Union Riverborne Traffic

USS ALASKA

2nd Lieutenant
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#1
After the Union victories at Vicksburg and Port Hudson, the North 'controlled' the Mississippi river.

'The Confederacy was now cut in two; one week later, an unarmed ship arrived in Union-held New Orleans from St. Louis after an uneventful trip down the river. President Lincoln announced, "The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea." ' Vicksburg, The Campaign that Opened the Mississippi' by Michael Ballard, p 410

How much of antebellum traffic levels from the Union on the Mississippi watershed were restored before the end of the war? Did commercial traffic numbers start to rise or did shippers play it safe and wait for the post-war?

Thanks for the help,
USS ALASKA
 

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Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
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#2
If there are hard numbers, I'm not certain where to find them.

I do know that there was a certain resumption of civilian traffic, simply based on the fact that there were reported incidents of random firings on civilian boats, and also known instances of civilian boats smuggling contraband goods (not "Contrabands") that were reported and investigated. I would have to think, though, that the traffic was nowhere near peacetime levels, if for no other reason than so many boats had been contracted into government service.
 

DaveBrt

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#3
Much of the pre-war river traffic had been grain going to New Orleans for trans-shipment by oceangoing ships to the Gulf states, Mexico and Europe. The Gulf states were no longer customers of Union NO and the European grain traffic was going more and more by train from the mid-west to New York, so much of the traffic that did resume was probably just supporting the NO population and the Union military.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#4
Much of the pre-war river traffic had been grain going to New Orleans for trans-shipment by oceangoing ships to the Gulf states, Mexico and Europe. The Gulf states were no longer customers of Union NO and the European grain traffic was going more and more by train from the mid-west to New York, so much of the traffic that did resume was probably just supporting the NO population and the Union military.
I know there was a lot starting to go via the Great Lakes, too... within just a few years what would later become known as the St. Lawrence Seaway would begin development. It wouldn't have been nearly as significant as it would later become, but it was under weigh.
 

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