Journal of a graduate student in military history and the American Civil War

Hunting Books for Independent Study … Civil War Naval History

with 8 comments

"The Fight Between the Alabama and the Kearsarge" [NH59354]

I’m exploring options for topics for an independent study course. This one is floating to the top of what I’d like to study. Any other books my readers might suggest are welcome.


Naval Operations of the American Civil War
Reading Pace: 1 book or equivalent primary sources per week or two weeks depending on length (max 16)
Course Evaluation: Book Review for each book read and Final essay
Beginning Reading List (Not complete and to be agreed on with professor):

Bennett, Michael J. Union Jacks: Yankee Sailors in the Civil War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.
Brooksher, William R. War Along the Bayou: The 1864 Red River Campaign in Louisiana. Washington: Brassey’s, 1998.
Chaffin, Tom The H. L. Hunley (Hill and Wang, 2008)
Forsyth, Michael J. The Red River Campiagn of 1864 and the Loss by the Confederacy of the Civil War, Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2002.
Friend, Jack. West Wind, Flood Tide: The Battle of Mobile Bay. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2004.
Joiner, Gary D. One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003.
Lewis, Charles Lee. David Glasgow Farragut: Our First Admirial. 2 vols. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1943.
Merli, Frank J. Great Britain and the Confederate Navy, 1861 – 1865 (Indiana University Press, 2004)
—-, The Alabama, British Neutrality, and the American Civil War (Indiana University Press, 2004)
Symonds, Craig L. Confederate Admiral: The Life and Wars of Franklin Buchanan. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999.
—-,Lincoln and His Admirals (Oxford University Press, 2008)
Tucker, Spencer C. Andrew Foote: Cvivil War Admiral on Western Waters. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2000.
Valuska, David L. The African American in the Union Navy: 1861-1865. New York: Garland, 1993.
Weddle, Kevin. Lincoln’s Tragic Admiral: The Life of Samuel Francis Du Pont, Charlottesville: Universtiy of Virginia Press, 2005.

—-selections from below TBD—-
Anderson, Bern. By Sea and by River: The Naval History of the Civil War. New York: Knopf: 1962.
Baxter, James P. The Introduction of the Ironclad Warship. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1933. (Reprinted 1968 by Archon).
Bearss, Edwin C. Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo, Being a First-hand Account of the Discovery of the Torpedoed Union Gunboat and of Operations to Raise Her From the Bottom of the Yazoo . . . Including a History of the Western Flotilla of Which She Was a Part. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1966. .
Bennett, Frank M. Steam Navy of the United States: A History of the Growth of the Steam Vessel of War in the U.S. Navy, and of the Naval Engineer Corps . . . . Pittsburgh: Warren, 1896. 953 pp. (Reprinted 1970 by Greenwood).
—–. The Monitor and the Navy Under Steam. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1900.
Bernath, Stuart L. Squall Across the Atlantic: American Civil War Prize Cases and Diplomacy. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1970.
Bigelow, John. France and the Confederate Navy, 1862-1868: An International Episode. New York: Harper & Bros., 1888. 247 pp. (Reprinted 1968 by Bergman Pubs.; 1973 by Books for Libraries; 1980 by Library Resources as LAC Microbook).
Boykin, Edward C. Ghost Ship of the Confederacy: The Story of the Alabama and Her Captain, Raphael Semmes. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1957.
—–. Sea Devil of the Confederacy: The Story of the Florida and Her Captain, John Newland Maffitt. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1959.
Boynton, Charles B. The History of the Navy During the Rebellion. New York: Appleton, 1867-68. 2 vols.
An account of the Battle of New Orleans.
Bradlee, Francis B. C. Blockade Running During the Civil War and the Effect of Land and Water Transportation on the Confederacy. Salem, Mass.: Essex Institute, 1925. (Reprinted 1974 by Porcupine Press).Bradlow, Edna and Frank. Here Comes the Alabama: The Career of a Confederate Raider. Cape Town, Amsterdam: A. A. Balkema, 1958. 128 pp. (Distributed in U.S. by Verry).
Bulloch, James D. The Secret Service of the Confederate States in Europe, or How the Confederate Cruisers Were Equipped. London: Richard Bentley & Son, 1883. 2 vols. (Reprinted 1959 by Yoseloff; 1972 by B. Franklin).
Carse, Robert. Blockade: The Civil War at Sea. New York: Rinehart, 1958.
Case, Lynn M., and Warren F. Spencer. The United States and France: Civil War Diplomacy. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1970.
Cochran, Hamilton. Blockade Runners of the Confederacy. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1958.
Cooling, Benjamin Franklin. Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1987.
Coontz, Robert E. From the Mississippi to the Sea. Philadelphia: Dorrance & Co., 1930.
Cornish, Dudley T. “Lincoln’s Lee: Samuel Phillips Lee and the Tightening of Anaconda’s Coils.” In New Aspects of Naval History: Selected Papers >From the Fifth Naval History Symposium, edited by Department of History, U.S. Naval Academy, 137-144. Baltimore: Nautical & Aviation Pub. Co., 1985.
Courtemanche, Regis A. No Need of Glory: The British Navy in American Waters, 1860-1864. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1977.
Cranwell, John P. Spoilers of the Sea: Wartime Raiders in the Age of Steam. New York: Norton, 1941. 308 pp. (Reprinted 1970 by Books for Libraries).
Cunningham, Edward. The Port Hudson Campaign, 1862-1863. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1963.
Daly, Robert W. How the Merrimac Won: The Strategic Story of the C.S.S. Virginia. New York: Crowell, 1957.
Davis, William C. Duel Between the First Ironclads. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1975.
Dudley, William S. Going South: U.S. Navy Officer Resignations & Dismissals on the Eve of the Civil War. Naval Historical Foundation Publication, Series 2, No. 27. Washington: Naval Historical Foundation, 1981.
Dufour, Charles L. The Night the War Was Lost. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960.
Du Pont, Samuel F. Samuel Francis Du Pont: A Selection From His Civil War Letters. Edited by John D. Hayes. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell Univ. Press, 1969. 3 vols.
Eller, Ernest M., and Dudley W. Knox. The Civil War at Sea. Washington: Naval Historical Foundation, 1961.
Fowler, William M. Under Two Flags: The American Navy in the Civil War. New York: Norton, 1990.
Fox, Gustavus V. Confidential Correspondence of Gustavus V. Fox, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1861-1865. Edited by Robert M. Thompson and Richard Wainwright. New York: Naval History Society, 1918-19. 2 vols.
Hoehling, Adolph A. Thunder at Hampton Roads. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1976.
Jameson, Edwin M., and Sanford Sternlicht. The Black Devil of the Bayous: The Life and Times of the United States Steam Sloop Hartford, 1858-1957. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Gregg Press, 1970.
Johnson, Ludwell H. Red River Campaign: Politics and Cotton in the Civil War. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1958.
Jones, Virgil C. The Civil War at Sea. New York: Holt, 1960-62. 3 vols.
Jones, Wilbur D. The Confederate Rams at Birkenhead: A Chapter in Anglo-American Relations. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Confederate Pub. Co., 1961.
Keeler, William F. Aboard the USS Florida, 1863-65: The Letters of Paymaster William Frederick Keeler, to His Wife, Anna. Edited by Robert W. Daly. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1968.
—–. Aboard the USS Monitor, 1862: The Letters of Acting Paymaster William Frederick Keeler, U.S. Navy, to His Wife, Anna. Edited by Robert W. Daly. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1964.
MacBride, Robert. Civil War Ironclads: The Dawn of Naval Armor. Philadelphia: Chilton, 1962.
McCordock, Robert S. The Yankee Cheese Box. Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1938.
Melton, Maurice. The Confederate Ironclads. So. Brunswick, N.J.: Yoseloff, 1968.
Merli, Frank J. Great Britain and the Confederate Navy, 1861-1865. Bloomington: Indiana Univ. Press, 1970.
—–. “The Confederate Navy, 1861-1865.” In In Peace and War: Interpretations of American Naval History, 1775-1984, 2d ed., edited by Kenneth J. Hagan, 126-144. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1984.
Merrill, James M. Battle Flags South: The Story of the Civil War Navies on Western Waters. Rutherford, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1970.
—–. The Rebel Shore: The Story of Union Sea Power in the Civil War. Boston: Little, Brown, 1957.
Milligan, John D., comp. From the Fresh-Water Navy, 1861-64: The Letters of Acting Master’s Mate Henry R. Browne and Acting Ensign Symmes E. Browne. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1970. 327 pp.
—–. Gunboats Down the Mississippi. Annapolis: U.S. Naval Institute, 1965.
The Navy in the Civil War. New York: Scribner, 1883. 3 vols. (Reprinted 1959 by Blue & Grey; 1968 by B. Franklin).
Vol. 1, The Blockade and the Cruisers by James R. Soley.
Vol. 2, The Atlantic Coast by Daniel Ammen.
Vol. 3, The Gulf and Inland Waters by Alfred T. Mahan.
Owsley, Frank L., Jr. The CSS Florida: Her Building and Operations. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1965.
Peterson, Harold L. Notes on Ordnance of the American Civil War, 1861-1865. Washington: American Ordnance Assn., 1959.
Porter, David D. Naval History of the Civil War. New York: Sherman, 1886.
Price, Marcus W. “Blockade Running as a Business in South Carolina During the War Between the States, 1861-1865.” American Neptune
Reed, Rowena. Combined Operations in the Civil War. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1978.
Robinson, William M., Jr. The Confederate Privateers. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1928. 372 pp. (Reprinted 1990 by Univ. of South Carolina Press).
Scharf, John T. History of the Confederate States Navy From Its Organization to the Surrender of Its Last Vessel . . . New York: Rogers & Sherwood, 1887. 824 pp. (Reprinted 1969 by Books for Libraries).
Silverstone, Paul H. Warships of the Civil War Navies. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1989.
Sinclair, Arthur. Two Years on the Alabama. Boston: Lee & Shepard, 1896. (Reprinted 1989 by Naval Institute Press).
Spencer, Warren F. The Confederate Navy in Europe. University: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1983.
Stern, Philip Van Doren. Confederate Navy: A Pictorial History. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962.
Still, William N., Jr. Confederate Shipbuilding. Athens: Univ. of Georgia Press, 1969.
—–. Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads. Nashville, Tenn.: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1971.
Summersell, Charles G. CSS Alabama: Builder, Captain, and Plans. University: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1985.
—–. The Cruise of C.S.S. Sumter. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Confederate Pub. Co., 1965.
U.S. Naval History Division. Civil War Naval Chronology, 1861-1865. Washington: GPO, 1971. 477 pp. Originally published in six parts, plus index, 1961-1966.
—–. Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Edited by James L. Mooney and others. Washington: GPO 1959-. Appendix 2, vol. 2, entitled “Confederate Forces Afloat,” includes ships’ histories and data, with annexes on Confederate Privateers, the River Defense Fleet, the Texas Marine Department and the Stone Fleet. Appendix 1, vol. 5, includes an account of the Union Stone Fleets.
U.S. Office of Naval Records and Library. Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Washington: GPO, 1894-1922. Series 1, 27 vols.; Series 2, 3 vols.; General Index, 1927.
Wegner, Dana M. “The Union Navy, 1861-1865.” In In Peace and War: Interpretations of American Naval History, 1775-1984, 2d ed., edited by Kenneth J. Hagan, 107-125. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1984.
Welles, Gideon. Diary. Edited by Howard K. Beale. New York: Norton, 1960. 3 vols. Diary originally published in 1911 by Houghton Mifflin.
Wells, Tom H. The Confederate Navy: A Study in Organization. University: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1971.
West, Richard S. Mr. Lincoln’s Navy. New York: Longmans, Green, 1957.
Westwood, Howard C. “Benjamin Butler’s Naval Brigade.” Civil War History 34 (1988): 253-270.
White, William C., and Ruth. Tin Can on a Shingle. New York: Dutton, 1957.
Wilson, Herbert W. Ironclads in Action: A Sketch of Naval Warfare From 1855 to 1895, With Some Account of the Development of the Battleship in England. Boston: Little, Brown, 1896. 2 vols. Vol. 1: 1-209 covers the Civil War.
Wise, Stephen R. Lifeline of the Confederacy: Blockade Running During the Civil War. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press, 1988.



8 Responses

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  1. What good books to read.


    September 15, 2009 at 12:24 pm

  2. Hi,
    I’ve few education websites and blogs. I’m very much interested sharing my website information with your website through link exchange. If you wish then please get back to me so that we can discuss further. Waiting your reply.
    Wishing you a nice day.

    Christine Smith

    September 17, 2009 at 1:56 am

  3. I’ve become more interested in naval and combined operations as I continue studying the war. I noticed you have one of Spencer C. Tucker’s works, but not his overview of the entire war, “Blue & Gray Navies: The Civil War Afloat.” Is this too general for your focus, or is there another work you might suggest that provides such an overview?

    Steven Mynes

    September 18, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    • Hi Steven,

      Thanks for you question. I’m entirely open to other works so appreciate your recommendation. I’ll plan to check it out.


      Rene Tyree

      September 20, 2009 at 6:34 pm

  4. Rene,

    Not sure if this is outside where you want to focus, but I would add Gary Joiner’s Mr. Lincoln’s Brown Water Navy (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2007) to the list, as it is a great history of naval operations in the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys and their tributaries. You will learn a lot about the gunboat fleets that patrolled the rivers.


    Daniel Sauerwein

    September 21, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    • Good Call Dan. Will definitely check Joiner’s work. I completely agree that the role of gun boats was important.



      Rene Tyree

      September 21, 2009 at 4:41 pm

  5. Rene,

    If you decide to pursue this interest beyond your independent study course, I know a local bookseller (my local, anyway) who has a set of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate navies for the war that he’d really like to unload.


    October 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm

    • Don,
      I’m VERY interested. Feel free to give me a shout on email. Thanks for the tip.


      Rene Tyree

      October 24, 2009 at 9:50 am

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