Leave a comment

If the south should lose, it means that the history of this heroic struggle will be written by the enemy. That our youth will be trained by Northern school teachers, will be impressed by all of the influences of history and education to regard our gallant dead as traitors and our maimed veterans as fit subjects for derision…. General Patrick Cleburne CSA

No where has this been truer than in the presentation of the Confederate Navy as a pirate force – which it of course was not. Now an outsider has written a history of the leaders, officers and men who – in less time than it took the United States Navy to recover from the Pearl Harbor fiasco – put together a technologically advanced fleet that challenged the long-established union navy throughout, and even after, the War for Southern Independence. Well worth the reading this book helps begin to set the record straight about the War of Northern Aggression.

The Sumter running the blockade of Pass à l'Outre, by the enemy's Ship Brooklyn, on the 30th June, 1861   Illus. from: Memoirs of service afloat during the war between the states / Raphael Semmes. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co., 1869.

The Sumter running the blockade of Pass à l’Outre, by the enemy’s Ship Brooklyn, on the 30th June, 1861 Illus. from: Memoirs of service afloat during the war between the states / Raphael Semmes. Baltimore: Kelly, Piet & Co., 1869.

A history of the  Confederate Navy Annapolis, Md.: Naval  Institute Press, c 1996  Raimondo  Luraghi Confederate States of America Navy History Hardcover. 1st.ed. and  printing. xx, 514 p.: ill., maps; 24  cm. Includes bibliographical references  and index. Clean, tight and strong  binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text.  VG/VG  

Raphael Semmes, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right. Rear Admiral and Brig. Genl., C.S.A.

Raphael Semmes, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing right. Rear Admiral and Brig. Genl., C.S.A.

For thirty years world-renowned author and scholar Raimondo Luraghi has sought answers to the question: How did an overwhelmingly agricultural country with little industry and nearly no merchant marine succeed in building a navy that managed to confront the formidable Union navy for four years?

Interior of the Merrimac showing Confederate sailors loading cannon, during combat with the Monitor.

Interior of the Merrimac showing Confederate sailors loading cannon, during combat with the Monitor.

An example of a “cold war” turned hot can be found in the American Civil War. Histories of that war have traditionally taken a rather parochial view of the Confederate Navy‘s role in the war, greatly influenced by the accepted contention that the Confederacy’s naval records were burned during the evacuation of Richmond.

The Civil War in America--Naval engagement in Hampton Roads: the Confederate iron-plated steamer Merrimac (or Virginia) ramming into the Federal sloop Cumberland

The Civil War in America–Naval engagement in Hampton Roads: the Confederate iron-plated steamer Merrimac (or Virginia) ramming into the Federal sloop Cumberland

Luraghi, an Italian professor of history at the University of Genoa, whose nationality lends objectivity, combed fifty archives in four countries and uncovered informa­tion that shattered prevailing myths about that service’s contributions.  This landmark achievement has been lauded by the foremost scholars in the field, who give it high marks for research, convincingly presented and argued themes, and readability.

Confederate iron-clad Stonewall

Confederate iron-clad Stonewall

Focusing on the South’s ironclads, commerce raiders, torpedoes, and mines, this study breaks new ground by giving the Confederate Navy proper credit for its strategic successes, interna­tional range, and technical advances. For example, the author disproves the widely held notion that the South’s ironclads were a failure, built only to break the Union blockade and relegated to other duties because they could not leave protected harbors.

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1902, after a painting then held by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society Museum, Richmond, Virginia. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley (1863-1864)Sepia wash drawing by R.G. Skerrett, 1902, after a painting then held by the Confederate Memorial Literary Society Museum, Richmond, Virginia. Courtesy of the Navy Art Collection, Washington, DC. U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.

Luraghi also argues successfully that breaking the blockade was not the Confederate Navy’s single strategic aim, and thus that the navy must not be judged a total failure, as is so often asserted. With this translation of Luraghi’s master-work the English-speaking world has both a complete account of Confederate naval operations and a balanced and realistic analysis.

Kearsarce and Alabama

Kearsarge and Alabama

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: