2 Civil War Logistics Depots Material was moved from the factory to base depots to advanced depotsAdvanced depots were generally a city on a major transportation artery safely within the rear of the departmentDuring campaigns, armies established temporary advanced depots served by rail or river transportationFrom there wagons carried supplies forward to the field unitsThe enormous Federal supply depot at Nashville was connected by rail with Louisville to the north, and Murfreesboro, Chattanooga, and ultimately, Atlanta, to the south.
3 Civil War Logistics Wagons A wagon was drawn by a standard six mule teamA standard-drawn corps wagon train would spread out from five to eight miles based on the terrain, weather, and road conditionsUnder ideal conditions, a wagon could haul 4,000 pounds; half that over difficult terrain
4 Civil War Logistics Sustenance for the animals was a major concern Each animal required up to 26 pounds of hay and grain a dayForaging was one way of partially relieving the requirement to use wagon space to carry animal foodForaging became command policy during Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign
5 Civil War LogisticsHerds of beef cattle also accompanied the wagon trains and provided fresh, but tough, meat for the troopsHowever, the herds also slowed and complicated movementSuch a long and tenuous supply system was vulnerable to attack, especially by cavalryArmy of the Potomac wagon trains en route from Chickahominy to James River, Va.
6 Logistics Vulnerabilities In Dec 1826, MG Earl Van Dorn’s cavalry destroyed Grant’s advanced depot at Holly Springs and LTG Nathan Bedford Forrest conducted a raid on the important railroad junction in Jackson, TN
7 Logistics Vulnerabilities The twin raids wrecked Grant’s plan for an overland, railroad-centered attack to support Sherman’s Chickasaw Bayou expeditionIt also forced Grant to rely on foraging and requisition in the surrounding countryside to feed his army in the weeks surrounding the raidThis showed Grant that the Mississippi Valley, though relatively underpopulated, was agriculturally rich in beef, hogs, and grainDecides to change his plan
8 The Challenge“the principal difficulty in any campaign against Vicksburg remained logistical”Hattaway and Jones, How the North Won, 341
9 The Solution“Up to this time my intention had been to secure Grand Gulf, as a base of supplies, detach McClernand’s corps to Banks and cooperate with him in the reduction of Port Hudson.”Now Grant “determined to move independently of Banks, cut loose from my base, destroy the rebel force in rear of Vicksburg or invest or capture the city.”Grant, Memoirs
10 Grant “Cuts Loose”“… breaking away from the line of communication was not so much an innovation as Grant’s account make it seem. Scott had essayed a similar gamble in Mexico. Indeed, Grant had been there to observe it and no doubt learned and remembered the lesson.”Russell Weigley, The American Way of WarAs a lieutenant in Mexico Grant had been a quartermaster in Scott’s army
11 Logistics Lessons learned by Lieutenant Grant in Mexico Major General Winfield Scott faced a similar threat to his extended lines of communications as he advanced inland from Vera Cruz to Mexico CitySecuring the various depots along the way was draining Scott of needed manpowerHe decided to cut his line of supply and live off the landGrant saw it could be done
12 Grant “Cuts Loose”Grant says he “cut loose” from his line of supply, but he didn’t mean this completelyHe still had a strong system that brought wagons from Young’s Point to Bower’s Landing where the supplies were loaded on steamboats and carried to Grand GulfFrom Grand Gulf huge wagons escorted by brigades brought the supplies forward to the main forceWinslow Homer Print of Civil War Wagon Train
13 “Convoy Operations”So really what Grant meant by “cutting loose” was that he did not occupy and garrison the supply routeInstead he conducted something similar to today’s convoy resupply system
14 Grant “Cuts Loose”Grant continued to use wagon trains for war materiel (weapons, ammunition, medical supplies, etc) and some limited food items like coffee and breadThe countryside however would sustain his army with bulky animal forage, meat, and other provisionsThe “forage cap,” as the name suggests, was used not only as a hat but also as a “bag” to put vegetables, eggs, etc. in while foraging during a campaign.
15 Grant “Cuts Loose”“We started from Bruinsburg with an average of about two days’ rations, and received no more from our supplies for some days; abundance was found in the meantime.”Grant, MemoirsTo survive in a foraging environment, speed would be essentialHad to keep moving to avoid exhausting local suppliesGrant wrote Sherman, “I believe we can be in Vicksburg in seven days.”
16 Effect on PembertonGrant’s efforts to move south had left him with two well-stocked advance depotsOne below Vicksburg and several just above itAs Grant moved away from his new base at Grand Gulf, Pemberton expected him to stay close to the river to take advantage of these depotsGrant’s move inland caught Pemberton by surpriseJohnston, Pemberton’s superior, places his main reliance on defeating Grant on cavalry raids against Grant’s now largely non-existent supply line
17 Effect on Pemberton“I naturally expected that Pemberton would endeavor to obey the orders of his superior, which I have shown were to attack us at Clinton. This, indeed, I knew he could not do; but I felt sure he would make the attempt to reach that point. It turned out, however, that he had decided his superior’s plans were impracticable, and consequently determined to move south from Edward’s station and get between me and my base. I, however, had no base, having abandoned it more than a week before.”Grant, Memoirs
18 Effect on PembertonWith Grant closing in, Pemberton was left with a choice— defend from Vicksburg or strike Grant.Johnston ordered Pemberton to unite his forces and attack Grant, even if that meant abandoning Vicksburg.President Davis instructed Pemberton to “hold both Vicksburg and Port Hudson.”Pemberton lacked the flexibility to deal with such a confused and complicated situation.Crossing at Bruinsburg placed Grant between Vicksburg and Port Hudson, LA which was being threatened by Federal General Banks
19 Token Confederate Attempt While Pemberton remained primarily on the defensive, he did make one offensive attempt on May 15 to strike south from Edwards toward Dillon’s PlantationIf he’d been successful he could have very likely found Grant’s ammunition trainHowever, heavy rains, confusion, and indecision led instead to the battle of Champion Hill
20 Logistical Focus of Grant’s Strategy While Pemberton missed his opportunity to strike Grant’s logistics, Grant focused on Pemberton’sGrant’s objective was to cut off Pemberton’s communication and supplies by controlling the railroadsFeint toward the Big Black with the true objective being the Southern RR that connected Jackson and VicksburgOnce the Southern was in his control, Grant could turn and attack Vicksburg
21 Logistical Focus of Grant’s Strategy Leads to the Battle of Raymond on March 12After Raymond, Grant shifted his decisive point to Jackson which would further impact Confederate logistics by interrupting Confederate rail and communications
22 Pemberton’s Logistical Problems Inefficiency of, and competing priorities between, the Confederate quartermaster and commissary departmentsUnion naval superiorityPemberton’s own lack of overall vision for the campaign
23 Impact on Siege Operations With the loss of Jackson, all supplies became critical to PembertonStill had large stockpiles within VicksburgHowever as the siege progressed, the armies’ logistical situations moved in opposite directionsConfederate stockpiles dwindledUnion forces, situated alongside North America’s greatest transportation artery, received reinforcements and supplies in seemingly limitless quantities“…we had an inexhaustible supply of ammunition to draw upon and used it freely.” (Grant, Memoirs)
24 THE BATTLE OF RAYMOND—REBEL CHARGE ON LOGAN’S DIVISION NextBattle of RaymondTHE BATTLE OF RAYMOND—REBEL CHARGE ON LOGAN’S DIVISION