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Opportunities Seized and Squandered: An Analysis of Joint Union and Confederate Operations at New Madrid and Island Number Ten

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Technical Report,10 Aug 2015,10 Jun 2016

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The first year of the Civil War saw the struggle intensify as both Federal and Confederate militaries had to mobilize forces, install a command structure, and identify strategies for their geographic commanders. In the Western Theater of the war, both Northern and Southern strategies focused upon the Mississippi River as the center of gravity to their respective successes. Island Number Ten was the tenth island south of the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and along with the small town of New Madrid, Missouri, was one of the string of fortifications that the Confederates constructed to keep the Union forces from taking control of the river and splitting the Confederacy. In the spring of 1862, Union forces under Major General John Pope brought 20,000 Union Soldiers in conjunction with a Navy flotilla of ironclad gunboats against the Confederates fortifications and 7,000 soldiers. What ensued was six weeks of unique fighting with joint Confederate and Union forces taking part. The root cause of the decisive Union victory is broken down in to the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. These root causes, along with the leadership lessons throughout the levels show the enduring value of the analysis of the operations at New Madrid and Island Number Ten.

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