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The Value of Vicksburg

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  • slippymississippi
    ... I think you re missing a couple of key points. The first attempt at running the guns was unique because he used a huge fleet of ironclads that had been
    Message 1 of 45 , Jul 1, 2002
      > With the amount of the river that the Union controlled,
      > it still effectively separated those Confederate states
      > to the West from those to the East, and diminish almost
      > totally any supplies or other logistics from the West to
      > help the East. It is for that reason also, that I say
      > that Grant's seige and the supposed importance of
      > Vicksburg was an excellent PR issue for the Union.
      > What real importance did that city really have? It was
      > shown also that ships could slip by, harassed yes, but
      > it was possible to slip by.

      I think you're missing a couple of key points.

      The first attempt at running the guns was unique because he used a
      huge fleet of ironclads that had been instructed to pepper the
      hillsides randomly with grapeshot after the first shot was fired.
      Fortuitously, the city was throwing a massive ball during the event,
      so the defenses had been reduced to a minimum (and who's to say that
      the remaining defenders weren't throwing a little party of their
      own?). Despite these factors, one of the two non-ironclad ships to
      participate was reduced to a burning hulk. The next attempt, with
      supply ships, was disastrous enough to convince the Union to supply
      McClernand's Corps at Hard Times over a land route through the swamps
      of Louisiana. So Vicksburg was still a huge barrier in the flow of
      men and material between the two departments, effectively separating
      Banks and Grant. Given that a Confederate ironclad fleet was being
      built at Yazoo City, the Confederates could have launched a combined-
      arms assault on the two federal armies in detail, if given time.

      The only thing that was preventing trans-Mississippi supplies from
      flowing freely across the river at Vicksburg in 1863 was the fact
      that Grant's army was positioned across the railroad at Richmond,
      Louisiana. Anything less than an army-sized detachment attempting to
      serve this purpose would have been eaten up by either Kirby Smith or
      Pemberton or both. If the army had withdrawn from Richmond, the
      Confederates would have rebuilt the railroad, and the flow of
      supplies and equipment would have resumed. Remember, the Vicksburg
      defenses controlled the river at Vicksburg, not the Union Navy.
      Additionally, it was simply impossible for the Union Navy to destroy
      every pirogue within a 50 mile radius of Vicksburg, or interdict
      every mile of the river 24 hours a day. So until Vicksburg fell, the
      Confederacy still had an open link to the outside world via
      Matamoros. Ripping up the rail line between Vicksburg and Meridian
      cut this link permanently.

      Almost as important to the Confederate war effort as the trans-
      Mississippi was the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta region. Like the
      Shenandoah Valley region, this area was, in itself, agriculturally
      productive enough to supply an entire army. Produce from the region
      flowed by boat over hundreds of tributaries into the Yazoo River,
      almost directly into Vicksburg, from whence it could be delivered
      anywhere in the Confederacy over the rail system. By removing
      Vicksburg and Jackson from the route, the Union would control this
      fertile valley.
    • Aurelie1999@aol.com
      In a message dated 7/16/02 7:39:01 PM Central Daylight Time, dmsmith001@yahoo.com writes:
      Message 45 of 45 , Jul 16, 2002
        In a message dated 7/16/02 7:39:01 PM Central Daylight Time,
        dmsmith001@... writes:

        << I agree. Sometimes it's the back of the scene contributions from
        willing men like Hurlbut that make all the difference in a campaign.
        To the best of my knowledge, Hurlbut didn't squawk a bit when Grant
        called on him for reinforcements.

        Seems to me the only time Grant and Hurlbut disagreed was in how Dodge was
        handling payment to his operatives. IIRC the situation was handled quickly
        and with no obviously hard feelings. Working in tandem was the optimum
        situation, but too often egos or personal agendas muddied the water to the
        detriment of the objective. Grant's talent was to somehow arrange it so that
        his subordinates were his men.

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