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

The “Emerging Civil War Series” Series: Unlike Anything that Ever Floated

The Format of History: The ECW Series Although not my first book, Unlike Anything That Ever Floated is the first for the Emerging Civil War Series. This work presented both unique challenges and deep satisfactions deriving from the series format. … Continue reading

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Rolling on the River: Civil War Brown-Water Navies

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

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

Under Fire — Feeling Something Warm: A Gunner on USS Congress in the Battle of Hampton Roads

The fearsome Rebel ironclad CSS Virginia (ex USS Merrimack, aka Merrimac) materialized in Hampton Roads, Virginia, that calm and clear Saturday morning, March 8, 1862. “The ‘Merrimac’ was steaming slowly towards us,” recalled Seaman Frederick H. Curtis of the wooden … Continue reading

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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

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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

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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