New Orleans Is Captured By The Union – 12/29/1862

US History |


When historians and military officials analyze a war or conflict, there are certain battles that occur that can be labeled a cause for one side to ultimately win and the other side to tragically be defeated. Whether it is a place that strategically is important to possess or destroying an important stronghold, the acquisition of or failure to do so does deliver a striking blow to one side while a moral victory to the other. 

Looking back on the important events that happened during the Civil War, it is not difficult to pick out certain events that would ultimately lead to victory for the Union while utter defeat for the Confederates. One such event happened on December 29th, 1862 as New Orleans officially becomes the possession of Union troops which finally completes an occupation that began a mere four days prior.

The Union dealt a huge blow to the Confederacy with the capture of this important city in the South. Although military strategists from the South had prepared down the Mississippi for an attack by the Union, the problem was not expecting one from the Gulf of Mexico. The Confederates determined that to prevent a Yankee invasion, they concentrated their forces in early 1862 in western Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Many of these forces on April 6th and 7th battled at Shiloh in Tennessee. Only 3,000 militia, a few steamboats and two ironclads that were uncompleted to protect New Orleans as eight Rebel gunboats had been sent up the great rive in order to stop above Memphis a Union flotilla; fort St. Phillip and Jackson were the Union’s imposing obstacles they had to overcome. Admiral David Farragut decided on April 24th during the middle of the night to lead a daring attempt to pass through the forts using 125,000 soldiers, a fleet of 24 gunboats and 19 mortar vessels.

Except for the Confederate’s ragtag fleet, the river to New Orleans was wide open. Sinking eight vessels, the Union’s powerful armada stormed right through. Confederate General Mansfield Lovell at New Orleans realized that it would be futile to resist considering the tiny force he had under his command. Lovell spoke to Mayor John Monroe saying that if they resisted, Farragut would basically level the city in which would inflict severe causalities and damage. 

The Yankees started to arrive at New Orleans on April 25th after Lovell had removed his force from there. Forts St. Phillip and Jackson needed to be secured before troops could land. New Orleans would have no protection after the surrender on April 29th. Crowds started to curse out loud the Yankees when they began to lower all the flags in the city belonging to the Confederates while raised in their place were the flags containing stars and stripes.

Besides a major city had been taken away from the Confederacy, the Union gained a highway on the lower Mississippi River that stretched 400 miles to Vicksburg, Mississippi.

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