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The Navy Of The Civil War

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The Civil War consisted of many legendary battles over the soil of the United and Confederate States of America, which will be retold for generations in history books. Although these land battles were indeed great, the concept of this paper will be the Naval warfare of the Civil War, paying certain attention to the battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac. Neither the North nor the South was prepared for Naval activities at the beginning of the war. In order to better prepare the Navy for war, three new designs were put into action for future ships. The most successful of these designs was the Monitor. The South was at a disadvantage to the North throughout the war. The South was at a lack for manpower during the war, since most of the seamen in the US Navy were from the North and therefore stayed with the Union when the southern states seceded. The South was also found disadvantaged for iron plates for ship armor, since there was only one establishment in the South capable of producing them. The South, knowing their disadvantage in numbers, made the call for commerce raiding of northern ships. The southern government encouraged privateering of northern ships. This privateering would help take the burden of building up the Navy off the government, since privately owned ships and sailors would be assisting the Confederate war goals. The response of the North was the blockade on the southern states. This dealt a similar blow to the South that privateering would cause to the North: the loss of supplies. Since the south was a primarily agricultural area, they had few factories to produce war supplies. The goal of the blockade was to cut any supplies and allow the underdeveloped southern states to run out of war goods. Fortunately for the Confederacy, their large coastline was very difficult for the Union Navy to completely blockade. In measures taken to trade in spite of the northern blockade, blockade-running was employed. Fast wooden ships were used to slip by the blockaders to carry cotton to trading nations in exchange for badly needed war supplies. Blockade-runners did not help the Confederacy with supplies, however, as trading luxuries, such as jewelry and brandy, were more profitable. An act was passed to prevent the import of these luxuries, but was rarely enforced. As a result, the runners succeeded in wasting the slender supply of trained seamen on the imports of useless materials for war.
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