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Re: The Value of Vicksburg

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  • ltcpataylor
    Connie, Very good points. During my college days at Nebraska a professor of mine tole me that one of the worse losses that the Confederates suppered with the
    Message 1 of 45 , Jul 1 10:45 AM
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      Connie,

      Very good points. During my college days at Nebraska a professor of
      mine tole me that one of the worse losses that the Confederates
      suppered with the closing of the Mississippi River was its access to
      horses and mules from the west. By 1863 horseflesh in the South was
      gone and in order to re-mount its forces the CSA had to increasingly
      look towards the vast herds of wild horses in the west (as did the
      Federals). One of the biggest problems was crossing thse herds from
      west to east across the Mississippi. Since the river could not be
      swum a series of barges had to be used and once the Federal navy
      controlled the river it became almost impossible to hide the loading
      and unloading operations. When the CSA lost the Mississippi it was
      the equivalent of the US Army losing control over Detroit today. We
      often think in the terms of horses to re-mount the cavalry, but
      forget that it took at least 6 horses to move every artillery piece,
      and 4/6/8 for every wagon, ambulance, and wheeled conveyance used
      during the war. One of Johnston's complaints above Atlanta was that
      he didn't have enough horse-shoes to properly care for his draft
      animals. (Think about it, 4 shoes per animal replaced up to every
      three weeks during heavy use at what? 2-3 pounds per shoe?, and one
      wagon could carry approximately 2,000 pounds = 1 wagon of shoes for
      250 animals).

      Another critical element that Dr. Clark used to discuss was the loss
      of Mercury from Mexico and Texas and points west to the CSA. Mercury
      was another bear to haul because of its weight and mercury was
      critical to the cause because it was needed to make percussion caps.
      After the loss of the Mississippi the CSA had to turn more and more
      to Europe to re-supply percussion caps. The South never ran out of
      ammunition as far as shot/shell and powder was concerned but towards
      the end they had nothing to set the powder off with as they ran low
      on percussion caps and fuses for cannons.

      Since both of these items requred substantial barges to haul them the
      loss of the Mississippi was a disaster to the Confederate logistical
      systems. IT was a loss the Confederacy could not afford, and it is
      why the Union victory at Vicksburg was perhaps far more important to
      the overall success of the Union forces than was ll the messing
      around that was going on in the east.

      Pete Taylor
      Clarksburg, WV
    • 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 5:45 PM
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        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.

        Connie
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