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 Emergency Ironclads

In late summer 1861, the United States Navy initiated a crash program to build their first ironclad warships, leading directly to the titanic clash between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (ex USS Merrimack) in Hampton Roads on March … Continue reading

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

A Fun Civil War Movie: The General

We know the great Civil War movies, but how about one that is both great and really fun? The General starring and directed by Buster Keaton is a 1927 silent film (79 minutes). Keaton plays sad-sack little engineer, Johnny Gray, … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War in Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

History in Pieces

History comes in many pieces. My good friend Hal, a retired navy captain, collects Civil War naval artifacts. He acquired items that caught his eye over the years without any particular theme in mind only to find threads and connections … Continue reading

Posted in Material Culture, Memory, Navies | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Abraham Lincoln Gives Thanks

  The country was tearing itself apart in bloody war 156 years ago, but President Abraham Lincoln found cause to be grateful in his Thanksgiving Proclamation. His wisdom is for the ages. In this time of polarization, we would do … Continue reading

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Do We Still Care About the Civil War: Dwight Hughes

The cover story of the newest issue of Civil War Times asks, “Do we still care about the Civil War?” ECW is pleased to partner with Civil War Times to extend the conversation here on the blog. The Civil War … Continue reading

Posted in Antebellum South, Civil War in Pop Culture, Memory, Politics, Reconstruction, Slavery, Ties to the War | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

An Ancient and Fearsome Weapon: The Ram

The ram—the main armament of sleek and swift Greek triremes powered by 180 rowers—turned back a Persian invasion at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BC and launched Western Civilization. Rowing galleys ruled the Mediterranean for two more millennia, the … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Navies, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sink Before Surrender: The CSS Virginia Gets Underway

In the dawn of that fateful Saturday, March 8, 1862, the CSS Virginia lay alongside the Gosport Shipyard quay on the west bank of the Elizabeth River across from Norfolk, Virginia, and just upriver from Hampton Roads. The storm passed … Continue reading

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ECW Weekender: View from the Ramparts – Fortress Monroe, Virginia

In the gathering dusk of Saturday, March 8, 1862, a young Union telegrapher, John Emmet O’Brien, stood on the ramparts of Fortress Monroe on Old Point Comfort dominating the entrance to Hampton Roads, Virginia. He looked to the right and … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, ECW Weekender, National Park Service, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The First Contraband Combatants

“The scene on board the flag-ship was novel and thrilling. The thunder of the conflict drowned all other noises,” wrote historian John S. C. Abbott.[1] In one of the first Civil War histories, written while it happened, Abbott employed elegant … Continue reading

Posted in Navies, USCT | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Primary Sources: Through a Telescope Backwards

Perhaps no experience is more fulfilling for a historian than becoming immersed in contemporary first-person chronicles, viewing dramatic happenings through the eyes of those who lived them. Thankfully, our Civil War ancestors were avid and literate recorders of that fascinating … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Navies, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments