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Who Controlled The Mississippi River During The Civil War

1078 words - 5 pages

By the end of the Civil War’s second year, after many grueling battles already taking place along the countryside, Union forces had gained control over the majority of the Mississippi River. Apart from one vital stretch between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, where few northern boats dared to test the confederate controlled boundaries, the Union utilized America’s major trade route to transport supplies and products. From the onset of the Civil War, both Presidents understood that who controlled the Mississippi River controlled the lifeblood of America. As a result, the occupation of Vicksburg was Abraham Lincoln’s goal and obsession during his presidency in the White House; he declared it the key to winning against southern independence. Opposition leader Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy, declared Vicksburg’s strategic importance as “the nailhead that held the South’s two halves together.” For both armies the Siege of Vicksburg held symbolic importance, where they fought to the death. Ultimately for the Confederates, Vicksburg dictated their future for legitimacy, as a loss would undermine their status of nationhood. Developed by circumstances, it was the location where the two main forces went head to head and neither side could afford to blunder.
Previous to the 1863 Siege of Vicksburg, the campaigns of the Civil War resulted in strain amongst the nation. As a matter of fact, the Battle of New Orleans and the failure of the Vicksburg Campaign of 1862 are considered the most influential battles that contributed to Ulysses S. Grants victory of Vicksburg during 1863. Beginning on April 25, 1862 officer David G. Farragut and his squadron of 43 ships conducted the inevitable offensive against New Orleans. With a swiping furry of force, the Union bombarded and reduced the forts of the Confederate. In order to get access and open up the Mississippi river taking the largest city in the Confederacy was essential. Just a day later, the Naval action was successful in the attack and occupation of New Orleans. With initial success behind him, Farragut traveled North along the Mississippi River in pursuit of clearing territory. Baton Rouge surrendered. Natchez surrendered as well.
Upon the arrival at Vicksburg on the May 18 of 1862, the accomplishment of the New Orleans campaign has been shortly lived. Promoted as commander of the Mississippi River Squadron on October 1862, David D. Porter held responsibility over the flotilla composed of combat vessels and axillaries. The strategic relationship between Porter and General Grant would be essential for the operation upon Vicksburg. Fought on two fronts, the Unity of Command between Grant and Porters forces lacked and consequently led to a lost opportunity. During the first offense on November 1862, General Grant knew that military support was available any time his army encountered navigable water. Even though Grant was the architect of the campaign, Porter controlled the ultimate discretion pertaining to...

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