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Just as Confederate naval action is commonly overshadowed by the land battles of the Civil War, the navy's originator, Stephen Mallory, is often overlooked in favor of more famous leaders. Mallory had served as one of Florida's U.S. senators for ten years before becoming navy secretary in the Confederate government, challenged to create a valid military force where none had existed.
This biography chronicles Mallory's formative years in Key West, his decades of public service, and his declining days. It discusses his career in the United States Senate, where he chaired the Committee for Naval Affairs, helping to strengthen—in an ironic twist of fate—the very navy he would later attempt to defeat. The work also examines the challenges and obstacles Mallory faced in creating a navy for the South. Special attention is given to Mallory's family relationships. Primary sources include autobiographical documents and archival records.