The Civil War at a Glance
The Western Theater
|First posted 1998|
Last update Apr 29, 2009
The Border States were secured by the spring of 1862 and a string of Union victories - Fort Henry and Donelson, Pea Ridge, Shiloh, Island No. 10, and New Oreleans - caused many to believe that the Confederacy was finished. The North's blockade of Southern ports to deny the Confederates access to much-needed foreign war material and manufactured goods and to keep them from exporting cotton was slow to take effect. But each year the blockade continued to tighten and more and more Confederate ports fell to Union forces. Union amphibious operations to regain control of the Mississippi River began in 1862 and, although initially thwarted, eventually culminated in Grant's successful Vicksburg Campaign of 1863 and the subsequent fall of Port Hudson. This not only closed down the South's most important commercial waterway; it also severed the Confederacy on a north/south axis.
By 1864, with the development of a unified command system, Northern strategy focused on cutting the Confederacy along an east/west axis in order to destroy its food supply and its warmaking industrial capacity in the deep South. Sherman's Atlanta Campaign and his subsequent March to the Sea achieved the desired results by the end of the year. By early 1865, with Sherman's troops pushing northward into the Carolinas, it was clear that the days of the Confederacy were numbered.
|Click on a map to read about that year|
|Union Stragity in the West
|The Eastern Theater War at a Glance|