After the fall of New Orleans on 25 April, the Union had high hopes of completing the ‘Anaconda Plan’, which was to encircle the Confederacy by seizing their remaining Mississippi ports. Fresh from New Orleans, Flag Officer David Farragut sailed with a fleet to Vicksburg and demanded its surrender (18 May). The garrison commander, General Martin L. Smith, refused and a protracted bombardment began. Meanwhile, upriver, Memphis fell to the Union (6 June), permitting a Union flotilla under Charles H. Davis to join Farragut at Vicksburg. The Confederate ironclad Arkansas, stationed in the Yazoo River, was ordered to come to the support of the beleaguered city. This the Arkansas successfully accomplished, running the gauntlet of the entire Union fleet, before reaching the protection of Vicksburg’s batteries. Farragut initiated one further bombardment, this time in an attempt to disable the impudent Arkansas. However, the Arkansas remained largely unscathed and, on 24 July, Farragut abandoned the engagement.
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