The Navy Of The Civil War Essay

This essay has a total of 1185 words and 5 pages.

The Navy Of The Civil War

The Civil War consisted of many legendary battles over the soil of the United and
Confederate States of America, which will be retold for generations in history books.
Although these land battles were indeed great, the concept of this paper will be the Naval
warfare of the Civil War, paying certain attention to the battle between the Monitor and
the Merrimac.

Neither the North nor the South was prepared for Naval activities at the beginning of the
war. In order to better prepare the Navy for war, three new designs were put into action
for future ships. The most successful of these designs was the Monitor.

The South was at a disadvantage to the North throughout the war. The South was at a lack
for manpower during the war, since most of the seamen in the US Navy were from the North
and therefore stayed with the Union when the southern states seceded. The South was also
found disadvantaged for iron plates for ship armor, since there was only one establishment
in the South capable of producing them.

The South, knowing their disadvantage in numbers, made the call for commerce raiding of
northern ships. The southern government encouraged privateering of northern ships. This
privateering would help take the burden of building up the Navy off the government, since
privately owned ships and sailors would be assisting the Confederate war goals.

The response of the North was the blockade on the southern states. This dealt a similar
blow to the South that privateering would cause to the North: the loss of supplies. Since
the south was a primarily agricultural area, they had few factories to produce war
supplies. The goal of the blockade was to cut any supplies and allow the underdeveloped
southern states to run out of war goods. Fortunately for the Confederacy, their large
coastline was very difficult for the Union Navy to completely blockade.

In measures taken to trade in spite of the northern blockade, blockade-running was
employed. Fast wooden ships were used to slip by the blockaders to carry cotton to trading
nations in exchange for badly needed war supplies. Blockade-runners did not help the
Confederacy with supplies, however, as trading luxuries, such as jewelry and brandy, were
more profitable. An act was passed to prevent the import of these luxuries, but was rarely
enforced. As a result, the runners succeeded in wasting the slender supply of trained
seamen on the imports of useless materials for war.

The Union came very close to opening war with Britain during their naval campaign. In a
plan to gain diplomatic recognition, the South sent two former US senators to Europe. The
South hoped that this recognition would lead to support from European nations, especially
the neutral Great Britain. The southern ambassadors embarked from Havana on the British
ship Trent. They were intercepted by the USS San Jacinto, whose crew boarded the Trent and
took the former senators as prisoners. This boarding of an English vessel infuriated the
British, but an apologetic letter from the US saved the Union from another war with
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