Civil War Sea Battles: Seafights and Shipwrecks in the War between the States

Civil War Sea Battles: Seafights and Shipwrecks in the War between the States

Civil War Sea Battles: Seafights and Shipwrecks in the War between the States

Civil War Sea Battles: Seafights and Shipwrecks in the War between the States

Synopsis

This latest volume in the Civil War Guides series examines the major operational challenges confronting American naval commanders, including ironclads, sail versus steam, foreign intervention and many others.

Excerpt

The Civil War occupies a unique place in America's heart and mind. the turning point in this country's development, it was the logical and inevitable culmination of the principle that a nation which bases its ideals on individual liberty must inevitably extend that liberty to all, regardless of the cost. Since the war was to a large extent a war of volunteers, those who served looked upon their service with pride. One of the more prominent, Oliver Wendell Holmes, told us, "Our hearts were touched with fire" and these sentiments still survive, as witness the continuing interest in all aspects of the war.

The United States Navy grew from 1457 officers and 7,600 men in 1861 to 5,750 officers and 51,500 men in 1865. the vast majority of all ranks was drawn from the professional seamen of the day, either regular navy or the merchant service. They fought the war as well as they knew how and that was very well indeed. They also reported it to their superiors in the language of the time, and they did that very well also. We are fortunate that their language was so simple and clear that it reads today as easily as when it was written. It is from these reports that the following stories were taken. Many of these documents reveal intimate and fascinating details of the events themselves in language striking in its straightforwardness. To anyone accustomed to the technical idiom of the modern military jargon, it is refreshing in its clarity and lack of inhibition. Possibly they had more time to compose their thoughts free from the pressures of modern society, but . . .

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