Monday, September 24, 2007

African-American Troops

There can never be a gook look at the Civil War without noting the contribution of African-Americans in the conflict.

The whole idea of having African-Americans fight for their freedom seemed to have been a sticky issue from the start. Freed slaves actually fought in the American Revolution as full-fledged members of George Washington’s Continental Army as well as several units that fought in the War of 1812. Most noted were the African-Americans who fought with Andrew Jackson’s army at the Battle of New Orleans.

By the time the Mexican War was being fought (1846-1848), Blacks had been barred from military service. It seemed that their past service had been largely forgotten amid racial prejudices. There was one exception, the Navy. In filling out crew rosters for their warships, Navy recruiters were not picky about who served as powder monkeys (usually boys who hauled bags of gun powder to the cannon), cannoneers, or riggers (needed for sail-powered ships). Many pictures of US Navy crews from the 1860’s showed not a few black faces among them.

As the Civil War began, many Northern African-Americans heeded President Abraham Lincoln’s call for volunteers and rushed to recruiting stations, only to be turned away by the recruiting sergeants.

In the South, there was no question about Blacks serving in the Confederate Army, it was not happening. Officially, slave could be rented to the armies as teamsters, cooks, manual labor, wagon drivers, and other support functions. Unofficially, many of these African-Americans also held muskets and stood in volley lines, keeping up as good a fire as their White counterparts. When Major General Patrick Cleburne suggested that slaves should be allowed to serve in the army in exchange for their freedom, he was ripped apart in the realm of popular opinion and ended up losing his command for that opinion.

In New Orleans, a group of Free Blacks got together and began drilling as a unit. They were soon named the Louisiana Native Guards, a militia unit that pledge to help the defense of the city, an obvious target for a Union invasion. This group of African-Americans was pledging their services to the Confederacy! However, local defenders were not interested and abandoned the Native Guards to the advancing Federals. As a result, they switched allegiances to the Union. Among their duties, they garrisoned Ship Island, off Gulfport, MS, a major Union base in the region.

It was not until 1862 that the Federal Government, and especially Lincoln, saw the necessary of allowing Blacks into the Army. Their numbers would be sorely needed. This action resulted of two things; there was pressure from several African-American groups who were demanding that they be in the fight, also there was the need to put the war on a more moral footing. The second item stemmed from the recent issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, which changed the object of the war from just only a war to preserve the Union to the added object to ending Slavery once and for all. Blacks knew from that point that it was their fight too. Lincoln authorized the addition of 100,000 African-Americans to the army with one provision; all the officers had to be White.

Finding officers to command these new units were problematic as first. Many Northerners were as prejudiced as Southerners and would have no part in this enterprise. However, many officers, at first from abolitionist families, as well as a few enlisted, enticed with the promises of a commission, soon joined.

When this news hit the Confederacy, reaction was intense. The Confederate Congress quickly passed a law that allowed captured Black troops to be “returned to a state of slavery” (even if that soldier was a Free Black to begin with) and any officers who were captured while in command of African-American troops were to be subject to execution for “inciting servile insurrection.” Still that did not deter the Northerners.

In February of 1862 there was an effort already to put African-Americans in uniform. Union Major General David Hunter had been placed in command of the Union Department of the South, which covered the coastal areas of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida with 18,000 troops. Hunter felt that that was not enough to do the job, and Washington was not sending reinforcements any time soon.

13 April, 1862: General Hunter issued a declaration that all slaves of “enemies of the United States” were to be confiscated and declared free. The main object here was to deprive local plantations of needed labor. This also gave him a pool to tap for manpower.

Later that month, Hunter ordered able-bodied Blacks gathered in order to raise a regiment, named the 1st South Carolina (US) Infantry. They were initially used as labor, but it was intended to be a combat unit. That is, if the US Government would recognize the unit and fund it. This proved to be a problem since President Lincoln had already quashed the declaration. Since the government refused to pay and equip the unit, the experiment soon fell apart with it’s disbanding on 10 August, 1862.

27 September, 1862: The Louisiana Native Guards was officially accepted into Union service as the 1st Regiment Louisiana Native Guards. What was amazing at the time was the line officers (Captains and Lieutenants) were Black.

12 October, 1862: The 2nd Regiment Louisiana Native Guards was mustered into service.

29 October, 1862: The 1st Kansas (Colored) Volunteer Infantry took part in a skirmish at Island Mound, MO. This unit was locally raised and not yet in Federal service. This was the first time that Blacks fought in Missouri as a unit, rather than as individuals as they had been since the fighting began. That unit would receive Federal recognition on 1 January, 1863.

24 November, 1862: The 3rd Regiment Louisiana Native Guards was mustered into service.

Around that same time, the 1st and 2nd Regiments took part in operations in the Bayou La Fourche, south of New Orleans.

As 1863 dawned, the commander of Union forces in Louisiana at the time, Major General Nathaniel Banks, succumbed to pressure from locals, who believed that the presence of Black troops would cause problems, sent the 2nd Regiment to Ship Island and the 1st to the old Confederate forts of Jackson and St. Philip. The 3rd was used in operations around Baton Rouge between February and May of 1863. Other operations included a skirmish at Pascagoula, MS on 9 April, 1863 and an assault on Port Hudson, LA on 27 May, 1863.

These actions began to answer a question that was in the minds of the Northern public (as well as a few generals and politicians); will the Black Man fight. Notwithstanding that African soldiers had been in several armies throughout history. The answer to that question was a resounding YES!

In Massachusetts, there was an effort to raise an African-American regiment. They put out a call for volunteers and received a response from not just Massachusetts men, but from all over the US. This group included Northern Free Blacks as well as those who just escaped slavery in the South. This group was designated the 54th Massachusetts and command was given to Robert Gould Shaw, a son of a prominent abolitionist family. Shaw had troubles from the start, getting his green troops trained for battle amid rumors that they would only be used only for manual labor and as garrison troops, getting his troops the equipment they needed from reluctant supply officers, and the biggest insult of all, the pay.

Union Privates received a monthly pay of $13.00 a month and their clothing was taken care of. The War Department declared that African-Americans would receive $10.00 a month, with $3.00 taken for uniforms. In a world in which $10.00 was a small fortune, that was a lot of money lost. In order to quell a possible riot, Shaw and his officers pledged not to receive their pay until the inequality was addressed.

28 May, 1863: The 54th MA paraded through the streets of Boston, to the delight of both Blacks and Whites, and boarded transports to South Carolina. They soon arrived at St. Simeon’s Island and Shaw reported to the garrison commander, Colonel James Montgomery.

11 June, 1863: Elements of the 54th MA and the 2nd South Carolina (US) African Descent marched to Darien, GA where the raid that Colonel Montgomery was carrying out resulted in burning the town down. Shaw was not happy at the operation and felt that the honor of the 54th was dirtied. He managed to have his regiment transferred to Charleston, SC.

8 July, 1863: The 54th MA was quickly transferred to James Island, where they would take part in operations against Confederate defenses there.

11 July, 1863: Shaw and his troops arrive.

16 July, 1863: The 54th gets their first taste of combat. While performing picket duty on Sol Legare’s Island, about 300 Confederates attacked. The purpose of this attack was to capture the camp of the 10th Connecticut and capture as many of the soldiers as possible. The African-Americans of the 54th MA held their ground, losing several troops in order to give the 10th CT time to get away. Their losses were 14 killed, 18 wounded, and 13 missing (those missing were found to have been captured and executed).

Having proved themselves, Shaw volunteered for another mission. There had been an attempt to take a Confederate artillery position called Battery Wagner. This position was at the north end of Morris Island and covered the harbor entrance to Charleston. On 10 July, Federal forces were savaged an attempt to take the fort. The Union commander, Brigadier General Quincy Gilmore, decided to soften up the place with both land-based and naval bombardment. As plans were made to assemble another ground assault, Gilmore would have heard of the request to include the 54th MA and approved their transfer.

18 July, 1863: 9:00 a.m.: As the 54th MA arrived on Folly Island, south of Morris Island, the bombardment was already in progress. Gilmore thought that after he was through, units like the 54th would only need a mopping-up operation to secure the fort.

Gilmore had experience in battering down forts, he was the one who took out Fort Pulaski, near Savannah, GA. There was a difference; Pulaski was a brick fort that could be battered down. Wagner was a sand and earth fort that swallowed incoming shells while its garrison rested in shelters called bombproofs.

5:00 p.m.: Shaw and his troops were ferried across to Morris Island, where he was offered the honor of being the first regiment into the attack. The 54th would be backed up by the 6th Connecticut, 48th New York, 3rd New Hampshire, 9th Maine, and 76th Pennsylvania. They were backed up by three artillery batteries.

The entire formation had to march up a narrow strip of sand between a marsh and the Atlantic Ocean. As they approached the fort, they would be subject to artillery fire from the Confederate defenders.

About 6:00 p.m., the formation began to advance.

First thing the Federals found out was that not all the Confederate guns were destroyed, solid cannon shells began to pound the approaching formations. Shaw told his men to lie down among the dunes until darkness fell.

7:45 p.m.: Shaw gave the order, “Move in quick time until within a hundred yards of the fort, then double quick and charge.” With that he yelled “FORWARD!” The formation moved as one, despite the shell and grapeshot that began to pepper the Federals. Every hole that appeared in the line was quickly filled in as the 54th approached the wall, where they found a moat that had to be crossed before the wall could be climbed. On the wall were troops of the 31st, 51st, and 61st North Carolina, firing down into the mass of Union troops.

The 54th was not the only ones there, the 6th CT and 48th NY were at the southeast corner trying to get in themselves.

Sergeant William Carney found his unit’s National Flag next to its fallen color bearer. He picked it up and, despite being wounded several times, kept the flag up in the face of the enemy. He would become the first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor for that.

Shaw rallied his men to the top of the forts wall, where he was fatally wounded. The other top officers were either killed or wounded. Captain Louis Emilio became the de-facto commander of the 54th MA and rallied his men to the top of the wall.

The first wave of the assault was hung up along the wall. There was a delay in sending in the second. When they were finally sent in, that wave was also stopped.

Emilio had the task of reassembling what was left of the 54th MA, even as scattered unite had managed to get into the fort itself, where very few came out.

When everything was finished, the 54th MA lost 256 in the assault, including most of the officers.

Shaw was buried with several of his soldiers. The Confederates refused to send his body across the lines, stating, “We buried him with his n*****s.” Shaw’s father, however, considered that an honor.

The heroics of the 54th Massachusetts proved to be the spark that opened the way for more African-Americans to join the US Army. So many units were being formed that a new designation was needed: United States Colored Troops.

In 1864, there were other opportunities for African-American troops to prove their worth.

20 February, 1864: Olustree, FL: The 54th MA was in battle again, along with the 8th USCT, the 1st North Carolina (US) Colored and the 2nd South Carolina (US) African Descent. Union forces were attempting to push their way from Jacksonville to Tallahassee when they were repulsed by 1200 Confederates under Brigadier General Joseph Finnegan. The African-American troops covered the retreat, buying time with their lives.

There were also tragedy thrown at them.

12 April, 1864: A garrison of African-Americans and Tennessee Unionists were overrun at Fort Pillow, on the Mississippi River, by Confederates under Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Whether it was done after the surrender, or because they refused to surrender, most of the garrison was massacred.

There was the also the issue of prisoners of war. The official Confederate position was that African-Americans in uniform was not to be afforded POW status. There were black troops in prisons like Andersonville, GA and Belle Island, VA, but they were used for manual labor. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of all Union forces, stopped the practice of prisoner exchanges until his African-Americans were given the same status as White troops.

During the Overland Campaign against the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, African-Americans made up two brigades of IX Corps and fought from the Wilderness to Petersburg.

In contrast, Major General William Sherman’s armies did not have a single Black soldier. It seemed that Sherman had no use for them.

30 July, 1864: The Battle of the Crater: The plan for when the mine was detonated had both African-American brigades spearhead the assault. As a matter of fact, they had trained for a straight month while the mine was being dug. Sadly, General Grant had ordered the IX Corps commander, Major General Ambrose Burnside, not to send in the Black troops for political and public relations reasons. An unprepared brigade, led by a drunkard and coward, was sent in first. The African-Americans were sent in later, after the assault had bogged down, losing scores in the process.

Despite the bravery of the African-Americans, only one, Sergeant Decatur Dorsey, 39th USCT, received the Medal of Honor.

On the Confederate side, the debate about using Black troops was not decided until it was becoming too late. Despite protests from hard-liners, the Confederate Congress approved the enlistment of African-Americans into the Confederate Army. Two regiments of mixed White and Black troops drilled to the delight of Richmond residents, but it was too little, too late.

As Richmond fell on 3 April,1865, the first Union troops to enter the former Confederate Capital were members of the 28th USCT. This spoke volumes to the defeated Confederates. Other units were involved in the Appomattox campaign, resulting in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

The last engagement of the Civil War, at Palmito Ranch, TX (11-12 May, 1865) also saw the last use of African-American troops as the 62nd USCT made up a large part of the Union force that was repulsed.

Following the war’s conclusion, African-African troops made up a large part of the force needed to police the former Confederate States. This action left bad feelings amongst the local population that might have contributed to the Black Codes that were enacted following the end of Reconstruction. They were also involved in operations along the Rio Grand River that were conducted to keep Imperial Mexico from invading.

Even so, the pace of disbanding Black units were not as fast as the White ones, but in the course of time, the volunteer regiments were disbanded. Those who wanted to continue in the Army were assigned to the 9th and 10th US Cavalry, who would become known as “Buffalo Soldiers” and would see large scale battle again in the Spanish-American War (at times alongside former Confederates). The 24th and 25th US Infantry was also authorized.

African-Americans earned their citizenship at places like Fort Wagner and the Crater. Sadly, that reward was not realized until the 1960’s, one hundred years after their battles.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


There has not been much information on the role of the Marines in the Civil War. Their traditional role, ship security, small scale land missions, and fighting at sea, was not called for in the major land battles of the war. Still, Marines played a part in the eventual Union victory.


In 1861 the US Marine Corps consisted of the Commandant, usually a Colonel, a Major who had the dual jobs of Adjutant and Inspector, another Major who was the Paymaster, a Quartermaster, another Major, and an Assistant Quartermaster, a Captain, making up the Command Section.
Operations consisted of a Lieutenant Colonel, four Majors, 13 Captains, 20 First Lieutenants, 20 Second Lieutenants, 101 Sergeants, 137 corporals, and 1347 Privates.
This was soon raised to include one additional Colonel, one additional Lieutenant Colonel, one additional Assistant Quartermaster, seven more Captains, 10 more First Lieutenants, and 10 more Second Lieutenants. A total Enlisted strength of 220 more corporals, and 2500 privates was also authorized.

The US Marine Corps was the size of almost three standard Civil War regiments.

The US Marines had already played a role in pre-Civil War tensions; it was a detachment of Marines, led by US Army Colonel Robert E. Lee, who put down John Brown’s Revolt in 1859.

The raise in Marines was done after a detachment of 13 Officers and 336 Enlisted were among those running from the battlefield at First Bull run (Manassas, VA). Some of these additions were also for replacing officers who resigned their commissions and joined a newly created Confederate States Marine Corps.

Two noted missions that the Marines were a part of was an assault on Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC on 8 September, 1863, which failed, an engagement at Honey Hill, SC in 1864, and the assault on Fort Fisher, 15 January 1865 as part of a sailor/Marine force.

Marine uniforms were a little bit different then the Army’s. The headgear was the traditional kepi with a badge consisting of an “M” set in a red oval. The blouse was the same as the Army’s and was colored the same shade of blue. The trousers were white instead of sky blue. Enlisted rank was noted as upward pointing red chevrons while the officer rank was marked by the use of Russian Knots instead of the rank badges the Army used.


The CS Marine Corps was initially made up of six companies officered by former US Marine officers. The Corps was soon commanded by a Colonel, with a Lieutenant Colonel, three Majors (adjutant, paymaster, and quartermaster), a Sergeant Major, a Quartermaster Sergeant, and two Musicians in the Command Section.
Operation were conducted at the company level with 10 Captains, 10 First Lieutenants, 20 Second Lieutenants, 40 Sergeants, 40 Corporals, and 840 Privates.

The companies were assigned thus:

Company A: formed at New Orleans in 1861 and was assigned to Richmond in 1862.

Company B: formed at New Orleans in 1861 and was assigned to Richmond in 1862.

Company C: formed at New Orleans in 1861 and was assigned to Richmond in 1862.

Company D: formed at Memphis and Mobile, assigned to Mobile.

Company E: formed at Savannah, assigned to Charleston in 1864 and sent a detachment to Wilmington.

Company F: formed at New Orleans, moved to Mobile after New Orleans fell.

Parts of these companies were detached to ship duty aboard the following: CSS Atlanta, Baltic, Charleston, Chicora, Columbia, Dalman, Drewry, Fredericksburg, Gaines, Gallego, Huntress, Indian Chief, Isondiaga, Jamestown, Macon, McRae, Morgan, Nashville, North Carolina, Palmetto State, Patrick Henry, Raleigh, Resolute, Richmond, Sampson, Savannah (both the steamer and the ironclad vessels), Tennessee, Time, United States, Virginia, Virginia II, Tallahassee/Olustree, Shenandoah, Georgia, Rappahannock, Stonewall, Artic, and Georgia.

The first CS Marines fought during the attack of CSS Virginia on the Federal blockade on 8-9 March, 1862. Their last engagement was at Saylor’s Creek on 6 April, 1865.

CS Marine uniforms almost copied the US Marine model, except that the overblouse was gray and the enlisted chevrons were brown. It is not known if the kepis had any ornamentation, as records were destroyed in 1865. The same white trousers were used.

Weapons for either side would be the standard rifled muskets and sidearms, but specially treated to prevent corrosion while at sea.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Confederate Exiles

As the Civil War was winding down, many Confederates, seeing the writing in the wall, resolved not to allow themselves to be placed back under Federal laws. Some, like Edwin Ruffin, chose to commit suicide, while others chose exile:

4 July, 1865: Confederate Brigadier General Joseph Shelby led a group that included former Governors Pendleton Murrah (Texas), Charles Morehead (Kentucky), and Henry Allen (Louisiana). Also among this group were Generals John Magruder, Hamilton Bee, Thomas Hindman, and Sterling Price. They crossed the Rio Grande to establish a colony in Mexico.

Major Washington Goldsmith, who commanded Georgia troops, helped establish a colony in British Honduras (now Belize).

John Taylor Wood, a Confederate Navy Captain, relocated to Nova Scotia, rather than swear an oath to the United States.

A Confederate community in Ontario, Canada hosted Jubal Early, John Hood, James Mason (CS Commissioner to the UK), and John Breckenridge.

A very large Confederate colony was formed north of Sao Paulo. This community still exists in the form of the town of Americana, populated with descendants of the founders.

Matthew Maury, former US Navy oceanographer and former Confederate Navy purchasing agent in Europe, directed the Imperial Mexican Observatory.

Judah Benjamin, former CS Secretary of State, became a Queens Counsel for Lancashire, England.

Others who lived in England, included Louis Wigfall and Robert Toombs.

Many of the estimated 10000 exiles did return to the US, but only after taking the oath of loyalty to the United States. Others were staunch Confederates to the end and never returned.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Naval Forces of both sides.


Pre-CW strength: 1563 officers and 7500 enlisted were in the US Navy at the outbreak of the Civil War.

Of the officers, 321 resigned their commissions when their states seceded (or were possibly going to in the case of Franklin Buchanan, who resigned when he thought Maryland was seceding. When Maryland did not secede, Buchanan tried to take back his resignation, but that was refused).

The pre-CW navy consisted of:

21 sloops of war: 5 in Home Squadron, 4 in the East Indies, 2 in the Mediterranean, 1 near Brazil, 3 patrolling the African Coast, and 6 in the Pacific.

12 steamers (steam powered ships): 4 in Home Squadron, 1 in the East Indies, 1 in the Mediterranean, 1 near Brazil, 4 patrolling the African Coast, and 1 in the Pacific.

3 frigates: 1 in Home Squadron, 1 in the East Indies, and 1 near Brazil.

2 storeships: 1 in the hone Squadron and 1 patrolling the African Coast.

The main advantage the North had was the ability to draw upon civilian sources for ships and personnel. Also there was a great advantage that the Union was able to control the possession of the Navy Yards, with their dry docks and maintenance facilities. Norfolk, VA was briefly held by the Confederates but had to give that up in 1862. Pensacola, FL could not be taken as long as the Union held Fort Pickens.

The main problem was that even as President Lincoln was ordering a blockade of Southern ports, there were not enough ships to even begin one. It was fortunate that Lincoln had Gideon Welles as Secretary of the Navy. He embarked on a program of not only constructing new ship, but buying civilian ships for conversion to war vessels. Finding volunteers to crew them were not too hard, many civilians were run off the seas by the presence of Confederate commerce raiders that were already making an influence.

Another advantage that the union had was the ability to use new technologies, and the industrial base to exploit that advantage. Even though the Confederates were the first to deploy a warship with iron cladding on the outside, the Union was not far behind, and soon overtook the South in iron warship production.

The Blockade:

The coasts of the CSA were segmented into four zones by the time a proper blockade was in place, in 1862.
As of 1864 (unless otherwise mentioned):

North Atlantic Blockading Squadron:

Flag Officer Louis M. Goldsborough (1861-1862)
Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee (1862-1864)
Rear Admiral David Dixon Porter (1864-1865)
Rear Admiral William Radford (1865)

Flagship: USS Minnesota
Ironclad steamer: USS Roanoke
Steamers: Fort Jackson, Shenandoah, Connecticut, St. Lawrence, Keystone State, Hetzel, Florida, Louisiana, Cambridge, State of Georgia, Mercedita, Maratanza, Morse, Nansemond, Southfield, Niphon, Daylight, Montgomery, Commodore Perry, Mount Vernon, Britannia, Governor Buckingham, Houquah, Lockwood, Underwriter, Calypso, Commodore Barney, Commodore Hull, Wyandotte, Mt. Washington, Commodore Jones, Stepping Stones, Lilack, Young Rover, Mystic, Emma, General Putnam, Victoria, Hunchback, Shawsheen, Samuel Rotan, Whitehead, Cohasset, Fab-Kee, and Seymour.
Gunboat: Miami.
Supply ship: Newbern.
Support ship: Release.
Sloop: Granite.
Tugboats: Alert and Zouave.
Storeship: Albemarle.

Area covered: Coasts of Virginia and North Carolina.

South Atlantic Blockading Squadron:

Real Admiral John Dahlgren (1863-1865)

Flagship: USS Wabash
Ironclad Steamers: Lehigh, Passaic, Nantucket, Montauk, Nahant, Patapsco, New Ironsides, and Catskill.
Steamers: Canandaigua, Housatonic, Pawnee, Sonoma, Paul Jones, Mahaska, Cimmaron, Nipsic, Chippewa, Unadilla, Ottawa, Huron, Water Witch, Marblehead, Wissahickon, Seneca, Memphis, Lodona, Flambeau, Commodore McDonough, Mohawk, Home, Potomska, Stettin, Iris, Philadelphia, O. M. Pettit, Norwich, Mary Sanford, E. G. Hale, South Carolina, Oleander, Geranium, Larkspur, Daffodil, Jonquil, Carnation, Clover, Dandelion, and Columbine.
Barques: Ethan Allen, Brazilliera, A. Houghton, Kingfisher, Fernandina, and Midnight.
Schooners: Hope, Dan Smith, F. A. Ward, Racer, C. P. Williams, George Mangham, Norfolk Packet, and Blunt.
Ordinance sloop: John Adams.
Storeships: Supply and Vermont.

Area covered: Coasts of South Carolina, Georgia, and of east Florida to Key West. Main focus was on Charleston, SC.

East Gulf Blockading Squadron (ships assigned as of 1863):

Rear Admiral William Mervine (1861)
Flag officer William McKean (1861-1862)

Flagship: St Lawrence.
Steamers: San Jacinto, Penguin, Sagamore, Tahoma, Port Royal, Somerset, Lodona, Fort Henry, Huntsville, Magnolia, and Stars and Stripes.
Barques: Pursuit, Gemshok, James L. Davis, Roebuck, James S. Chambers, Amanda, Ethan Allen, and Houghton.
Sloop of War: Dale
Schooners: Eugenie, Beauregard, and Wanderer.

Area covered: West Florida coast from Key West to the Alabama-Mississippi line.

West Gulf Blockading Squadron:

Rear Admiral David Farragut (1862-1864)
Flag Officer James Palmer (1864-1865)
Real Admiral Henry Thatcher (1865)

Flagship: USS Hartford.
Steamers: Pensacola, Ossipee, Richmond, Lacawanna, Itasca, Monongahela, Metacomet, Oneida, Princess Royal, Seminole, Octorara, Kanawha, Genesee, Galena, Owasco, Katahdin, Port Royal, Chocura, Pembina, Penobscot, Kennebec, Pinola, Cayuga, Estrella, New London, Aroostook, Sciota, Arkansas, Albatross, John P. Jackson, Virginia, Pengyin, Tennessee, Arizona, Antona, Granite City, Jasmine, Hollyhock, Commodore, and Eugenie.
Steam Frigate: Colorado.
Sloops: Portsmouth and Vincennes.
Barques: W. G. Anderson, Arthur, and J. C. Kuhn.
Brig: Bohio and Seafoam.
Support Ships: Fearnot, and Nightingale.
Barquentine: Horace Beals.
Yacht: Corypheus.
Schooners: Maria Wood, Orvetta, John Griffiths, Sam Houston, Sarah Bruen, Henry James, and Oliver H. Lee.
Storeship: Potomac.

Area covered: The coast from the Alabama-Mississippi line to the Rio Grande River (Texas-Mexico border).

Mississippi River Squadron:

Flagship: Blackhawk.
Ironclad Steamers: Essex, Eastport, Lafayette, Benton, Louisville, Tuscumbia, Choctaw, Conestoga, Mound City, Lexington, Pittsburg, Chillicothe, Neosho, Carondelet, and Osage.
Steamers: Moose, Taylor, Forest Rose, Fort Hindman, Hastings, Brilliant, St. Clair, Silver Cloud, Covington, Queen City, Tawah, Key West, Peosta, Reindeer, General Price, General Bragg, Rattler, Exchange, Brown, Linden, Kenwood, Fair Play, Springfield, Fawn, Paw Paw, Naunkeag, Silver Lake, Champion, Alexandria, Great Western, Judge Torrence, New Era, Signal, Prairie Bird, Curlew, Little Rebel, Victory, Tensas, General Pillow, Bobb, Argosy, Ouachita, New National, General Lyon, and Samson.
Hospital Steamer: Red Rover.
Tugboats: Pansy, Fern, Thistle, Laurel, Mignonette, Daisy, Mistletoe, Myrtle, Dahlia, Hyacinth, and Ivy.
Inspection Ship: Abraham.

Potomac River Flotilla:

Steamers: Ella, Yankee, Commodore Read, Currituck, Jacob Bell, Fuchsia, Couer de Lion, Resolute, Freeborn, Anacostia, Wyandank, Tulip, Primrose, Teaser, and Dragon.
Schooners: Sophonia, Matthew Vassar, Adolph Hugel, and William Bacon.

East India Squadron (Indonesia, Singapore):

Side-wheel sloops: Saginaw and Wyoming.

West Indian Squadron (Caribbean):

Side-wheel gunboat: Tioga.
Screw driven vessels: Galatea and Neptune.
Sloop: Macedonian.
Barque: Gemsbok.
(These vessels were assigned to the East Gulf blockading Squadron in 1864.)

Brazil Squadron (South Atlantic):

Screw driven vessel: Wachusett.
Side-wheel vessels: Pulaski and Emma Henry.

Mediterranean Squadron:

Screw driven vessel: Iroquois.
Sloop: Constellation.

European Squadron (North Atlantic, North Sea):

Frigate: Niagara.
Screw driven sloops: Kearsarge and Sacramento.

Africa Squadron:

Sloop: Constellation until 1862, then assigned to European Squadron.

Pacific Squadron:

Barques: Saranac, Fredonia, and Massachusetts.
Side-wheel sloop: Saginaw.
Screw driven vessels: Lancaster and Wyoming.
Double-ended gunboat: Wateree.
Side-wheel gunboat: Monongo.
Storeships: Falmouth and Relief.
Sloops: John Adams, Jamestown, and St. Mary’s.

Receiving ships:

These vessels served as basic training centers and never left port:

Allegheny, at Baltimore, MD.
North Carolina, at New York, NY.
Ohio, at Boston, MA.
Potomac, at Pensacola, FL.
Princeton, at Philadelphia, PA.
Clara Rolson and Grampus, assigned to the Mississippi River Squadron.
John Hancock, at San Francisco, CA.

Special Squadron:

This group was formed in January 1864 to hunt Confederate commerce raiders:

Steamers: Mohican, Sacramento, Michigan, Wachusett, and Iroquois.
Steam sloop: Kearsarge.
Support ship: Onward.
Sloop: St. Louis.


The CSA was not a seafaring region to begin with, but they had to in order to keep the field armies supplied. With this in mind, there were a few miracles, such as CSS Virginia, an ironclad worship, or the H. L. Hunley, a submarine. They did, however, had these insurmountable disadvantages:

Lack of industry: with one major factory and a few minor ones, the industrial base was just not there. Iron for cladding was rolled at the Tredegar Iron Works at Richmond, VA, usually from salvaged iron, railroad rails, or even church bells.

Lack of facilities: The North had all the proper naval facilities, even in their territory. They briefly held the Norfolk Navy Yard long enough to build the Virginia, but had to abandon it. They made up for that by using fields, swamps, and inlets for construction sites.

Lack of trained personnel: Only 321 officers had left the US Navy for Southern service and almost no enlisted. The officers made a good core for the embryonic service, but the enlisted force had to be started from scratch.

Lack of ships: since there was not a wholesale defection of Navy vessels, the CS Navy had to build that from scratch as well. CS President Davis started that by authorizing Letters of Marque and Reprisal, allowing privately owned ships to be used in military operations against Union shipping. These were considered pirates by the Federals and their crews subject to the death penalty, but not many cases were prosecuted. From these privateers came the commerce raiders that were the bane of the Union.

Ships basically had to be either built, bought, of finagled from foreign sources, or locally produced by rather inventive methods.

All of this, under the auspices of Secretary of the Navy, Stephen Mallory.

Besides commerce raiding, the CS Navy was primarily a costal and river operations force, using small vessels to keep things going.

The vessels mentioned were with these particular fleets at one time or another. Some were destroyed or captured. Others were captured Union naval or civilian vessels.

Texas Costal Flotilla:

Gunboats: Bayou City, Clifton, General Bee, Josiah H. Bell, Mary Hill, and Uncle Ben.
Steamers: A. S. Ruthven, Era No. 3, Florida, Grand Bay, Island City, Jeff Davis, John F. Carr, Lone Star, Lucy Gwinn, Neptune, Roebuck, and Sun Flower.
Sail vessels: Breaker, Dodge, Elma, Fanny Morgan, George Buckhart, Julia A. Hodges, Lecompt, Royal Yacht, and Velocity.

Mississippi Defense Fleet:

Ironclad: Louisiana
Gunboats: A. B. Seger, Anglo-Norman, Anglo-Saxon, Arrow, Barataria, Calhoun, Diana, Dollie Webb, General Quitman, Governor Moore, Ivy, Jackson, A. J. Cotton, James L. Day, McRae, Mobile, Oregon, Pamlico, Tuscaora, Webb, and Carondelet.
Spar Torpedo Boat: Pioneer.
Rams: Colonel Lovell, Defiance, General Beauregard, General Bragg, General Breckinridge, General Earl Van Dorn, General Lovell, General M. Jeff Thompson, General Sterling Price, General Sumter, Little Rebel, Resolute, Stonewall Jackson, Warrior, and Web.
Sail vessels: Coryphus, Washington.
Tugboats: Bell, Algerine, and Boston.
Steamers: Dan, Darby, Empire Parish, General Quitman, Gossamer, Hart, Landis, Mosher, Music, Orizaba, St. Philip, Star, Texas, and W. Burton.
Side-wheel vessel: Phoenix.
Floating Battery: New Orleans.

Mississippi River Fleet:
Ironclads: Arkansas, and Missouri.
Gunboats: General Polk, Grand Duke, J. A. Cotton, Livingston, Maurepas, Pontchartrain, Queen of the West, St. Mary, Slidell, and Tom Sugg.
Steamers: Admiral, Alfred Robb, Argo, Argosy, Argus, B. M. Moore, Beauregard, Ben McCullough, Berwick Bay, Bracelet, Charm, Cheney, Clara Dolson, Cotton Plant, Countess, De Sota, Dew Drop, Doubloon, Dr. Batey, Dunbar, Edward J. Gay, Elmira, Emma Bett, Era No. 5, Fairplay, Fred Kennett, Frolic, Gordon Grant, Grampus, Grand Era, Gray Cloud, H. D. Mears, H. R. W. Hill, Hartford City, Hope, J. D. Clark, J. D. Swain, Jeff Davis, John Simonds, John Walsh, Julius, Kanawha Valley, Kaskaskia, Kentucky, Lady Walton, Linn Boyd, Louis D’Or, Louisville, Magenta, Magnolia, Mars, Mary E. Keene, Mary Patterson, May, Merite, Mohawk, Moro, Muscle, Natchez, Nelson, New National, Nina Simmes, Ohio Belle, Osceola, Pargoud, Paul Jones, Prince, Prince of Wales, R. J. Lockland, Red Rover, Republic, Robert Fulton, St. Francis No. 3, Sallie Wood, Sam Kirkman, Samuel Orr, Scotland, Sharp, Sovereign, Starlight, T. D. Hine, 35th Parallel, Trent, Twilight, Vicksburg, Victoria, Volunteer, W. W. Crawford, Wade Water Belle, White Cloud, and Yazoo.

Mobile Defense Squadron:
Ironclads: Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Tennessee II.
Gunboats: Gaines, Morgan, Baltic, and Selma.
Steamers: Alert, Crescent, Dick Keys, and James Battle.
Spar Torpedo Boats: St. Patrick, Mobile II, and Gunnison.
Cutter: Lewis Cass.
Transport: Iron King.
Tender: Swan.
Floating Batteries: Danube and Phoenix.
Receiving Ship: Dalman.
Pensacola Defense Squadron:
Steamers: Governor Milton, Berosa, Neafie, Helen, and Spray.
Gunboat: Chattahoochee.
Transport: Turel.
Sloop: Helen.
Storeship: Bradford.

Savannah Defense Squadron:
Ironclads: Atlanta and Savannah.
Gunboats: Macon and Isondiga.
Steamers: Amazon, Beauregard, and Jeff Davis.
Tenders: Firefly and Resolute.
Transports: General Lee, Ida, Leesburg, Robert Habersham, and Talomico.
Sail Vessel: Gallatin.
Receiving Ships: Sampson, and Savannah.
Floating Battery: Georgia.

Charleston Defense Squadron:
Ironclads: Chicora, Palmetto State, Charleston, and Columbia.
Gunboat: Peedee.
Steamers: Chesterfield, Darlington, and Lady Davis.
Spar Torpedo Boat: David, Midge, Torch, Numbers 1 through 8, and H. L. Hunley (officially listed as a spar torpedo boat, but this was a submarine).
Sail Vessel: Petrel.
Tenders: Catawba, Aid, and General Clinch.
Transports: Etiwan, Huntress, Marion, Planter, Queen Mah, Sumter, and Transport.
Receiving Ship: Indian Chief.

North Carolina Coast and River Fleet:
Ironclads: Albemarle, Nuese, North Carolina, and Raleigh.
Gunboats: Fanny, Ellis, Seabird, Uncle Ben, and Yadkin.
Steamers: Appomattox, Bombshell, Clarrendon, Cotton Plant, Curlew, Currituck, Dolly, Egypt Mills, Equator, Forrest, Governor Morehead, Junaluska, Weldon N. Edwards, and Winslow.
Tender: Caswell.
Floating Battery: Artic.
Transports: Albemarle, Colonel Hill, Hawley, and Wilson.
Sail Vessels: Black Warrior, Jeff Davis, Manassas, and Renshaw.
Storeship: M. C. Etheridge.

Virginia Coast and River Fleet (except James River):
Ironclad: Virginia.
Spar Torpedo Boats: Scorpion and Squib.
Gunboats: Jamestown, Satellite, and Teaser.
Steamers: Curtis peck, General Scott, City of Richmond, Harmony, Logan, Northampton, Rappahannock, Reliance: Roanoke, Rondout, Towns, and Young America.
Tugboats: John B. White and Pohowatan.
Sail Vessels: Beauregard, Duane, and Germantown.
Receiving Vessel: Confederate States.

James River Squadron:
Ironclads: Virginia II, Richmond, and Fredericksburg.
Gunboats: Beauford, Drewry, Hampton, Nansemond, Raleigh/Roanoke, Patrick Henry (CS Naval Academy), and Torpedo.
Steamers: Allison, Beaufort, Schultz, Seaboard, and Shrapnel.
Spar Torpedo Boats: Hornet and Wasp.
Torpedo Boat Tender: Torpedo.
Sail Vessel: Gallego.

Commerce Raiders: Alabama, Alexandria, Florida, Georgia, Georgiana, Nashville, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Sumter, Tallahassee, Tacony, and Tuscaloosa.

CS Government Blockade Runners: Bat, Deer, Owl, Stag, Lark, Wren, Condor, Falcon, Flamingo, Ptarmigan, Arizona, Atlantic, Austin, Beauregard, Bahama, Bermuda, Colonel Lamb, Hope, Cornubia, Don, Granite City, Greyhound, Harriet Pickney, Juno, Laurel, Lynx, Magnolia, Matagorda, Merrimac, Phantom, Robert E. Lee, Theodora, Victoria, and William G. Hawes.

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