The American Civil War was one of the first “modern” wars, with aerial reconnaissance, torpedoes, land mines, submarines, repeating or rapid fire weapons, entrenchments, mass transit using railroads, and other innovations. One thing that was timeless was the usage of heavy fortifications, particularly along the coasts and river ports. These fortresses were often targets of attacks from both land and water. Ron Field’s new book (Volume 68 of Osprey’s Fortress series) examines many of the leading forts and bastions along the Mississippi River. During 1862-63, the Union army and navy launched a series of operations meant to cut off, neutralize, or openly seize Confederate-held forts along the second longest river in all of America. The Federal goal, to use Lincoln’s words, was to have the river run “unvexed to the sea.” Vicksburg, Port Hudson, New Orleans — all were cities that figured prominently in the Union plans to take control of “Old Man River.” Field looks at the Confederate fortifications in some detail, as well as describing the various Federal plans and efforts to capture them.
The 64-page book is well illustrated with period photography and includes a useful glossary of engineering and military terms associated with the fortifications. Field also includes some information on visiting some of the remaining forts of today. There is more use of color in the illustrations and drawings than in many of Osprey’s other Civil War books. Many illustrations were drawn by Adam Hook.
ISBN 978-1-84603-194-6; US $16.95 / Canada $21.95, paperback, distributed by Random House