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

Prisoner of War or Constructive Deserter?

It pays to read the (often lengthy) footnotes when researching first-person accounts in the venerable Battles and Leaders of the Civil War. Seemingly minor vignettes can speak to big issues. An article by Colonel Rush C. Hawkins describing his service … Continue reading

Posted in Common Soldier, Emerging Civil War, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

British Rebels: The International Civil War

The Confederacy campaigned vigorously for international recognition and support while the United States risked war with Great Britain to prevent that eventuality. Civil War aficionados might be familiar with “King Cotton” and perhaps the Trent Affair, but few recognize how … Continue reading

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Around We Go: In the Monitor Turret

Lieutenant Samuel D. Greene, USN, had a problem. He was encased within a dim, claustrophobic, metal drum—20 feet in diameter—behind eight layers of bolted and riveted 1-inch-thick iron plates in charge of two immense 11-inch Dahlgren shell guns, each 13 … Continue reading

Posted in Arms & Armaments, Artillery, Battles, Emerging Civil War, Navies, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Unvexed Waters: Mississippi River Squadron, Part 2

Part I of this post introduced the unprecedented U.S. Army Western Gunboat Flotilla—soon to be reorganized as the U.S. Navy Mississippi River Squadron—and carried it through the victorious battles of Forts Henry and Donelson, Tennessee, in February 1862. The next … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Campaigns, Navies, Weapons, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Artillery: Big Guns at Pulaski

“From the opening shots at Fort Sumter to the annihilating fire from Little Round Top against Pickett’s men and the months of bombardment at Petersburg, artillery played a role not really seen in American experience before the Civil War,” wrote … Continue reading

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Unvexed Waters: Mississippi River Squadron, Part I

History offers few examples other than the Civil War and Vietnam of extensive operations on inland shallow waters involving specialized classes of war vessels commanded and manned by naval personnel. The struggle for the Mississippi River, the spine of America, … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Campaigns, Emerging Civil War, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Sea Power at Port Royal Sound: A Missed Opportunity?

On November 5, 1861, the Confederate Secretary of War established the coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and East Florida as a military department, assigning one of his most senior and experienced officers, General R. E. Lee, to command it. No … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Emerging Civil War, Leadership--Federal, Navies, Personalities, Weapons | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

From the ECW Archives: Queen of Delphine, Part II

(Continuing the story from Part I of Lillias Nichols as prisoner of war and her captors aboard the CSS Shenandoah.) New Year’s Day 1865 continued clear and balmy. All sails were set with just enough breeze to fill them, the … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Events, Civilian, Holidays, Navies | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

From the ECW Archives: Queen of the Delphine, Part I

A warship at sea was an exclusively male domain and sailors were a superstitious lot. Having a woman on board was unlucky as well as a confounded nuisance. In December 1864, one New England lady found herself a prisoner of … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War Events, Civilian, Navies | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Watching the “Merrimac”

One of the joys of a historian is finding that perfect eye-witness account of momentous events, one that puts you alongside our ancestors and sees through their eyes. The following is just such a viewpoint. “IN March, 1862, I was … Continue reading

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