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Scott-anaconda
1861 characterized map of Scott's plan

The Anaconda Plan is the name applied to a Union Army outline strategy for suppressing the Confederacy at the beginning of the American Civil War. Proposed by Union General-in-Chief Winfield Scott, the plan emphasized a Union blockade of the Southern ports and called for an advance down the Mississippi River to cut the South in two.

Scott's plan had elements similar to a plan created before the Civil War. That the plan was intended to crush a limited domestic rebellion by closing ports and using the army to pressure civilians to demand surrender.

Because the blockade would be rather passive, it was widely made fun of by a faction of Union generals who wanted a more vigorous prosecution of the war and likened it to the coils of an anaconda suffocating its victim. The snake image caught on, giving the proposal its popular name.

In the early days of the Civil War, Scott's proposed strategy for the war against the South had two prominent features. First, all ports in the seceding states were to be blockaded. Secondly, a strong column of perhaps 80,000 men should use the Mississippi River as a highway to push completely through the Confederacy.

A a relatively-small amphibious force of army troops transported by boats and supported by gunboats, should advance rapidly, capturing the Confederate positions down the river in sequence. It would be followed by a more traditional army, marching behind to secure victories.

The final battle would be for the forts below New Orleans. When they fell, the river would be in US hands from its source to its mouth, and the rebellion would be cut in two.

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