Strangling the Confederacy examines the various naval actions and land incursions the Union waged from Virginia down the Atlantic Coast and through the Gulf of Mexico to methodically close down every Confederate port that could bring in weapons or supplies. The Rebels responded with fast shipsblockade runnersthat tried to evade the Yankee fleets, while at the same time constructing formidable fortifications that could protect the ports themselves. While Union troopships floated offshore, able to strike anywhere, mobile Confederate forces were kept at hand near crucial points, albeit in smaller numbers, to resist Federal irruptions into their homeland.
In the final analysis, the Union’s Navy Board, a unique institution at the time, undertook the correct strategy. Its original decision to focus on ten seaports that had rail or water connections with the Confederate interiorfrom Norfolk to Charleston to Mobile to New Orleansshows that the Navy Board understood the concept of decisive points. In a number of battles the Federals were able to leverage their superior technology, including steam power and rifled artillery, in a way that made the Confederate coastal defenses highly vulnerable, if not obsolete. On the other hand, when the Federals encountered Confederate resistance at close-quarters they often experienced difficulties, as in the failures at Fort Fisher, the debacle at Battery Wagner, the Battle of Olustee, and in other clashes.
What makes this book particularly unique is its use of modern military doctrine to assess and analyze the campaigns. Kevin Dougherty, an accomplished historian and former career Army officer, concludes that, without knowing it, the Navy Board did an excellent job at following modern strategic doctrine. While the multitude of small battles that flared along the Rebel coast throughout the Civil War have heretofore not been as well known as the more titanic inland battles, in a cumulative sense, Anacondathe most prolonged of the Union campaignsspelled doom for the Confederacy.
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About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction
The Key Federals
The Key Confederates
The Blockade and the Navy Board
The Atlantic Campaign
Hatteras Inlet: The Pattern is Formed
Port Royal Sound: The Triumph of the Plan
Fernandina and Jacksonville: The Army is Overextended
Fort Pulaski: Rifled Artillery’s First Breach of Masonry
The Burnside Expedition
Roanoke Island: Amphibious Proving Ground
New Bern: Expanded Logistical Impact of the Coastal War
Fort Macon: Final Victory of the Burnside Expedition
The Peninsula Campaign
The Peninsula Campaign: A Failure in Cooperation
The Gulf Campaign
Ship Island: Setting the Stage
New Orleans: The Price of Unpreparedness
Pensacola: The Confederacy is Stretched Too Thin
Galveston: A Federal Setback
Charleston: Too Strong from the Sea
Mobile Bay: Damn the Torpedoes
Fort Fisher: The Final Chapter
The Coastal War and the Elements of Operational Design
What People are Saying About This
"…a very well written overview of the major coastal campaigns conducted during the war. The author has excellent knowledge of the subject coupled with an in depth knowledge of the subject military history and procedures. In addition, he can communicate this is an understandable and readable manner." --(James Durney, 02/011 )
…recommended to all American Civil War students, as it covers an area of the naval war usually buried in complete histories of naval operations and seldom addressed in a stand alone volume on the subject….I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of the Civil War blockade.