In this biography, the first to examine Pemberton's life and career in full scope, Michael B. Ballard credits Pemberton for military prowess that previous Civil War scholars have denied him. Here his strength is shown to be in administration, not in the theater of combat. Ballard persuasively argues that if Pemberton's abilities had been properly used, he could have made aIn this biography, the first to examine Pemberton's life and career in full scope, Michael B. Ballard credits Pemberton for military prowess that previous Civil War scholars have denied him. Here his strength is shown to be in administration, not in the theater of combat. Ballard persuasively argues that if Pemberton's abilities had been properly used, he could have made a positive contribution to the Confederate cause.Ballard focuses upon Pemberton's theory of command in South Carolina, where his foremost conviction was the preservation of his army. Pressure from both state officials and the Confederate War Department in Richmond, however, dictated that he must hold Charleston at all costs. Submitting to his superiors, Pemberton carried this new philosophy to Mississippi for his next assignment, where his main objective was to defend Vicksburg, a city whose river defenses blocked Union commerce along the Mississippi River. Throughout the winter of 1862-63 Pemberton's forces held off Ulysses S. Grant's army, but in spring of 1863 Grant's complex diversions confused Pemberton and allowed the Union to gain a beachhead on the east bank of the river and to launch an inland campaign that trapped Confederates in Vicksburg. Remembering the lesson of Charleston, Pemberton tried to save this river city but lost both Vicksburg and his men.Ballard's slant on Pemberton's life, fair and revisionist, must be considered in future assessments, for it details fateful moments in Pemberton's career and offers new insights gained from family papers and manuscripts not previously examined. "I find the author's arguments to be convincing," says Civil War historian Herman Hattaway, "and like him, I am led to a keener appreciation of Pemberton than I ever had before."...
|Title||:||Pemberton: A Biography|
|Number of Pages||:||250 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Pemberton: A Biography Reviews
Fair account of John C PembertonThis is a well written book about a controversial man. His love for his wife and dedication to his profession showed us a man a courage and determination. Unfortunately the South never appreciated his skills. Not a fighting general but a great administer. However I think his record at Vicksburg was not without bias. Given the circumstances he did a great job holding a key position. Johnson and Loring failed him. In the end he preserved his army while trying to save the city. Good read and well documented.
John C. Pemberton is one of those difficult subjects for biography. He was neither glorious hero, nor vile villain, but led a complicated life and had a complicated legacy. Michael Ballard does well in conveying Pemberton's story, with a nuanced and balanced approach.The author does well revealing Pemberton's strengths and flaws. The reader is regaled with tales of indolent, sometime wild living in his youth and cadet days at West Point. Pemberton's pride, temper, stubbornness, carousing and restlessness all come through, as we learn about his frustrations in his early army career. Eventually, though, when Pemberton settles down with his wife Pattie, his better qualities start to shine through. We was a loving, dedicated family man, and in the army he was a talented administrator. While Pemberton was a talented administrator, and on occasion proved he did not lack physical courage, his love of his family (and easier living) lead him to pursue a mostly boring career. This doldrums leaves the narrative a bit boring at times, through no fault of the author. The lack of exciting action continues through Pemberton's quiet, highly questionable rise to command during the Civil War. He seems to have risen due to his wife's political connections, and then almost as much a a convenience to assist in his assignments in South Carolina and Mississippi, as much as on merit.Pemberton's time in Mississippi, directing the Confederate defense of Vicksburg is of course the most famous chapter of his life. Ballard provides good, fair analysis of Pemberton's performance. Pemberton is praised where appropriate, and others faulted when it's due, but the author does not spare him when it comes to his mistakes and shortcomings. The book is rounded off with a recounting of Pemberton's later years. Again, the narrative is not terribly exciting, since he mostly stayed out of the lime light. Pemberton was not able to pursue the prominent political career that many of his prominent Confederate colleagues had, for example. This is a pattern that occurs throughout the book. It's well researched and written, but the subject lacks so much of the flashiness or excitement that would make his biography a more entertaining read.
Michael Ballard also wrote "Vicksburg The Campaign That Opened The Mississippi". This is the first biography of John Pemberton since a biography written by Pemberton's grandson in 1942. Ballard had access to some of Pemberton's correspondence that wasn't available in the previous biography.Most historians consider Pemberton to be incompetent, an opinion shared by many Confederates at the time, if they didn't consider him a traitor because of his northern birth. Ballard presents a more balanced picture.Pemberton wasn't cut out to be a field general. He was better as an administrator. Ballard points out several character flaws in Pemberton that contributed to his problems.This book is worth reading. I doubt that Pemberton will be the subject of another biography any time soon.