Stu[id Essay

This essay has a total of 597 words and 4 pages.


The Anaconda Plan

At the onset of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln met with his generals to devise a
strategy by which the rebellious states of the Confederacy could be brought back into the
Union. General Winfield Scott, commanding general of the Union army, proposed a plan of
battle that became known as the Anaconda Plan.

General Winfield Scott, commanding general of the Union Army
From the Collections of
The Mariners' Museum
General Scott, a native Virginian, believed that the majority of Southerners desired a
complete union with the United States. In order to restore the Union with as little
bloodshed as possible, he favored a relatively nonaggressive policy. The primary strategy
of Scott's plan was to create a complete naval blockade of the Southern states. Named for
the South American snake that kills its prey by strangulation, Scott's plan was to
strangle the South into submission by cutting its supply lines to the outside world. The
plan was sound, but ambitious. For the plan to succeed, it would be necessary to blockade
more than 3,500 miles of coast from Virginia to Mexico and up the Mississippi from New
Orleans to New Madrid Bend. And the Anaconda Plan could only succeed over time: the South
would not starve overnight, so patience was an essential part of Scott's strategy.

Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, USA
From the Collections of
The Mariners' Museum
By adopting the Anaconda Plan, Lincoln ran the risk of committing diplomatic suicide.
Since a nation would never blockade its own ports, Lincoln was effectively recognizing the
Confederacy as a sovereign nation, something he had tried to avoid doing by proclaiming
the war as merely the suppression of a rebellion. This being the case, Navy Secretary
Gideon Welles feared that the Anaconda Plan would invite foreign nations to extend
diplomatic relations to the Confederacy. The blockade also posed the risk of offending
other nations attempting to trade with the Confederacy. If the blockade proved only
partially successful, it would only serve to infuriate foreign nations.

The Anaconda Plan
From the Collections of
The Mariners' Museum
The United States ultimately adopted the Anaconda Plan, with alterations. The blockade was
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