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Vicksburg Logistics.

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Presentation on theme: "Vicksburg Logistics."— Presentation transcript:

1 Vicksburg Logistics

2 Civil War Logistics Depots
Material was moved from the factory to base depots to advanced depots Advanced depots were generally a city on a major transportation artery safely within the rear of the department During campaigns, armies established temporary advanced depots served by rail or river transportation From there wagons carried supplies forward to the field units The 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 team A standard-drawn corps wagon train would spread out from five to eight miles based on the terrain, weather, and road conditions Under 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 day Foraging was one way of partially relieving the requirement to use wagon space to carry animal food Foraging became command policy during Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign

5 Civil War Logistics Herds of beef cattle also accompanied the wagon trains and provided fresh, but tough, meat for the troops However, the herds also slowed and complicated movement Such a long and tenuous supply system was vulnerable to attack, especially by cavalry Army 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 expedition It also forced Grant to rely on foraging and requisition in the surrounding countryside to feed his army in the weeks surrounding the raid This showed Grant that the Mississippi Valley, though relatively underpopulated, was agriculturally rich in beef, hogs, and grain Decides 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 War As 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 City Securing the various depots along the way was draining Scott of needed manpower He decided to cut his line of supply and live off the land Grant 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 completely He 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 Gulf From Grand Gulf huge wagons escorted by brigades brought the supplies forward to the main force Winslow 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 route Instead 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 bread The countryside however would sustain his army with bulky animal forage, meat, and other provisions The “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, Memoirs To survive in a foraging environment, speed would be essential Had to keep moving to avoid exhausting local supplies Grant wrote Sherman, “I believe we can be in Vicksburg in seven days.”

16 Effect on Pemberton Grant’s efforts to move south had left him with two well-stocked advance depots One below Vicksburg and several just above it As Grant moved away from his new base at Grand Gulf, Pemberton expected him to stay close to the river to take advantage of these depots Grant’s move inland caught Pemberton by surprise Johnston, 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 Pemberton With 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 Plantation If he’d been successful he could have very likely found Grant’s ammunition train However, 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’s Grant’s objective was to cut off Pemberton’s communication and supplies by controlling the railroads Feint toward the Big Black with the true objective being the Southern RR that connected Jackson and Vicksburg Once 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 12 After 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 departments Union naval superiority Pemberton’s own lack of overall vision for the campaign

23 Impact on Siege Operations
With the loss of Jackson, all supplies became critical to Pemberton Still had large stockpiles within Vicksburg However as the siege progressed, the armies’ logistical situations moved in opposite directions Confederate stockpiles dwindled Union 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)


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