A longtime military history professor at Virginia Military Institute and prolific author, Spencer Tucker examines the important roles played by the Union and Confederate navies during the Civil War. His book makes use of recent scholarship as well as official records and the memoirs of participants to provide a complete perspective for the general reader and enough detail to hold the interest of the specialist. Tucker opens with an overview of the U.S. Navy's history to 1861 and then closely examines the two navies at the beginning of the war, looking at the senior leadership, officers and personnel, organization, recruitment practices, training, facilities, and manufacturing resources. He discusses the acquisition of ships and the design and construction of new types, as well as ship armament and the development of naval ordnance, and North and South naval strategies. The book then takes a close look at the war itself, including the Union blockade of the Confederate Atlantic and Gulf coasts, riverine warfare in the Western theater, Confederate blockade running and commerce raiders, and the Union campaigns against New Orleans, Charleston, Vicksburg, and on the Red River. Tucker covers the major battles and technological innovations, and he evaluates the significance of the Union blockade and the demands it placed on Union resources. Fourteen maps and a glossary of terms help readers follow the text. Extensive endnotes provide additional material.