Clad in Iron: The American Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power
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Clad in Iron: The American Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power

by Howard J. Fuller
     
 

ISBN-10: 0313345902

ISBN-13: 9780313345906

Pub. Date: 12/28/2007

Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated

This work addresses many persistent misconceptions of what the monitors were for, and why they failed in other roles associated with naval operations of the Civil War (such as the repulse at Charleston, April 7, 1863). Monitors were 'ironclads'- not fort-killers. Their ultimate success is to be measured not in terms of spearheading attacks on fortified Southern

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Overview

This work addresses many persistent misconceptions of what the monitors were for, and why they failed in other roles associated with naval operations of the Civil War (such as the repulse at Charleston, April 7, 1863). Monitors were 'ironclads'- not fort-killers. Their ultimate success is to be measured not in terms of spearheading attacks on fortified Southern ports but in the quieter, much more profound, strategic deterrence of Lord Palmerston's ministry in London, and the British Royal Navy's potential intervention.

The relatively unknown 'Cold War' of the American Civil War was a nevertheless crucial aspect of the survival, or not, of the United States in the mid 19th-century. Foreign intervention—explicitly in the form of British naval power—represented a far more serious threat to the success of the Union blockade, the safety of Yankee merchant shipping worldwide, and Union combined operations against the South than the Confederate States Navy. Whether or not the North or South would be 'clad in iron' thus depended on the ability of superior Union ironclads to deter the majority of mid-Victorian British leaders, otherwise tempted by their desire to see the American 'experiment' in democratic class-structures and popular government finally fail. Discussions of open European involvement in the Civil War were pointless as long as the coastline of the United States was virtually impregnable. Combining extensive archival research on both sides of the Atlantic, this work offers an in-depth look at how the Union Navy achieved its greatest grand-strategic victory in the American Civil War. Through a combination of high-tech 'machines' armed with 'monster' guns, intensive coastal fortifications and a new fleet of high-speed Union commerce raiders, the North was able to turn the humiliation of the Trent Affair of late 1861 into a sobering challenge to British naval power and imperial defense worldwide.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313345906
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/28/2007
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword   Robert J. Schneller, Jr.     ix
Acknowledgments     xi
Introduction     xiii
Deterring Columbia: British Naval Supremacy
An Ironclad Race with France     3
Industry and Conversion Problems     13
Enter Captain Coles     26
The Specter of Modern Coastal Defense and Assault     35
Summary     42
Two Ironclad Adversaries: The Confederacy and Great Britain     44
Building the Monitor     57
Effect of the Trent Affair     63
Congress Debates the "20 Ironclad Gunboats"     73
Summary     81
The Fulcrum of Hampton Roads
Hampton Roads and Its Consequences     87
Super-Monitors, Super-Guns     94
Ericsson, the Navy, and Control of the Union Ironclad Program     106
Summary     126
British Reactions to Hampton Roads and the "Monitor Riddle"     128
Enter E. J. Reed, Naval Architect     137
Palmerston's Policy     146
Summary     157
Deterring Britannia: The Trent Affair Reversed
Coles Loses Ground     161
The Practical Concerns against British Intervention     167
Summary     174
Summer of 1862: The TideTurns against the Union     176
The Passaic Crisis     209
Shifting Ironclad Confidence     222
Regaining the Strategic Initiative?     230
Culmination and Consequence: "The Fiery Focus"     242
Conclusion     263
Notes     287
Bibliography     357
Index     387

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