Army of Northern Virginia: February to September 1862

Battle For New Orleans

How significant was the capture of New Orleans?

It was, perhaps, the single most underestimated action of the Civil War. Men and women of the Confederate states, including Jefferson Davis, fully comprehended the magnitude of the disaster, but histories written over the next few decades tended to bury the event because of the relatively low number of casualties. In exchange for fewer than 250 men killed, wounded, and gone missing, Farragut brought about the surrender of the largest of all Southern cities and the collapse of the linchpin of the Confederate economy.

For many Confederates, the loss of New Orleans was the most poignant, even searing, event of the year 1862. First had come the terrible news of Forts Henry and Donelson, then the near-victory at Shiloh that cost so many lives. Then came the news that the Federals had penetrated the inner part of Cape Hatteras, then the surrender of New Orleans. No less a fire-eater than Edmund Ruffin, the man who claimed to have fired the first cannon shot against Fort Sumter, expressed consternation and dismay at the loss of New Orleans. And yet, with all this bad news, the Confederacy was actually menaced even more spectacularly, right at its heart.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Civil War Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App