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

Slaves and Sailors in the Civil War

The enlistment of African Americans as soldiers in the United States Army during the Civil War is a well-examined topic, but less appreciated is the story of freedmen and former slaves as sailors in the navy. Wartime experiences of these … Continue reading

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

Confederates Invade San Francisco?

Shortly before his death in 1886, James I. Waddell, former captain of the CSS Shenandoah, wrote in his memoirs: “I had matured plans for entering the harbor of San Francisco and laying that city under contribution.”[i] Waddell never did pass … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Navies, Trans-Mississippi, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Ironclad Superweapons of the Civil War: USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

The clash of the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia in Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862 is considered a revolutionary event in naval warfare, but neither vessel quite lived up to the ambitious expectations of its sponsors. On a hot … Continue reading

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The Emancipation Proclamation: An International Turning Point

In  his post “Thenceforward and Forever Free”: The Emancipation Proclamation as a Turning Point, Dan Vermilya makes a good case that the president’s executive action was a turning point of the war because it clarified Union war aims on the issue of … Continue reading

Posted in Politics, Slavery | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Rebel’s Duty

While researching the Southern Historical Society Papers on another topic, I came across the following passage from 1907: When the question is asked what the followers of Lee and Jackson fought for, let the ringing, unchangeable and ever true response … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Navies, Personalities, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 14 Comments

The Naval Civil War in Theaters Near and Far

Civil War military history occurs in the context of “theaters” including the Eastern, the Western, and the Trans-Mississippi with sub-theaters within each. This framework organizes operations in terms of discrete location, environment, interacting events, influences, and consequences. The naval side … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Emerging Civil War, Navies | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Into the Volcano with the Ironclad CSS Arkansas

Part I of this tale left the lonely Arkansas and Captain Isaac N. Brown on July 15, 1862, facing a gauntlet of Yankee deep-water warships, steam rams, river ironclads, gunboats, and bomb vessels as he ran down the Mississippi toward Vicksburg. … Continue reading

Posted in Emerging Civil War, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Monumental Discussion: Dwight Hughes

This is a story of three statues in context. Known locally as “Appomattox,” the first statue is a humble Confederate soldier standing tall on his plinth at a busy intersection in Alexandria, Virginia. He is a dignified but sad fellow, … Continue reading

Posted in Civil War in Pop Culture, Emerging Civil War, Monuments, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Down the Yazoo with the Ironclad CSS Arkansas

Running downriver with the surging Mississippi in the CSS Arkansas on July 15, 1862, Captain Isaac N. Brown peered through the morning mist and saw: “A forest of masts and smoke-stacks—ships, rams, iron-clads, and other gun-boats on the left side, … Continue reading

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My Favorite Historical Person: Eugene Matthew O’Brien

Eugene Matthew O’Brien is among those obscure Civil War multitudes whose collective stories inspire for their courage, dedication, and sacrifice even if we know little about them individually—although his story is a bit unusual. O’Brien was a steam engineer who … Continue reading

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