Vicksburg surrender, good or bad for the confederates

wausaubob

Colonel
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Location
Denver, CO
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.
The Confederates picked up the rails between Monroe and the west bank of the Mississippi and I think relayed them in Marshall, TX. If so that was telling about what they thought on the chances of re-establishing cross river communication.
 
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Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Let’s be straight forward, Prmberton’s forces had been beaten every time they fought the Army of Tennessee on open ground. Sherman took Jackson & destroyed everything of military value. There is no reason to believe that an attack by Johnston would have relieved the siege. As history would demonstrate, the army that Grant had built defeated everything the CSA could bring against them.

The fall of Vicksburg was an economic mortal blow to CSA hopes of independence. The Western Confederacy was reduced to a military backwater. The vast reservoir of resources of the Mississippi Valley flowed exclusively to support the Union.

As events would demonstrate, the strategic folly of dangling a major army in the far northeast corner of its territory was dealt a mortal blow by the fall of Vicksburg. Lee’s lifeline ran through Atlanta to Dalton to Virginia. The fall of Vicksburg freed up the Army of Tennessee to secure Chattanooga, take Atlanta & March to the sea.

Because of the supply lines cut by the fall of Vicksburg, during the winter of 1864-65 scurvy became rampant in the A of NV. Men were not even receiving enough calories & protein to maintain body weight. Night blindness was ubiquitous.

The fall of Vicksburg was like a bolder that starts an avalanche. The effects increased exponentially as time went on. The psychological effect on civilian morale was massive in both the North & the South, impossible to exaggerate.

To directly answer the question posed, the Fall of Vicksburg was a blow to CSA economically, materially & psychologically that it could not survive.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The CSA troops in Jackson remained a threat to Grant after the fall of Vicksburg.
Seems the Yanks world capture Jackson all of the time, but would leave the following day.

By July 4th, 1863 the Vicksburg Campaign was finished.
But the fighting in central Mississippi was far from over.

For anyone interested in "what happened next " ?

I recommend :

https://civilwartalk.com/threads/talk-on-the-siege-of-jackson-mississippi-today.173238/#post-2260497
You might add that there was nothing left in Jackson to stay for or that Grant wanted when he left.
 
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Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Well, make snarky comments if you wish.
But if Grant wasn't concerned, I doubt he would have ordered Sherman to revisit Jackson during July 63' .... with quite a lot of kerosene
and many matches.

I have to admit that in over thirty years of Civil War discussions, this is the first time anybody ever complained that Grant & Sherman had not burned down enough of their state capital. It is an absolutely unique complaint, if nothing else.
 
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I have to admit that in over thirty years of Civil War discussions, this is the first time anybody ever complained that Grant & Sherman had not burned down enough of their state capital. It is an absolutely unique complaint, if nothing else.
LMAO.

:rofl:

My point to the those not familiar with the Vicksburg Campaign, once Grant had "bottled up" the CSA troops at Vicksburg, he seemed not to be taking potential threats behind his lines as serious as he should have.

Thus he had to return to Jackson in July 1863.
He was stopped.

Thus Grant had to start another siege.

Yeah it was not on the level of Vicksburg, but it again cost many unnecessary Union lives.
 
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wausaubob

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Denver, CO
LMAO.

:rofl:

My point to the those not familiar with the Vicksburg Campaign, once Grant had "bottled up" the CSA troops at Vicksburg, he seemed not to be taking potential threats behind his lines as serious as he should have.

Thus he had to return to Jackson in July 1863.
He was stopped.

Thus Grant had to start another siege.

Yeah it was not on the level of Vicksburg, but it again cost many unnecessary Union lives.
What was the value of Jackson if Grant's army had ruined the railroad and all the bridges over the Big Black were gone or occupied, and countryside had been emptied of every horse, mule, carriage and hay wagon the US soldiers had been able to find?
 
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What was the value of Jackson if Grant's army had ruined the railroad and all the bridges over the Big Black were gone or occupied, and countryside had been emptied of every horse, mule, carriage and hay wagon the US soldiers had been able to find?
Legitimate question.

But Grant failed to destroy everything in Jackson during his dash to Vicksburg during May of 1863.
Not all bridges were destroyed, the "countryside" was indeed suffering, but had not been emptied.

Had Jackson and the countryside been laid to waste in May, Grant wouldn't have had to return during July.

Very simple.

And if he wasn't worried , he would have not cared anything about Jackson, Mississippi after he captured Vicksburg.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Apr 4, 2017
Location
Denver, CO
Legitimate question.

But Grant failed to destroy everything in Jackson during his dash to Vicksburg during May of 1863.
Not all bridges were destroyed, the "countryside" was indeed suffering, but had not been emptied.

Had Jackson and the countryside been laid to waste in May, Grant wouldn't have had to return during July.

Very simple.

And if he wasn't worried , he would have not cared anything about Jackson, Mississippi after he captured Vicksburg.
That's true. The main priority was to defeat Pemberton at Champion's Hill, without committing Sherman's other two divisions and the hussle the cavalry and Sherman to the Yazoo to capture and hold those landings on the Yazoo River.
 

wausaubob

Colonel
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Location
Denver, CO
Mississippi was Jefferson Davis' state. The destruction there was targeted at Davis to prove he could not even defend the state that had supported his political career. MS, SC and VA were punished.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
What has been missing from this thread is the fact that Grant had comprehensive & highly accurate intelligence during the Vicksburg Campaign. Grant was able to make his dispositions in full knowledge of Johnston’s intentions & strength. As a result, he was able to focus on defeating Pemberton in the field & laying siege to Vicksburg without looking over his shoulder.

When Grant sent Sherman to confront Johnston, he knew what he needed to do & where it needed to be done. That is how campaigns are won. Jackson’s facilities were destroyed when Grant wanted them destroyed. There was nothing Joe Johnston could do about that.. which is what really matters.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
The betrayal by the confederate courier of army communications lead to the disaster for confederate arms.
 

atlantis

Sergeant Major
Joined
Nov 12, 2016
I suggest the fall of Jackson is a bigger blow as it is a state capital, transport hub and center of war production.
 

67th Tigers

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
I highly recommend reading Castel's "Vicksburg: Myths and Realities" in North and South, Vol. 6 No. 7. As he concludes:

"Yet in some ways Davis' determination to hold Vicksburg benefited the Confederate cause. The reason is that it was
matched by a Federal fixation on taking it that ultimately led to almost 100,000 Union troops being used for this purpose, counting Banks' army at Port Hudson, and to Grant spending nearly half-a-year vainly endeavoring to get at Vicksburg from the north on land, through swamps, and even by digging a canal in hope of changing the course of the Mississippi, before he finally reached it by marching most of his army down the west bank of the river and then crossing it over to the other side below the fortress in transports supported by Porter's gunboats.26

Also, as we have seen, Lincoln's decision to pursue political and diplomatic objectives instead of military ones after the fall of Vicksburg benefited the Confederates by delaying Northern victory in the war and, on the Red River, actually jeopardizing it. This is why Grant biographer Brooks Simpson is correct in concluding that the most important outcome of Vicksburg was that it put Grant in position to become what he became-the top Federal commander, in which role he did what probably no other Union general could have done: grind down Lee's army in a nearly yearlong campaign of attrition, one during which much of the time he outnumbered Lee two or more to one and suffered almost twice as many casualties, until finally Lee, with his only alternative being the slaughter of his starving soldiers, surrendered and the war in effect ended.27

This, then, is what Grant's capture of Vicksburg accomplished in fact. But wait-there is one additional thing it did, namely to inspire the writing of a great many books, parts of books, and articles about Vicksburg with most of them, unfortunately, being in essence mere rehashes of its myths by authors obviously oblivious to its realities.28 And, quite likely, this will continue to be the case, for just as history tends to repeat itself, so too are writers of history inclined to duplicate what other history writers have written, for once an historical myth takes root it is vary difficult to pull it up and those who endeavor to do so should expect more in the way of resentment than compliment. Based on experience, I do."
 

1stMS-Arty

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Thanks for the link.

I do wonder the size of his army. If you look at that org table you see one brigade with 9 regiments—- they must have been greatly reduced to have that many in a brigade

This is from Vicksburg Staff Ride:

page 170-171

"Situation 2: Johnston's "Army of Relief." With Pemberton's army besieged in Vicksburg, Confederate hopes to regain the initiative rested upon General Joseph E. Johnston. Establishing his headquarters in Jackson, Johnston assembled an army out of reinforcements sent to him from various parts of the Confederacy. This force included four infantry divisions (Major General John C. Breckenridge, Major General Samuel G. French, Major General William W. Loring, and 171 Major General William H. T. Walker) and one cavalry division (Brigadier General William H. Jackson. Loring's division had been part of Pemberton's army until the retreat from Champion Hill.) Johnston's force numbered about 36,000 men, although it lacked a full complement of artillery and transport."
 

1stMS-Arty

Sergeant
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
also from page 171 of the Staff Ride handbook....insights into Johnston

Vignette 2 (Johnston offers Pemberton less encouragement): "I am too weak to save Vicksburg. Can do no more than attempt to save you and your garrison. It will be impossible to extricate you, unless you co-operate, and we make mutually supporting movements. Communicate your plans and suggestions, if possible." (Johnston to Pemberton, 29 May 1863, in O.R., vol. 24, pt. 3, 929.)

Vignette 3 (an apocryphal tale about a prewar hunting trip that may explain Johnston's inactivity): "He was a capital shot, better than Wade or I; but with... Johnston ... the bird flew too high or too low, the dogs were too far or too near. Things never did suit exactly. He was too fussy, too hard to please, too cautious, too much afraid to miss and risk his fine reputation for a crack shot. Wade and I.. . came home with a heavy bag. We shot right and left, happy-go-lucky. Joe Johnston did not shoot at all. The exactly right time and place never came." (Hamilton Boykin, quoted in Mary Boykin Chesnut, A Diary from Dixie, Ben A. Williams, ed. [Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1949], 175.) Teaching Points: Lack of intent, absence of synchronization
 
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