General Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan: Official Records
HEADQUARTERS OHIO VOLUNTEER MILITIA,
Columbus, Ohio, April 27, 1861.
Lieutenant General WINFIELD SCOTT,
Commanding U.S. Army:
GENERAL: Communication with Washington being so difficult, I beg to lay before
you some views relative to this region of country, and to propose for your consideration a plan of operations intended to
relieve the pressure upon Washington and tending to bring the war to a speedy close. The region north of the Ohio and between
the Mississippi and the Alleghanies forms one grand strategic field, in which all operations must be under the control of
one head, whether acting offensively or on the defensive. I assume it as the final result that hostilities will break out
on the line of the Ohio. For two reasons it is necessary to delay this result by all political means for a certain period
of time: First, to enable the Northwest to make the requisite preparations now very incomplete; second, that a strong diversion
may be made in aid of the defense of Washington and the eastern line of operations.
First urging that the General Government should leave no means untried to
arm and equip the Western States, I submit the following views; Cairo should be occupied by a small force, say two battalions,
strongly intrenched, and provided with heavy guns and a gun-boat to control the river. A force of some eight battalions, to
be in observation at Sandoval (the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi and the Illinois Central Railways) to observe Saint
Louis, sustain the garrison of Cairo, and if necessary re-enforce Cincinnati. A few companies should observe the Wabash below
Vincennes. A division of about 4,000 men at Seymour to observe Louisville and be ready to support Cincinnati or Cairo. A division
of 5,000 men at or near Cincinnati. Two battalions at or near Chillicothe. Could we be provided with arms, the Northwest has
ample resources to furnish 80,000 men for active operations, after providing somewhat more than the troops mentioned above
for the protection of the frontier. With the active army of operations it is proposed to cross the Ohio at or in the vicinity
of Gallipolis and move up the valley of the Great Kanawha on Richmond. In combination with this Cumberland should be seized
and a few thousand men left at Ironton or Gallipolis to cover the rear and right flank of the main column. The presence of
this detachment and a prompt movement on Louisville or the heights opposite Cincinnati would effectually prevent any interference
on the part of Kentucky. The movement on Richmond should be conducted with the utmost promptness, and could not fail to relieve
Washington as well as to secure the destruction of the Southern Army, if aided by a decided advance on the eastern line.
I know that there would be difficulties in crossing the mountains, but would
go prepared to meet them. Another plan would be, in the event of Kentucky assuming a hostile position, to cross the Ohio at
Cincinnati or Louisville with 80,000 men, march straight on Nashville, and thence act according to circumstances. Were a battle
gained before reaching Nashville, so that the strength of Kentucky and Tennessee were effectually broken, a movement on Montgomery,
aided by a vigorous movement on the eastern line toward Charleston and Augusta, should not be delayed. The ulterior movements
of the combined armies might be on Pensacola, Mobile, and New Orleans. It seems clear that the forces of the Northwest should
not remain quietly on the defensive, and that under present circumstances, if the supply of arms is such as to render it absolutely
impossible to bring into the field the numbers indicated above, then offensive
movements would be most effective on the line first indicated; but if so liberal a supply can be obtained as to enable us
to dispose of 80,000 troops for the active army, then the second line of operations would be the most decisive. To enable
us to carry out either of these plans it is absolutely necessary that the General Government should strain every nerve to
supply the defensive we must be largely assisted. I beg to urge upon you that we are very badly supplied at present, and that
a vast population eager to fight are rendered powerless by want of arms, the nation being thus deprived of their aid.
I have the honor to be, general, very respectfully, yours,
GEO. B. McCLELLAN,
Major-General, Commanding Ohio Volunteers.
MAY 2, 1861.
As at the date of this letter General McClellan knew nothing of the intended
call for two years' volunteers, he must have had the idea of composing his enormous columns of three-months' men for operating
against Nashville and Richmond-that is, of men whose term of service would expire by the time he had collected and organized
them. That such was his idea appears from a prior letter, in which, although, the Ohio quota is but about 10,000 men the general
speaks, I think of having 30,000 and wants arms, &c., for 80,000. Second. A march upon Richmond from the Ohio would probably
insure the revolt of Western Virginia, which if left alone will soon be five out of seven for the Union. Third. The general
eschews water transportation by the Ohio and Mississippi in favor of long, tedious and break-down (of men, horses, and wagons)
marches. Fourth. His plan is to subdue the seceded States by piece-meal instead of enveloping them all (nearly) at once by
a cordon of posts on the Mississippi to its mouth from its junction with the Ohio, and by blockading ships of war on the sea-board.
For the cordon a number of men equal to one of the general's column would probably suffice, and the transportation of
men and all supplies by water is about a fifth of the land cost, besides the immense saving in time.
Respectfully submitted to the President.
Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 51, Part 1, pp. 338-339
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Washington, May 3, 1861.
Maj. Gen. GEORGE B. MCCLELLAN,
Commanding Ohio Volunteers,
SIR: I have read and carefully considered your plan for a campaign,
and now send you confidentially my own views, supported by certain facts of which you should be advised.
First. It is the design of the Government to raise 25,000 additional
regular troops, and 60,000 volunteers for three years. It will be inexpedient either to rely on the three-months' volunteers
for extensive operations or to put in their hands the best class of arms we have in store. The term of service would expire
by the commencement of a regular campaign, and the arms not lost be returned mostly in a damaged condition. Hence I must strongly
urge upon you to confine yourself strictly to the quota of three-months' men called for by the War Department.
Second. We rely greatly on the sure operation of a complete blockade
of the Atlantic and Gulf ports soon to commence. In connection with such blockade we propose a powerful movement down the
Mississippi to the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points, and the capture of Forts Jackson and Saint Philip; the
object being to clear out and keep open this great line of communication in connection with the strict blockade of the seaboard,
so as to envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan. I suppose there
will be needed from twelve to twenty steam gun-boats, and a sufficient number of steam transports (say forty) to carry all
the personnel (say 60,000 men) and material of the expedition; most of the gunboats to be in advance to open the way, and
the remainder to follow and protect the rear of the expedition, &c. This army, in which it is not improbable you may be
invited to take an important part, should be composed of our best regulars for the advance and of three-years' volunteers,
all well officered, and with four months and a half of instruction in camps prior to (say) November 10. In the progress down
the river all the enemy's batteries on its banks we of course would turn and capture, leaving a sufficient number of posts
with complete garrisons to keep the river open behind the expedition. Finally, it will be necessary that New Orleans should
be strongly occupied and securely held until the present difficulties are composed.
Third. A word now as to the greatest obstacle in the way of this
plan--the great danger now pressing upon us--the impatience of our patriotic and loyal Union friends. They will urge instant
and vigorous action, regardless, I fear, of consequences--that is, unwilling to wait for the slow instruction of (say) twelve
or fifteen camps, for the rise of rivers, and the return of frosts to kill the virus of malignant fevers below Memphis. I
fear this; but impress right views, on every proper occasion, upon the brave men who are hastening to the support of their
Government. Lose no time, while necessary preparations for the great expedition are in progress, in organizing, drilling,
and disciplining your three-months' men, many of whom, it is hoped, will be ultimately found enrolled under the call for three-years'
volunteers. Should an urgent and immediate occasion arise meantime for their services, they will be the more effective. I
commend these views to your consideration, and shall be happy to hear the result.
With great respect, yours, truly,
Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Series 1, Vol. 51, Part 1, pp. 369-370
Naval Strategies of the Civil War: Confederate
Innovations and Federal Opportunism. Description:
One of the most overlooked aspects of the American Civil War is the naval strategy played out by the U.S. Navy and the fledgling
Confederate Navy, which may make this the first book to compare and contrast the strategic concepts of the Southern Secretary
of the Navy Stephen R. Mallory against his Northern counterpart, Gideon Welles. Both men had to accomplish much and were given
great latitude in achieving their goals. Mallory's vision of seapower emphasized technological innovation and individual competence
as he sought to match quality against the Union Navy's (quantity) numerical superiority. Continued below...
The naval blockade of the South was one
of his first tasks - for which he had but few ships available - and although he followed the national strategy, he did not
limit himself to it when opportunities arose. Mallory's dedication to ironclads is well known, but he also defined the roles
of commerce raiders, submarines, and naval mines. Welles's contributions to the Union effort were rooted in his organizational
skills and his willingness to cooperate with the other military departments of his government. This led to successes through
combined army and naval units in several campaigns on and around the Mississippi River. Welles had to deal with more bureaucratic structure and to some
degree a national strategy dictated by the White House.
Naval Campaigns of the Civil War. Description: This analysis of naval engagements during the War
Between the States presents the action from the efforts at Fort Sumter during the secession of South Carolina in 1860, through
the battles in the Gulf of Mexico, on the Mississippi River, and along the eastern seaboard, to the final attack at Fort Fisher
on the coast of North Carolina in January 1865. This work provides an understanding of the maritime problems facing both sides
at the beginning of the war, their efforts to overcome these problems, and their attempts, both triumphant and tragic, to
control the waterways of the South. The Union blockade, Confederate privateers and commerce raiders are discussed, as is the
famous battle between the Monitor and the Merrimack. Continued
of the events in the early months preceding the outbreak of the war is presented. The chronological arrangement of the campaigns
allows for ready reference regarding a single event or an entire series of campaigns. Maps and an index are also included.
About the Author: Paul Calore, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University,
was the Operations Branch Chief with the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense before retiring. He is a supporting
member of the U.S. Civil War Center and the Civil War Preservation Trust and has also written Land Campaigns of the Civil
War (2000). He lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts.
Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running
During the Civil War (Studies in Maritime
History Series). From Library Journal: From the profusion of books about Confederate blockade running, this one will stand
out for a long time as the most complete and exhaustively researched. …Wise sets out to provide a detailed study, giving
particular attention to the blockade runners' effects on the Confederate war effort. It was, he finds, tapping hitherto unused
sources, absolutely essential, affording the South a virtual lifeline of military necessities until the war's last days. This
book covers it all: from cargoes to ship outfitting, from individuals and companies to financing at both ends. An indispensable
addition to Civil War literature.
Recommended Reading: American
Civil War Fortifications (3): The Mississippi and River
Forts (Fortress). Description: The
Mississippi River played a decisive role in the American Civil War. The Confederate fortifications
that controlled the lower Mississippi valley were put to
the test in the lengthy Federal campaign of 1862-63. Vicksburg was a fortress city, known as
the "Gibraltar of the Confederacy," whose capture is often seen as the key to victory in
the war. Continued below.
This book explores the fortifications of the river valley, focusing on Vicksburg
and its defenses which boasted a network of forts, rifle pits, and cannon embrasures surrounding the city and examining the
strengths and weaknesses of the fortifications when under siege. Also examined are numerous other fortified strongholds, including
New Orleans, Port Hudson, New Madrid and, forts Henry and
Donelson, all lavishly illustrated with full color artwork and cutaways.
Recommended Reading: American Civil War Fortifications
(1): Coastal brick and stone forts (Fortress) (Paperback). Description: The 50 years before the American Civil War saw a
boom in the construction of coastal forts in the United States of America.
These stone and brick forts stretched from New England to the Florida Keys, and as far as the Mississippi
River. At the start of the war some were located in the secessionist states, and many fell into Confederate hands.
Although a handful of key sites remained in Union hands throughout the war, the remainder had to be won back through bombardment
or assault. This book examines the design, construction and operational history of those fortifications, such as Fort Sumter, Fort
Morgan and Fort Pulaski, which played a crucial part in the course of the Civil War.
Recommended Reading: Mississippi River Gunboats of the
American Civil War 1861-65 (New Vanguard). Description: At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on the Mississippi River.
In the first few months, moreover, both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use.
These ships were transformed into powerful naval weapons despite a lack of resources, trained manpower and suitable vessels.
of a river fleet was a miracle of ingenuity, improvisation and logistics, particularly for the South. This title describes
their design, development and operation throughout the American Civil War.