Confederate States Navy
|Confederate States Navy|
The Confederate States Navy (CSN) was the
The three major tasks of the Confederate States Navy during its existence were the protection of Confederate harbors and coastlines from outside invasion, making the war costly for the United States by attacking its merchant ships worldwide, and running the U.S. blockade by drawing off Union ships in pursuit of Confederate commerce raiders and warships.
It was ineffective in these tasks, as the coastal blockade by the United States Navy reduced trade by the South to 5 percent of its pre-war levels. Additionally, the control of inland rivers and coastal navigation by the US Navy forced the south to overload its limited railroads to the point of failure.
The surrender of the CSS Shenandoah in Liverpool, England, marked the end of the Civil War and the Confederate Navy's existence.
The Confederate Navy could never achieve numerical equality with the
On April 20, 1861, the U.S. was forced to quickly abandon the important
The U.S. Navy had torched Merrimack's superstructure and upper deck, then
The vessel was a new kind of warship, an all-steam powered "
The last Confederate surrender took place in
The act of the Confederate Congress that created the Confederate Navy on February 21, 1861, also appointed Stephen Mallory as Secretary of the Department of the Navy. Mallory was experienced as an admiralty lawyer and had served for a time as the chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee of the United States Senate. The Confederacy had a few scattered naval assets and looked to Liverpool, England, to buy naval cruisers to attack the American merchant fleet. In April 1861, Mallory recruited former U.S. Navy Lieutenant James Dunwoody Bulloch into the Confederate navy and sent him to Liverpool. Using Charleston-based importer and exporter Fraser Trentholm, who had offices in Liverpool, Commander Bulloch immediately ordered six steam vessels.
As Mallory began aggressively building up a formidable naval force, a Confederate Congress committee on August 27, 1862, reported:
Before the war, nineteen steam war vessels had been built in the States forming the Confederacy, and the engines for all of these had been contracted for in those States. All the labor or materials requisite to complete and equip a war vessel could not be commanded at any one point of the Confederacy. [The Navy Department] had erected a powder-mill which supplies all the powder required by our navy; two engine, boiler and machine shops, and five ordnance workshops. It has established eighteen yards for building war vessels, and a rope-walk, making all cordage from a rope-yarn to a 9-inch cable, and capable of turning out 8,000 yards per month .... Of vessels not ironclad and converted to war vessels, there were 44. The department has built and completed as war vessels, 12; partially constructed and destroyed to save from the enemy, 10; now under construction, 9; ironclad vessels now in commission, 12; completed and destroyed or lost by capture, 4; in progress of construction and in various stages of forwardness, 23.
In addition to the ships included in the report of the committee, the C.S. Navy also had one ironclad floating battery, presented to the Confederacy by the state of
The practice of using primary and secondary naval flags after the British tradition was common practice for the Confederacy; the fledgling Confederate navy therefore adopted detailed flag requirements and regulations in the use of
On April 17, 1861,
Now, therefore, I, Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America, do issue this, my proclamation, inviting all those who may desire, by service in private armed vessels on the high seas, to aid this government in resisting so wanton and wicked an aggression, to make application for commissions or letters of marque and reprisal, to be issued under the seal of these Confederate States...
President Davis was not confident of his executive authority to issue letters of marque and called a special session of Congress on April 29 to formally authorize the hiring of privateers in the name of the Confederate States. On 6 May the Confederate Congress passed "An act recognizing the existence of war between the United States and the Confederate States, and concerning letters of marque, prizes, and prize goods." Then, on May 14, 1861, "An act regulating the sale of prizes and the distribution thereof," was also passed. Both acts granted the president power to issue letters of marque and detailed regulations as to the conditions on which letters of marque should be granted to private vessels, the conduct and behavior of the officers and crews of such vessels, and the disposal of such prizes made by privateer crews. The manner in which Confederate privateers operated was generally similar to those of privateers of the United States or of European nations.
Initially, Confederate privateers operated primarily from New Orleans, but activity was soon concentrated in the Atlantic, as the Union Navy began expanding its operations. Confederate privateers harassed Union merchant ships and sank several warships, although they were unable to relieve the blockade on Southern ports and its dire effects on the Confederate economy.
One of the more well-known ships was the CSS Virginia, formerly the sloop-of-war USS Merrimack (1855). In 1862, after being converted to an ironclad ram, she fought USS Monitor in the Battle of Hampton Roads, an event that came to symbolize the end of the dominance of large wooden sailing warships and the beginning of the age of steam and the ironclad warship.
The Confederates also constructed
The Hunley later sank the sloop-of-war USS Housatonic, resulting from the large blastwave that traveled from its exploding spar torpedo's 500-pound black powder charge, during the sinking of USS Housatonic. The sinking of the Housatonic became the first successful submarine attack in history.
Confederate Navy commerce raiders were also used with great success to disrupt U.S. merchant shipping. The most famous of them was the screw sloop-of-war
A similar raider, CSS Shenandoah, fired the last shot of the American Civil War in late June 1865; she did not strike her colors and surrender until early November 1865, in Liverpool, England five months after the conflict had ended.
Between the beginning of the war and the end of 1861, 373 commissioned officers, warrant officers, and midshipmen had resigned or been dismissed from the United States Navy and had gone on to serve the Confederacy. The Provisional Congress meeting in Montgomery accepted these men into the Confederate Navy at their old rank. In order to accommodate them they initially provided for an officer corps to consist of four captains, four commanders, 30 lieutenants, and various other non-line officers. On 21 April 1862, the First Congress expanded this to four admirals, ten captains, 31 commanders, 100 first lieutenants, 25 second lieutenants, and 20 masters in line of promotion; additionally, there were to be 12 paymasters, 40 assistant paymasters, 22 surgeons, 15 passed assistant surgeons, 30 assistant surgeons, one engineer-in-chief, and 12 engineers. The act also provided for promotion on merit: "All the Admirals, four of the Captains, five of the Commanders, twenty-two of the First Lieutenants, and five of the Second Lieutenants, shall be appointed solely for gallant or meritorious conduct during the war."
By July 20, 1861, the Confederate government had organized the administrative positions of the Confederate navy as follows:
- Stephen R. Mallory – Secretary of the Navy
- Commodore Samuel Barron – Chief of the Bureau of Orders and Detail
- Commander George Minor – Chief of Ordnance and Hydrography
- Paymaster John DeBree – Chief of Provisions and Clothing
- Surgeon W. A. W. Spottswood – Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
- Edward M. Tidball – Chief Clerk
- Battle of Cherbourg
- Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip
- First Battle of Memphis
- Battle of Mobile Bay
- Battle of Hampton Roads
- Bahia incident
- Battle of the Head of Passes
- Siege of Fort Pulaski
- Battle of Plum Point Bend
- Action off Galveston Light
By 1862 regulations specified the
Officers of the Confederate States Navy used, just like the army, a combination of several rank insignias to indicate their rank. While both hat insignia and sleeve insignia were used here the primary indicator were shoulder straps. Only line officers wore those straps shown below as officers of various staff departments (Medical, Pay, Engineering and Naval Construction) had separate ranks and different straps. Likewise the anchor symbol on the hats was substituted accordingly and they did not wear loops on the sleeve insignias.
Paymasters, surgeons and chief engineers of more than twelve year's standing ranked with commanders. Paymasters, surgeons and chief engineers of less than twelve year's standing ranked with lieutenants. Assistant paymasters ranked with masters during the first five years of service, then with lieutenants. Passed assistant surgeons and professors ranked with masters. Assistant surgeons, first assistant engineers and secretaries to commanders of squadrons ranked with passed midshipmen. Second and third assistant engineers and clerks to commanding officers and paymasters ranked as midshipmen.
|Rank group||General/flag officers||Senior officers||Junior officers||Officer cadet|
|Flag officer||Captain||Commander||Lieutenant||Master||Passed midshipman||Midshipman|
Warrant and Petty Officers
(Boatswain’s Mate and equivalent)
(Quartermasters and equivalent)
Annual pay for commissioned and warrant officers
|Rank||On duty at sea||On other duty||On leave or waiting orders|
|Captain commanding squadron||$5,000||n/a||n/a|
|Commander||$2,825/3,150 [a]||$2,662/2,825 [b]||$2,250|
|First Lieutenant||$1,500/1,700/1,900/2,100/2,250 [a]||$1,500/1,600/1,700/1,800/1,875 [a]||$1,200/1,266/1,333/1,400/1,450 [a]|
In line of promotion
Not in line of promotion
|$1,500/1,700/1,900/2,100/2,250 [c]||$800/900/1,000/1,100/1,200 [c]||$600/700/800/900/1,000 [c]|
Monthly pay for petty officers, men and boys
|$49||Yeoman in ship of the line|
|$44||Yeoman in frigate|
|$29||Armorer in frigates, master's mate (not warranted), boatswain's mate, gunner's mate, carpenter's mate, master-at-arms, fireman second class|
|$28||Yeomen in smaller vessels, |
hold, cooper, painter, surgeon's steward, ship's cook
|$24||Armorer in sloops, sailmaker's mate, armorer's mate, |
ship's corporal, quarter gunner, officer's steward, officer's cook, master of the band
|$19||Musician first class|
|$16||Landsman, musician second class|
- CSS Sumter - the first Confederate ship to put to sea
- Confederate States Marine Corps
- Confederate States Lighthouse Bureau
- List of ships of the Confederate States Navy
- Blockade runners of the American Civil War
- Confederate army
- Uniforms of the Confederate States military forces
- Bibliography of American Civil War naval history
- Military history of African Americans in the U.S. Civil War
- Mississippi River in the American Civil War
- ^ Duppstadt, Andrew. "Confederate States Navy (in North Carolina)". North Carolina History Project. Retrieved July 10, 2022.
- ^ "Supplying the Confederacy". liverpoolmuseums.org.uk. December 30, 2008. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
- Potomac Books, 2010)
- ISBN 9780203192115.
- ISBN 9781101470534.
- ^ Official records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Series I, Vol. 15, p. 337.
- ^ Tikkanen, Amy. "H.L Hunley". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved December 16, 2019.
- ISBN 9780786458271.
- ^ William S. Dudley, Going South: U.S. Navy Officer Resignations & Dismissals on the Eve of the Civil War. Washington: Naval Historical Foundation, 1981. Archived September 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ The Statutes at Large of the Provisional Government of the Confederate States of America, from the Institution of the Government, 8 February 1861, to its Termination, 18, February 1862, Inclusive; Arranged in Chronological Order. Together with the Constitution for the Provisional Government, and the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States, and the Treaties Concluded by the Confederate States with Indian Tribes. Chapter 58, March 16, 1861 (p. 70)
- ^ The Statutes at Large of the Confederate States of America, Commencing with the First Session of the First Congress; 1862. Public Laws of the Confederate States of America, Passed at the First Session of the First Congress; 1862. Private Laws of the Confederate States of America, Passed at the First Session of the First Congress; 1862. Chapter 68, April 21, 1862 (p. 50).
- ^ "Confederate States Navy rank insignia".
- ^ "Confederate States Navy (CSN) uniforms 1861-1865".
- ^ Register of officers of the Confederate States navy, 1861-1865. 1931.
- ^ Confederate States Navy Department (1862). Regulations for the Navy of the Confederate States. Richmond, pp. 8-9.
- ^ ISBN 978-0760310489. Retrieved June 13, 2022.
- ^ Anonymous (1864). Register of the commissioned and warrant officers of the Navy of the Confederate States. Richmond: McFarland & Fergusson, pp. 55-57.
- ^ Anonymous op.cit. 1864, pp. 57-58.
- Bigelow, John (1888). France and the Confederate Navy, 1862–1868. New York, Harper & brothers.
- Campbell, R. Thomas. Southern Thunder: Exploits of the Confederate States Navy, White Maine Publishing, 1996. ISBN 1-57249-029-2.
- Campbell, R. Thomas. Southern Fire: Exploits of the Confederate States Navy, White Maine Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-57249-046-2.
- Campbell, R. Thomas. Fire and Thunder: Exploits of the Confederate States Navy, White Maine Publishing, 1997. ISBN 1-57249-067-5.
- de Saint Hubert, Christian (1988). "Re: Phantom Fleets: The Confederacy's Unbuilt Warships". Warship International. XXV (3): 225–226.
- Hussey, John. "Cruisers, Cotton and Confederates" (details the story of Liverpool-built ships for the Confederate Navy and a host of characters and places within the city of that era: James Dunwoody Bulloch, C. K. Prioleau, and many others). Countyvise, 2009. ISBN 978-1-906823-32-0.
- Krivdo, Michael E.The Confederate Navy and Marine Corps in James C. Bradford, ed. A Companion to American Military History (2 vol 2009) 1:460-471
- Luraghi, Raymond. A History of the Confederate Navy, Naval Institute Press, 1996. ISBN 1-55750-527-6.
- Madaus, H. Michael. Rebel Flags Afloat: A Survey of the Surviving Flags of the Confederate States Navy, Revenue Service, and Merchant Marine. Winchester, MA, ISSN 0015-3370. (An 80-page special edition of "The Flag Bulletin" magazine, #115, devoted entirely to Confederate naval flags.)
- McPherson, James M. War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies, 1861–1865. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press; 2012.
- Scharf, John Thomas (1894). History of the Confederate States Navy from Its Organization to the Surrender of Its Last Vessel. J. McDonough.
- Stern, Philip Van Doren. The Confederate Navy: A Pictorial History, Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY, 1962.
- Still, William N., ed. The Confederate Navy: the ships, men and organization, 1861–65 (Conway Maritime Pr, 1997)
- Sullivan, David M. (1987). "Phantom Fleets: The Confederacy's Unbuilt Warships". Warship International. XXIV (1): 13–32.
- Sullivan, D. M. & Wright, C. C. (1988). "Re: Phantom Fleets: The Confederacy's Unbuilt Warships". Warship International. XXV (3): 226.
- Tomblin, Barbara Brooks. Life in Jefferson Davis' Navy. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2019.
- Woodward, David. "Launching The Confederate Navy." History Today (Mar 1962) 12#3 pp 206–212.
- The Rebel Raiders: The Astonishing History of the Confederacy's Secret Navy (book) https://lccn.loc.gov/2002019420
- The Confederate Naval Historical Society
- Submarines of the American Civil War
- Confederate Navy Rank Insignia
- Regulations for the Navy of the Confederate States
- The American Civil War Home Page
- When Liverpool was Dixie
- Liverpool – The Home of the Confederate Fleet
- DANFS Online: Confederate States Navy
- Naval History & Heritage Command Confederate Ships
- "Old Navy" Steam and Sail Index (history and photo archive, CSN vessels at bottom of page)