This chapter describes the Union navy’s first attack on Vicksburg in summer 1862. The navy’s string of successes in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Natchez convinced naval officers that Vicksburg, too, would fall quickly. However, naval commanders on the Mississippi and Union strategists in Washington would later realize that they had been far too optimistic. The Mississippi River does not now flow through the same channel past Vicksburg as it did during the Civil War—a hairpin turn challenged the power of vessels going upstream against the current and skilled pilots going downstream with the current.
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