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Vicksburg is the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River Essay

It was Abraham Lincoln who had foremost stated: “Vicksburg is the key. ” The president had added: “The war can ne’er be brought to a stopping point until that key is in our pocket. ” William L. Shea and Terrence J. Winschel ( 2003 ) took their cue from this statement of the president to see the gaining control of Vicksburg as the decisive phase in the Civil War. In their book. Vicksburg is the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River. the writers describe their ground for sing Vicksburg as the key.

Indeed. the gaining control of Vicksburg was a critical point in the Civil War because it was the successful coda of the Union run to open the Mississippi River from its beginning to its oral cavity ( p. V ) . Furthermore. the writers believe that the Union attempt that began as the “Anaconda” program of Lt. Gen. Winfield Scott. was “the longest and most complex run. or series of runs. of the Civil War … marked by an extraordinary diverseness of military operations … every bing type of naval vas … and military applied scientists [ who ] practiced their art on a graduated table ne’er earlier witnessed in modern warfare.

” At the clip that Vicksburg and Port Hudson yielded ( July 1863 ) . “the Confederacy suffered a blow from which it would non. could non. retrieve. The hard-won Union victory did non intend that the terminal of the war was at manus. but without the trans-Mississippi there was small realistic hope of an independent Southern nation” ( p. 205 ) . Hence. the keys to Union triumph were the gaining of control of the Mississippi River every bit good the western theater. harmonizing to the writers.

Shea. a professor of history at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. and Winschel. a historian at Vicksburg National Military Park. spell out the importance of the Mississippi River to the Confederacy in the beginning of their book. The importance of the Mississippi River to VICKSBURG IS THE KEY: THE STRUGGLE FOR MISSISSIPPI RIVER Page # 2 the Confederacy includes the entree that the river provides to provinces that are rich in resources and lie West of the river.

Harmonizing to the writers. the Confederate states with its little Navy had to depend upon munitions to travel on commanding the “Father of Waters. ” The early successes of the Union at Forts Henry and Donelson. Island No. 10. in add-on to Memphis. directed attending on Vicksburg and Port Hudson. which were the last fastnesss of the Confederacy on the river. Shea and Winschel go on to depict the series of troop motions plus conflicts that finally led to Maj. Gen. Ulysses S.

Grant’s successful besieging of Vicksburg. The writers argue that the battle for the celebrated Mississippi River was. in fact. a “defining experience” for assorted Union and Confederate leaders ( p. 61 ) . The Vicksburg run marked a important bend in Grant’s development as a general. The adult male had demonstrated finding in add-on to aggressiveness right from the start. What is more. the general learned in the procedure of the “key” run to anticipate complexnesss and set his programs consequently.

The writers look upon Grant’s “decidedly mixed” record every bit good as “persistent studies of alcohol addiction. ” Nevertheless. the adult male is believed to show a “growing command of nomadic warfare” through the March to Vicksburg ( p. 61 ) . Following the capitulation of Vicksburg. the general prepared himself for new challenges. The “plain. retiring adult male of faultless honesty” developed the necessary accomplishments to take the Union to finish triumph. Furthermore. he trumped Maj. Gen. John A. McClernand. who had sought to raise and command his ain force.

Grant besides charmed Charles A. Dana – the adult male sent to look into the favourite general of the book ( p. 61 ) . VICKSBURG IS THE KEY: THE STRUGGLE FOR MISSISSIPPI RIVER Page # 3 The writers further argue that the cardinal Confederate leaders at the clip had. so. failed to develop in order to run into new challenges. President Jefferson was a “poor justice of character” who chose Van Dorn. “lacking administrative skills” ( P.

20 ) and John C. Pemberton. demoing “signs of strain” ( p. 94 ) . Such imperfect leaders were unable to understand Grant’s altering schemes. The general was traveling through Louisiana toward his left wing at the clip. Pemberton. unable to get by with the challenge. gave up the battle finally. Some of his subsidiaries. nevertheless. continued to function with dedication. Bowen. Maj. Gen. Richard L. Taylor. and Maj. Samuel H. Lockett were few of the particular 1s who outperformed their leader.

Shea and Winschel. in the procedure of depicting the developments in and outside Vicksburg throughout the run. and supplying adequate item to assist the reader understand the tactics and schemes. name several other people who played of import functions. Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman was kindred to Allow in that he believed in using all accessible resources. Co. Benjamin H. Grierson and Col. Abel D. Streight showed that the Union horse every bit good as mounted foot were the battling peers of those belonging to the Confederates. Cmdr. David D. Porter and Flag Officer David G.

Farragut were heroes both at New Orleans and around Vicksburg. Most significantly. all of these persons participated in doing the gaining control of Vicksburg a important occasion in the Civil War. VICKSBURG IS THE KEY: THE STRUGGLE FOR MISSISSIPPI RIVER Page # 4


1. William L. Shea and Terrence J. Winschel. ( 2003 ) . Vicksburg is the Key: The Struggle for the Mississippi River. Great Campaigns of the Civil War Series. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

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