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"Mississippi In The Civil War."

"The Essential Guide to the Battle of Coffeeville" is now available through Amazon here,

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The Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign "The Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign"
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The Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign


The Civil War in north Mississippi

November/December 1862


First Push for Vicksburg


North and Central Mississippi

From Corinth to Vicksburg



The High Command in the West


Union General Ulysses S. Grant and Confederate General John C. Pemberton.
Both native northerners, fellow West Point graduates, comrades in the Mexican War, and now, in the winter of 1862, adversaries in the American Civil War.




In November of 1862 General Ulysses S. Grant began his Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign -- the first overland push into Mississippi with the goal of capturing Vicksburg. By the fall of 1862 north Mississippi was securely in the hands of the Union army after key, yet costly, wins at Shiloh, Iuka, and Corinth. Grant's first strategy for Vicksburg was a dual advance with General William Tecumseh Sherman, who would follow the river route south. Grant hoped to stall the Confederate army near Grenada and allow Sherman to take Vicksburg with little resistance, or if possible, he would push Pemberton to "the gates of Vicksburg" as he moved his army down the main rail line through the heart of Mississippi, capturing the towns and rail along the way, and then meet with Sherman, who would provide the second punch arriving to the north of Vicksburg from Memphis. They, along with the Federal navy, would surround and capture the city, thus dividing the Confederacy and ultimately leading to the restoration of the Union. But gaining Vicksburg would prove much more difficult.


Learn how Confederate raids, bad weather, and political and military bickering among the Union leadership foiled Grantís first push into the heart of Dixie.




Confederate Enfield



Union Sharps Rifle







Part One:

Vicksburg is the Key


Lincoln and the war department plan the initial Vicksburg campaign.
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Part Two:

Grant Moves South


Grant implements his Mississippi Central Railroad Campaign.
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Part Three:

The Battle of Coffeeville


A surprise ambush stops Grant.
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Part Four:

The Campaign Stalls


The loss at Coffeeville and Union indecision leads to disaster.
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Part Five:

Confederate Raids


Grantís supply base is destroyed, communications are cut, and the railroad campaign ends.
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Part Six:

Grant Retreats to Memphis


New strategy is formed as Grant takes firm control of the army.
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Part Seven:

The river assault, siege, and fall of Vicksburg.


Grant wins the war in the west.
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Thanks for stopping by! If you have information, questions, or notice inaccuracies here please Email me.

My very best thanks go to so many friends who have helped me along this discovery trail. I dedicate this page to all of them, and the brave soldiers -- North and South -- who devoted their lives to the American Civil War -- the defining point of our nation.


Extra special thanks go to two fine friends who have shown me the way with web sites. Ron Wallace, a descendent of a 4th Illinois soldier, and Dave Habura, a desendant of a 7th Kansas cavalry soldier. Ron, you have been a most excellent friend and there are no words to adequately express my appreciation for all of your patience, and the knowledge you have shared. And Dave, your 7th Kansas cavalry site opened a whole new world of information to me. It started it all. Thanks Dave. Fletcher would be proud. (See "Links Section" below for links to Ron's 4th Illinois site, and Dave's 7th Kansas site.)


And to my good friend Dr. Sidney Bondurant. We've spent countless hours exploring maps, diaries, and actual battle sites, and there's still a lot more to learn.


I would also like to thank my friends in Illinois who have provided so much information, and so many new paths of opportunity for my research. Matt, Jim, Mary, Eugene, Steve, Marilyn, Carolyn, William, Robert, Ken, Scott, friends at the Wills County courthouse, the people of Ottawa, and on and on. Thanks for a fabulous trip through your state. And also to the family of P. O. Avery (formerly of Earlville) who have been most gracious in their help.


And to my other friends locally who have helped along the way. Out of respect for the privacy of the landowners I will not mention them here, but their kindness has been greatly appreciated. I ask everyone to respect their rights as landowners. Please do not trespass or take metal detectors on the property.


Thanks again for stopping by. Email Me with any new information or questions.

Author and web master, Don Sides, of Coffeeville, Mississippi.
On the Coffeeville battlefield holding a sword used by the Union cavalry in the battle.
Owned by descendent of a 4th Illinois cavalry soldier who was wounded in the McCullough ambush.



"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls."


General Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Gettysburg, October 3, 1889