As we remember the American Civil War, we should not lose sight of the fact that this struggle was not just confined to land battles; many conflicts took place either in bays, rivers, or the ocean. In the early to mid-1960s, the Naval History Division of the Navy published the six-volume Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865. It is a day-by-day exposition on what occurred in maritime settings, from raids on Southern coastal ports to Mississippi River operations. In addition, excerpts from participants’ accounts add to the utility of this work. Volume 6 contains a cumulative index along with many special studies such as : “The Navy in Defense of Washington,” “Shipboard Life in the Civil War” and “Naval Sheet Music of the Civil War” among others. Needless to say, this work focuses on the Union exploits afloat. The Confederate perspective can be seen in this 1887 work: History of the Confederate States navy from its organization to the surrender of its last vessel. Its stupendous struggle with the great navy of the United States; the engagements fought in the rivers and harbors of the South, and upon the high seas; blockade-running, first use of iron-clads and torpedoes, and privateer history. This thirty-volume series, Official records of the Union and Confederate in the war of the rebellion (1894-1922) might prove beneficial as well.
Archive for Nautical
On this very special day in England, we thought it appropriate to mention some outstanding sources for naval history, primarily American. What we call the United States Navy ( a brief, scholarly history) was established in 1794 by An Act to provide a Naval Armament that called for the building of six heavily armed frigates; one of this group, the USS Constitution, is still afloat (selected sources here). Collections of primary sources include: Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships that includes every ship’s history from the Revolutionary War onward; Naval Records of the American Revolution, 1775-1788, a calendar of documents; Out-letters of the Continental Marine Committee and the Board of admiralty; the seven-volume Naval Documents related to the Quasi-War between the United States and France; the six-volume Naval Documents related to the United States Wars with The Barbary Pirates; the three-volume The Naval War of 1812: A Documentary History; and The American State Papers: Naval Affairs covering the period 1794 to 1836. Biographies in Naval History leads to primary sources while Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion,1820-189o contains diaries, logbook, narratives, and business records. Numerous biographies can be found at HathiTrust; here are a few on the “Father of the American Navy,” and it is not John Paul Jones. We will follow with an entry on primary sources for English naval history.