Shotgun's Home of the American Civil War

The American Civil War
"Naval War"

       This portion of the Home of the Civil War website is designed to provide the reader with a brief insight into a little known aspect of the late Rebellion, The Naval War. While this portion of the Rebellion is little discussed, both the Federal and the Confederate Navies played a vital part in the war. The early establishment of the blockade and Farragut's capture of New Orleans not only brought about the economic strangulation of the South but also killed any hope the Confederates had of French intervention . The Navy also had a critical role in the strategy that split the Confederacy by capturing the line of the Mississippi.
        In 1861 the US Navy was in a demoralized condition with its 1,457 officers and 7,600 men scattered all over the globe.  Less than half of its 90 ships were ready for active service. Of its meager officer personnel, the following defected to the South: 16 captains, 34 commanders, 76 lieutenants, and 111 regular and acting midshipmen (Miller, VI, 78). Abandonment of the Norfolk Navy Yard, 20-21 Apr.'61, resulted in the loss of 11 ships and 3,000 pieces of ordnance. After Gideon Welles was appointed Sec. of the Navy, he and his assistant Sec., Gustavus V. Fox, built the US Navy in four years from 23 to 641 ships of all types.

Chronology of Naval Actions

A chronological listing of important naval engagements.  Not intended as a complete listing of all of the actions.
Birth of The Ironclads Ever thought about how the Merrimac came about? Here's a nice concise history of events that gave birth to the "first" ironclad.
Blockade An interesting article about the initial blockading of the Southern seaports by the Union Navy.
Blockade-Runners This one is about how the blockade was attempted to be overcome.
Confederate Letters of Marque Issued by the Confederate Government, this document allowed ships not owned or employed by the Confederacy to legally seize   ships flying the Union flag.
First Iron-Clad Monitor An article by Gideon Welles, Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy.
Gunboats A look at some of the gunboats used by both sides.
Hampton Roads (Battle of the Ironclads)      A brief history with some Official Records
Monitor Down The Official Records about the sinking of the "Monitor."
Naval War, An Introduction A great place to start your study of the Civil War Navies.
Naval War, An Overview A brief look at just what was happening during this part of the Civil War.
Marines A little about these fighting men on both sides.
Official Records A few of the Official Records that were associated with the Naval aspect of the war.  These were taken from the Army Records
Organization of the Confederate Navy An interesting article that describes the organization and build up of the Confederate navy.
Organization of the Federal Navy An interesting article that describes the organization and build up of the Union navy.
Remarks on Confederate Ironclads General Beauregard wrote this letter in November '63 stating why he thought the Confederate ironclads were defective.
Reminiscences of the Confederate States Navy A very interesting and lengthy article taken from the Southern Historical Society Papers. 
The Genesis of the Confederate Navy Presents a brief history of the beginning of the Confederate Navy.
The Ram Albemarle The story of this fascinating little Confederate ship.
The Ram Arkansas It's life was short, it's action limited, but both full of glory!
The Sailor's Life Great description of life on a war ship during the Civil War.
The Confederate Cruisers Discussion of the "big time" Men-of-War for the Confederate Navy.
The C.S.S Alabama/U.S.S Kearsarge Duel Far more exciting than the duel of the Monitor and the Merrimac. Detail description with many of the Official Records (Confederate and Union) of the battle.
Union and Confederate Navies From "Battles and Leaders of the Civil War," this is a good description of both navies.
U.S.S Monitor Statistics Contains such information as dimensions, costs, armament, etc.
C.S.S Virginia Statistics Contains such information as dimensions, costs, armament, etc.

        This Page last updated 06/12/05


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