Monday, August 02, 2010

New and Noteworthy: Mississippi's Wartime Homefront

Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home FrontTimoth B. Smith, niversity of Mississippi Press, illustrations, bibliography, index, $40.00.

In Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, Timothy B. Smith examines Mississippi’s Civil War defeat by both outside and inside forces.

The Union army dismantled the state’s political system, infrastructure, economy, and fighting capability. The state saw extensive military operations, destruction, and bloodshed within her borders. One of the most frightful and extended sieges of the war ended in a crucial Confederate defeat at Vicksburg, the capstone to a tremendous Union campaign.

As Confederate forces in Mississippi became overwhelmed militarily, the white populace’s morale began to crumble. Realizing that the enemy could roll unchecked over the state, civilians, Smith argues, began to lose the will to continue the struggle. Many white Confederates chose to return to the Union rather than see continued destruction in the name of a victory that seemed ever more improbable. When the tide turned, Unionists and African Americans boldly stepped up their endeavors. The result, Smith finds, was a state vanquished and destined to endure suffering far into its future.

The first examination of the state’s Civil War home front in seventy years, this book focuses new light on previously neglected groups such as women and African Americans and it is the fourth book in the Heritage of Mississippi Series.

Tim Smith teaches history at the University of Tennessee at Martin. He is the author of several books, including The Untold Story of Shiloh: The Battle and Battlefield and Champion Hill: Decisive Battle for Vicksburg.

Text Source: Mississippi Department of Archives and History

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