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What's the verdict on Vicksburg?

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  • slippymississippi
    I have been too busy to keep up with the latest discussion on Vicksburg. I have, however, read the article in question and it was very puzzling for a few
    Message 1 of 4 , Dec 3, 2003
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      I have been too busy to keep up with the latest discussion on
      Vicksburg. I have, however, read the article in question and it was
      very puzzling for a few reasons:

      1. Concerning the fact that the river now flowed unimpeded to the
      sea, he claimed that it didn't really flow unimpeded and that
      midwestern farmers no longer needed to ship downriver anyway. I have
      a HUGE problem with his first assertion. Who gives a crap if an
      occasional tipsy local fires off a round into a steamboat? How is
      that supposed to hinder cargo and commodity shipments in any way?
      And the latter assertion appeared to be unsupported by any factual
      data, although I may have missed something.

      2. Concerning Vicksburg itself as an irrelevant objective. He seems
      to have overlooked the fact that the mid-Mississippi region was,
      along with Selma, Atlanta, and Richmond, one of the only remaining
      industrialized areas remaining in the entire Confederacy. When the
      Confederacy was forced to abandon Yazoo City, I believe they had
      three ironclads under construction at the time. Not to mention the
      agricultural output of the region. The area between Port Hudson and
      Yazoo City probably boasted one of the highest population densities
      of slave laborers in the Confederacy, most of whom fled to Union
      lines, and many of whom joined the Union effort.

      3. Concerning the Vicksburg link to the Trans-Mississippi. While it
      probably didn't contribute much in the way of men and materiel, I
      believe that I've read that it was one of the only sources of
      percussion caps and salt. His loose assertion that "all the cowboys
      were gone to war, so the cows had probably all run away" is a bit
      odd. There were enough loopholes in the conscription law that I'm
      sure a rancher could parlay enough political influence to keep a
      sufficient supply of graybeard cowpokes around.

      4. Concerning the failure of the Confederate parole. He seems to
      lack some facts in this area also. I believe that a scattering of
      units returned to duty, but most of them were exchanged. Many of the
      units that were exchanged suffered a high desertion rate due to the
      demoralizing defeat that Pemberton's men had suffered. And let's not
      forget the 30,000 small arms, hundreds of field guns, and dozens of
      heavy guns that were captured.

      Can someone summarize the general concensus of the discussion?
    • slippymississippi
      ... One additional thing: his contention that the Meridian Raid failed to cripple the Vicksburg to Meridian railway. The rail line between Jackson and Meridian
      Message 2 of 4 , Dec 3, 2003
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        --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
        <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
        >
        > I have been too busy to keep up with the latest discussion on
        > Vicksburg. I have, however, read the article in question and
        > it was very puzzling for a few reasons:
        >

        One additional thing: his contention that the Meridian Raid failed to
        cripple the Vicksburg to Meridian railway.

        The rail line between Jackson and Meridian is 80 miles long. Sherman
        ripped up most of it, twisted the rails, and burned the trestles. I
        view with some doubt Castel's assertion that the Confederates had
        completely repaired this railway within a short period of time.
      • Jfepperson@aol.com
        Guilty on all counts, your Honor...
        Message 3 of 4 , Dec 3, 2003
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          Guilty on all counts, your Honor...
        • William H Keene
          ... was ... I finally got a chance to read the article too. You (Slippy) make some excellent points. ... have ... I think Castel had a goog point regarding
          Message 4 of 4 , Dec 3, 2003
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            --- In civilwarwest@yahoogroups.com, "slippymississippi"
            <slippymississippi@y...> wrote:
            >
            > I have been too busy to keep up with the latest discussion on
            > Vicksburg. I have, however, read the article in question and it
            was
            > very puzzling for a few reasons:


            I finally got a chance to read the article too. You (Slippy) make
            some excellent points.

            > 1. Concerning the fact that the river now flowed unimpeded to the
            > sea, he claimed that it didn't really flow unimpeded and that
            > midwestern farmers no longer needed to ship downriver anyway. I
            have
            > a HUGE problem with his first assertion. Who gives a crap if an
            > occasional tipsy local fires off a round into a steamboat? How is
            > that supposed to hinder cargo and commodity shipments in any way?
            > And the latter assertion appeared to be unsupported by any factual
            > data, although I may have missed something.

            I think Castel had a goog point regarding the growht of commerce by
            way of rail, Great Lakes and canals from midwest to the northeast.
            However, I think there still was a substantial amount of commerce
            down the Mississippi. Furthermore, the free navigation of the river
            had symbolic value far above its actual economic value.


            > 2. Concerning Vicksburg itself as an irrelevant objective. He
            seems
            > to have overlooked the fact that the mid-Mississippi region was,
            > along with Selma, Atlanta, and Richmond, one of the only remaining
            > industrialized areas remaining in the entire Confederacy. When the
            > Confederacy was forced to abandon Yazoo City, I believe they had
            > three ironclads under construction at the time. Not to mention the
            > agricultural output of the region. The area between Port Hudson
            and
            > Yazoo City probably boasted one of the highest population densities
            > of slave laborers in the Confederacy, most of whom fled to Union
            > lines, and many of whom joined the Union effort.

            I hadn't thought about this. Good point.


            > 3. Concerning the Vicksburg link to the Trans-Mississippi. While
            it
            > probably didn't contribute much in the way of men and materiel, I
            > believe that I've read that it was one of the only sources of
            > percussion caps and salt. His loose assertion that "all the
            cowboys
            > were gone to war, so the cows had probably all run away" is a bit
            > odd. There were enough loopholes in the conscription law that I'm
            > sure a rancher could parlay enough political influence to keep a
            > sufficient supply of graybeard cowpokes around.

            The amount of cattle which were sent across at the time of the
            Vicksburg campaign, and which were caputred around Natchez in July,
            indicate that Castle is wrong. Northrop (IIRC) also wrote a report
            in 1864 of the effect of loosing this source of meat. The salt issue
            was very big as well, except Banks had destroyed the Avery salt works
            in April. But nonetheless, I think Castel understates the amount of
            materiel contributed from the trans-mississippi.


            > 4. Concerning the failure of the Confederate parole. He seems to
            > lack some facts in this area also. I believe that a scattering of
            > units returned to duty, but most of them were exchanged. Many of
            the
            > units that were exchanged suffered a high desertion rate due to the
            > demoralizing defeat that Pemberton's men had suffered. And let's
            not
            > forget the 30,000 small arms, hundreds of field guns, and dozens of
            > heavy guns that were captured.



            > Can someone summarize the general concensus of the discussion?

            I don't think there was a general concensus.
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