When: October 14th
Where: Otterbein University. Towers Hall 3rd floor. Room 318. Westerville Ohio 43081. Please go to the “About the COCWRT” tab for more information.
Speaker: Dave Bastian, author of Grant’s Canal: The Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg.
Topic: Grants Canal
Our speaker for October is Dave Bastian, the author of Grant’s Canal; the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg (now out of print). He has given his presentations to over 80 CWRTs. His presentation is based on his book and is about the two Union campaigns against Vicksburg. It focuses on the efforts to divert the Mississippi River away from Vicksburg by digging a canal across the narrow bend opposite the town. Had the Union succeeded, they would have had immediate and complete control of the river (definitely in the summer of 1862 and possibly in the winter of 1863). The presentation explores Vicksburg’s geographical importance and the topographical characteristics that made it so defensible.
Most books are a new twist on a battle, campaign or leader. His book and presentation is about a totally new topic; one that historians have really not understood to date. As a civil engineer who lived in Vicksburg, he understands the river and how close the Union came in succeeding. Had they succeeded, Vicksburg would no longer have been an important target.
This was an engineering project – diverting the Mighty Mississippi! – an engineering solution to a military problem.
Dave has a degree in civil engineering from Georgia Tech and a masters from Delft University in the Netherlands. Of interest, he was a delegate to the tri-national Commission for the Study of Alternatives to the Panama Canal that produced the feasibility study for the Canal’s current enlargement. More recently he worked on the post-Katrina levee rebuild in New Orleans and co-authored a book that comes out in May, New Orleans, Hurricanes from the Start.
His book, Grant’s Canal, the Union’s Attempt to Bypass Vicksburg is out of print but available on Amazon & Ebay.
Here is a link to the review,
He also has a book that was published June 2014 about the history of hurricanes hitting New Orleans and what the future holds,