Looking Back on the Vicksburg Campaign
Lincoln's moral leadership and political legacy, as well as Lee and Jackson's expert command have never left our popular imagination.
Brooke C. Stoddard When the sun set on the Confederacy, the stars began to rise and shine, none more brightly for Northerners than that of Abraham Lincoln, and for Southerners than those of Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson. So it has largely remained, lo these 135 years. Of the Northerners, it is the politician, the orator and moral leader Lincoln looked to for genius. Of the Southerners, the lure of the generals and the Eastern theater has never significantly slackened upon the popular imagination. So it was with me, whose Southern relatives made sure to send me a biography of Robert E. Lee before my 10th birthday, and whose fascination with Jackson, the man and general, is especially healthy. [text_ad] Shelby Foote’s extraordinary The Civil War: A Narrative (should be required reading for every American) did much to dislodge me from Eastern theater prejudice, but it was the sentences of another writer that crystallized my admiration of a Northern commander, Ulysses S. Grant. As Audacious As Lee This was Samuel Eliot Morison (arguably a “Northern” writer, but an “Eastern” one, too), who in his Oxford History of the American People, wrote about the Vicksburg strategy: “Grant’s plan was audacious as any of Lee’s, and he had difficulties such as Lee never encountered.” It was audacious, all right. After months of arduous and fruitless attacks, maneuvers and exertions, Grant decided to attempt to run the Union fleet past the Vicksburg batt
Join The Conversation
View All Comments