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 Posted: Thu Jan 19th, 2012 02:31 pm
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Texas Defender
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Mark-

  Its impossible to overestimate the importance to the Union of controlling rivers in general, and the Mississippi and its tributaries in particular. Wherever rivers could be navigated, Union forces enjoyed huge advantages.

  Control of rivers enabled Union forces to transport men, weapons, equipment, and supplies wherever and whenever they were needed. That gave Union forces a great advantage in mobility. Add to that the employment of Union gunboats to provide fire support, and that gave their side the ability to exert more control over areas adjoining the rivers as far inland as the guns could reach.

  In short, control of rivers acted as a force multiplier for Union forces.  It put the Confederates at an even greater disadvantage than they already were. Their territory could be penetrated and their waterways used pretty much at will by their enemies to exploit the enemy's advantage in mobility.

  You asked what was supplied to the Confederates east of the Mississippi by those west of it. The answer is beef, weapons, horses, and clothing, among other things Texas exported all of this during the war. Texans were able to produce some of these things and provide others through their ability to trade with foreign sources over the border with Mexico, and by blockade running. It was not without reason that Texas was called: "The Storehouse of the Confederacy."

  When the Union forces were able to control the Mississippi from New Orleans to Vicksburg, the ability of Texans to provide this help to the rest of the Confederacy was effectively curtailed. In my view, the combination of the fall of New Orleans in 1862 and Vicksburg in 1863 made military victory for the Union inevitable, if the northern people were willing to carry on the war as long as they had to. The re-election of Mr. Lincoln in 1864 made it clear that they were.

  For those interested in Texas during the Civil War, the HANDBOOK OF TEXAS ONLINE has devoted considerable space to it:

Civil War Texas

Last edited on Thu Jan 19th, 2012 03:00 pm by Texas Defender

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