5

2. The Defenders      12

3. The Gunboats      17

4. River-Borne Warriors      27

Part II: 1862

5. Target on the Tennessee      35

6. The Assault That Failed      45

7. The Fall of Fort Donelson      54

8. Goodbye, Columbus      64

9. Fortress Island      70

10. The Receding Gray Line      84

11. The Ascension Begins      99

12. The Battle for Passage      111

13. The Defiant City      121

14. The Conquered City      133

15. The Ellet Fleet      140

16. The Confederate Offensive      147

17. Showdown at Memphis      155

18. Up from New Orleans      162

19. The Arkansas vs. the U.S. Navy      171

20. A Battle Too Far      182

21. New Attempts at Vicksburg      192

Part III: 1863

22. Tributaries and Distributaries      201

23. New Directions      215

24. The Other Side of the River      223

25. Vicksburg at Last      232

26. Finale at Port Hudson      249

Epilogue      257

Chapter Notes      259

Bibliography      267

Index      271

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “a thorough history”—Civil War News; “useful…this attention is long overdue”—Blue & Gray Magazine; “Patterson writes an engaging story”—The Journal of Southern History.