The Union capture of Vicksburg (and Port Hudson) in July, 1863, gave the North control over the whole Mississippi River, isolating the Confederate states west of this river: Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. In addition, the Union controlled most of Mississippi and Tennessee by this time. This accounts for five out of the original eleven Confederate states.

Did this effectively reduce the "Confederacy" to the six states east and north of Mississippi? Or did the five western states somehow manage to send troops and supplies to the six eastern ones and thereby remain active in the war? Or did say, the three states west of the Mississippi River at least form a defense perimeter and fight on "locally," independently of the others?

Put another way, had a situation been created where defeating the six eastern states automatically meant winning the war?

  • Interesting question; a map would help.
    – MCW
    Jul 7, 2016 at 16:31
  • 1
    @MarkC.Wallace: I added a link to a "mississippi river" map. The Vicksburg link has several maps but I now realized that they are "local" maps.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 7, 2016 at 16:36
  • I think that defeating the most populous Confederate states was always the way to win the war. The Anaconda Plan, which taking the Mississippi was part of, was just a way to weaken the confederacy enough so that could happen. If the Union army had somehow magically defeated the Confederates at Bull Run and swept into Richmond at the beginning, that would have likely been the end of it, or close to. Jul 7, 2016 at 19:54
  • @StevenBurnap: I had a look at the populations, and they were split roughly 6-5 between the six eastern and five western states. In theory, the western states might have continued even if the eastern states were defeated, but perhaps not in actuality. But "Anaconda Plan" was the whole point.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 7, 2016 at 20:07
  • Huh. I had no idea those Western states were so populous at that point. Jul 7, 2016 at 23:47

1 Answer 1


NO and YES - there are two different questions.

NO, Confederacy was not down to six states. Western states lost ability to supply eastern states with people and horses, and coordination with Confederate government, but still controlling large territory and fighting, preventing substantial northern forces to be moved to East. If Confederacy government managed to convince North for two-state solution, western state most likely would be Confederacy states.

YES, defeating the six eastern states practically meant winning the war - western states did not have material and moral resources to continue the war and achieve independence. Theoretically, Texas (and possibly other western states) could get help from french forces in Mexico, or even join Mexico, but this possibility was too slim to discuss seriously.

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