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[civilwarwest] Vicksburg Significance

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  • daburden@mtsu.edu
    Hello all. I m new to the list, though I ve been monitoring it for a while. I can t dispute the idea that Vicksburg was the turning point of the war (better
    Message 1 of 10 , Nov 10, 1999
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      Hello all. I'm new to the list, though I've been monitoring it for a
      while. I can't dispute the idea that Vicksburg was the turning point
      of the war (better minds than mine have come to that arguable
      conclusion), but I am curious as to what extent that assertion can be
      backed up by hard numbers. What were the level of resources available
      in the Trans-Mississippi and were their loss that significant to the
      overall Confederate effort? How many troops were stuck west of the
      river and how many of them could have realistically been sent to the
      Western theater to, say, reinforce Johnston in Georgia? Was the most
      important aspect of Vicksburg the loss of an entire CSA army? Was it a
      combination of all of these factors and more? I could go to the
      library and probably find answers to these questions and draw my own
      opinions, but then we wouldn't have the enjoyment of the discussion.
      Any thoughts?
      Andy

      P.S. Lincoln said that to lose Kentucky was to lose the game. Bragg
      had a straight shot at Louisville in '62 and blew it. Had he not blown
      this opportunity, could Munfordville have been the turning point?
      Crazy idea, I know.
    • L.A. Chambliss
      Dear Andy and group, I used to think that the loss of Vicksburg was indeed a dreadful defeat for the Confederacy due to the loss of access to the
      Message 2 of 10 , Nov 10, 1999
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        Dear Andy and group,

        I used to think that the loss of Vicksburg was indeed a dreadful defeat for
        the Confederacy due to the loss of access to the Trans-Mississippi
        resources.

        Further discussion and reading has caused me to modify this opinion
        somewhat. There never really WAS that much in the way of transfer of
        resources across the Mississippi, evidently! Troops fought on one side or
        the other; transfer of supplies was limited to what could be sent on boats
        in any case as there were no bridges.

        The significance of the loss of Vicksburg was primarily in (1) Confederate
        morale, the loss of their last hold on the river; (2) the loss of an entire
        army under Pemberton--even though they were paroled rather than carted off
        to prisons, a significant percentage never reported back to service when
        they were supposed to, or ever-- (3) a further blow to any hope of foreign
        recognition for the Confederate government, since one of the prime
        definitions of a "nation" is the ability to control one's borders, and
        finally, and what I think is definately the most important (4) the VICTORY
        this represented to the Union.

        Since the first settlements across the Appalachian Mountains just after the
        Revolution, settlers had been dependent on river transport to get goods to
        market. This required going down the Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee,
        or other local waterway of choice, to the Mississippi and thence to New
        Orleans. It was far faster and cheaper to go this way than to ship
        anything overland.

        This was, at the time of the outbreak of the War, beginning to get
        competition from the railroads, but the war itself upset the railroad
        system for military needs. The farmers of Indiana, Illinois, Iowa et al
        were absolutely desperate for normal shipping to resume by 1863. Had the
        guns of Vicksburg NOT been taken out, it would have done more to change
        the outcome of the election of 1864 than any battlefield events could have
        done.

        Or such is my humble opinion anyway. ;)

        Laurie Chambliss
        Civil War Interactive
        www.almshouse.com

        daburden@... wrote:

        > Hello all. I'm new to the list, though I've been monitoring it for a
        > while. I can't dispute the idea that Vicksburg was the turning point
        > of the war (better minds than mine have come to that arguable
        > conclusion), but I am curious as to what extent that assertion can be
        > backed up by hard numbers. What were the level of resources available
        > in the Trans-Mississippi and were their loss that significant to the
        > overall Confederate effort? How many troops were stuck west of the
        > river and how many of them could have realistically been sent to the
        > Western theater to, say, reinforce Johnston in Georgia? Was the most
        > important aspect of Vicksburg the loss of an entire CSA army? Was it a
        > combination of all of these factors and more? I could go to the
        > library and probably find answers to these questions and draw my own
        > opinions, but then we wouldn't have the enjoyment of the discussion.
        > Any thoughts?
        > Andy
        >
        > P.S. Lincoln said that to lose Kentucky was to lose the game. Bragg
        > had a straight shot at Louisville in '62 and blew it. Had he not blown
        > this opportunity, could Munfordville have been the turning point?
        > Crazy idea, I know.
        >
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      • Terry Arliskas
        I don t believe the fall of Vicksburg can be underestimated in the impact that it had on the outcome of the war. Lincoln himself said: Vicksburg is the key,
        Message 3 of 10 , Nov 11, 1999
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          I don't believe the fall of Vicksburg can be underestimated in the impact
          that it had on the outcome of the war. Lincoln himself said: "Vicksburg is
          the key, and the war cannot be brought to a successful conclusion until that
          key is in our pocket". General-in-Chief telegraphed Maj. Gen. US Grant in
          March, 1863 that: "The great objective on your line now is the opening of
          the Mississippi River, and everything else must tend to that purpose. The
          eyes and hopes of the whole country are now directed to your army. In my
          opinion, the opening of the Mississippi River wil be to us of more advantage
          than the capture of forty Richmonds."

          Control of the Mississippi River was of inestimable importance to the Union
          from the beginning of the War. It provided a natural outlet for
          agricultural and industrial products from the Northwest to the great
          commercial artery at New Orleans; it provided a safe avenue for the
          transportation of troops and supplies through an extremely large area that
          was extremely ill-provided with roads and railroads; control of the river
          allowed for the navigation of the many numerous streams tributary to the
          Mississippi and offered ready routes of invasion into the heart of the
          South; and most importantly, Union control would cut off and isolate the
          section of the Confederacy lying west of the river - Texas, Arkansas and
          most all of Louisiana - very nearly 1/2 of the land mass of the Confederate
          States of America, and a very important source of food, military supplies
          and recruits for the Southern Armies.

          The surrender of Pemberton and his army of 29,500 on July 4 was without a
          doubt the greatest victory the Union army achieved during the War. On July
          9, of course, Port Hudson was surrendered, and just one week later the
          merchant steamer "Imperial" made the 1,000 mile passage from St. Louis to
          New Orleans. Lincoln thanked Grant for the "almost inestimable service you
          have done the country".

          The Confederate high command realized the significance of Vicksburg as well.
          Jefferson Davis wrote to Pemberton after the fall: "I thought and still
          think that you did right to risk an army for the purpose of keeping command
          of even a section of the Mississippi River". Josiah Gorgas wrote in his
          diary in July of 1863: "Events have succeeded one another with disastrous
          rapidity. One brief month ago we were apparently at the point of success.
          Lee was in Pennsylvania threatening Harrisburgh, and even Philadelphia.
          Vicksburg seemed to laugh all Grant's efforts to scorn . . . All looked
          bright. Now the pciture is just as somber as it was bright then. Lee
          failed at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Port Hudson capitulated, surrendering
          thirty-five thousand men and forty-five thousand arsm. It seems incredible
          that human power could effect such a change in so brief a space. Yesterday
          we rode on the pinnacle of success - today absolute ruin seems to be our
          portion. The Confederacy totters to its destruction."

          Of course, this is only my two cents worth --

          Terry Arliskas

          ______________________________________________________
        • Nonums@aol.com
          Dear Terry: Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done. Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced. He is frequently
          Message 4 of 10 , Nov 11, 1999
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            Dear Terry:
            Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done.
            Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced.
            He is frequently referenced throughout Confederate-detailed history for his
            extensive and successful arms procurement as well as the blockade runners
            themselves. He must have been one hellova General.
            Jack O'Connor
          • Nonums@aol.com
            Dear Terry: Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done. Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced. He is frequently
            Message 5 of 10 , Nov 11, 1999
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              Dear Terry:
              Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done.
              Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced.
              He is frequently referenced throughout Confederate-detailed history for his
              extensive and successful arms procurement as well as the blockade runners
              themselves. He must have been one hellova General.
              Jack O'Connor
            • Terry Arliskas
              Thanks Jack - The quote is from The Journals of Josiah Gorgas 1857-1878 edited by Sarah Wiggins, University of Alabama Press - good stuff! They re on the
              Message 6 of 10 , Nov 12, 1999
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                Thanks Jack -

                The quote is from "The Journals of Josiah Gorgas 1857-1878" edited by Sarah
                Wiggins, University of Alabama Press - good stuff! They're on the web at
                www.uapress.ua.edu/

                >From: Nonums@...
                >Reply-To: civilwarwest@egroups.com
                >To: civilwarwest@egroups.com
                >Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Vicksburg Significance
                >Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 16:23:30 EST
                >
                >Dear Terry:
                > Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done.
                > Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced.
                >He is frequently referenced throughout Confederate-detailed history for his
                >extensive and successful arms procurement as well as the blockade runners
                >themselves. He must have been one hellova General.
                > Jack O'Connor
                >
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              • Terry Arliskas
                Thanks Jack - The quote is from The Journals of Josiah Gorgas 1857-1878 edited by Sarah Wiggins, University of Alabama Press - good stuff! They re on the
                Message 7 of 10 , Nov 12, 1999
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                  Thanks Jack -

                  The quote is from "The Journals of Josiah Gorgas 1857-1878" edited by Sarah
                  Wiggins, University of Alabama Press - good stuff! They're on the web at
                  www.uapress.ua.edu/

                  >From: Nonums@...
                  >Reply-To: civilwarwest@egroups.com
                  >To: civilwarwest@egroups.com
                  >Subject: [civilwarwest] Re: Vicksburg Significance
                  >Date: Thu, 11 Nov 1999 16:23:30 EST
                  >
                  >Dear Terry:
                  > Your two cents worth was, in my opinion, very well done.
                  > Would you be kind enough to post he Josiah Gorgas book you referenced.
                  >He is frequently referenced throughout Confederate-detailed history for his
                  >extensive and successful arms procurement as well as the blockade runners
                  >themselves. He must have been one hellova General.
                  > Jack O'Connor
                  >
                  >------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  >A shopper�s dream come true! Find practically anything on earth at eBay!
                  >Come and browse the more than 2 million items up for bid at any time.
                  >You never know what you might find at eBay!
                  >http://clickhere.egroups.com/click/1140
                  >
                  >-- Check out your eGroup's private Chat room
                  >-- http://www.egroups.com/ChatPage?listName=civilwarwest&m=1
                  >
                  >

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