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Voices of the Confederate Navy: Articles, Letters, Reports and Reminiscences

by R. Thomas Campbell, McFarland & Co. Although less well known than their Army colleagues, the officers and crewmen of the Confederate Navy fought arguably greater odds, pitting courage and ingenuity against the superior technology as well as numbers of the Union fleet that blockaded the Southern coast and closed the Mississippi to Rebel riverine commerce. Confederate records were largely destroyed by fires in Richmond, Va., and Charlotte, N.C., but some copies were turned over to the U.S. War Department in 1884, preserving roughly 30 percent for posterity. Adding many personal accounts to those official reports, R. Thomas Campbell has com piled a firsthand overview of the Rebel sea service’s wartime experiences.

Confederate naval efforts ran a wide gamut of activity. Swift blockade runners tried to slip out and back into ports with vital commodities, while cruisers seized or sank Union merchant vessels. As the Federals moved to eliminate Rebel ships one by one, Southern forces devised such unconventional defenses as armored rams, diminutive Davids armed with spar torpedos and even Charleston’s submarine Hunley. Confederate Marines served alongside sailors on ships and in forts.

While the book’s sailors don’t al – ways get their facts straight, their descriptions evoke the literary style and attitudes of the day. Organized by region to cover a comprehensive geographic range, Voices of the Confederate Navy offers something new for those interested in Civil War memoirs.


Originally published in the October 2008 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here