Below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Archives & History:
On July 14, 2021, Timothy B. Smith presented "Notes on the Siege of Vicksburg" as part of the History Is Lunch series.
Smith is the author of the new book The Siege of Vicksburg: Climax of the Campaign to Open the Mississippi River, May 23–July 4, 1863. That work draws on such primary documents as Union and Confederate official reports, soldiers’ diaries and letters, and newspaper accounts to produce a narrative of the operations including combat experiences of the soldiers in the trenches. “The siege was unlike anything Grant’s Army of the Tennessee had attempted to that point; the strategy and tactics were complex, the engineers’ work brilliant, the day-to-day participation grueling,” said Smith. “I wanted to show the effect on all involved, from townspeople to the soldiers manning the fortifications.”
The Siege of Vicksburg portrays a high-stakes moment in the course of the Civil War because both sides understood that the fate of the Mississippi River, the trans-Mississippi region, and perhaps the Confederacy itself were at stake. Smith’s detailed command-level analysis extends from army to corps, brigades, and regiments and offers fresh insights on where each side held an advantage.
“One key advantage was that the Federals had vast confidence in their commander while the Confederates showed no such assurance, whether it was Pemberton inside Vicksburg or Johnston outside,” said Smith.
Retired Vicksburg National Military Park historian Terrence J. Winschel said Smith’s “talented pen details the siege with intimacy and clarity, and he chronicles the complex operations through the personal experiences of the men in blue and gray in a manner that is sure to captivate the reader. His work is smooth, comprehensive, insightful, and written with a passion that makes it a delight to read.
Timothy B. Smith is a veteran of the National Park Service and currently teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He earned his PhD from Mississippi State University in 2001 and is the author, editor, or co-editor of nineteen books, including The Union Assaults at Vicksburg: Grant Attacks Pemberton, May 17–22, 1863; Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg; and Corinth 1862: Siege, Battle, Occupation.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of the state's past. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum building at 222 North Street in Jackson.