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

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

by Howard J. Fuller
     
 

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. Schneller, Robert J., Jr.

Acknowledgments

Introduction

Part 1 Deterring Columbia: British Naval Supremacy

Chapter 1 An Ironclad Race with France 3

Chapter 2 Industry and Conversion Problems 13

Chapter 3 Enter Captain Coles 26

Chapter 4 The Specter of Modern Coastal Defense and Assault 35

Summary 42

Chapter 5 Two Ironclad Adversaries: The Confederacy and Great Britain 44

Chapter 6 Building the Monitor 57

Chapter 7 Effect of the Trent Affair 63

Chapter 8 Congress Debates the "20 Ironclad Gunboats" 73

Summary 81

Part 2 The Fulcrum of Hampton Roads

Chapter 9 Hampton Roads and Its Consequences 87

Chapter 10 Super-Monitors, Super-Guns 94

Chapter 11 Ericsson, the Navy, and Control of the Union Ironclad Program 106

Summary 126

Chapter 12 British Reactions to Hampton Roads and the "Monitor Riddle" 128

Chapter 13 Enter E. J. Reed, Naval Architect 137

Chapter 14 Palmerston's Policy 146

Summary 157

Part 3 Deterring Britannia: The Trent Affair Reversed

Chapter 15 Coles Loses Ground 161

Chapter 16 The Practical Concerns against British Intervention 167

Summary 174

Chapter 17 Summer of 1862: The Tide Turns against the Union 176

Chapter 18 The Passaic Crisis 209

Chapter 19 Shifting Ironclad Confidence 222

Chapter 20 Regaining the Strategic Initiative? 230

Culmination and Consequence: "The Fiery Focus" 242

Conclusion 263

Notes 287

Bibliography 357

Index 387

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