The Confederacy had a great opportunity to turn the Civil War in
its favor in 1864, but squandered this chance when it failed to
finish off a Union army cornered in Louisiana because of concerns
about another Union army coming south from Arkansas. The
Confederates were so confused that they could not agree on a course
of action to contend with both threats, thus the Union offensive
advancing from Arkansas saved the one in Louisiana and became known
to history as the Camden Expedition. The Camden Expedition is
intriguing because of the "might-have-beens" had the key players
made different decisions. The author contends that if Frederick
Steele, commander of the Federal VII Army Corps, had not received a
direct order from General Ulysses S. Grant to move south, disaster
would have befallen not only the Army of the Gulf in Louisiana but
the entire Union cause, and possibly would have prevented Abraham
Lincoln from winning reelection.
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