Vicksburg's Long Shadow
The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance
"Waldrep shows how reunions, memorial days, and the establishment of a national cemetery and the Vicksburg National Military Park kept alive racial memories of the battle, promoting patriotism military heroism....Highly recommended."—Library Journala
Waldrep's careful delineation of the ways that northerners and the federal government shaped the southern landscape adds nuance to our understanding of the power of the Lost Cause. At the same time, Waldrep is careful to remind us that northern memories of the war were often no more focused on emancipation and no less distorted than those of white southerners. This is the true enduring shadow of the war. —Anne Sarah Rubin, Journal of American History 94 (June 2007):284-5.
Waldrep...manages to effectively balance the stories of the siege and battle, the postwar commemoration, and the racial and political implications of memory. After a clearly argued introduction, Waldrep signals his focus on race in a prologue that details the reaction of Vicksburg slaves to the beginning of the war.... His chapter on Vicksburg in the Civil War provides an excellent introduction to the siege and battle itselrf, and Waldrep does a particuarly good job of explaining the significance of black soldiers' service at Milliken's Bend while also providing interesting portraits of Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman....
This is a daring argument, and Waldrep largely persuades.... Waldrep forces us to confront the role that both northerners and southerners played in repudiating racial change after the Civil War.—Sarah J. Purcell, Grinnell College, Journal of Southern History 73 (November 2007):926-7.
In the tradition of the best scholarship on Civil War memory, Christopher Waldrep explores the ways that particular individuals and groups — Confederates and Unionists, white women and African Ameicans, former generals and soldiers, Washington bureaucrats and entrepreneurs — labored to shape the memory of the battle of Vicksburg, Mississippi, during the decades following the Civil War. In doing so, Waldrep also raises questions regarding two additional bedrock assumptions of Cuivil War scholarship: that late nineteenth and early twentieth-century white southerners were unstintingly devoted to the Lost Cause, and that, while the North won the war, the South won the peace....
In this richly textured analysis of a vital episode of Civil War history and memory, Waldrep deftly weaves together multiple strands of the Vicksburg story. African Americans and their understandings of Vicksburg do not disappear from the narrative.... The emphasis on generals' memoirs, and especially on the actions of the federal government, draw attention to less well-known actors in the development of Civil War memory.... a well-told and engaging story that has much to offer....— Kathleen Clark,
University of Georgia, American Historical Review 112 (October 2007):1180-1.
The artifacts uncovered for Vicksburg's Long Shadow: The Civil War Legacy of Race and Remembrance include 633 endnotes. There are references from the Civil War generals' memoirs. . . but many more taken from the journals, letters, and diaries of ordinary soldiers and civilians of Vicksburg during the war and Reconstruction era. . . . What is clear from his findings is the warning to any culture setting out to right another culture's wrongs: Understand the culture and its myths, it is one thing to prevail over it militarily. It is quite another to change its beliefs."—Tom Dodge, Dallas Morning News
Waldrep shows how reunions, memorial days, and the establishment of a national cemetery and the Vicksburg National Military Park kept alive racial memories of the battle, promoting patriotism and military heroism....Highly recommended.—Library Journal
"Waldrep excels in exploring the political minefield of northern veterans creating a park to Grant's success in a Southern city. Along the way, he confronts slavery's lingering legacy of racism and the federal government's concession to the Lost Cause interpretation of the war. Vicksburg's Long Shadow teaches us much about how national battlefield parks are created and Civil War memories constructed."—Dwight T. Pitcaithley, Chief Historian (retired), National Park Service
"The only thing most people know about the issue of Civil War memory in Vicksburg, Mississippi is that many locals refused to celebrate July 4th for years after the War. By studying a large cast of characters from the 1860s through the 1930s, this unique and thoroughly researched work shows that the competing memories of the Civil War involved African Americans fighting for emancipation, the defiance of local whites, the strategies of generals, the commitment of various soldiers, the issue of reconciliation, and, finally, the irony of a federally funded park that Vicksburg's residents welcomed and celebrated."—Ted Ownby, University of Mississippi
"With unusual clarity, penetrating insight, and wry understatement, in Vicksburg's Long Shadow Chris Waldrep unravels the how and why of the Civil War commemorations of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Like the best of the 'new' memory studies, Waldrep explains historical remembrance as a function of prevailing power. White northerners, not white southerners, generally fashioned Vicksburg's historical landscape, all the while solidifying the federal government's influence and power. Vicksburg's Long Shadow combines fresh primary research and informed synthesis. Waldrep's book is an original addition to the growing field of Civil War-era historical memory."—John David Smith, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
"A fascinating analysis of how the aftermath of the Vicksburg campaign impacted soldiers, generals, African-Americans, American society north and south, and the city itself."—Michael B. Ballard, author of Vicksburg: The Campaign that Opened the Mississippi