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Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg…
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Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg

by Timothy B. Smith

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821224,528 (4.71)6
The Battle of Champion Hill was the decisive land engagement of the Vicksburg Campaign. The May 16, 1863, fighting took place just 20 miles east of the river city, where the advance of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Federal army attacked Gen. John C. Pemberton's hastily gathered Confederates. The bloody fighting seesawed back and forth until superior Union leadership broke apart the Southern line, sending Pemberton's army into headlong retreat. The victory on Mississippi's wooded hills sealed the fate of both Vicksburg and her large field army, propelled Grant into the national spotlight, and earned him the command of the entire U.S. armed forces. Timothy Smith, who holds a Ph.D. from Mississippi State and works as a historian for the National Park Service, has written the definitive account of this long overlooked battle. His vivid prose is grounded upon years of primary research and is rich in analysis, strategic and tactical action, and character development. Champion Hill will become a classic Civil War battle study.… (more)

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Grant's brilliant Vicksburg campaign has always stood in the shadow of the more famous actions of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. Nobody has done more to restore the Vicksburg campaign to its proper place than Edwin C. Bearss. Nevertheless, a detailed monograph about the battle that decided the fate of Vicksburg has been lacking. No longer. Timothy B. Smith has written a superb study of the battle of Champion Hill with excellent maps, capsule biographies of all the major officers and a photographic appendix which illustrates the rugged nature of the battlefield.

The battle of Champion hill on May 16 1863 was a mid-size battle pitting 29.000 Federals against 21.800 Confederates. The battle was a miniature Antietam. While four Federal divisions idled in the southern and middle part of the battlefield, the battle for Champion hill sucked in first 3, then 5 and finally 8 rebel brigades that fought against first 5, then 8 Union brigades. As the Union had four divisions in reserve, the ultimate outcome was never in doubt. As elsewhere, tactical rebel successes could not be sustained due to the lack of reserves. On the Union side, while Grant manoeuvred his divisions masterfully on a strategic level, he bungled the coordination among his divisions which were all within supporting distance. Napoléon would probably have annihilated Pemberton ... ( )
  jcbrunner | Oct 10, 2006 |
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