BOOK REVIEW – Faces of the Civil War Navies: An Album of Union and Confederate Sailors

By Ronald S. Coddington, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD (2016) Review by Thomas P. Ostrom Ronald S. Coddington has chronicled the lives of dozens of Confederate and Union sailors in the War of the Rebellion (1861-1865) in his magnificent photographic and narrative history. In the Foreword, Professor Craig L. Symonds traced the general backgrounds

BOOK REVIEW – Steering to Freedom: From Slave to Civil War Hero

By Patrick Gabridge, Penmore Press, Tucson AZ, (2015) Reviewed by Robert P. Largess Robert Smalls was a black slave at the beginning of the long blockade and siege of Charleston during the Civil War. He was also a skilled waterman and harbor pilot, as well as a man of remarkable charisma and intelligence, and on

BOOK REVIEW – The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border

By Christopher Phillips, Oxford University Press, New York, NY (2016) Reviewed by Thomas P. Ostrom University of Cincinnati history professor Christopher Phillips wrote a different assessment of the complex cultural and political factors in the Border States before, during, and after the Civil War of 1861-1865. Phillips challenges historical interpretations that paint the Border States

BOOK REVIEW – The CSS Albemarle and William Cushing: The Remarkable Confederate Ironclad and the Union Officer Who Sank It

By Jim Stempel, McFarland and Co., Publishers, Jefferson, NC (2011) Reviewed by Robert P. Largess Writing years after the Civil War, Gideon Welles remarked of William B. Cushing: “…the great chief of the American Navy, Farragut…said to me that while no navy had braver or better officers than ours, young Cushing was the hero of

Sharing Naval History: Students Learn African American Heritage in Hampton City Schools

You never know where you find naval history. A recent email exchange that began through our social media outlets led to some interesting information one of our Facebook fans was kind enough to share about her family and professional ties to naval history.   Guest Post By Pam Neilson During my childhood in the 1950s and

National History Day 2016 Recap: Fiery Exchanges and Glass Ceilings

It is always refreshing to see young adults learning and interpreting history with passion and dedication. With so much emphasis on science and technology in our school systems today, one might wonder if a fire for the liberal arts still burns in our country’s young minds. In no place is that fire burning brighter than

Blood, Bravery, and Intrepid Ships: 5 Epic Naval Battles (PART II)

Blood, Bravery, and Intrepid Ships is a new limited, 5-part blog series exploring 5 epic naval battles throughout the history of the United States Navy. DISCLAIMER: This post is related to the 6th Season, 9th episode of the HBO series Game of Thrones titled “Battle of the Bastards.” Although the historical content of the five

BOOK REVIEW – A Confederate Biography: The Cruise of the CSS Shenandoah

By Dwight Sturtevant Hughes, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2016) Reviewed by Diana L. Ahmad, Ph.D. A graduate of the Naval Academy in 1967, Dwight Hughes provides an excellent account of CSS Shenandoah that is easily understood by historians and lay audiences alike. Readers quickly come to feel the movement of the ship as she

BOOK REVIEW – Sea Miner: Major E. B. Hunt’s Civil War Rocket Torpedo 1862-1863

Chuck Veit, Self Published (2016) Reviewed by Robert P. Largess Chuck Veit is something of a master in recreating the world of Civil War America and the personality of real individuals of that time through contemporary newspapers, letters, speeches, and diaries. In The Yankee Expedition to Sevastopol, he did a remarkable job of bringing salvor,

BOOK REVIEW – The Blockade-Runner Denbigh and the Union Navy: Including Glover’s Analysis of the West Gulf Blockade and Archival Materials and Notes

By J. Barto Arnold III and Robert W. Glover, Denbigh Shipwreck Project Publication, Institute of Nautical Archaeology, College Station, TX (2015) Reviewed by Mark Lardas In May 1865, a month after Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia, the blockade runner Denbigh ran aground attempting to enter Galveston Harbor, and was subsequently destroyed by Union

BOOK REVIEW – In the Shadow of the Alabama: The British Foreign Office and the American Civil War

By Renata Eley Long, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD (2015) Reviewed by Kenneth J. Blume, Ph.D. Built and launched at the Laird shipyard in 1862, CSS Alabama became the most notorious of the Confederacy’s commerce raiders, devastating Union merchant shipping and contributing to an irreversible “flight from the flag.” Her career ended two years later

BOOK REVIEW – To Retain Command of the Mississippi: The Civil War Campaign for Memphis

By Edward B. McCaul, The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN (2014) Reviewed by Robert P. Largess Seldom has a naval campaign been more critical to the future of the United States than the drive to control the Mississippi River and split the South in two during the Civil War. Along with the naval blockade,

BOOK REVIEW – General Henry Lockwood of Delaware; Shipmate of Melville, Co-builder of the Naval Academy, Civil War Commander

By Lloyd J. Matthews, University of Delaware Press, Newark, DE (2014) Reviewed by Nathan D. Wells Those who watch the annual Army-Navy football game and be not a bit awestruck by the competing corps of cadets and midshipmen might not realize that these two friendly rival institutions have an interesting connection. Henry Lockwood was an

The Prize of History: USS Monitor Prize-Money Claims

By Bill Edwards-Bodmer The events during the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 8 and 9, 1862 are well-known.  From an objective viewpoint, the battle was tactically a draw.  Neither ship was disabled to the point of being unable to continue the fight.  A misinterpretation of each other’s movements caused both ships to withdraw.  Beginning

Cracking Gibraltar: The Union Takes Fort Fisher (PART III)

Cracking Gibraltar is a blog series from the Naval Historical Foundation that will discuss the Army-Navy relationship involved in taking Fort Fisher, the last remaining Confederate stronghold in the Atlantic. READ PART I and PARTII. PART III: Cracking Gibraltar Following the embarrassing show of force at Fort Fisher in December, General Grant and other wartime