Blue & Gray Navies

The Civil War Afloat
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Published:May 11, 2013
By Spencer C. Tucker (Author)

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.

List Price: $34.95
Member Price: $27.96
Product Details
  • Subject: Civil War
  • Hardback : 426 pages
  • Illustrations: 24 b/w photos; 14 illustrations
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (May 11, 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1591148820
  • ISBN-13: 9781591148821
  • Product Dimensions: 6 X 9 in
  • Shipping Weight: 28 oz

Spencer C. Tucker held the John Biggs Chair of Military History at the Virginia Military Institute for six years until his retirement. He is the author of twenty-five books including the award winning Stephen Decatur: A Life Most Bold and Daring.

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Customer Reviews

1 Review
Average Customer Reviews
5.00 Stars
Review of Blue and Gray Navies by Tucker
Friday, January 1, 2010
By: Robert A. Mattson
This is the first of Dr. Tucker's books I have read. In the preface, he indicates that it is his objective to build on previous treatments of the Navies in the Civil War (both Union and Confederate), and incorporate more recent scholarship on the topic. This I feel he has done very well, providing a very good one-volume overview of the Civil War Navies. Rather than organize the book chronologically, he discusses particular elements of the war in each chapter. An Introduction provides a background of the US Navy in the early decades of the 19th Century, leading up to the war. Chapt. 1 provides an overview of the organization of the Union and Confederate Navies. Other chapters focus on the blockade (Chapt. 4), the river war in the West (Chapts. 5, 7, and 8), use of new technologies (Chapt. 6 - ironclads; Chapt. 10 - torpedoes and submersibles), the Confederate commerce raiders (Chapt. 11), and various major coastal operations (Chapt. 9 - Charleston; Chapt. 13 - Mobile, Galveston, and the N. Carolina sounds). In each Chapter, he includes discussion of both specific campaigns/actions, and the social/political context. In his Preface, he references previous works on the Naval Civil War. I was surprised that he missed William H. Roberts' "Now for the Contest. Coastal & Oceanic Naval Operations in the Civil War". Roberts' treatment, published in 2004, is essentially a shorter version of Tucker's book. He also didn't reference William Fowler's "Under Two Flags". I would recommend both of these to readers, along with Tucker's book.


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