Cover

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Frontmatter

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Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Contents

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Illustrations

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pp. viii-viii

Charts

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pp. ix-x

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Series Editors' Introduction

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pp. xi-xii

Americans remain fascinated by the Civil War. Movies, television, and video—even computer software—have augmented the ever-expanding list of books on the war. Although it stands to reason that a large portion of recent work concentrates on military aspects of the conflict, historians have expanded our scope of inquiry to include civilians, ...

Preface

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pp. xiii-xvi

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1. Secession at Sea

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pp. 1-17

After South Carolina seceded, President James Buchanan watched and waited while the other Deep South states followed. Although Buchanan's policy of conciliation and delay offered the only hope of preserving the Union and avoiding war, his execution of that policy appears timid and blundering. On January 5, 1861, the steamer Star of the West left New York City for ...

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2. Improvised Navies

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pp. 18-31

When war began in April 1861, the U.S. Navy boasted fewer than seventy usable vessels—thirty-four steamers and thirty-five sailing ships—and rapid expansion of the fleet became a top priority. This expansion took two forms, purchase and construction, and the navy began building gunboats and buying merchant vessels that could be converted into ...

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3. Early Operations

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pp. 32-61

Execution of the opposing strategies began long before they were fully articulated. In the North, the blockade had first call on naval resources; in the South, coastal defense and commerce raiding were the top priorities. Lincoln had proclaimed the blockade of the Southern coast in April 1861, leaving Welles and the navy scrambling to support it. Welles immediately ...

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4. Maturing under Fire

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pp. 62-79

By the beginning of 1863, the opposing strategies and technologies had begun to mature. Strategically, the Union would maintain and tighten the blockade; the Confederates would defend their coastline and try to draw off blockaders through commerce raiding. The year saw the peak of Confederate commerce raiding efforts and the success of the Union's ...

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5. Ironclads in Strength

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pp. 80-100

Without being drawn into the ongoing debates about the "modernity" and "totality" of the American Civil War, it is clear that the war was shaped as much by the economic and industrial resources of the combatants as by their political and strategic thinking. The Union's use of ironclads in quantity was possible only because the navy mobilized Northern industry ...

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6. Runners and Blockaders

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pp. 101-119

The one constant feature of the Civil War at sea was the blockade. Offensives waxed and waned, amphibious operations came and went, commerce raiders appeared and were captured, but the blockade continued unabated. Secretary Welles had written in 1861 that blockading was "unattractive and devoid of adventure." 1 Although there were certainly ...

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7. Privateers, "Pirates," and Raiders

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pp. 120-136

Attacks on seaborne commerce have a long history, but any such campaign has the same basic objectives: to cause so much financial and economic harm that commercial interests force the enemy government to yield, and to affect enemy war-making by cutting off trade in vital materials. The Confederacy had a third objective: to weaken the Federal ...

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8. The Naval War, 1864-65

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pp. 137-162

As 1864 opened, Federal arms seemed to be making little progress. Ulysses S. Grant had been appointed general in chief , but the eastern armies awaited good weather in much the same positions they had occupied a year earlier. At sea, Confederate raiders still operated against Yankee shipping, blockade-runners still eluded Yankee pursuers to make ...

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9. Winners and Losers

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pp. 163-172

The American Civil War ended in the military and naval defeat of the Confederacy and its dissolution as a nation, but underneath that bald statement there is ample room for nuance. Assessing the operations, strategies, technologies, and organizations of the combatants helps to illuminate the paradoxes of America's bloodiest war, in which the Napoleonic art of war ...

Notes

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pp. 173-212

Bibliographic Essay

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pp. 213-216

Index

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pp. 217-223