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Enabling Victory: Operational Sustainment and Grant's Vicksburg Campaign

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Technical Report,26 Jun 2017,24 May 2018

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Union Army, under the direction of General Ulysses S. Grant, waged a siege on the city of Vicksburg, and the Confederate forces within, from May 18-July 4, 1863. The reduction of Vicksburg solidified Federal control of the Mississippi River, severed the Confederate lines of communication from the Trans-Mississippi to the Western and Eastern Theaters of Operations, and served a precursor to Shermans infamous March to the Sea. While the siege was remarkable in its own right, the Unions operational approach was more phenomenal. Grant and the Union Army employed operational sustainment to conduct a six-month campaign to set the theater leading to the Confederate surrender on July 4, 1863. This analysis first defines operational sustainment. It then pivots to look at Grants operational approach from November 1862 to May 1863 to reveal a deeper understanding of operational sustainment and its contribution to enabling victory. In doing so, contemporary practitioners may find a key to unlocking answers to the set the theater problem-set, as well as a new lens in which to view other past, present, and future operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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