The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi

By Michael B. Ballard

512 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 33 illus., 12 maps, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-7128-7
    Published: March 2010
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-0-8078-7621-3
    Published: October 2005
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-6819-0
    Published: October 2005

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Michael Ballard provides a concise yet thorough study of the 1863 battle that cut off a crucial river port and rail depot for the South and split the Confederate nation, providing a turning point in the Civil War. The Union victory at Vicksburg was hailed with as much celebration in the North as the Gettysburg victory and Ballard makes a convincing case that it was equally important to the ultimate resolution of the conflict.

About the Author

Michael B. Ballard is university archivist and coordinator of the congressional and political research center at Mississippi State University. He is the author of five previous books, including Pemberton: A Biography and A Long Shadow: Jefferson Davis and the Final Days of the Confederacy.
For more information about Michael B. Ballard, visit the Author Page.


"A complete picture of the campaign, spanning the full range of civilian-military interaction as well as the more traditional aspects of military history. . . . An extremely detailed and useful synthesis on the strategic, military and social aspects of the Vicksburg campaign in a single well-bound volume."β€”Journal of Military History

"An extremely useful summary of the campaign that succeeds in setting it in the wider context of the war itself. Future campaign studies would do well to follow this example."β€”Journal of Southern History

"A readable and informative examination of the operations taken to defend the city of Vicksburg. . . . A welcome addition to the literature of the campaign that sheds further light on the all-important and decisive Western theater in the Civil War."β€”The Historian

"Provides a great deal of new perspective. . . . Proffers . . . the most positive and in-depth evaluation of Grant's canal and bayou projects ever presented."β€”Register of Kentucky Historical Society

"Thanks to the depth of Ballard's research . . . even those closely acquainted with the campaign will find many small epiphanies, while those new to it will be in the hands of a trustworthy guide. . . . The best account of the Vicksburg campaign we have."β€”American Historical Review

"Fresh, powerful, and authoritative. Michael Ballard is at his best and demonstrates why he is one of the few historians who can truly claim mastery of the complexities that make the Vicksburg campaign so daunting a study. . . . A crisp, clear read [that] will intrigue even the most discerning student of the Civil War."β€”Civil War Book Review