E have said in a former chapter that Halleck
had been unable to employ, in any important operation south or east, the large forces at his disposal in the month of June.
He had allowed the Confederates
to establish themselves at Vicksburg
and Port Hudson
These two citadels, which reciprocally covered each other, barred the navigation of the Mississippi
, and connected the two sections of the Confederacy
had quietly taken possession of these places, and in the month of August pushed his outposts as far as the Memphis
and Corinth Railroad.
More to the east, Sterling Price
occupied the neighborhood of Tupelo
with the troops he had brought from Arkansas
in the spring.
The Federals were acting on the defensive.
's army, which was concentrating at Chattanooga
, and that of Lee
, which was marching upon the Rapidan
, menaced their actual possessions too seriously for them to think of new conquests on the Mississippi
Besides, the oppressive summer heats would not permit the Northern
soldiers to venture with impunity into the marshy regions which border the great river.
In short, all the available troops had gone to join Buell
's army under Thomas
' command; and Grant
was left with only a sufficient force to protect the conquests made on the Tennessee
and the Mississippi
The districts thus acquired were divided into two military departments; that of West Tennessee
, placed under Grant
, with the troops which had been left him, was bounded on the south by that of the Mississippi
, under Rosecrans
, the successor of Pope
in the command of the army of the Mississippi; but this division was of a purely administrative character, the supreme control of the defences of all the territory comprised between East Tennessee