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Encyclopedia > Anaconda Plan
1861 Cartoon map of Scott's plan

The Anaconda Plan was proposed in 1861 by Union General Winfield Scott to win the American Civil War with minimal loss of life, enveloping the Confederacy by blockade at sea and control of the Mississippi River. The name "Anaconda" is taken from the way an Anaconda constricts its prey. Image File history File linksMetadata Anaconda_Plan. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Anaconda_Plan. ... The 21st Michigan Infantry, a company of Shermans veterans. ... For other uses of Winfield Scott, see Winfield Scott (disambiguation). ... Combatants United States of America (Union) Confederate States of America (Confederacy) Commanders Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee Strength 2,200,000 1,064,000 Casualties 110,000 killed in action, 360,000 total dead, 275,200 wounded 93,000 killed in action, 258,000 total... Motto Deo Vindice (Latin: Under God, Our Vindicator) Anthem (none official) God Save the South (unofficial) The Bonnie Blue Flag (unofficial) Dixie (unofficial) Capital Montgomery, Alabama (until May 29, 1861) Richmond, Virginia (May 29, 1861–April 2, 1865) Danville, Virginia (from April 3, 1865) Language(s) English (de facto) Religion... 1861 Cartoon map of the blockade // The Union Blockade refers to the naval actions between 1861 and 1865, during the American Civil War, in which the Union Navy maintained a massive effort on the Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the Confederate States of America designed to prevent the passage of... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... For other uses, see Anaconda (disambiguation). ...



Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan, a rising military star in Ohio, proposed an overall strategy for the war directly to President Abraham Lincoln, one that emphasized the part his army could play. Scott, the general-in-chief of the U.S. Army, wrote a letter to McClellan on May 3, 1861, stating in part:[1] Insignia of a United States Air Force Major General German Generalmajor Insignia Major General is a military rank used in many countries. ... For the 1960s commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, see George McClellan (police commissioner). ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Columbus Largest city Columbus Largest metro area Greater Cleveland Area  Ranked 34th  - Total 44,825 sq mi (116,096 km²)  - Width 220 miles (355 km)  - Length 220 miles (355 km)  - % water 8. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Abraham Lincoln (disambiguation). ... The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces which has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... is the 123rd day of the year (124th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1861 (MDCCCLXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ...

It is the design of the Government to raise 25,000 additional regular troops, and 60,000 volunteers, for three years. ... We rely greatly on the sure operation of a complete blockade of the Atlantic and Gulf ports soon to commence. In connection with such blockade, we propose a powerful movement down the Mississippi to the ocean, with a cordon of posts at proper points ... the object being to clear out and keep open this great line of communication in connection with the strict blockade of the seaboard, so as to envelop the insurgent States and bring them to terms with less bloodshed than by any other plan.

Winfield Scott, letter to McClellan


Scott went on to warn against hot-headed demands for a march on the Confederate capital of Richmond. Scott's plan involved two main parts: Nickname: Motto: Sic dic Itur Ad Astra (Thus do we reach the stars) Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia Coordinates: , Country State County Independent City Government  - Mayor L. Douglas Wilder (I) Area  - City 62. ...

  1. Blockade the coast of the South to prevent the export of cotton, tobacco, and other cash crops from the South and to keep them from importing much-needed war supplies.
  2. Divide the South by controlling the Mississippi River to cut off the southeastern states from the West. Scott considered this an "envelopment" rather than an "invasion", although it would require armies and fleets of river gunboats to accomplish it.

Historic Southern United States. ... For other uses, see Cotton (disambiguation). ... Shredded tobacco leaf for pipe smoking Tobacco can also be pressed into plugs and sliced into flakes Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the fresh leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. ... In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for money. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... As defined by the Census Bureau, the western United States includes 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington lincoln, and Wyoming. ...


Scott's proposal received considerable public criticism at the time. A famous newspaper cartoon depicted a huge snake squeezing the Confederacy, thus giving the plan its popular name. The United States government never formally adopted it, but President Lincoln did implement the two parts. However, he ignored Scott's warning against direct invasion and used far more troops (nearly two million), trying repeatedly to capture Richmond.

Lincoln called for a blockade of the South on April 19, 1861, six days after the fall of Fort Sumter (and a few weeks before Scott's letter). The blockade itself, thought to be an impossible task against 3,000 miles (4,800 km) of irregular coastline, was an unparalleled success within the first six months and nearly impregnable within two years. The blockade accounted for the vast increase in the price of cotton abroad and the scarcity of manufactured goods in the South by the end of the war, contributing to the South's defeat. It was the most successful naval blockade to date and the first one carried out exclusively by the use of a national navy, without employing privateers. As part of the blockade, numerous Southern ports and coastal forts were captured and held by the U.S. Navy. is the 109th day of the year (110th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1861 (MDCCCLXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Fort Sumter, a Third System masonry coastal fortification located in Charleston harbor, South Carolina, was named after General Thomas Sumter. ... The United States Navy (USN) is the branch of the United States armed forces responsible for naval operations. ...

The second part of the plan was accomplished as Union armies under Henry W. Halleck, Ulysses S. Grant, and Nathaniel P. Banks, and U.S. Navy fleets under Andrew H. Foote, David D. Porter, and David Farragut gradually seized control of the Mississippi in 1862, completing the task in July 1863 with the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson. Henry Wager Halleck (1815 - 1872) was an American soldier and politician. ... Ulysses S. Grant,[2] born Hiram Ulysses Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877). ... Nathaniel Prentiss Banks (January 30, 1816–September 1, 1894), American politician and soldier, was born at Waltham, Massachusetts. ... Andrew Hull Foote (12 September 1806 _ 26 June 1863) was an admiral in the United States Navy who served during the Civil War. ... Portrait of David Dixon Porter during the Civil War Vice Admiral David Dixon Porter (June 8, 1813 – February 13, 1891) was a United States naval officer who became one of the most noted naval heroes of the Civil War. ... Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Admiral David Glasgow Farragut David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was the senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. ... Combatants United States of America Confederate States of America Commanders Ulysses S. Grant John C. Pemberton Strength 77,000[1] ~30,000 Casualties 4,855[2] 32,697 (29,495 surrendered)[2] The Battle of Vicksburg, or Siege of Vicksburg, was the final significant battle in the Vicksburg Campaign of... Battle of Port Hudson Conflict American Civil War Date May 21-July 9, 1863 Place East Baton Rouge Parish and East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana Result Union victory The Siege of Port Hudson occurred in 1863 when 30,000 Union Army troops surrounded the Mississippi River town of Port Hudson, Louisiana. ...


  • Elliott, Charles Winslow, Winfield Scott: The Soldier and the Man, Macmillan, 1937.
  • McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era (Oxford History of the United States), Oxford University Press, 1988, ISBN 0-19-503863-0.

For the Civil War General of a similar name see James B. McPherson James M. McPherson (born October 11, 1936) is an American Civil War historian, and is the George Henry Davis 86 Professor Emeritus of United States History at Princeton University. ...


  1. ^ Elliott, p. 722.

External links

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The Anaconda Plan As the armies of the United States and the Confederacy organized themselves, Abraham Lincoln met with his generals to form a plan of battle.
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The Anaconda Plan was approved by President Lincoln and became a major part of the strategy that the United States used in the Civil War.
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