Category Archives: Navies

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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The Confederate Navy’s Order of Battle at New Orleans: A Reflection of Political Tensions

ECW welcomes back guest author Neil P. Chatelain. The ECW post on September 27, 2018 titled “Order of Battle – Why Those Lists Matter” reminded me of my own research, and I began doing what historians do: using thoughts and … 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

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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

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At Sea: Fighting For Freedom

African Americans hazarded their lives and freedom against the nation’s enemies in the colonial and United States navies while achieving a level of respect, relatively fair treatment, and economic opportunities generally not available ashore. (Dwight Hughes, 2018, ECW Blog) In … Continue reading

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USS Mississippi Visits Okinawa

In 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in the Far East to open up relations with Japan. His first flagship was USS Mississippi, a side-wheel steamer. Before going to Tokyo, Perry stopped at Okinawa to deal with the Okinawan king regarding … Continue reading

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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

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A Confederate New Year Far, Far Away

December 31, 1864: The CSS Shenandoah—the remotest and loneliest outpost of the beleaguered Confederacy—stretched her wings with all sails set as she surged across the Indian Ocean. Her officers were a cross section of the South from Maryland, Virginia, North … Continue reading

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Railroads – McClellan’s Steam Strategy: Trains and Ships in the Civil War

“It cannot be ignored that the construction of railroads has introduced a new and very important element into war,” wrote Major General George B. McClellan in a “Memorandum for the Consideration of His Excellency the President, submitted at his request,” … Continue reading

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Question of the Week: 9/10-9/16/18

Let’s talk Civil War Navies… Do you have a favorite ship or ironclad from the conflict? Why?

Posted in Navies, Question of the Week | Tagged , | 11 Comments