About the Book
When the Civil War began, the southerners found themselves ill-prepared for the realities of waging war, especially on the naval front. Not only did the
Confederates lack any semblance of a navy, they had few raw materials with which to construct one. The daunting task of building a navy fell on the shoulders of Stephen Mallory, newly appointed secretary of the navy. A former United States senator from Florida, Mallory had resigned from office when his home state seceded from the Union and he pledged himself to the service of the Confederacy. His intelligence and resourcefulness accomplished what many saw as impossible--the creation of a viable, combat-ready southern navy. Among his primary goals was the establishment of a naval academy, a step which Mallory considered essential for building a serious military force. In July 1863, the Confederate Naval Academy inducted its first class of cadets--among which was Hubbard T. Minor from the army’s 42nd Tennessee regiment.
Focusing on the latter part of the war, this work provides an in-depth look at the realities of life as a cadet at the Confederate Naval Academy. Beginning with an overview of the academy, the book contains a brief biographical sketch of each of the school’s principal instructors. The main focus of the work, however, is the diary which Hubbard Minor kept as a cadet requirement. One of only two such documents to survive, it provides a day-by-day account of Minor’s duties as well as his active service on board the CSS Savannah. Events covered include the June 1864 raid on the USS Water Witch, the evacuation of Savannah, and the Confederate retreat to Richmond. Selected letters from Minor’s correspondence are inserted where chronologically relevant, while introductions and other explanatory information are added only as necessary to aid the reader. Appendices contain a list of regulations from the Confederate school ship Patrick Henry; the initial report from Austin Pendergrast, commander
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