Shelby Foote has drawn from his epic account another of the Civil War's most dramatic episodes, the taking of the city of Vicksburg by the Union forces. Ulysses S. Grant fought a long campaign over tricky terrain to get to the heavily fortified city. All the while, he had to fend off his colleague and rival General John McClernand, who decided that his aspirations to Lincoln's White House could best be realized by his possession of Vicksburg. When the city fell on July 4, 1863, after a protracted siege, it was a personal triumph for Grant and contributed largely to his later promotion to command of all the Union armies. Lincoln said that his general's campaign to reach Vicksburg had been "one of the most brilliant in the world." Vicksburg brings Shelby Foote nearer to his home from the Gettysburg of Stars in Their Courses. To Foote, The Beleagured City is a prequel to Stars, and both are essential components in the Civil War that he sees as the most important event in American history.
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