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A House Divided
Posted at 03:36 PM ET, 03/28/2011

Frank Williams: General-in-Chief Winfield Scott’s Anaconda Plan called for the early blockading of sea ports and the Mississippi River to strangle the rebellion; could that plan have worked?


Chairman of The Lincoln Forum

Septuagenarian General Winfield Scott was one of the few, even before President Lincoln, to foresee the need to prepare for a major military effort to defeat the Confederacy. His Anaconda Plan, although ridiculed at first, was proved to be sound but took years and many casualties to effectuate.The plan itself called for occupying the Mississippi River line with 60,000 troops from Cairo, Illinois to the Gulf and blockading the Southern ports. The Union would then wait for Unionist sentiment in the South so that the Confederate government would seek peace. This could not be effectuated in the early months of the war as the North had neither the trained troops nor navy in sufficient numbers to execute this even though the President declared a blockade and raised the size of the Army and Navy after the firing on Fort Sumter. The war as finally fought had features of Scott’s plan but when first proposed, it was derided as “Scott’s Anaconda.”

By Frank Williams  |  03:36 PM ET, 03/28/2011

Categories:  Views, 150th anniversary

 
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