Samples of Confederate Losses

Updated on December 18, 2017
RGraf profile image

Rebecca Graf is a seasoned writer with nearly a decade of experience and degrees in accounting, history, and creative writing.

The American Civil War was a bloody affair that ripped the nation apart. The North versus the South had brought family against family. It divided the land and the people with hatred and sadness.

Each side had its ups and downs. There were momemts when the Union saw the permament dissolution of the United States. There were moments when the Confederacy saw itself forever under the thumb of the North. Since the Union won the war, we too often forget the details. Here is a quick look at some of the major Confederate losses that helped the Union to overcome the conflict.


1862 - Critical Year

1862 proved to be crucial for the Confederacy in decision making and loses on the battlefield. In losing Nashville, New Orleans, and Memphis, the South lost strategic points in their military planning. Each one would prove to hurt the Confederacy in the long-term.

The American Civil War was never a guaranteed win for either side. Yes, we can look back now and see a tilt to the Union side, but during the war, it was anyone's gamble. Every decision was fraught with uncertainty.

Battle of Nashville
Battle of Nashville

Nashville and Cumberland

The fall of Nashville would follow in the wake of the loss of Fort Donelson in Kentucky on the Cumberland River. In February 1862, the Confederates pulled back and retreated leaving Nashville open for Union occupation. Not a shot was fired. This was after intense battle for the control of Cumberland River which the Union won mainly due to confusion on the Confederate side.

If the South continued to fight, they would have been cut off from supplies and the Confederacy as Grant moved the left flank to encircle the soldiers. The only choice was to completely retreat south of Nashville. There basically was no attempt to defend Nashville at that stage as the soldiers did not have the means to do so. Grant moved in on Nashville hitting the South a morale blow with the first capital of a Confederate state having fallen in the hands of the Union. Taking Nashville also gave the North more access to water and a central possession of land in the Deep South.

New Orleans

From there, the South lost another vital city in New Orleans to the Union. In late April and early May of 1862, New Orleans' strategic location became Union prime real estate. At the time, New Orleans was the South's largest city as well as one of the most perfectly situated cities at the mouth of the Mississippi River. This was desired by both sides as it gave whoever controlled it complete access to the large navigable river.

David Farragut, a captain in the young navy, led the attack against New Orleans. It was a joint effort between the navy and the army to pull the Confederates in two directions. The army was led by Benjamin Butler. Defending the city was Mansfield Lovell who used multiple river forts along the banks to fight the Union. He also tried to barricade the river. The key to Union victory was in the surprise use and power of the Union navy. With the naval power battering down New Orleans, Lovell pulled out of the city and abandoned it once it became apparent that defending it would prove futile.



A month later in June 1862, Memphis found itself facing Union firepower under the leadership of Charles Henry Davis. Memphis was the retreating point of the Confederate navy from Fort Pillow under James Montgomery. The Union navy followed the retreating Confederate water presence and opened fire.

The weakened Confederate navy did not stand a chance against the stronger Union one. It all came down to the power on the water. With the defeat of the Confederate navy, Memphis quickly surrendered. Very little else was done to protect the city.


The Results

The Union army and navy began a quick direct assault on the cities that would give the Union access to valuable waterways in the South. Waterways were the interstate highways of the day. They were vital to commerce, travel, and militlary movements.

By easily taking Nashville and Memphis along with the intense fighting over New Orleans, the Union had within four months taken control of the largest waterways in the South. This effectively handicapped the Confederacy.


- -

- Civil =

- -


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)