A Conversation for The Beginning of the American Civil War

Naval Developments

Post 1

MotDoc, Temporarily Exiled to Tartu, Estonia

You stated that the only naval development to come out of the Civil War was the ironclad, but what about the submarine? This was the first war to see significant use of submarines.
smiley - martiansmile

Naval Developments

Post 2


I wouldn't call it significant, really. Maybe I'm wrong, though. I didn't read too much about submarines when researching this. smiley - smiley

smiley - blacksheep

Naval Developments

Post 3

Ollie Garkey (Inveterate Cat hater, Tea drinker, and Scot-American)

You should probably look up the CSS Hunley. Though its affect on the war was not significant, its affect on history was. The ship was lost because the crew was fighting a current while trying to return to charleston(?) harbor, and was swamped.

Naval Developments

Post 4


Yes, the Hunley is significant as the first submarine to sink an enemy warship. Its story is remarkable because the CSA lost several entire crews while developing the craft, yet could still persuade a new one to go onboard for that fatal voyage.

As for the ironclads, you're talking about several new technical advances simultaneously, notably the revolving turret.

Other naval advances include major improvements in the design of the floating mine, called 'torpedoes' at the time, hence US Admiral Farragut's famous (probably misquoted, but these things always are) "Full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes".

And although this doesn't exactly qualify as technical development, you should look at the inventiveness shown by both sides as regards the blockade of the South. The South went to extraordinary lengths to build ironclads and other warships, both inside the South, and in foreign shipyards under the eyes of not always friendly governments. And they undertook a campaign against shipping whose effects damaged the USA's marine for years after the war, in particular its whaling fleet. Whereas the Federals constructed probably the most extensive and most sophisticated blockade ever attempted. In this amateur historian's view, it was what really won the North the war.

Finally, I'd like to make a (slightly facetious) case for the invention of the aircraft carrier. The Federals operated observation balloons from something like a barge, complete with hydrogen gas generating plant, making for useful mobility.

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