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The Civil War at Sea

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The Civil War at Sea 2

The civil war in all reality began under President James Buchanan. The first steps leading to the beginning of the civil war were set in to motion in January of 1861. Abraham Lincoln was the president elect and in a show of defiance, South Carolina seceded from the United States. They were then followed by Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. In February the seven states that had seceded from the United States met in Montgomery, Alabama and formed the Confederate States of America.

President Lincoln took office on March 4th of 1861. The biggest difference between President Buchanan and President Lincoln was, "Buchanan wanted to preserve the Union without war whereas Lincoln wanted to preserve the Union."(1) President Lincoln knew that he would need to sure up his forces in the South so that if it came to war, he would have the manpower and equipment in place to ensure a victory.

In April of 1961, President Lincoln sent supplies to Fort Sumter, SC. South Carolina in return asked the then commander of the Fort Robert Anderson to surrender the fort. Commander Anderson said he would surrender the fort but only after all of the supplies were gone. South Carolina rejected the offer and on April 12, 1861 the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

While they were fleeing back to the North, the soldiers attempted to burn Gosport Yard. However, they failed to completely destroy the yard. The Confederacy was able to salvage the "Merrimack and the yard's drydock and shops but also more than 760

The Civil War at Sea 3 heavy cannon and 140 tons of powder for them."(1) This lead to the Confederacy having a substantial Navy Vessel, which was later, renamed the Virginia.(2)

With the Confederacy now having quality naval equipment, the Civil War at sea was born. At the height of the action, "the Union Navy had 50,000 men and 700 ships."(1) While the Confederate's only had 5,000 men and less than 100 ships. With being outmanned and out equipped, the Confederacy was doomed from the start.

There were three phases to the naval war portion of the Civil War. The three areas were the blockade, the commerce raiders, and the use of naval power to support the land war. These three phases were a result of the Union's "Anaconda Plan." The plan called for a blockade of Southern ports and the Mississippi River. The goal of the plan was to cut off all major trade routes thus putting the Confederacy into a economic and supply problem. The plan of action to implement the Anaconda Plan called for "The closing of all the insurgent ports, The organization of combined naval and military expeditions to operate in force against various points of the southern coast, and The active pursuit of the piratical cruisers."(1)

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