Receding Tide

Vicksburg and Gettysburg - The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War

By Edwin Bearss

Receding Tide

400 pp., 6 x 9, index

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7798-9
    Published: May 2010

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Distributed for the Blue and Gray Education Society

It’s a poignant irony in American history that on Independence Day, 1863, not one but two pivotal Civil War battles ended in Union victory, marked the high tide of Confederate military fortune, and ultimately doomed the South’s effort at secession. But on July 4, 1863, after six months of siege, Ulysses Grant’s Union army finally took Vicksburg and the Confederate west.

On the very same day, Robert E. Lee was in Pennsylvania, parrying the threat to Vicksburg with a daring push north to Gettysburg. For two days the battle had raged; on the next, July 4, 1863, Pickett’s Charge was thrown back, a magnificently brave but fruitless assault, and the fate of the Confederacy was sealed, though nearly two more years of bitter fighting remained until the war came to an end.

In Receding Tide, Edwin Cole Bearss draws from his popular Civil War battlefield tours to chronicle these two widely separated but simultaneous clashes and their dramatic conclusion. As the recognized expert on both Vicksburg and Gettysburg, Bearss tells the fascinating story of this single momentous day in our country’s history, offering his readers narratives, maps, illustrations, characteristic wit, dramatic new insights and unerringly intimate knowledge of terrain, tactics, and the colorful personalities of America’s citizen soldiers, Northern and Southern alike.

About the Author

Edwin C. Bearss is legendary among serious scholars and Civil War buffs alike. The former Chief Historian of the National Park Service and its current historian emeritus, Bearss' renowned tours of America's battlefields feature a uniquely engaging panache that has inspired a legion of fans. He has consulted on numerous books, documentaries, and films including Gods and Generals and Ken Burns' The Civil War. The author of 13 books, he has been honored many times for his tireless advocacy of the historical preservation of Civil War battlefield sites.
For more information about Edwin Bearss, visit the Author Page.


"The wealth of detail, Bearss’ astute judgments and the flowing narrative combine to make Receding Tide an excellent and highly recommended book.”—Civil War News

"Establishing a standard for literary excellence.”—Army magazine

"A smooth narrative of compelling force...Bearss’ experienced eye for human interest stories is evident throughout the book.”—Civil War News

"For buffs, Bearss’ book hits the bull’s-eye."—Booklist

"For more than half a century, prolific writer and battlefield historian Bearss has more than covered the Civil War…Here he tells the story of these two important battles…" —Book News