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  • Confederate Navy

    The Confederate Navy has a remarkably good reputation. The CSS Virginia, Hunley, and Alabama all had outstanding careers, and Lee emphasized the importance of retaining Norfolk during McClellan's advance up the Peninsula. Of course, even a few gunboats on the James could have thwarted both McClellan and Grant's logistics during their assaults on Richmond/Petersburg.

    So what do you think, could the South have won without a navy? As stated, even a few river gunboats could have been worth their weight in gold.

    I guess, generally, what are your opinions on the Confederate Navy, and Southern prospects with or without sufficient vessels?
    "It is a fine fox chase, my boys"

    "It is well that war is so terrible-we would grow too fond of it"

  • #2
    The Hunley's 'career' was woefully short, though she did sink the USS Housatonic at the cost of being sunk herself. The CSS Virginia had two actions and then was burned to prevent capture, and the Alabama was run to ground and sunk by the USS Kearsarge.

    The Union armies coordinated excellently with the US Navy on the rivers and along the coast in many combined operations. It was a tradition which began in the War of 1812 on the Great Lakes and was continued during the Mexican War.

    The CS Navy had gunboats on the Mississippi at Memphis and they were defeated quite handily.

    The CS Navy was small and generally ineffective with a few exceptions. With their conversion of the remains of the USS Merrimac into an ironclad, they prompted the development of armored warships in the North.

    The CS Navy was never strong enough to break the Union blockade, not to stop Union amphibious operations along the coast or to effectively defend the southern ports from eventually falling.
    Last edited by Massena; 18 Jun 20, 05:25.
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

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    • #3
      The men who took to the sea and rivers in Confederate vessels were certainly every bit as courageous as their Union counterparts. As to effectiveness, there is no comparison.

      The rebels deserve credit for the "submarines" they developed, but that measure was directly influenced by their inability to produce an ocean going fleet that could compete with the vessels enforcing the blockade of southern harbors.

      Hunley killed 3 crews in the process of carrying out her lone successful attack on the Housatonic. By no stretch of the imagination could that kind of attrition be continued by the rebels. One voyage? Not enough for an outstanding career!

      The CSS Virginia doesn't even exist without used engines and the partially destroyed hull of the Merrimac or some other vessel. That ship was grossly underpowered and lacked maneuverability. She could at best fight the smaller and lesser gunned Monitor to a draw in her one and only equal combat! One real battle? Not enough for an outstanding career.

      The Alabama would not have existed without British ship yards, because the rebels weren't able to manufacture her. She had a two year run as a raider, but never docked at a southern port, so they actually received nothing for her efforts. You could say she had a great reputation, but one that was far and away greater than her actual impact on events.

      As previously stated, southern riverboats were easily squelched as a threat.

      Most effective were the blockade runners, but before praising them for aiding the rebel cause, one must also remember that they were privateers, in effect independent businessmen. Those captains and crews were as likely to fill holds with luxury goods they could sell for a huge profit to the south's wealthy as they were to bring goods that could sustain the war effort. True patriots that bunch, weren't they!?

      Regards,
      Dennis
      Last edited by D1J1; 20 Jun 20, 16:07. Reason: Remove repetitive and unnecessary text.
      If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

      Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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      • #4
        If the southern navy could have broken the southern blockage , that would have been very important .
        the anaconda plan of Scott did work. and eventually stopped the south from exporting cotton and therefore cut off funding to the south .

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        • #5
          Confederate troops did capture some Union gunboats at Galveston and on the Tennessee. The Confederates did run some Gunboats on the Mississippi and the Atchafalaya. The Union Navy never tried to take Galveston back. There was some battles on the Mississippi where Confederate Cavalry and Horse Batteries set up and blocked Union boat traffic. The Union could have sent troops to trap these Confederates but they did it too slow.

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • #6
            The Confederate navy, forced to fight against the overwhelming numerical and industrial superiority of its opponent, relied heavily on remarkable technological innovations to wage the war at sea. The most famous of these include the revolutionary ironclads Virginia and Arkansas, the pioneering submarine Hunley, as well as the effective and groundbreaking use of commerce raiding, torpedo boats, and mines. The Confederate commerce raiders, most notably the Alabama, were particularly successful in damaging the Union economy and forcing the North to reassign crucial blockading warships to hunt down the elusive Southern warships. While the celebrated ironclads and submarines succeeded in temporarily challenging the Union navy for control of the sea, the severe industrial limitations of the Confederacy and the early loss of irreplaceable construction facilities at Nashville, Memphis, and most importantly New Orleans greatly restricted the efficiency and number of ironclads that could be constructed and employed. Far more valuable were the cost effective and dangerous mines and torpedoes that damaged or sank numerous Federal ships and were a serious defensive obstacle that threatened the U.S. navy until the end of the war. The Confederate navy benefited from the skill of several talented and resourceful officers and personal, including the Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory, who was one of only two Confederate cabinet ministers to maintain their original assignments during the entire war, and created astoundingly extraordinary manufacturing centers such as the Columbus Naval Works. The accomplishments of this too often forgotten branch of the Confederate military reverberated throughout the world, and greatly influenced such future naval conflicts as World Wars I and II.

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            • #7
              I would just add, whatever the value of the Marine CS, defeat was inevitable ...

              In addition to the late commissioned US ironclads, the following vessels, that would have added quantity and quality to the US Navy, should also be mentioned:
              USS Catawba, USS Manyanuck, USS Oneota and USS Tippecanoe (Cannonicus Class ) ... not commissioned
              USS Cohoes, USS Etiah, USS Klamath, USS Koka, USS Modoc, USS Napa, USS Nausett, USS Shawnee, USS Shiloh, USS Squando, USS Suncook, USS Umpqua, USS Wassuc, USS Yazoo and USS Yuma (Casco Class improved) ... finished after the fights and therefore not commissioned
              USS Agamenticus (Monadnock Class) bi-turret ironclads ... commissioned May 5, 1865
              USS Miantonomoh (Class of the same name) ironclad bi-turret ... commissioned September 18, 1865; and her "sister-ship" USS Towanda ... commissioned in October 1865
              Kalamazoo Class with USS Kalamazoo, USS Passaconaway, USS Shackamaxon and USS Quinsigamond ... Miantonomoh type ships but in an improved version ... not completed

              On the other side, of the 50 Ironclads built by the Confederates, only half were commissioned; and some will have only a short existence, often scuttled to avoid their capture:
              CSS Manassas; CSS Virginia; CSS Louisiana; CSS Arkansas; CSS North Carolina; CSS Raleigh ... etc
              Last edited by daddut roger; 29 Jun 20, 05:24.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by daddut roger View Post
                The Confederate navy, forced to fight against the overwhelming numerical and industrial superiority of its opponent, relied heavily on remarkable technological innovations to wage the war at sea. The most famous of these include the revolutionary ironclads Virginia and Arkansas, the pioneering submarine Hunley, as well as the effective and groundbreaking use of commerce raiding, torpedo boats, and mines. The Confederate commerce raiders, most notably the Alabama, were particularly successful in damaging the Union economy and forcing the North to reassign crucial blockading warships to hunt down the elusive Southern warships. While the celebrated ironclads and submarines succeeded in temporarily challenging the Union navy for control of the sea, the severe industrial limitations of the Confederacy and the early loss of irreplaceable construction facilities at Nashville, Memphis, and most importantly New Orleans greatly restricted the efficiency and number of ironclads that could be constructed and employed. Far more valuable were the cost effective and dangerous mines and torpedoes that damaged or sank numerous Federal ships and were a serious defensive obstacle that threatened the U.S. navy until the end of the war. The Confederate navy benefited from the skill of several talented and resourceful officers and personal, including the Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory, who was one of only two Confederate cabinet ministers to maintain their original assignments during the entire war, and created astoundingly extraordinary manufacturing centers such as the Columbus Naval Works. The accomplishments of this too often forgotten branch of the Confederate military reverberated throughout the world, and greatly influenced such future naval conflicts as World Wars I and II.
                Again, as I stated in an earlier post, Virginia doesn't exist without the hull and engines of the Merrimac. The Hunley kills 3 crews to sink one ship, a level of attrition even if reduced to 1:1 that the Confederacy cannot sustain.

                Also, aside from British built hulls, the rebel seagoing fleet is negligible at very best. Southern river-going vessels, as you stated, are simply overwhelmed.

                As you correctly pointed out, this was due to a paltry industrial capacity. The rebels couldn't generate enough in the way of needed material to prosecute the land war which they must win, let alone a sea war which was a sideshow compared to the other.

                Regards,
                Dennis
                If stupid was a criminal offense Sea Lion believers would be doing life.

                Shouting out to Half Pint for bringing back the big mugs!

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