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Surrender Demanded of Vicksburg

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Surrender demanded of Vicksburg

This is the first surrender demand presented to Vicksburg Mississippi (which I doubt anyone at SDG has seen before):

“The undersigned, with orders from Flag-Officer Farragut and Major General Butler, respectively, demand the surrender of Vicksburg and its defenses to the lawful authority of the United States, under which private property and personal rights will be respected.


S. Phillips Lee [commanding USS Oneida ] and

Brigadier General Thomas Williams

dated 18 May 1862"

[The same Demand for Surrender had been presented to Natchez a few days earlier, with different results: Natchez surrendered 13 May 1862.]

Reference: OR (Navy) vol.18 pages 491 & 492.


N.B.  Relevance: Where was Henry Halleck and his Army of the Mississippi on 18 May 1862?


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"Relevance: Where was Henry Halleck and his Army of the Mississippi on 18 May 1862?"

Hanging out in front of Corinth. I know Joe Rose has argued Halleck would have been smarter to have John Pope proceed on Fort Pillow and then Memphis rather than being at Corinth.


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What if...

  • Farragut was supposed to take possession of Vicksburg, like he did at Natchez;

  • Farragut miss-read his orders/ did not get clarification for “what to do after taking control of the Prime Objective of New Orleans”

  • Farragut did not realize the bluffs at Vicksburg were so high;

  • Farragut, not realizing the height of Vicksburg's bluffs, sent the weapon that could have engaged the top of those bluffs – David Dixon Porter's mortar schooners – away out of the Mississippi to “await further orders at Ship Island” (and Porter employed those mortars against Forts Gaines and Morgan, and mostly expended all the remaining, hard-to-replace 126-pound explosive shells)

  • Farragut left his infantry force (commanded by MGen Benjamin Butler) behind in New Orleans/ Algiers instead of bringing him north, up the Mississippi River (as suggested in Butler's orders)

  • Farragut, by not chasing the Rebels away from Vicksburg; and by not landing 14000 men under Butler at Vicksburg, missed an opportunity (mentioned in Butler's orders) to take not only Vicksburg, but launch Butler east towards Jackson Mississippi, where Butler's force was supposed to act as “anvil” to Halleck's “hammer” and Beauregard's Rebels “the piece being worked” ...and with every likelihood, end Rebellion in the West;

  • The linch-pin that brought the whole program (above) unstuck was President Lincoln removing McClellan from his role as “General in Chief of the Army” in March 1862 and assuming that role himself (with assist from Edwin Stanton); and no one realized that Farragut and Butler had not received clarification of their orders (originally issued by McClellan.)

Wouldn't that be a tragic tale for the Union... if true?


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