Receding Tide: Vicksburg and Gettysburg- The Campaigns That Changed the Civil War
Edwin C. Bearss
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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.
decides he wants Sickles’s men to move closer to Reynolds, so he orders the III Corps to march five miles toward Emmitsburg from Taneytown, and Sickles’s people encamp near Bridgeport on the Monocacy River. Meade’s Middleburg headquarters moves 5 miles northeast to Taneytown. The XII Corps marches 13 miles from Bruceville, through Taneytown and continues another 8 miles northeast to Littlestown. At Littlestown they receive reports of the fight with Jeb Stuart’s cavalry at Hanover, so they pass
Bayard Wilkeson, Samuel Williams, Alpheus S. Williams, Carrington Williams, Jerry Williams, Jesse M. Williams, Thomas Williams, William Williamsburg, Battle of (May 5, 1862) Williamsport, Md. Willow Springs, Miss. Wilson, James H. “Harry” Winchester, Va. Witcher, Vincent A. Wright, Ambrose “Rans” Wright, Clark Wright, O. P. Wrightsville, Pa. Y Yalobusha River, Miss. Yates, Richard Yazoo City, Miss. Yazoo Pass, Miss. Yazoo Pass Expedition York River, Va. Young’s Point,
strange trinity…. The first of these three sides is more particularly the concern of the people, the second that of the commander and his army, the third that of the government. —Carl von Clausewitz ON A SWELTERING SUMMER DAY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., PRESIDENT ABRAHAM Lincoln drew a piece of “executive mansion” letterhead from his desk drawer, dipped his pen, and scrawled a note to the general commanding the Union Army of the Tennessee: “July 13, 1863. I write this now as a grateful
along with 16 Union guns against two Confederate, now that the Whitworth has burst. Since the Texas companies on the Confederate right flank have withdrawn and moved east toward the ridge to support the Third Tennessee, McPherson thinks he can spare units from his left. He orders Sanborn to send the two regiments on his left flank, the 48th Indiana and the 59th Indiana, over to the center of the Union line. These men slowly back out of the woods along the creek, and quickstep eastward through
Alabama. Forming a right angle at the crest of Champion Hill are Cumming’s Georgians, with the 39th Georgia resting its left on the right of the 20th Alabama and, with the help of four companies of the 34th Georgia, extending to the two guns of the Botetourt Artillery. To help secure the vulnerable salient at the crest of the hill, two of Waddell’s 12-pounder Napoleons are rushed uphill, and they go into battery next to the two Virginia guns. Cumming’s line then turns south, along the Jackson