James Ford Rhodes (18481927). History of the Civil War, 18611865 1917.
was formed generally at the North, where the victory was not considered so great a one as the capture of Fort Donelson. At all events the two victories had this important point in common, that each had brought forward a great commander possessed of original thought and the nerve and energy to carry it into execution.1 A naval victory is none the less striking than one by the army, once the reason of the lesser casualties is comprehended; and the cool Northern attitude may have been due to the apparent ease with which a very difficult task was accomplished.
The capture of New Orleans, a city of 168,000, the chief commercial port and the largest city of the South, a place well known in Europe as an important trading point, made Emperor Napoleon III waver from his intention to recognize the Confederate States; and it caused Palmerston to abandon for the moment a project which he may have had constantly in mind of joining with the Emperor in taking steps toward the breaking of the blockade.2
On April 7, General John Pope and Flag-officer Foote captured Island No. 10, an important fort on the Mississippi river. The occupation of Corinth compelled the evacuation of Fort Pillow, which opened the river below. In a battle off Memphis [June 6], the Union gunboats defeated the Confederate, securing the occupation of that city. Only the strongholds of Vicksburg and Port Hudson remained to the Confederacy wherewith to dispute the control of the Mississippi river.