Robert J. Schneller., Ph.D., is a historian in the Contemporary History Branch of the U.S. Naval Historical Center. Schneller’s first book, A Quest for Glory: A Biography of Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. He received the 1996 John Lyman Book Award in Biography from the North American Society for Oceanic History. He also wrote (with Edward J. Marolda) Shield and Sword: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf War, which received the prestigious Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize from the Navy League of the United States. Schneller’s other books include an edition of John W. Grattan’s Civil War memoir, Under the Blue Pennant, Or Notes of a Naval Officer, 1863–1865, and Farragut: America's First Admiral (Brassey’s, Inc., 2002), the initial volume in Brassey’s Military Profiles series. He lives in Lake Ridge, Virginia.
Cushing: Civil War SEALby Robert J. Schneller
Dismissed from the U.S. Naval Academy in early 1861, William Barker Cushing nonetheless emerged from the Civil War as one of the Navy’s greatest heroes. Cushing transformed his reputation from a rabblerouser into a living legend, because he embodied the special qualities that the Navy demands of the men in whom it entrusts its most hazardous and secret tasks: a readiness to volunteer for dangerous assignments, an unflagging devotion to duty, and more than a fair share of good fortune. As Robert J. Schneller observes, "He was patriotic, aggressive, tough, and recklessly bold." Before embarking on his most daring mission-his celebrated destruction of the Confederate ironclad Albemarle-he bragged that he would "come out victorious or ‘toes up.’" By the end of the war he had amassed four commendations from the Navy Department and the thanks of Congress and President Lincoln. "All this for a man," Schneller writes, "who was only twenty-two years old when Lee surrendered at Appomattox." Employing his customary readable and entertaining style, Schneller focuses on Cushing’s naval career and those aspects of his personality that affected it.
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