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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
V is for Vicksburg
My special interest has always been the Trans-Mississippi Theater. By this time, the best Confederate troops from Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas had been mostly drawn off to the killing fields of the east, leaving behind a weak army that included many conscripts. You'd think this would make those states easy pickings for the North, but the Union high command was also drawing off troops from places like Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.
So when they were cut off from the rest of the Confederacy, western Confederates did not give up hope. True, they were undermanned and undersupplied, but they controlled a huge swathe of territory and kept up raids and minor campaigns against the Yankees until the very end. At least some of them did. The loss of Vicksburg was a huge blow to morale, and desertions increased in the Confederate ranks. Some of the roving bushwhacker bands I've mentioned before were actually AWOL soldiers, sometimes even from both sides, banded together into roving gangs of thieves.
Painting courtesy U.S. Army Center of Military History.