Author Archives: Dwight Hughes

About Dwight Hughes

Dwight Hughes is a retired U.S. Navy Surface Warfare Officer and Vietnam Veteran. He speaks and writes on Civil War naval topics. www.CivilWarNavyHistory.com

Fallen Leaders: Admiral Andrew H. Foote – Another Farragut?

February 6, 1862, midday: Advance cavalry elements of Brig. Gen. U. S. Grant’s 17,000-man force broke from the woods fronting the Confederate fort they intended to attack and were startled to observe the Stars and Stripes flying from the flagpole. … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Recruiting the Crew: Iron Men for Iron Ships

Both Civil War navies faced severe recruiting shortages in that first war year and indeed throughout the conflict. The U. S. Navy expanded tenfold, competing for enlistees not only against the army but also alongside the burgeoning, more lucrative, and … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Navies, Regiments | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On a Hot Stove in the Old Ironclad

Illustrating Civil War history can be challenging. Maps, photos, drawings, paintings, prints–period and modern–are tools of the trade. But addressing the complex and esoteric technology of naval vessels calls for another method: the digital graphic drawing. Historical illustrator Jim Caiella … Continue reading

Posted in Material Culture, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

On The Eve Of War: An Englishman in Washington

William Howard Russell, an influential reporter for The Times of London, toured America north and south in 1861-62 leaving a picturesque portrait of places, people, and issues. He is considered one of the first modern war correspondents for dramatic coverage … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Newspapers, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

First Battle of Ironclads: Myths, Facts, What Ifs

Today is the 159th anniversary of the battle and my new Emerging Civil War Series book, Unlike Anything That Ever Floated: The Monitor and Virginia and the Battle Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862 is just hitting the shelves. Time for … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Navies | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

Town Between the Rivers: Cairo, Illinois

A blue-coated rider appeared atop the riverbank above the steamer Belle Memphis. Rebels massed in the cornfield behind him fired volleys that whistled by the horseman, whanged through the tall smokestacks, and thudded into the vessel’s superstructure. Hundreds of Iowa … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What We’ve Learned: “A Lot of History Every Month”

What have we learned since the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War? As it happens, those years correspond with my tenure as a contributing author to the Emerging Civil War blog starting in December 2014. Looking back over the posts, … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Sesquicentennial | Tagged , | 2 Comments

“Praise the Lord and Admiral Porter”: Running the Vicksburg Batteries

“We still live,” wrote Lieutenant Elias Smith of the USS Lafayette. “The whole gunboat fleet passed the Vicksburg batteries on Thursday night [April 16, 1863], without receiving material damage. All praise to the Lord and Admiral Porter.” As far as … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Home Libraries: A Salty Civil War Library

Back in the 90’s, Judi and I loved cruising beautiful Virginia country byways and rural towns always seeking that musty little used-book store. She headed for the garden section and I, of course, made a beeline for the Civil War … Continue reading

Posted in Books & Authors, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Doomed the Crew of the HL Hunley?

On February 17, 1864, the Confederate submarine H L Hunley became the first combat submarine to sink a warship when she snuck up on and rammed her spar torpedo into the hull of the screw sloop-of-war USS Housatonic outside Charleston … Continue reading

Posted in Material Culture, Navies, Preservation, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments