Mississippi in the Civil War
The Home Front
A full examination of a population's passion and defeat
In Mississippi in the Civil War: The Home Front, Timothy B. Smith examines Mississippi's Civil War defeat by both outside and inside forces. From without, 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 and Mississippi became overwhelmed militarily, the 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 tells the story of all classes of Mississippians during the war, focusing new light on previously neglected groups such as women and African Americans. The result is a revelation of the heart of a populace facing the devastating impact of total war.