In the West, out in Tennessee and Mississippi, Abraham Lincoln had his own successful generals men like Philip Sheridan , William Tecumseh Sherman , George Thomas , and Ulysses S. Grant . Between February and June 1862 they won a series of remarkable victories there. But in the Eastwhich was a much more visible arena to most peopleLincoln had trouble finding the right generals.
To start with, he had old General Winfield Scott , who had commanded the army in the Mexican War in 1846. Scott was a big man, but in terrible physical shape, as he himself admitted: "For more than three years I have been unable, from a hurt, to mount a horse or to walk more than a few paces at a time."
It was Scott's idea to mount a blockade of Southern ports. He knew that would really hurt the South . General Scott also said the North needed to control the Mississippi River. That would cut off Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas from the rest of the South. Then the Union could send armies from the east and west to squeeze the Confederacy like an anaconda squeezes its prey. It was a good idea, but Scott's plan was widely ridiculed, and President Lincoln was forced to look for a new general. In his resignation, Scott said this: "It is with deep regret that I withdraw myself, in these momentous times, from the orders of a president who has treated me with distinguished kindness and courtesy."