Category Archives: Navies

Civil War Medicine: Andrew Henderson, John Pope, and a Challenging Medical Decision at Sea

Civil War era warships were cramped with little privacy with sailors still sleeping in hammocks instead of beds. Officers generally had better living conditions, with the tradeoff of separation from the enlisted crew in status, activity, and expectations. Though they … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Federal, Medical, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What If. . .Vicksburg Had Fallen in July ’62?

In his memoirs, Admiral David D. Porter recollected a November 1861 meeting with President Lincoln and navy secretary Gideon Welles in which—he says—he suggested the plan to seize New Orleans from the sea. Lincoln liked the idea and added: “while … Continue reading

Posted in Campaigns, Leadership--Federal, Navies, Western Theater | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

The Contextualized Statue of Raphael Semmes

Until June 2020, Raphael Semmes stood on a traffic median along Government Street in Mobile, Alabama—at least his bronze statue did. On the far side of the intersection, the Bankhead Tunnel plunges below the city street and beneath the empty … Continue reading

Posted in Memory, Monuments, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Shellbacks, Polliwogs, and Crossing the Equator Amid Civil War

Anyone watching a movie about sailing ships can quickly become confused with the overwhelming distinct terminology. There are much more than words that signify a sailor, however. Spending months at a time at sea, sailors have developed their own vocabulary, … Continue reading

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Unpublished — The International War: Alabama Claims Documentation

This source is not exactly unpublished, but close. It was printed once—long ago—by the U. S. government. Until recently, it was scarce and mostly unknown. And it is a treasure trove of primary source material for the international and naval … Continue reading

Posted in Navies, Politics, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Battle of Memphis and the Fog of War

The battle of Memphis took place on the Mississippi River on June 6, 1862. (You can read posts about it here and here.) Even on the water, the fog of war sometimes hangs heavy over a battlefield. By June 11, … Continue reading

Posted in Battles, Memory, Navies | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Battle of Memphis and Its Fallen Federal Leader

One of the most consequential battles of the war—and one of the shortest—took place on June 6, 1862: the battle of Memphis. Federals suffered only a single casualty, Col. Charles Ellet, Jr., the man most responsible for the victory in … Continue reading

Posted in 160th Anniversary, Battles, Civilian, Leadership--Federal, Navies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Newly Uncovered Letter in the Most Ungentlemanly Porter-Miller Exchange

Anyone who has read their fair share of Civil War correspondence knows it is often very cordial, even when notes are exchanged between officers on opposing sides. However, occasionally it devolves into arguments akin to modern-day social media rants, especially … Continue reading

Posted in Leadership--Confederate, Leadership--Federal, Navies, Primary Sources | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“New Orleans gone and with it the Confederacy” – The Fall of New Orleans

ECW welcomes back guest author Patrick Kelly-Fischer The signposts of my mental outline of the Civil War have always been major land battles – Shiloh, Antietam, Gettysburg, Vicksburg. The histories we grew up on are framed around these titanic battles. They’re … Continue reading

Posted in Battlefields & Historic Places, Battles, Navies | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

Symposium Spotlight: Goals of the Confederacy’s European-Built Ironclad Fleet

With less than three months remaining until our symposium, several of our authors will further explore topics relating to their ‘What If’ theme. Today, Neil Chatelain explores why the Confederacy wanted to build ironclads in Europe… A few weeks back … Continue reading

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