Another commander of the US Pacific Fleet in World War II, Chester Nimitz, discussing the past conflict with his former Japanese opponents, insistently asked them why they chose ships and airfields as targets of the attack on Pearl Harbor, rather than oil depots, repair docks and supply depots. The fleet could be relatively quickly redeployed from other places, and the destruction of the economic and military infrastructure due to the remoteness of the naval base in Hawaii from the mainland would have put it out of action for a very long time, which the Japanese fleet could use for the complete physical destruction of the US Navy. Central Pacific.
The Americans themselves more than once had to suffer the consequences of an economic blockade. During the war of independence with the British Empire, the English fleet tightly blocked the rebellious territories and controlled sea communications. Only the policy of “armed neutrality”, initiated, by the way, by Catherine II, and then the direct intervention of the French and Spanish fleets allowed the newly formed American republic to break the British’s blockade.
The second time, and again from England, America was blocked in 1812 during the Anglo-American War. This time the economic noose was not as strong as thirty years earlier. At a time when Russian and Napoleonic troops were fighting near Smolensk, Borodino, Krasny and Maloyaroslavets, the American privateers caused significant damage to British trade in Atlantic communications.
So the United States from the very beginning felt the impact of war on the economy and the course of hostilities. Therefore, when the clouds of civil war began to deepen, plans for an economic war of the industrial North against the agrarian South began to appear in Washington. One of these was the plan of General Winfield Scott.
General Winfield Scott
In May 1861, immediately after the start of the war, Scott wrote to Major General North McClenan in a letter that "a tough blockade of the coast of the rebellious states will allow them to be subdued in the least bloody way." According to Scott's plan, the blockade of the Confederation was to kill two birds with one stone. On the one hand, cut off agricultural exports from the South to the world market and thereby reduce Richmond’s foreign exchange earnings. And on the other hand, to prevent the import of European weapons by the southern states, which they bought for the money from the sale of tobacco and cotton. In addition, the control over the Mississippi River itself divided the Confederation in two and did not allow Southerners to use this transport artery, which, due to the underdevelopment of the railway network in the south of the country, significantly complicated the already difficult economic situation.
Influenced by Scott's ideas, one of the newspapers in the North published a map, giving it the name "Scott's Great Serpent." The journalists immediately gave her the catchy name “Anaconda” in honor of the eponymous giant snake of South America, which stifled its victims. Nevertheless, the militant-minded public in the northern states did not accept Scott’s “blockade plan”. The Yankees wanted to go straight to Richmond to put an end to secession with one blow. Lincoln did not reject the blockade idea completely and began to implement it immediately after the start of the conflict, but all the resources of the North were thrown into an attempt to "push through" the defenses of the southerners using the overwhelming human and industrial potential of the federal forces. And only after these attempts ended in failure, and the Yankee’s army “washed up with blood,” was the backup plan taken out from under the cloth and turned into the main one.
The blockade was shrinking. The raid of General Sherman, who finally destroyed the economy of the South that was already breathing its last, was in fact a continuation of the “Anaconda Plan”, only in the land version.
The map itself is beautifully illustrated, and the semantics of its symbols makes it possible to more fully see how the Americans in the north of the country perceived only the beginning of a civil war.
Card "Anaconda". Image is increased by clicking
Note the most interesting places on the map. Let's start from the northeast corner of the map and then go down along the coast.
In the state of New York, there is a winged helmet of the god of commerce Hermes. “Free Trade” is written on its visor, and next to it is a figure of an infantryman, who rushes south with a bayonet at the ready. Pennsylvania is simply designated as a farm land, as it was then. The state of Maryland immediately surrendered (“we give in”), then the contours of the western part of Virginia show up, it is ready to separate from the slave-owning south and become a new state of West Virginia, which will happen in 2 years in 1863. The tail of the anaconda rests on the Washington flagpole, which crowns the Phrygian cap - a symbol of freedom since the French Revolution. And in the capital of Virginia, the city of Richmond, which became the capital and the whole of Confederation, a disturbed beehive is seen, from which the bees scatter throughout the south of the country.
Further visible is a thin line of people running north from South Carolina. And the black man, marching north with a bundle behind him, is altogether marked as “smuggling”. Black figures are running towards the state of Tennessee, which is a member of the Union, free from slavery. In Georgia, a cotton factory is visible, closed and collapsing due to a shortage of raw materials, precisely because of the blockade. In northern Florida - a fugitive slave hiding in the marshes. The Alabama, outraged, throws up his hands, because the first capital of the Confederation for several months was in the city of Montgomery, Alabama. In Mississippi - a riot of slaves burning the planter's estate. In the state of Louisiana, a man hanged by sympathy for the North is swinging.
On the right bank of the Mississippi, people with bales of cotton that “cannot be shipped” cannot find for themselves - again a blockade. In Texas, firing at runaway slaves with the signature "Expenditure shooting $ 1000.00 for the head." North of Texas are Indian territories, which will later become Oklahoma. In addition to the figure of a smoking Indian, a parcel hanging from a tree attracts the attention - it is a kind of Indian cradle. In Iowa and Kansas, soldiers marching southward.
The head of the snake in the colors of the American flag (allusion to the fact that the blockade is official and legal), rushes to Jackson and Co. (meaning the famous southerner commander General Jackson the Stone Wall), but an Arkansas militia armed to the teeth is ready to rush at the snake. In Kentucky, a soldier sits on the fence, taking a neutral position in the conflict at the time. In Indiana and Ohio, as opposed to the south suffering from the blockade, all the agricultural riches of the North are shown.