Midway between Memphis and New Orleans, overlooking the Mississippi River, Vicksburg was essential to both the Union and the Confederacy. In 1862, fiery Confederate General Earl Van Dorn turned back Union attempts to take the city by Admiral David Farragut and General Ulysses S. Grant. Van Dorn’s weapons were boldness and surprise—first with the CSS Arkansas and then with his daring raid on Holly Springs, Mississippi. By the time Grant finally took Vicksburg, in 1863, Van Dorn was dead, killed by a jealous husband. Historian Brandon H. Beck recounts the settings, the tactics and the memories of this exciting chapter of Civil War history.