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Re: What's the verdict on Vicksburg?

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  • 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 1 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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