Describe the naval strategies

2. Describe the naval strategies of the Union and the Confederacy during the Civil War. Why was each successful or unsuccessful in achieving their goals?

During the Civil war both the Union and the Confederacy attempted different naval strategies which impacted them greatly. When Union President Abraham Lincoln announced a blockade of the Southern coasts, he set the Union’s first naval goal. His strategy was to shut off Southern trade with the rest of the world and block the sale of cotton, the Confederacy’s most important crop. The job was tremendous; the Southern coast stretched for nearly 2,500 miles, and the Union fleet had fewer than 40 ships that could be used. A "brown water fleet" of gunboats was also required by the Union to support army actions on the Mississippi River and in Northern Virginia. In comparison to the North, the Southern states had minimal resources: a few shipyards, a small merchant marine, and no navy at all. The Confederates, on the other hand, required a navy to break the Union blockade and defend the port cities. Stephen Mallory, the Confederate Secretary of the Navy, hurried to find ships and even went on the offensive, targeting Union merchant cargo on the high seas. Blockading squadrons required not just ships but also locations on the southern coast from which to operate. In 1861, the Union launched a series of attacks along the southeastern seaboard, including Hatteras, North Carolina, and Port Royal, South Carolina. They were captured as bases because they were poorly defended and succumbed to Union gunnery. The blockade had become a substantial hindrance to Rebel trade by late 1862, although never being completely airtight. With a smaller fleet and fewer shipyards than the North, the Confederates relied on the strength of their existing ships. They chose to test the Union navy with the most advanced technology available: ironclads. Despite the introduction of iron-armored ships in Europe in the 1850s, Union warships were still made of wood. The Merrimack, the first Confederate ironclad, was a Union cruiser captured by the Southerners when they stormed the Norfolk navy yard in Virginia. Nearly everything above the waterline of the ship was taken off by the Confederates and replaced with a casemate of strong timbers coated in four inches of iron plating. Despite being weak and unrefined, she has yet to find a rival in Lincoln’s wooden navy. While the war raged on at home, the Confederates equipped a fleet of commerce raiders, including the Sumter, Alabama, and Shenandoah, to attack Union merchant ships around the world. Confederate agents in Europe bought these ships, and the majority of them never made it to a Southern port. The most well-known was Alabama, which was led by Raphael Semmes. Alabama was finally met by the Union warship Kearsarge off Cherbourg, France in 1864, after destroying over 60 ships in a 21-month cruise and drove Union shipping interests into a frenzy. The renowned Confederate pirate was sunk by precision Union gunfire in one of history’s last spectacular one-on-one naval duels. Finally, the Confederate States of America’s last official act was a naval one. Far out at sea in Pacific waters, the Confederate raider Shenandoah learned of the Civil War’s end four months after the Confederate army surrendered. On November 6, 1865, Shenandoah finally dropped her flag in England. The Union ended up on top compared to the Confederate. Their naval strategies are overall what helped them accomplish this.

4. Describe the evolution of American sea power between the Revolutionary War and the end of World War I. How did the Navy start and how did it grow into a powerful navy? Themes to consider: size, tactics, strategy, personnel, influential figures etc.

The American sea power grew between the revolutionary war and the end of World War One . Following the Revolution, American political leaders and merchants hoped to resume shipping and trade in England’s West Indian possessions, as well as expand into new foreign markets. However, still smarting from loss and eager to rebuild its commerce fleet, England issued a law in 1783 prohibiting American ships from entering any West Indian port. The closure of this market, which had absorbed two-thirds of American food exports before to the Revolution, had disastrous consequences for the new Republic’s economy. But, beyond vengeance, England’s trade prohibitions had a deeper meaning. They were founded on the belief that sea power was the best way to ensure the wealth and security of England’s remaining dominions. In March 1794, Congress authorized the country‚Äôs first naval act.

However, a Republican-sponsored codicil in the statute stipulated that if peace was reached with Algiers, the most belligerent of the Barbary States, building on the ships would be halted. French privateers and warships were preying on British and American merchants by 1797. Prior to the conflict, they were not protected by the Royal Navy because of a peace treaty with England. After establishing a Navy Department, Congress voted to finish three of the six frigates that were near to completion. The Barbary Pirates remained a problem that the new Republic could no longer ignore or afford to ignore. A deal beneficial to the United States was struck with the Bashaw of Tripoli in June 1805, with the pirate threat suppressed by the burgeoning American fleet. The young American navy was fashioned into a fighting force by Edward Preble and Thomas Truxtun. The War of 1812, as indecisive as it was, did result in the foundation of a permanent US Navy. There was no political debate about a standing fleet for the first time in the country’s brief 40-year history. All this lead the United States Navy to be the world power we are today.

5. Describe how ship design changed between the Revolutionary War and the end of World War I. You may want to consider ship designs as well as types of ships in commission. You do not have to write about them all, but here are some suggested themes to consider: size, materials, weaponry, propulsion, inventors, classes etc.

The period between the War of 1812 and the Civil War was marked by technological innovation and resistance to technological change. Early steamships were considered unsuitable in the wooden battle fleet, due to vulnerability of paddlewheel boxes and loss of broadside power. The risk of fire was tragically demonstrated when the steam frigate Missouri accidentally caught fire in Gibraltar harbor in 1843. Between 1812 and 1860, the fleet remained weak in comparison to even second-rate maritime nations. The navy never built steam-powered screw ships-of-the-line, preferring instead to build a handful of big steam frigates, despite completing 11 all-sail ships of the line and 10 upgraded Constitution-class frigates between 1816 and 1830. The navy’s active main warship fleet at the commencement of the Civil War consisted of seven screw frigates and six screw corvettes. The British navy, on the other hand, had 56 screw ships-of-the-line in 1860. The wooden battle fleet was further endangered by new advancements in naval ordinance and ship construction, particularly the rifled cannon. The United States had one of the world’s most powerful navies by the close of the Civil War, commanded by 21 single and double-turret blue water ironclad monitors, but the nation and its purse were depleted by the endeavor. The government substantially reduced the size of the navy over the next 30 years, allowing the ironclads to rust in port and allowing Britain, Germany, and Japan to assume the lead in ship construction and tactics. Many navy officers preferred the comfort and orderliness of sailing ships to cruising in a "stink pot" steamer. With the revelation that either navy in the conflict between Bolivia, Peru, and Chile fought between 1879 and 1883 was superior to the United States’, the Navy’s condition and status hit a low. The authorization of three steel cruisers, Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago, and one gunboat Dolphin, collectively known as the "ABCD" ships, did not occur until 1884-85, when the new navy began to develop (ironically, despite the advancement in naval technology, these first all-steel ships were still fitted with a full suit of masts, spars and sails). The United States Navy grew from a small improvised fleet of converted merchantmen and a handful of frigates to the world’s third largest maritime power in 140 years.