The Defense of Vicksburg: A Louisiana Chronicle is the story of the Louisiana soldiers who fought at Vicksburg, as told through their letters, diaries, and remembrances. Most histories of this famous Civil War siege have been written by the victors; this one presents a day-by-day account from the Confederate vantage point. Indeed, these long-dead men come to life as we read their experiences and perceptions told in their own voices, which ring clear and without apology. In 1862 the Dixie Rebels of DeSoto Parish left for New Orleans. They and other Louisianians were formed into regiments and dispatched for Vicksburg. In the year that followed, the troops witnessed the shelling of Vicksburg by Union gunboats, the outbreak of disease, the lonely heroics of the Confederate ironclad Arkansas , the daily drudgery of camp life, and Jeff Davis's visit to the beleaguered city. With immediacy and in intriguing detail several correspondents describe daily life in the trenches from their individual perspectives during each of the forty-seven days of the siege. Yet their stories do not end with the capitulation of the city, but continue in an epilogue as the troops return home and then continue their service for the balance of the war. Their experiences transcended their own worlds. These young men of Louisiana still have something important to tell us.
Allan C. Richard, Jr., and Mary Margaret Richard are graduates of Louisiana Tech and live in Shreveport. Active in several historic organizations and societies, they share a mutual love of history and the Civil War.