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The Secession war
secession war picture

The 1898 Spanish American war
1898 Hispano American war The Crimean war
secession war

union fleet and ships confederate fleet and ships


Ten years after the Crimean War, another bloodbath awaits a nation still disparate, barely out of its independence, and that whole part of the vast territory yet to explore. It will be in terms of naval education also rich with the invention of the Monitor, a variation on the theme of river cruisers, but also introducing modern rifled guns and breech-loaded, shells, mines and torpedoes on spar and submarines. The conflict is rooted in the economic, industrial, cultural, human, between North and South. The tension had ceased to rise about including slavery, which was the major sticking point between these states. New legislation in the North (abolitionist states now have the majority in Congress) seem to be a future threat to the extension of slavery. More importantly, with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, hostile to escalavage, these states decided to withdraw from the Federation of American States have seceded and under the banner of Jefferson Davis. However, if the disparity of resources is overwhelming, the south has brilliant officers (as Robert E. Lee) and sheer determination against the Union to salvage their own way of life. The confederation was formed of seven states (South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Missisippi, Florida, Georgia), while bordering states beeing torned apart and a wall of hate raised since the declaration of Lincoln calling it illegal secession. Soon afterthat, and also facing the foreign delegation, the conferedacy was assimilated as "rebels".

Fort Sumter bombardment. It was the very opening of the four years event that turned a young growing nation apart, into its bloodiest civil war ever.
While attempting to resupply Fort Sumter, a Federal garrison ("northerner") in South Carolina, the Union troops were taken to task by the Confederates. War broke out this April 12, 1861. The Southern officers, heirs to a long tradition lmilitaire bine prove more likely to train their troops that the North, which begins with rake in reverse: At the battle of Bull Run, the Union troops were defeated by those of General Beauregard. The North, however, manages to be a "glaze" with the border states, until very mixed, or neutral. The unions would suffer a second defeat in the "battle of seven days" in the east, and then occurred the second battle of Bull Run led this time by Lee, who drove the Union in the North, marching on Washington. Aware of the seriousness of the situation, the North threw all his strength to Antienam (September 17, 1862). The losses were terrible on both sides, forcing Lee to beat a retreat temporarily. In December, the troops of Burnside Yankees are trying to take the fortified positions of Lee in Viginia and at Fredericksburg, without success.

From the mid-62, the Union general Ulysses S. Grant successed as making a breakthrough on the Mississippi River to cut the Confederacy in two. Late 1862, he stumbled on Vicksburg strongpoint, which was left under a punishing artillery siege. To the east, in May 1863, Lee defeated the Union again at Chancellorsville, a pyrrhic, costly victory, where he lost many men including his best general, Stonewall Jackson. He crossed Pennsylvania and met the Union forces at Gettysburg in July 1863, the turning point of the war. This was his first defeat, and he blamed himself in face of his men to have underestimated the union defence. The Union at the same time, guaranteed itself an sturdy access to southern Mississippi by eventually taking Vicksburg. A new battle, this time with the Confederates in full retreat, was committed near Chattanooga in November. It was a decisive victory for the Union, opening the gates of Alabama and Georgia.

In 1864, Grant was appointed by Lincoln at the head of Union forces. Assisted by Sheridan and Sherman, he will conduct a major offensive on three fronts, with the aim of Atlanta, Richmond, and to cut off the retreat of Confederate and supplies. Grant faces Lee and the bulk of the Confederate in the forests of the Wilderness 5 and 6 May 1864, and both sides suffered heavy losses. Grant continues to advance to Spotsylvania Courthouse, but it was a new bloody stalemate. Meanwhile, in the Shenandoah Valley, Sheridan and Sherman in two successful battles at Atlanta, deprived the South of their main sources of supplies. The confederates attempted a daring manoeuver, but were finally defeated at Nashville in December. Sherman began a march to the sea in April 1865, seizing the railway line from Richmond. Lee was forced to retreat in North Carolina, thinking replenish its forces, but it was surrounded by Grant at Appomattox, and forced to surrender on April 9. Therefore, with their best general made prisoner the confidence of the Southerners was broken, and the entire confederation surrendered shortly after.


Ships bombarding Vicksburg on the James River... No war has seen so many riverine ships used in such tactical and strategic way. The Mississippi, as well as the biggest and longest rivers in the world, was by far both a lifeline and a natural frontier. Necessities came to protect the ships against artillery with wood and iron plates sandwiches which ultimately led built riverine Ironclads, and then the monitor, a concept which lasted until the second world war.
On the naval plan, the absolute superiority of the North ship and industrial resources enabled him early on to impose a naval blockade southerners largely dependent on its exports to Europe. Similarly, the North was opposed on behalf of the Union representing the majority of Americans, Europeans to build and sell in the south of ships, including battleships that were lacking in the North (one on duty). The Confederates, in fact, bought several buildings, but none was able to join his forces before the end of the conflict. Other routes were permitted, including that of "blockade runners" fast ships requisitioned, and hastily armed with artillery, but also mixed clippers and merchant ships that turned into corsairs. The Shenandoah and Alabama were the most famous of them.

On the other hand, the Confederates sought new and creative ways to break the blockade. They built many battleships, theoretically invulnerable to the Union frigates volleys, at river and at sea, the most famous was the Merrimack (ex-Virginia). She went up the East Coast in 1862 and came running from Norfolk Southern Building in Hampton Roads. There he was opposed to northerner Monitor, the famous "cheese box on a raft" of the great Ericsson. Many of these "river cruisers" were armed by both sides, as to take control of the rivers was capital, particularly the Missisippi and its tributaries like the James River, where as a naval battle with ships entirely of this type occured. A desperate situation generated strange vessels like the ram Stonewall Jackson, with its iron and wood turtleback, also the David, a semi-submersible torpedo boat, and especially the HS Hunley, first submarine propelled by human power, were daring avant-garde concepts turned into immediate use.