Re: The Value of Vicksburg
- I find myself agreeing that just having some ability to "run the
batteries" can be easily misunderstood as an acceptable facility. As
long as the Confederates controlled both Vicksburg and Port Hudson,
they were going to have some ability to contest control between them,
sometimes capturing ships as well as damaging them. And the Union to
some degree was going to be dissatisfied with its ability to control
and use the River: for instance it was rather a one way thing, vessels
were able to go downstream with some success, but not upstream except
at great peril. This was going to have its limits as the Federals
could hardly afford to keep reducing their presence in the northern
part of the River. And the necessity of controlling the west bank with
a substantial number of troops, as you mention, was also a pain for
-As far as Rebel Ironclads, I am not up to speed as to what was being
attempted, but I can pretty much vouch for the fact that wherever
there was an opportunity and a need, the CSA was trying to build them,
even at Shreveport, LA. And we can see as with the CSS ARKANSAS, once
in service the effects could not be dismissed in areas where control
was being disputed (as opposed to, say, attempting to challenge the
control of the River above Vicksburg).
--- In civilwarwest@y..., "slippymississippi" <slippymississippi@y...>
> 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.
- In a message dated 7/16/02 7:39:01 PM Central Daylight Time,
<< 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.