Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Midlist Writer blog, where he talks about writing, adventure travel, caving, and everything else he gets up to. He also reproduces all the posts from Civil War Horror, so drop on by!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Vicksburg

When the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant on July 4, 1863, the Confederacy was cut in half. Vicksburg controlled the Mississippi River, and with it in Union hands, there would be little communication between the Confederate states to the east of the Mississippi and those to the west of it.

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.


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. The Civil War is something I don't know much about - apart from a few films - I'll have to revisit when the challenge is over!

  2. Very interesting. I've forgotten more history than I care to admit, and I enjoyed learning (or re-learning?) this bit.


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