Concept VII: The Civil War in the Delta

GOAL

The goal of this concept is to illustrate that the "Lower Mississippi River Valley was the most critical theater of the Civil War." As presented in the recently published brochure The Thousand Mile Front: Civil War in the Lower Mississippi Valley, many significant battles and skirmishes occurred across the region. From Shiloh, Tennessee, to Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Pea Ridge, Arkansas, to New Orleans, Louisiana, the courageous sons and daughters of the North and South gave their lives in the war that split the nation. The region offers a variety of resources that recall the strategies that were planned, the men, women, and children whose lives were forever changed and the battles that occurred during the nation’s conflict with itself.

IMPORTANCE/SIGNIFICANCE

The election of Abraham Lincoln as president in 1860 changed the lives of all Americans almost overnight and the nation itself forever. Lincoln’s belief that "a house divided against itself cannot stand," created a sense of crisis in the South and brought the issues that divided the nation into sharp focus.

The Mississippi River became the focal point in the war plans of both sides. "The Father of Waters" had moved lumber, wheat, corn, and meat from the Midwest, cotton and tobacco from the Upper South to New Orleans, and European goods upriver. Control of the Mississippi and the rivers that flow into it would allow the North to move troops and supplies into the South while crippling the South’s ability to survive. The South needed to protect itself, especially the rich farmland of the Mississippi River Valley, from Northern invasion. The Mississippi, carrier of commerce, became the bearer of dreams as a divided nation struggled with itself over its future.

The Civil War changed not only the South but the nation. War ravaged the South, destroying railroads, factories, and homes. The end of the Civil War brought an uneasy peace, but was followed by one of the most traumatic periods in American history — Reconstruction. During that period, the Lower Mississippi Valley would also play an important role.

RESOURCES

Map of Civil War sites in the Lower Mississippi Delta Region

This concept, based on the map of "Thousand Mile Front" focuses on those resources related to battles and/or skirmishes that occurred during the Civil War in the Lower Mississippi Delta. Today visitors can learn about the Civil War at National Park Service sites, including Shiloh National Military Park, Shiloh, Tennessee, Vicksburg National Military Park, Vicksburg, Mississippi; state park units like Fort Pillow State Historic Area, Fulton, Tennessee, or Columbus-Belmont Battlefield State Park, Columbus, Kentucky. Many small local museums also contain Civil War memorabilia and local histories. Roadside plaques and monuments commemorate events and military leaders from the Delta.

BATTLES AND SKIRMISHES — These sites represent the places where significant battles ensued between Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War. There are many more sites where troops were garrisoned, local residents fortified their towns against the threat of war, and where plans were hatched to foil the enemy. This concept draws on the work of the Civil War Heritage Task Force that produced the brochure: The Thousand Mile Front: Civil War in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Missouri

1. Westport

2. Deerfield

3. Carthage

4. Neosho

5. Republic

6. Springfield

7. Ozark

8. Hartsville

9. Pilot Knob

10. Cape Girardeau

11. Charleston

12. Belmont

13. New Madrid

Kentucky

14. Sacramento

Arkansas

15. Pea Ridge

16. Fayetteville

17. Prairie Grove

18. St. Francis

19. Prescott

20. Chidester

21. New Edinburg

22. St. Charles

23. Gillett

24. Lake Village

Tennessee

25. Tiptonville

26. Union City

27. Kenton

28. Rutherford

29. Dyer

30. Trenton

31. Humbolt

32. Denmark

33. Fulton

34. McKenzie

35. Parkers Crossroads

36. Lexington Arkansas

37. Chesterfield

38. Clifton

39. Shiloh

40. Pocahontas

Mississippi

41. Corinth

42. Baldwin

43. Tupelo

44. Greenwood

45. Vicksburg

46. Jackson

47. Raymond

48. Port Gibson

49. Union Church

Louisiana

50. Port Hudson

51. Baton Rouge

52. Harrisonburg

53. Marksville

54. Simmesport

55. Pleasant Hill

56. Mansfield Kentucky

57. Triumph

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Last updated: November 16, 2017