Today, when failure to appreciate the imperative necessity of unity of command is regarded as a cardinal sin, it is interesting to note how lightly this fundamental principle of joint operations was regarded as recently as during our Civil War.
By April of 1862 the actions at Forts Henry and Donelson, Columbus, and lsland No. 10 had been fought. The upper Mississippi and its tributaries were under the control of the western flotilla, commanded by Flag Officer A. H. Foote. Farragut was advancing from the south and was soon to open the lower river as far north as Vicksburg.
There remained in the hands of the Confederates that portion of the river between Fort Pillow, located on the Tennessee shore about eighty miles above Memphis, and Vicksburg in the south, and it was imperative that both strongholds be taken in order that the entire river might be opened and the trans-Mississippi states be cut off from the Confederacy.