The New York Times spends 36 hours in Jackson

The New York Times Sunday Travel section has a regular feature, “36 Hours In….” where a writer describes a 36 hour trip to a place, what to do and where to eat, followed by some possibilities about where to stay. This weekend, they’re going to Jackson, and here’s what they propose:

The Eudora Welty house […]

Grant muses on the Confederate leaders he faced in Chattanooga

Before going back to the Vicksburg campaign (it was a siege at this point 150 years ago, and the pace slows down, although there are moments of great drama) I want to quote another bit of Grant’s Memoirs, this from the close of his successful campaign through Chattanooga, which more-or-less followed Vicksburg, and was Grant’s last […]

Grant’s wish for how the Civil War would be remembered has taken longer than he’d hoped….

After noting that the Mexican War battles of Chapultepec and Molino del Rey were celebrated in Mexico as if they were great victories, which they were not, Grant writes;

With us, now twenty years after the close of the most stupendous war ever known, we have writers– who profess devotion to the nation– engaged in […]

Grant’s Memoirs, the Vicksburg Campaign: Grant writes in defense of Sherman

In my last post about Grant’s memoirs, I quoted his brief defense of Sherman, somewhat cryptically about Sherman’s view that Grant was taking too much risk in his later-famous decision to cut loose from his line of supply.

In the text, Grant wrote:

Sherman gave the same energy to make the campaign a success that […]

Wonderful Farmers Market results, and notes on Spring pasta

The farmers markets are going full blast, to the point I’m already thinking about how to save things for later. Tomorrow is the new city market on Oxford Loop, Wednesday (midday) and Saturday (morning) are MidTown, and my refrigerator is full.

I’ve always had a somewhat negative reaction to recipes for pasta primavera. Since when […]

An Oxford Memorial Day Story: The Duke Brothers in the Air Corps

Three Duke brothers from Oxford were flying in World War II. According to David McElreath on Facebook, the oldest brother, Homer Duke, served throughout the war as a gunner on a B-17. Lt. Andrew Kendell Duke died in the crash of his P38 in Australia on August 9, 1943.

The third brother, William Duke, died […]

Grant’s Memoirs, the Vicksburg Campaign May 23rd-25th:

The May 22nd assault having failed, Grant acknowledges he’s in for a siege– clearly in opposition to his temperament– and sums up his campaign to date:

I NOW determined upon a regular siege—to “out-camp the enemy,” as it were, and to incur no more losses. The experience of the 22d convinced officers and men that […]

Quote of the Day: Gen. Grant could not keep track of papers.

If my father could have acknowledged his problems with dealing with paper in a non-grouchy way, he could have said this about himself. From Grant’s memoirs:

I was no clerk, nor had I any capacity to become one. The only place I ever found in my life to put a paper so as to find […]

Grant’s Memoirs, the Vicksburg Campaign May 20th-22nd: Assault on Vicksburg



On May 19th, Pemberton, in command of the Confederate forces in Vicksburg, sent this message to Jefferson Davis, explaining his failure to hold positions as Grant advanced on Vicksburg:

Against my own judgment, but by instructions from superior authority, sustained by the unanimous voice of my general officers, I felt myself compelled […]

Quote of the day, William Gaddis on literary influence

I recall a most ingenious piece in a Wisconsin quarterly some years ago, in which ‘The Recognitions’ ’ debt to ‘Ulysses’ was established in such minute detail I was doubtful of my own firm recollection of never having read ‘Ulysses.’

William Gaddis, in a letter to a graduate student, quoted in the New York Times […]