Reeling from their defeat at Champion Hill, the Confederates reached Big Black River Bridge, the night of May 16-17. Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton ordered Brigadier General John S. Bowen, with three brigades, to man the fortifications on the east bank of the river and impede any Union pursuit.
Three divisions of Major General John A. McClernand's XIII Army Corps moved out from Edwards Station on the morning of the 17th. The corps encountered the Confederates behind breastworks and took cover as enemy artillery began firing. Union Brigadier General Michael K. Lawler formed his 2nd Brigade, Carr's Division, which surged out of a meander scar, across the front of the Confederate forces, and into the enemy's breastworks, held by Vaughn's East Tennessee Brigade.
Confused and panicked, the Rebels began to withdraw across the Big Black on two bridges: the railroad bridge and the steamboat dock moored athwart the river. As soon as they had crossed, the Confederates set fire to the bridges, preventing close Union pursuit. The fleeing Confederates who arrived in Vicksburg later that day were disorganized.
The Union forces captured approximately 1,800 troops at Big Black, a loss that the Confederates could ill-afford. This battle sealed Vicksburg's fate: the Confederate force was bottled up at Vicksburg.
Principal Commanders: Major General John A. McClernand [US]; Brigadier General John S. Bowen [CS]
Forces Engaged: XIII Army Corps, Army of the Tennessee [US]; Bridgehead Defense Force (three brigades) [CS]
Estimated Casualties: 2,273 total (US 273; CS 2,000)
Mississippi's Civil War: A Narrative History
A great treatment of wartime Mississippi that includes a lot of social and political material in addition to information on battles. It also includes a lot of great stories, from the dramatic resignation of Jefferson Davis from the U.S. Senate in 1861 to Ulysses S. Grant's drinking habits during the siege of Vicksburg
Standard Catalog of
Civil War Firearms
Over 700 photographs and a rarity scale for each gun, this comprehensive guide to the thousands of weapons used by Billy Yank and Johnny Reb will be indispensable for historians and collectors.
Grant's Lieutenants: From Chattanooga to Appomattox
This new volume assesses Union generalship during the final two years of the Civil War. Steven Woodworth, one of the war's premier historians, is joined by a team of scholars-- Grimsley, Marszalek, and Hess, among others--who critique Ulysses S. Grant's commanders
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The enigmatic commander in chief of the Union forces through the last year and a half of the Civil War. It is both a revelatory portrait of Ulysses S. Grant and the dramatic story of how the war was won.
Vicksburg: 47 Days of Siege
First-hand accounts of life during the 47 days Vicksburg was under siege. Ranging from housewives to soliders on both sides, a good idea of what life was like, from ways to pass the time to what to eat, in and around Vicksburg. A large photo album and a glossary
Grant Wins the War
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Sherman's Mississippi Campaign
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Decisive Battle for Vicksburg
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A Hard Trip
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The reality of the moment in 1860-61 Mississippi. The thoughts of the men who formed the 15th Mississippi are front and center with good background about the communities the men came from and the reasons they joined the army.
The Civil War - A Film by Ken Burns
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Civil War Combat: America's Bloodiest Battles
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An American President
One of the most outstanding statesmen of the United States during the first 60 years of the 19th century, he sacrificed everything to defend the South's position regarding the rights of the states and conservative constitutional interpretation. Against staggering odds he led the South and held it together in the bloody Civil War or War Between the States
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. Library of Congress.