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


Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
The Anaconda plan was reality made plain

with the front locked in Northern Virginia , the Union pushed everywhere ,
some places gave way like the Mississippi valley
other like the Far West , the Texas coast , red river and the Appalachians didn't

it was easier for the North to deploy its troops advantage along the Mississipi and the Atlantic coast
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David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Certainly with hindsight we can see similarities between how the North fought the war and Scott's Anaconda Plan. I have never read of any Northern leader consciously or deliberately following Scott's plan. Which raises the question, 'Did Northern leaders deliberately carry out Scott's Anaconda Plan, or did Northern leaders forget Scott's plan but carry it out unconsciously anyway?' It has to do with the push-pull nature of strategy. By push I mean a general's decision to attack at a certain point. Pull refers to an advance that is sucked forward into a vacuum caused by the lack of opposition. An example of push would be Burnside's decision to cross the Rappahanock at Fredricksburg whether there was an enemy army there or not. An example of pull would be Kentucky and Tennessee in the spring of '62 where simultaneously Buell was advancing from Louisville to Nashville, Grant advanced from Paducah to Pittsburg Landing, and Pope advanced from Cairo to Memphis. Grant advanced the farthest and fastest because he encountered the least opposition. Opposition isn't just enemy armies. It's also terrain. It's easiest to advance along rivers because they are uncutable supply lines.

So, did Scott come up with a plan that the other generals strictly followed, or did the other generals carry out their own plans, but Scott had correctly predicted which plans would succeed?

Whether or not the Anaconda Plan, a large part of the Union strategy from the beginning was to move down the Mississippi and cut the Confederacy in two. I think Scott came up with the strategy but that strategy was deemphasized for a time in favor of more politically driven strategies like “take Richmond” or “destroy Lee’s Army.” When it became apparent that those could not be done quickly, the Union—Grant in particular—turned to the winning strategy.
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