Southern Leadership during the Vicksburg Campaign

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The Confederates failed to stop Grant's advance. Union forces captured Jackson, an important railroad junction, on May The fall of Jackson kept the Confederacy from easily sending reinforcements and supplies to the Confederate troops guarding Vicksburg. With the fall of Jackson, Grant marched west toward Vicksburg.

The Confederate troops failed in their efforts. The Union forces had nearly forty thousand men and greatly outnumbered the Confederates. In the first few weeks of May , Pemberton lost nearly one-half of his forty thousand men to Grant's army. By the third week of May , the Union troops had driven the Confederates into Vicksburg. A siege began, which lasted from May 22, to July 4, At the start of July, Confederate troops and civilians were starving.

Many people survived by eating rats and other animals in the city. Pemberton surrendered his army on July 4, This victory followed the Union victory at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, and helped increase Union morale.

In the siege of Vicksburg and the battles leading up to the siege, Grant lost over four thousand men. The Confederate military lost over thirty-five thousand soldiers. Toggle navigation. Jump to: navigation , search. Photographic copy of a lithograph by Alfred E. Mathews depicting the siege of Vicksburg.

See Also Ulysses S. Ballard, Michael B. Vicksburg: The Campaign that Opened the Mississippi. Dee, Christine, ed. Athens: Ohio University Press, Guide to the Vicksburg Campaign. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, Grant, Ulysses S. New York, NY: Forge, The Papers of Ulysses S. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, n. Thomas and Philip H.

Sheridan got their start in the western theater hundreds of miles distant, where they worked their way up from command of a regiment step by step to larger responsibilities away from media attention. They were able to grow into these responsibilities and to learn the necessity of taking risks without the fear of failure that paralyzed McClellan. Meanwhile, Lincoln's frustration with the lack of activity in the Kentucky-Tennessee theater had elicited from him an important strategic concept.

Generals Henry W. Halleck and Don C. Buell commanded in the two western theaters separated by the Cumberland River. Lincoln urged them to cooperate in a joint campaign against the Confederate army defending a line from eastern Kentucky to the Mississippi River. Both responded in early January that they were not yet ready. By this time Lincoln had read some of those authorities including Halleck and was prepared to challenge the general's reasoning.

Lincoln clearly expressed here what military theorists define as "concentration in time" to counter the Confederacy's advantage of interior lines that enabled Southern forces to concentrate in space. The geography of the war required the North to operate generally on exterior lines while the Confederacy could use interior lines to shift troops to the point of danger. By advancing on two or more fronts simultaneously, Union forces could neutralize this advantage, as Lincoln understood but Halleck and Buell seemed unable to grasp.

Not until Grant became general in chief in did Lincoln have a commander in place who would carry out this strategy. Grant's policy of attacking the enemy wherever he found it also embraced Lincoln's strategy of trying to cripple the enemy as far from Richmond or any other base as possible rather than maneuvering to occupy or capture places. From February to June , Union forces had enjoyed remarkable success in capturing Confederate territory and cities along the south Atlantic coast and in Tennessee and the lower Mississippi Valley, including the cities of Nashville, New Orleans and Memphis.

But Confederate counteroffensives in the summer recaptured much of this territory though not these cities. Clearly, the conquest and occupation of places would not win the war so long as enemy armies remained capable of reconquering them. Lincoln viewed these Confederate offensives more as an opportunity than a threat. Joseph Hooker proposed to cut in behind the advancing Confederate forces and attack Richmond. Lincoln rejected the idea. Fight him when opportunity offers.

The Civil War

But Hooker, like McClellan, complained falsely that the enemy outnumbered him and failed to attack while Lee's army was strung out for many miles on the march. Hooker's complaints compelled Lincoln to replace him on June 28 with George Gordon Meade, who punished but did not destroy Lee at Gettysburg. If Meade could "complete his work, so gloriously prosecuted thus far," said Lincoln, "by the literal or substantial destruction of Lee's army, the rebellion will be over. Instead, Meade pursued the retreating Confederates slowly and tentatively, and failed to attack them before they managed to retreat safely over the Potomac on the night of July Lincoln had been distressed by Meade's congratulatory order to his army on July 4, which closed with the words that the country now "looks to the army for greater efforts to drive from our soil every vestige of the presence of the invader.

The whole country is our soil. When word came that Lee had escaped, Lincoln was both angry and depressed. He wrote to Meade: "My dear general, I do not believe you appreciate the magnitude of the misfortune involved in Lee's escape Your golden opportunity is gone, and I am distressed immeasurably because of it. Having gotten these feelings off his chest, Lincoln filed the letter away unsent. But he never changed his mind. And two months later, when the Army of the Potomac was maneuvering and skirmishing again over the devastated land between Washington and Richmond, the president declared that "to attempt to fight the enemy back to his intrenchments in Richmond Five times in the war Lincoln tried to get his field commanders to trap enemy armies that were raiding or invading northward by cutting in south of them and blocking their routes of retreat: during Stonewall Jackson's drive north through the Shenandoah Valley in May ; Lee's invasion of Maryland in September ; Braxton Bragg's and Edmund Kirby Smith's invasions of Kentucky in the same month; Lee's invasion of Pennsylvania in the Gettysburg campaign; and Jubal Early's raid to the outskirts of Washington in July Each time his generals failed him, and in most cases they soon found themselves relieved of command.

In all of these instances the slowness of Union armies trying to intercept or pursue the enemy played a key part in their failures. Lincoln expressed repeated frustration with the inability of his armies to march as light and fast as Confederate armies. Much better supplied than the enemy, Union forces were actually slowed down by the abundance of their logistics.

Most Union commanders never learned the lesson pronounced by Confederate Gen. Richard Ewell that "the road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage. Lincoln's efforts to get his commanders to move faster with fewer supplies brought him into active participation at the operational level of his armies.

Lincoln probably did not fully appreciate the logistical difficulties of moving large bodies of troops, especially in enemy territory. On the other hand, the president did comprehend the reality expressed by the Army of the Potomac's quartermaster in response to McClellan's incessant requests for more supplies before he could advance after Antietam, that "an army will never move if it waits until all the different commanders report that they are ready and want no more supplies. You would be better off With Grant and Sherman, Lincoln finally had top generals who followed Ewell's dictum about the road to glory and who were willing to demand of their soldiers—and of themselves—the same exertions and sacrifices that Confederate commanders required of theirs.

After the Vicksburg campaign that captured a key stronghold in Mississippi, Lincoln said of General Grant—whose rapid mobility and absence of a cumbersome supply line were a key to its success—that "Grant is my man and I am his the rest of the war! Lincoln had opinions about battlefield tactics, but he rarely made suggestions to his field commanders for that level of operations. One exception, however, occurred in the second week of May Chase sailed down to Hampton Roads on May 5 to discover that the Confederates had evacuated Yorktown before McClellan could open with his siege artillery.

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Norfolk remained in enemy hands, however, and the feared CSS Virginia formerly the Merrimack was still docked there. On May 7, Lincoln took direct operational control of a drive to capture Norfolk and to push a gunboat fleet up the James River. The president ordered Gen.

Lincoln even personally carried out a reconnaissance to select the best landing place. On May 9, the Confederates evacuated Norfolk before Northern soldiers could get there. Two days later the Virginia 's crew blew her up to prevent her capture. Chase rarely found opportunities to praise Lincoln, but on this occasion he wrote to his daughter: "So has ended a brilliant week's campaign of the President; for I think it quite certain that if he had not come down, Norfolk would still have been in possession of the enemy, and the 'Merrimac' as grim and defiant and as much a terror as ever The whole coast is now virtually ours.

Chase exaggerated, for the Confederates would have had to abandon Norfolk to avoid being cut off when Johnston's army retreated up the north side of the James River. But Chase's words can perhaps be applied to Lincoln's performance as commander in chief in the war as a whole. He enunciated a clear national policy, and through trial and error evolved national and military strategies to achieve it. The nation did not perish from the earth but experienced a new birth of freedom. With the permission of the publisher, W.

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Siege of Vicksburg - Ohio History Central

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Universal Crossword. Daily Word Search. Mah Jong Quest. Subscribe Top Menu Current Issue. Book Shop. Archaeology U. History World History Video Newsletter. From This Story. President Abraham Lincoln, with officers in , rarely dictated battlefield tactics. As a graduate of West Point and a former U. President Lincoln put Gen. McClellan in charge of the Union troops as Gen.

Winfield Scott's successor. McClellan succeeded Gen. Library of Congress. Victories by Ulysses S. Grant led Lincoln to say, "Grant is my man and I am his the rest of the war!