CONFEDERATE NAVAL HISTORY

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No body of water in the Confederacy was more vital to the success or failure of the Southern cause during the American Civil War than the Mississippi River and its tributaries. This longest river in North America stretches close to 2,350 miles from the Gulf of Mexico north to the northern end of Lake Itasca in north-central Minnesota.

Prior to the war, the "Father of Waters" had even been placed under maritime law, indicating the importance of this "inland sea" to the commerce of the United States. Great oceangoing ships, which could navigate the river for much of its entire length, plied the muddy waters carrying goods and products into the heartland of America.

To defend the river and its tributaries and to prevent the Northern enemy from advancing from the Gulf of Mexico and from Cairo, Illinois, would require a strong Confederate naval force. There was just one problem with this analogy. The South had no navy.

In spite of innumerable difficulties, however, once created, the South's naval forces fought admirably during four years of war. While the overall naval record was in fact remarkable, what finally emerged in the Mississippi theater during the first half of the war was a frenzied and not-too-successful effort on the part of the South to build a fleet of ironclads and gunboats that could effectively halt the Union advance. The second half of the war would see a reasonably successful effort to prevent the enemy from ascending the various tributaries that led into the Mississippi.

This history of Confederate naval forces on western waters is a story of desperation, intrigue, inter-service bickering, ineptitude, and humiliating defeats interspersed with moments of courage, innovation, resourcefulness, and a few hard-earned victories. From Island No. 10 to New Orleans, from Memphis to Vicksburg, from the Red River to the Yazoo, Southern naval forces fought a courageous and heartbreaking battle against an equally courageous but overwhelming foe. This book is their story.

Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters

Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters
The Defense of the Mississippi River & its Tributaries
R. Thomas Campbell,
ISBN 0-78642-203-3
McFarland & Company Oct., 2005.
List Price: $45.00
Discount Price: $37.50

Chapter 1. The Gathering Clouds
Chapter 2. Victory at the Head of the Passes
Chapter 3. Island Number 10
Chapter 4. Building the Ironclads
Chapter 5. Battle of New Orleans
Chapter 6. Plum Point, the Battle of Memphis &
White River Campaign
Chapter 7. Building the CSS Arkansas
Chapter 8. Into the Volcano
Chapter 9. Berwick Bay & the J. A. Cotton
Chapter 10. Gunfire at Galveston
Chapter 11. Action on the Tributaries
Chapter 12 The Pursuit & Destruction of the USS
Indianola
Chapter 13. The CSS Missouri and the Loss of
Yazoo City
Chapter 14. The CSS Webb & the Final Surrender
Chapter 15. Some Final Thoughts


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