Anne J. Bailey
The Confederate trans- Mississippi included Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Indian Territory and the area of Louisiana west of the Mississippi River (thirty-one complete parishes and parts of six others). Although Confederates also laid claim to the Arizona Territory (including part of the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona), after the ill-fated campaign to New Mexico's Rio Grande valley early in the war, the Confederacy abandoned aspirations to expand westward. The fighting west of the Mississippi did not affect the war's outcome, but there were a number of battles and campaigns that influenced events east of the river, and simply by forcing Abraham Lincoln to commit troops to the region, Union authorities acknowledged the area's value. Lincoln recognized the significance of controlling the states west of the river, but President Jefferson Davis did not. Historians writing in the first century after Fort Sumter also failed to see the department's significance. Few works concentrated on military operations in the trans-Mississippi, and historians ignored the impact that fighting there had on other events. Indeed, early writers often rejected the idea that the trans Mississippifit into the wider scope of the war. But as an increased interest in the western theater emerged, scholars began to recognize that the river barrier did not necessarily isolate the fighting. Men in trans-Mississippi fought and died just as soldiers did in the grand battles to the east.
Because it was a peripheral theater of operations, neither Confederate nor Union authorities developed an overall military strategy for the region. Those critical locales along the Mississippi River that concerned military strategists-- New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Port Hudson--did not belong to the transMississippi Department. Although strategy and tactics played important roles,