Abraham Lincoln: Letters to His Generals, 1861-1865

By Brett F. Woods | Go to book overview

STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES: THE WAR OF 1863

At the beginning of 1863, the Confederacy seemed to have a fair chance of ultimate success on the battlefield. However, during this year three great campaigns would take place that would shape the outcome of the war in favor of the North. One would see the final solution to the control of the Mississippi River. A second, concurrent with the first, would break the back of any Confederate hopes for success by invasion of the North and recognition abroad. The third slow and uncertain in its first phases would result eventually in Union control of the strategic gateway to the South Atlantic region of the Confederacy—the last great stronghold of secession and the area in which the internecine conflict would come of age as modern total war.

Confusion over Clearing the Mississippi: When Halleck went east in September 1862 to become General in Chief, his splendid army was divided between Grant and Buell. Grant, with over 60,000 men, remained in western Tennessee guarding communication lines. Buell’s army of 56,000, after containing Bragg’s invasion of Kentucky, had been taken over by Rosecrans, whose hard-won victory at Murfreesboro at the end of 1862 nevertheless immobilized the Army of the Cumberland for nearly half a year. To the west, only the posts at Vicksburg and Port Hudson prevented the Union from controlling the entire length of the Mississippi and splitting the Confederacy in two. Naval expeditions, under Capt. David G. Farragut, supported by the army, tried to seize Vicksburg in May and again in July 1862, but the Confederates easily repulsed the attempts. In the autumn Grant pressed Halleck to let him get on with the campaign down the Mississippi and finally received the response: “Fight the enemy where you please.” But while Halleck and Grant were planning to move against Vicksburg by water and land, Lincoln and Stanton also outlined a similar move, but without consulting the military leaders.

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Abraham Lincoln: Letters to His Generals, 1861-1865
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Table of Contents xi
  • Editor’s Note 1
  • Civil War Chronology1 3
  • Prologue- Abraham Lincoln’s War 9
  • Strategic Perspectives- The War of 1861 13
  • Correspondence- 1861 29
  • Strategic Perspectives- The War of 1862 39
  • Correspondence- 1862 57
  • Strategic Perspectives- The War of 1863 127
  • Correspondence- 18631 145
  • Strategic Perspectives- The War of 1864–1865 215
  • Correspondence- 1864–1865 227
  • Epilogue 275
  • Works Cited 279
  • Index 289
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