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Title:Role of Union Gunboats In the Vicksburg Campaign
Author(s):Getz, Lowell L.
Subject(s):Union River Gunboats
Vicksburg Campaign
Battle of Chickasaw Bayou
Yazoo Pass Expedition
Steele’s Bayou Expedition
Grand Gulf
Battle of Arkansas Post
Battle of Fort Hindman
Civil War
Geographic Coverage:Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers
Abstract:During the Civil War, because much of the commerce within the country was moved by riverboats, the Mississippi River and its tributaries became a focal point for naval action between the Union and Confederate “brown water” (river gunboat) navies. In early February 1862, The Union’s Western Gunboat Flotilla began taking control of the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers and the upper Mississippi River. By the 6th of June, the former two rivers and the Mississippi, down to Memphis, were in Union hands. In mid April 1862, Admiral David G. Farragut assembled his “white water” blockade fleet, and entered the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico to gain control of the southern reaches of the river. After accepting the surrender of New Orleans, Admiral Farragut moved on upstream, capturing Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Natchez, Mississippi. He moved on to Vicksburg, Mississippi, but did not have the forces to take the city. With its strong fortifications overlooking the river below, Vicksburg prevented navigation of Union boats, military and commercial, up and down the river. While in Confederate hands, Vicksburg also allowed communication of the eastern Confederate states with the western states of Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The eastern states relied heavily upon the three western states for horses, cattle and reinforcements. Capture of Vicksburg would allow the Union unrestricted usage of the river and isolate the western Confederate states from the eastern states. In November 1862, Major General Ulysses S. Grant began a campaign to capture Vicksburg. This report provides a detailed account of the participation of Union gunboats in the various phases of the Vicksburg Campaign until surrender of the city on 4 July 1863, based on original reports of participants during the campaign.
Issue Date:2020-05-18
Rights Information:Text Copyright 2020 by Lowell L. Getz. All Rights Reserved
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-05-19

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