Sherman and Grant hoped to quickly subdue Vicksburg by a two-pronged attack: Grant was supposed to attack from the east and fix Confederate General John C. Pemberton's focus on him, while Sherman, with 30,000 men, forced its way into Vicksburg from the North.
The campaign fell apart when Confederate cavalry, under General Earl Van Dorn and General Nathan Bedford Forrest, wrecked Grant's supply line and forced him to call off his phase of the assault. Sherman didn't get word in time and suffered a shattering defeat by a much smaller Confederate Army.
The Confederates, on the other hand, performed magnificently. Pemberton swiftly reacted to Grant's failure and sent three brigades back to Vicksburg, under the immediate command at that time of General Martin Luther Smith. Likewise, Smith chose his best young field commander, newly minted Brigadier General Stephen Dill Lee, with an initial contingent of 2,700 men in a provisional division, to hold back the blue tidal wave coming at them.
Lee, a brilliant young commander, smartly placed his men and guns in the best positions in the rugged terrain to block the Federal invaders. The provisional brigade commanders of the Confederates, Colonel William T. Withers of the 1st Mississippi Artillery Regiment, and Colonel Allen Thomas of the 28th Louisiana Infantry, and their men acted with fierce determination to hold their ground.
The book tells the story from both viewpoints, Federal and Confederate, with quotes from official battle reports and memoirs of participants. There are detailed battle maps, photographs of participants and historic illustrations to round out the full story in this crucial phase of the year-long Vicksburg campaign.
The Battle of Chickasaw Bayou is available at Createspace.com, Amazon.com and other online booksellers. The list price is $11.95.