Midpoint of the War: May to July 1863

Small Towns in a Big War

Was there any chance that the canal might have worked?

Just barely. Given the right kind of temperatures, and the right kind of snow melt coming down the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, it was barely possible. But those natural circumstances did not “fall into line” and the harder Grant’s men worked, the further behind they fell. Realizing this, Grant abandoned the attempt. March 28, 1863, appears to be the key day, the one on which Grant decided on an entirely different strategy. He had, of course, considered it a few months earlier, but at that time it seemed even riskier, even more quixotic than digging the canal.


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