Still indulging myself with personal addenda to the Times Disunion blog, and feeding my U.S. Grant obsession. So, at this point in the Vicksburg campaign we’re at the amazing stage where Grant cuts loose from the Mississippi, defeats Confederate forces trying to reinforce the city, then turns toward Vicksburg, defeats another army, and pens it up for the siege to come.



What’s so strange about this campaign — aside from giving the lie to any notion of Grant as a crude butcher who knew nothing of maneuver — is how little it looks like anything else in the Civil War, which did tend to be a matter of large armies crashing into each other with incredible bravery, but also with massive casualties on both sides, and little in the way of decisive results. Instead, here we get a campaign of rapid marches, defeating an enemy in detail, and achieving an utterly decisive victory at the end; it looks like Bonaparte in Italy, 1796, not the 1863 universe of battle.

I don’t quite understand how it happened, but it changed everything.

Here’s Grant’s Vicksburg campaign:



-Paul Krugman, The New York Times