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General Scott explained his plan to President Lincoln: The Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River divided the Confederacy into three nearly equal parts. The Confederacy could be weakened by isolating each of those parts. The first step would be to gain control of the Mississippi River. This action would cut off the states on the western side of the river from the rest of the Confederacy. At the same time, the navy would be used to set up a naval blockade. A blockade would prevent ships from entering or leaving the Confederacy’s ports on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.