Thursday, June 5, 2008

June 12th: Battle of New Orleans by Ray Polster

To implement Winfield Scott's Anaconda Plan the Union needed to control the Mississippi River. One of the first steps in this plan would be to seize New Orleans. This would help secure the Mississippi River and also remove one of the premier ports in America from Confederate control. In the middle of January 1862 Flag Officer David G. Farragut undertook this operation with his West Gulf Blockading Squadron. The main obstacle was Forts Jackson and St. Philip, above the Head of Passes, approximately seventy miles below New Orleans. Once these were cleared there was nothing to stop the Union navy until it reached New Orleans.

From April 18 to April 28, Farragut bombarded the two forts, before finally running thirteen ships passed the forts on April 24th. Once this was accomplished New Orleans fell to Farragut without any more blood shed.

The Confederacy would make a few efforts to recapture New Orleans but none of them had much chance of succeeding. New Orleans would spend the rest of the war occupied by the Union, most notable by Benjamin Butler who earned at least two wonderful nicknames during his time in New Orleans, "Beast" and "Spoons."

This month Ray Polster will discuss this early battle in the Union's effort to control the Mississippi river and to also strengthen the blockade.

Ray suggests the following books:
The Night the War was Lost by Charles L. Dufour
Capture of New Orleans by Chester G Hearn

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