Vicksburg surrender, good or bad for the confederates

Tompre

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Pemberton was indeed placed in an untenable position. His immediate military superior, Joe Johnston, directed Pemberton to save his army by maneuvering in open field, whereas Jeff Davis ordered that Vicksburg be held at all costs. To some extent, this was a problem with the muddled leadership of the Confederacy and the lack of clear lines of authority. Pemberton should have followed Johnston's urgings, which would have sacrificed the city but left his army intact, allowing it to link up with whatever forces Johnston was able to bear, and present a clear threat to Grant and the AoT
Johnston was only a threat to shoe leather!
 

bdtex

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The surrender at Vicksburg did not prevent cross river commerce or individual traffic. It did relieve the confederacy of trying to defend fixed positions vulnerable to combined US army/naval operations. Mobile was far more important to the confederacy than Vicksburg and the surrender freed the confederates to fight a mobile defense in the Alabama/ Mississippi theater. Note confederate forces in the theater didn't surrender at end of war until well after Lee/Johnston.
Holding out longer wouldn't have changed much. Surrendering when they did allowed some paroled and exchanged Confederates to be sent to and in the fight at Chickamauga and most of the rest of them joined the AoT for the Chattanooga Campaign. That's the only military "good" I see in it.
 

BillWright

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I was fortunate enough to be good friends with John C Pemberton 3rd. He would often call me to pick him up at the airport and not to tell anyone he was coming to town to argue with me. we’d go down to the Elite Restaurant or he’d come to my house for a meal. I flew him over all of Vicksburg including the bayou campaigns. we would walk down the road on Champion Hill and whenever Loring or Johnson’s name would come up he’d wave his arms and start talking ugly. I think the only thing he ever truly agreed with me on was the Army Of Tennessee got stuck with two of the worst generals in the confederacy…Johnson and Loring
 
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I think the "best case" for the Confederates would have been for Pemberton to have been able to escape Grant's trap just before Champion's Hill, and united with Johnston north or east of Jackson. Vicksburg would have fallen in late May instead of July 4, but the army would have been saved. (I know many of the paroled troops were re-enlisted but that's a lot less efficient than having your units already pre-formed.)

Like all river bastions, Vicksburg was always going to be a delaying action. The Union navy's ability to control and use the rivers always won eventually. But occupying the Union's focus for 7-8 months was a huge benefit to the South, by keeping the "inner" parts free from invasion.

A Johnston/Pemberton army of say 45,000 operating in east Mississippi in late 1863 could have made the rescue of the Army of the Cumberland in Chattanooga very problematic for Grant.
 

John S. Carter

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There's an argument to be made for Vicksburg being a more important political and financial victory for the Union than a military one. An open Mississippi meant the restoration of river commerce for the Old Northwest.
Not to mention the surrender of a major Confederate army and the lost of the connection to the West . How could such a loss be good if you mean for the Confederacy ? Why did the Confederate force not leave and faced the Union army in open combat. Not only did the Confederate strategy result in the loss of Vicksburg but also the loss of Jackson, Ms. What would it have been if the the army from Vicksburg and the other armies had meet Grant and Sherman in open terrain. Would it be the Gettysburg of that theater? It would have been a classical battle.
 
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Pemberton was indeed placed in an untenable position. His immediate military superior, Joe Johnston, directed Pemberton to save his army by maneuvering in open field, whereas Jeff Davis ordered that Vicksburg be held at all costs. To some extent, this was a problem with the muddled leadership of the Confederacy and the lack of clear lines of authority.
That's exactly why I didn't wish to enter that argument.

There are too many threads about Pemberton's dilemma.
I actually feel sorry for the man.

His immediate commanding officer is telling him to do one thing, while the President of his Country is ordering him to do something opposite.

As a civilian, I've always understood one in military service accepts the direct order of the highest ranking officer issuing any direct order.
(I'm sure our military members can explain the details of conflicting orders).

No matter.

President Davis had been a very successful US Army Officer during the Mexican War.
Not to mention the former United States Secretary of War.

That said, Pemberton was correct to follow Davis' orders ... IMHO.
 
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wausaubob

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According to Wikipedia, 30,000 men. Sherman had 40,000 to face him on July 5.
Sherman wanted Johnston to attack Sherman's army. Sherman would have probably tried to get east of Johnston and drive the Confederate south and west into the lands that the US had already stripped of everything useful. Grant would been glad to try to add Johnston to the surrender.
 

wausaubob

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Grant gauged the situation correctly, because he could read. The Midwest wanted the river in US control, as a demonstration of ultimate power. If some Confederate soldiers wanted to fight on, it was better to fight them some other place than the fortified trenches of Vicksburg. Once the Mississippi was cleared, the cost of maintaining New Orleans and of blockading the Gulf was going to diminish. The next step should have been the conquest of Mobile Bay, but Lincoln and Halleck wanted to establish friendly governments in TN and AR.
 

wausaubob

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1. It was an enormous political victory for both Lincoln and Grant.
2. Grant was not adverse to disbursing the defeated Confederates, some of whom had lost multiple fights in the campaign, back into the Confederacy. He setting the standard of surrender and parole that he hoped would weaken the resolve of the enemy to die for their cause.
 

ucvrelics

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That's exactly why I didn't wish to enter that argument.

There are too many threads about Pemberton's dilemma.
I actually feel sorry for the man.

His immediate commanding officer is telling him to do one thing, while the President of his Country is ordering him to do something opposite.

As a civilian, I've always understood one accepts the direct order of the highest ranking officer issuing any direct order.
(I'm sure our military members can explain the details of conflicting orders).

No matter.

President Davis had been a very successful US Army Officer during the Mexican War.
Not to mention the former United States Secretary of War.

That said, Pemberton was correct to follow Davis' orders ... IMHO.
My GGG Grandfather's papers has a lot on this subject, I will try and post in the near future. Being Pemberton's AG he was there up close and personnel
 

ErnieMac

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IMO the largest downside to the Confederacy of the surrenders of Vicksburg and Port Hudson was that 100,000 Federal troops could be otherwise employed. It also simplified travel on the Mississippi River for Federal shipping.

By 1863 I don't see much Confederate advantage to holding the positions. Shipping supplies across the river from the Trans-Mississippi requires the ability to receive items on the east bank and forward them for distribution to the rest of the Confederacy. That capability was gone.
 
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