Category Archives: Navies

Blockade, Privateering, and the 1856 Declaration of Paris

In April 1861, the commanders in chief of both the United States and Confederacy issued far ranging proclamations. Abraham Lincoln declared a blockade of Confederate ports while Jefferson Davis issued a call for privateers to make war on US seaborne … Continue reading

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Blasting His Way into the History Books: Assessing the Role of Cdr. Hunter Davidson

ECW welcomes back guest author John M. Coski At 2:00 a.m. on April 9, 1864, the small, steam-driven boat Squib, commanded by Confederate Navy Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, exploded a 53-pound spar torpedo against the hull of the U.S. steam frigate … Continue reading

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George N. Hollins’ Fall From Grace

Circumstances change amidst battle and combat leaders often have great discretion in carrying out orders. The maxim of marching to the sound of the guns comes to mind, especially during the US Civil War. Commanders were often praised for following … Continue reading

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The Wet March: USS Monitor Almost Sinks

If by “on the march,” we mean the exercise of rapidly shifting a combat unit from behind the lines to where the action is while overcoming formidable obstacles of terrain and weather, then the U.S. Navy had its own wet … Continue reading

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On the March to Sailor’s Creek with Tucker’s Naval Battalion

One thousand Confederate sailors and Marines defended Richmond by April 1865. Rear Admiral Raphael Semmes commanded the James River Squadron’s ironclads, wooden steamers, and torpedo boats. The Confederate Naval Academy, officers in training, operated CSS Patrick Henry. Captain John R. … Continue reading

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USS Tyler and USS Lexington at Shiloh

One decisive reason the Federals won the war on the rivers was the rapid creation and utilization of gunboats. These vessels protected transports, patrolled the rivers, shelled Confederate defenses, directly supported Union amphibious operations, and more than once saved a … Continue reading

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Farragut vs. Port Hudson

In April 1862 Flag Officer David Glasgow Farragut took a fleet past Forts Jackson and St. Philip. His passage of the forts led to the fall of New Orleans and made Farragut the darling of the Northern press. In March … Continue reading

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Sailor and an Artist – Robert Weir of the USS Richmond

Aboard the USS Richmond, floating just off Pensacola Bay, Third Engineer Robert F. Weir sat in his “little cosey, hot, office,” hard at work penning letters to his wife and composing sketches for Harpers Weekly. These letters, accompanied by doodles … Continue reading

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The Most Frightened Man and the Ironclads

One hundred and sixty years ago yesterday, March 8, 1862, a frustrated commander in chief convened another council of war to prod Major General George B. McClellan into action. McClellan proposed to transport the Army of the Potomac down the … Continue reading

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160 Years: “Unlike Anything That Ever Floated” In Hampton Roads

It was morning, Sunday, March 9, 1862. As executive officer and second in command of the revolutionary ironclad, USS Monitor, Greene supervised the weapons in the turret while his captain, Lieutenant John L. Worden, commanded the vessel from the little … Continue reading

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