How much did the loss of Vicksburg hurt the western Confederacy?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,461
SoCal
In mid-1863, the Union (United States of America) was finally able to conquer Vicksburg and thus split the Confederacy into two parts:



In turn, this raises the question--just how much did the loss of Vicksburg hurt the western Confederacy? As in, how dependent was the western Confederacy on supplies and manpower from the eastern Confederacy?

Also, I am presuming that the eastern Confederacy was not hurt that much by the loss of Vicksburg, correct?
 

Zip

Jan 2018
593
Comancheria
If nothing else the capture of Vicksburg allowed Grant and the best Federal army, the Army of the Tennessee, to operate with the next best Federal army, the Army of the Cumberland, on the central line through Chattanooga and then Atlanta.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,461
SoCal
If nothing else the capture of Vicksburg allowed Grant and the best Federal army, the Army of the Tennessee, to operate with the next best Federal army, the Army of the Cumberland, on the central line through Chattanooga and then Atlanta.
How exactly did it allow this?
 

Zip

Jan 2018
593
Comancheria
How exactly did it allow this?
As of 1863 there were three main lines of Federal advance: down the Mississippi valley from Cairo (Army of the Tennessee), through central Kentucky and Tenessee from Louisville through Nashville and Chattanooga (Army of the Cumberland) and the big sideshow in the east that operated mainly between Washington and Richmond (Army of the Potomac). With the capture of Vicksburg (and Port Hudson) the heavy work on the Mississippi line was done. Thus most of the Army of the Tennessee, the 15th and 17th Corps and part of the 16th were free to operate on the central line.

After the Army of the Cumberland was defeated at Chickamauga and driven back to Chattanooga Grant was given overall command in the west and Sherman was given the Army of the Tennessee. Sherman and elements of that army were sent to Chattanooga where they helped win the victory there and in 1864 the Army of the Tennessee under McPherson was part of the army group that moved down on Atlanta under Sherman.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,574
Las Vegas, NV USA
The main thing was that it opened the Mississippi River to the Union connecting the port of New Orleans to the North for trade, supplies and commerce. It also cut off the western Confederacy from Texas with its supply of men and and cattle.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,632
Dispargum
The main thing was that it opened the Mississippi River to the Union connecting the port of New Orleans to the North for trade, supplies and commerce. It also cut off the western Confederacy from Texas with its supply of men and and cattle.
I know this was the theory at the beginning of the war (Anaconda Plan), but is there any evidence that Northern products were traded through New Orleans in 1864 and early '65? I suspect Winfield Scott in 1861 over estimated the importance of the Mississippi River and under estimated the value of railroads at linking the Midwest to the Atlantic seaboard. My sense is that the North did not try to control the entire Mississippi. They instead used roving patrols to deter and foil any Southern attempts to cross the river. But with much of the river banks uncontrolled, it was too dangerous for Northern trade to venture down the river unprotected.

The one piece of evidence I have found of the value of Vicksburg was in the price of salt in Mississippi and Alabama in 1864. This region imported salt from Louisiana, but without Vicksburg, Alabama was cut off from their salt source which meant they could not preserve meat, a major product of that region that was especially important to the Confederate armies. Salt was also necessary in the curing of leather.
 

Zip

Jan 2018
593
Comancheria
To further stevev's thoughts: one must consider the effect not only on the rebellion but on the states of the Old Northwest (modern Midwest). Control of the Mississippi to the sea was an important goal to that area and the fall of Vicksburg was a morale raising tonic to its people. After all, it was the Midwest, not the East, that tore the guts out of the rebellion.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,574
Las Vegas, NV USA
I know this was the theory at the beginning of the war (Anaconda Plan), but is there any evidence that Northern products were traded through New Orleans in 1864 and early '65?
I know cotton was being exported via New Orleans to Britain and other importers in those years. It was controversial since the "down river" plantations were still using slave labor. Of course most of that was south of Vicksburg. The Midwest was growing rapidly and products from the Caribbean and South America would naturally be shipped on the river. I know soldiers and military supplies moved on the river. There were risks but I'm sure the security measures needed were worth the costs. Also rail shipments paralleling the river could not likely be made until Vicksburg fell.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,632
Dispargum
I was referring to railroads linking the Ohio Valley to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and New York. By the 1860s, Midwestern farmers no longer needed New Orleans to access global markets.