Category Archives: Navies

A Perilous Voyage on the Kanawha: Jenkins Attacks the Victor No. 2

Riverine warfare has perhaps received less attention in Civil War historiography when compared to other naval or land theaters. Rivers played a critical role in moving and supplying armies in the field, and offered avenues of invasion or retreat. The … Continue reading

Posted in Cavalry, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Under Fire: First Ironclad Shots at the Head of Passes

In May 1861, New Orleans river captain John Stevenson travelled to Montgomery, Alabama, proposing to “adapt some of our heavy and powerful tow-boats on the Mississippi” by armoring them and “preparing their bow” with a ram “capable of sinking by … Continue reading

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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

Unexpected Challenges of California Officers Going East by Sea in 1861

ECW welcomes back guest author Neil Chatelain In mid-1861, the United States hurriedly recruited volunteer regiments to meet the threat of Civil War. Hundreds of thousands answered the call, but needed an experienced cadre of officers to take charge. Many … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 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

ECW Podcast: “Unlike Anything That Ever Floated”

Check out the newest episode in the ECW Podcast! Dwight Hughes shares about the Battle of Hampton Roads, the development and technology of the ironclads, and his new book in the ECW Series. Listen for free through this Patreon Link: … Continue reading

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A Poet’s Perspective: Melville on Running the Batteries at Vicksburg

It was the spring of 1863, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant was concocting a plan to seize the city of Vicksburg, Mississippi. As President Abraham Lincoln had made clear, Vicksburg was key to achieving victory over the Confederates and ending … Continue reading

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Confederates on the Titanic

A large number of Civil War veterans no doubt read about the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic, one of history’s deadliest maritime disasters. Some of those veterans may have noted a few familiar names. At least one Confederate and the … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Navies | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments