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Grant's Canal: The Union's Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg Paperback – November, 1995

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 94 pages
  • Publisher: Burd Street Press; First Edition edition (November 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0942597931
  • ISBN-13: 978-0942597936
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,899,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Brett R. Schulte on November 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
I'll take a look at David Bastian's coverage of the Union canal across De Soto point, which was built with the intent to bypass Vicksburg and make taking the city unnecessary for the control of the Mississippi River. As most students of Grant's Vicksburg Campaign already know, Grant's Canal ultimately failed during the war, although the Mississippi did change course in the 1870's, showing that what Grant wanted to accomplish was possible. Bastian is well-suited to write this book, as he is a Civil Engineer and a Canal specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Bastian, with his knowledge of Hydraulics, concludes that had the canal been dug to a depth of 11 feet and a width of 60 feet, the strength of the current would have eroded a permanent channel. Though the River later changed its banks, it did not use Grant's Canal to do so. It is an ironic footnote that Grant was President at the time of the River's change.

I enjoyed this short retelling of the efforts to dig a canal across the base of De Soto Point. The author writes in an engaging style and is as qualified as anyone to write this piece. The maps are numerous and give the reader a clear idea of what the Union troops were trying to do. I also managed to pick up a signed copy of the book, much to my delight. Although this is not the only monograph covering Grant's Canal (both Bearss' monumental 3-volume work on Vicksburg and a BGES pamphlet also do so to some extent), I would recommend picking this one up. Anyone interested in the Vicksburg Campaign or the war in the west should own a copy. 88 pp., 14 maps
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Format: Paperback
With the strongly defended city of Vicksburg refusing to bend to the pressures of Federal forces, especially Farragut's naval armada on the Mississippi River, an engineering enterprise was attempted with the building of a canal across the neck of the De Soto Peninsular, which would cut the city off from the river. Farragut would thus be able to bypass Vicksburg while placing the river in Union hands. David Bastian tells the story of this canal - its planning, digging (all by hand, most of it by Illinois and Ohio regiments, aided by confiscated slaves), and its ultimate failure (due mainly to it not being wide or deep enough). With the failure of the canal, the siege of Vicksburg set in.

Short and to the point, Bastian's account of Grant's Canal is a welcome addition to the literature detailing the activities around Vicksburg in 1862-63. Heavily illustrated, it also contains numerous maps and regimental summary reports of casualties caused by disease (by the end of the Vicksburg campaign only 37% of enlisted men were fit for duty). Recommended.
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Very good accounting - am very glad I ordered this book
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