The Lower Seaboard Theater of the American Civil War encompassed major military and naval operations that occurred near the coastal areas of the Southeastern United States: in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas) as well as southern part of the Mississippi River (Port Hudson and south).
The Southeastern United States is broadly, the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises at least a core of states on the lower East Coast of the United States and eastern Gulf Coast. Expansively, it includes everything south of the Mason–Dixon line, the Ohio River and the 36°30' parallel, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. There is no official U.S. government definition of the region, though various agencies and departments use different definitions.
Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.
Florida is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive, the 3rd-most populous, and the 8th-most densely populated of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.
Inland operations are included in the Western Theater or Trans-Mississippi Theater, depending on whether they were east or west of the Mississippi River. Coastal operations in Georgia, including the culmination of Sherman's March to the Sea, are included in the Western Theater.
The Western Theater of the American Civil War encompassed major military operations in the states of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, North Carolina, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as Louisiana east of the Mississippi River. Operations on the coasts of these states, except for Mobile Bay, are considered part of the Lower Seaboard Theater. Most other operations east of the Mississippi are part of the Eastern Theater. Operations west of the Mississippi River took place in the Trans-Mississippi Theater.
The Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War consists of the major military operations west of the Mississippi River. The area is often thought of as excluding the states and territories bordering the Pacific Ocean, which formed the Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War (1861-1865).
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The campaign classification established by the U.S. National Park Service,which calls these the Lower Seaboard Theater and Gulf Approach operations, is more fine-grained than the one used in this article. Some minor NPS campaigns have been omitted and some have been combined into larger categories. Only a few of the 31 battles the NPS classifies for this theater are described. The Port Royal Expedition of 1861 has been added, although it has not been classified by the NPS. Boxed text in the right margin show the NPS campaigns associated with each section.
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the United States federal government that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. It was created on August 25, 1916, by Congress through the National Park Service Organic Act and is an agency of the United States Department of the Interior. The NPS is charged with a dual role of preserving the ecological and historical integrity of the places entrusted to its management while also making them available and accessible for public use and enjoyment.
Union Naval activities in this theater were dictated by the Anaconda Plan, with its emphasis on strangling the South with an ever-tightening blockade, and later in executing attacks on and occupying the port cities of New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston. The Confederate response was mainly limited to blockade running and the Confederate Navy reacting defensively to Union incursions, with mixed success.
The Union Navy was the United States Navy (USN) during the American Civil War, when it fought the Confederate States Navy (CSN). The term is sometimes used carelessly to include vessels of war used on the rivers of the interior while they were under the control of the United States Army, also called the Union Army.
The Anaconda Plan is the name applied to a Union Army outline strategy for suppressing the Confederacy at the beginning of the American Civil War. Proposed by Union General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, the plan emphasized a Union blockade of the Southern ports and called for an advance down the Mississippi River to cut the South in two. Because the blockade would be rather passive, it was widely derided by a vociferous faction of Union generals who wanted a more vigorous prosecution of the war and likened it to the coils of an anaconda suffocating its victim. The snake image caught on, giving the proposal its popular name.
New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the southeastern region of the U.S. state of Louisiana. With an estimated population of 391,006 in 2018, it is the most populous city in Louisiana. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.
Much of the war along the South Carolina coast concentrated on capturing Charleston, due both to its role as a port for blockade runners and to its symbolic role as the starting place of the war.One of the earliest battles of the war was fought at Port Royal Sound, south of Charleston. The Union navy selected this location as a coaling station for the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.
Charleston is the oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston–North Charleston–Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina's coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley, Cooper, and Wando rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 136,208 in 2018. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 787,643 residents as of 2018, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.
The Battle of Port Royal was one of the earliest amphibious operations of the American Civil War, in which a United States Navy fleet and United States Army expeditionary force captured Port Royal Sound, South Carolina, between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina, on November 7, 1861. The sound was guarded by two forts on opposite sides of the entrance, Fort Walker on Hilton Head Island to the south and Fort Beauregard on Phillip's Island to the north. A small force of four gunboats supported the forts, but did not materially affect the battle.
In attempting to capture Charleston, the Union military tried two approaches, by land over James or Morris Islands or through the harbor. However, the Confederates were able to drive back each Union attack. One of the most famous of the land attacks was the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, in which the 54th Massachusetts Infantry took part. The Federals suffered a serious defeat in this battle, losing 1,500 men while the Confederates lost only 175.During the night of February 23, 1864, the CSS Hunley made the first successful sinking of an enemy warship by a submarine, although the Hunley was also sunk shortly afterwards. The Confederates used other crafts such as the David but these were not as successful.
The Second Battle of Fort Wagner, also known as the Second Assault on Morris Island or the Battle of Fort Wagner, Morris Island, was fought on July 18, 1863, during the American Civil War. Union Army troops commanded by Brig. Gen. Quincy Gillmore, launched an unsuccessful assault on the Confederate fortress of Fort Wagner, which protected Morris Island, south of Charleston Harbor. The battle came one week after the First Battle of Fort Wagner.
H. L. Hunley, often referred to as Hunley, was a submarine of the Confederate States of America that played a small part in the American Civil War. Hunley demonstrated the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. She was the first combat submarine to sink a warship, although Hunley was not completely submerged and, following her successful attack, was lost along with her crew before she could return to base. The Confederacy lost 21 crewmen in three sinkings of Hunley during her short career. She was named for her inventor, Horace Lawson Hunley, shortly after she was taken into government service under the control of the Confederate States Army at Charleston, South Carolina.
CSSDavid was a Civil War-era torpedo boat. On October 5, 1863, she undertook a partially successful attack on the USS New Ironsides, then participating in the blockade of Charleston, South Carolina.
Fort Pulaski on the Georgia coast was an early target for the Union navy. Following the capture of Port Royal, an expedition was organized with engineer troops under the command of Captain Quincy A. Gillmore. After a month of positioning 36 mortars and rifled cannons on nearby Tybee Island, Gillmore opened a bombardment of the fort on April 10. The Confederates surrendered the following afternoon after their magazine was threatened by Union shells. The Union army occupied the fort for the rest of the war after making repairs.
Following the secession of Florida in January 1861, Florida troops seized most Federal property in the state with the exceptions of Fort Zachary Taylor at Key West and Fort Pickens at Pensacola. The Union navy established a blockade of the coast early in the war, with the state's Atlantic coast covered by the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron and the Gulf coast by the East Gulf Blockading squadron.
Several small skirmishes were fought in the state, but no major battles. In 1864, in an attempt to organize a pro-Union government in Florida, a Union force under Brigadier General Truman Seymour moved inland from Jacksonville but was defeated at the Battle of Olustee on February 20, which was the largest Civil War battle in Florida.The Union army attempted to capture the state capital of Tallahassee but were defeated at the Battle of Natural Bridge on March 8, 1865. Florida was one of only two Confederate states not to have its capital captured in the war.
One of the early Union objectives in the war was the capture of the Mississippi River, in order to cut the Confederacy in half. "The key to the river was New Orleans, the South's largest port [and] greatest industrial center."In April 1862, a Union naval task force commanded by Commander David D. Porter attacked Forts Jackson and St. Philip, which guarded the river approach to the city from the south. While part of the fleet bombarded the forts, other vessels forced a break in the obstructions in the river and enabled the rest of the fleet to steam upriver to the city. A Union army force commanded by Major General Benjamin Butler landed near the forts and forced their surrender.
The following year, the Union Army of the Gulf commanded by Major General Nathaniel P. Banks laid siege to Port Hudson for nearly eight weeks, the longest siege in US military history. To cut Port Hudson's supply lines through the Red River, Banks first advanced up Bayou Teche, capturing the Atchafalaya and the Red rivers up to Alexandria. (See Bayou Teche Campaign.)The Confederates defending the city surrendered on July 9, after hearing of the surrender at Vicksburg. These two surrenders gave the Union control over the entire Mississippi River and split the Confederacy in half.
For the rest of war the Confederates concentrated on trying to recapturing the areas they lost. From June to September 1863 Major General Richard Taylor, commander of the District of West Louisiana, attempted to recapture the Union gains, both to cut Bank's communications with New Orleans and possibly to recapture the city itself. While successful in some battles, the Confederates failed in both objectives.
The Battle of Olustee or Battle of Ocean Pond was fought in Baker County, Florida on February 20, 1864, during the American Civil War. It was the only major battle fought in Florida during the war.
The Vicksburg campaign was a series of maneuvers and battles in the Western Theater of the American Civil War directed against Vicksburg, Mississippi, a fortress city that dominated the last Confederate-controlled section of the Mississippi River. The Union Army of the Tennessee under Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant gained control of the river by capturing this stronghold and defeating Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton's forces stationed there.
The first USS Arizona was an iron-hulled, side-wheel merchant steamship. Seized by the Confederate States of America in 1862 during the American Civil War, she was captured later the same year by the United States Navy.
The following is a list of engagements that took place in 1861 during the American Civil War.
The following is a list of engagements that took place in 1862 during the American Civil War. During the summer and early spring of the year, Union forces gained several successes over the Confederacy, seizing control of Missouri, northern Arkansas, Kentucky, and western Tennessee, along with several coastal areas. Confederate forces defended the capital of Richmond, Virginia, from Union assaults, and then launched counter–offensives into Kentucky and Maryland, both of which end in Union victories.
The Union blockade in the American Civil War was a naval strategy by the United States to prevent the Confederacy from trading.
The following engagements took place in the year 1863 during the American Civil War. During the year, Union forces captured the Confederate cities of Vicksburg and Port Hudson, giving them complete control over the Mississippi River, while forcing Confederates out of the North following the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Siege of Fort Pulaski concluded with the Battle of Fort Pulaski fought April 10–11, 1862, during the American Civil War. Union forces on Tybee Island and naval operations conducted a 112-day siege, then captured the Confederate-held Fort Pulaski after a 30-hour bombardment. The siege and battle are important for innovative use of rifled guns which made existing coastal defenses obsolete. The Union initiated large-scale amphibious operations under fire.
Truman Seymour was a career soldier and an accomplished painter. He served in the Union Army during the American Civil War, rising to the rank of major general. He was present at the Battle of Fort Sumter. He commanded the Union troops at the Battle of Olustee, the only major Civil War battle fought in Florida.
The Second Battle of Fort Sumter was fought on September 8, 1863, in Charleston Harbor. Confederate General P. G. T. Beauregard, who had commanded the defenses of Charleston and captured Fort Sumter in the first battle of the war, was in overall command of the defenders. In the battle, Union forces under Major General Quincy Gillmore attempted to retake the fort at the mouth of the harbor. Union gunners pummeled the fort from their batteries on Morris Island. After a severe bombing of the fort, Beauregard suspecting an attack replaced the artillerymen and all but one of the fort's guns with 320 infantrymen, who repulsed the naval landing party. Gillmore had reduced Fort Sumter to a pile of rubble, but the Confederate flag still waved over the ruins.
Florida had joined the Confederate States of America in advance of the Civil War, as the third of the original seven states to secede from the Union, following Lincoln's 1860 election. With the smallest population, nearly half of them slaves, Florida sent only 15,000 troops to the Confederate States Army. Its chief importance was in food-supply to the south and support for blockade-runners along its long coastline full of inlets that were hard to patrol.
Quincy Adams Gillmore was an American civil engineer, author, and a general in the Union Army during the American Civil War. He was noted for his actions in the Union victory at Fort Pulaski, where his modern rifled artillery readily pounded the fort's exterior stone walls, an action that essentially rendered stone fortifications obsolete. He earned an international reputation as an organizer of siege operations and helped revolutionize the use of naval gunnery.
The Second Battle of Charleston Harbor, also known as the Siege of Charleston Harbor, Siege of Fort Wagner, or Battle of Morris Island, took place during the American Civil War in the late summer of 1863 between a combined U.S. Army/Navy force and the Confederate defenses of Charleston, South Carolina.
USS Winona was a Unadilla-class gunboat built for service with the Union Navy during the American Civil War. Winona was heavily armed, with large guns for duels at sea, and 24-pounder howitzers for shore bombardment. Winona saw significant action in the Gulf of Mexico and in the waterways of the Mississippi River and was fortunate to return home safely after the war for decommissioning.
USS George Mangham (1854) was a schooner acquired by the Union Navy during the American Civil War. She was used by the Union Navy as a gunboat in support of the Union Navy blockade of Confederate waterways.
The following engagements took place in the year 1864 during the American Civil War. The Union armies, under the command of U.S. Grant, launched multiple offenses in all theaters of the war, in an attempt to prevent Confederate forces from transferring troops from one army to another.
This is a list of battles and skirmishes of the American Civil War during the year 1865, the final year of the war. During the year, Union forces were able to capture the last major Confederate ports still open to shipping, along with the Confederate capital, and forced the surrender of the four major Confederate commands.