[C.S. Navy Seal]

Ironclads and Blockade Runners

Of the American Civil War

[Civil War era U.S. Navy Seal]  Neither the Department of the Navy nor any other component of the Department of Defense has approved, endorsed, or authorized this website.

[USS Essex]
USS Essex near Baton Rouge, 1863

[USS (ex-CSS) Atlanta]
USS Atlanta (ex-CSS Atlanta) on the James River, 1864

Last updated on 10 January 2003.

The combat of the Merrimac and the Monitor made the greatest change in sea-fighting since cannon fired by gunpowder had been mounted on ships...
óWinston Churchill, History of the English-Speaking Peoples
For the navies, the American Civil War began on 12 April 1861 when Fort Sumter was fired upon, and it ended on 23 June 1865 with the official raising of the blockade. However, the first shots of the war were really those fired at the steamer Star of the West as she approached Charleston Harbor on 9 January 1861; and the cruiser CSS Shenandoah did not finally haul down her flag until 7 November 1865.

In between these dates occurred more naval actions than in the rest of the world combined in the period between 1815 and 1914. Usually thought of as a land war, the American Civil War was also by far the largest naval war of the era. Action occurred in the English Channel, in the Indian Ocean, and the Bering Sea, as well as along the Southern and Northern coasts and up the rivers. Some hardly qualified as skirmishes; some were wholesale battles with major strategic consequences.

At the junction of naval warfare and industrial technology were two very special types of ship, the likes of which had hardly ever been seen before in the world. The ironclads were the advent of the modern armored, self-propelled warship, and the blockade runners took wholesale smuggling to new technological heights. Under the immense pressure of war, technology advanced at a breakneck pace. These pages are dedicated to these fascinating ships, their designers, and the valiant crews of both sides who sailed and fought them.

Moved the page... hope I didn't lose too many people! As always, the information in this site is as good as possible, and derives from research utilizing the sources listed in the Bibliography. Errors, though I hope they are few, are mine.

Suggestions, comments, and friendly insults are welcome; write to Mark F. Jenkins .

On this site: (* = graphics intensive)
[Introduction to the Ironclads] [Ironclad Mysteries] [Ironclad Vacation Pix] *
[Union Coastal Ironclads] [Union Riverine Ironclads] [Union "Tinclads" Listing]
[Confederate Ironclads] [Foreign Ironclads Listing] [Photo Gallery I: Personnel] *
[Photo Gallery II: Vessels] * [Ironclad Commanders] [Naval Ordnance]
[Ironclad Travel Guide] [Ironclad Questions and Answers] [Ironclad Technology]
[Current Dispositions] [Battle Summaries] [Proclamation of the blockade]
[Organization of the blockade] [Strategy Board Reports] [Famous blockade runners]
[Notable blockade runner captains] [The blockade at Wilmington NC] [Lt. John Wilkinson, CSN]
[Civil War Navy Hall of Fame] * [Bibliography] LINKS
[Stars & Stripes Forever Review] [Ironclads Movie Review] [Gunboats at Buffington Island]

[Robert E. Lee]
USS Fort Donelson, formerly the blockade runner Robert E. Lee
The fate of an unsuccessful blockade runner
(This might have been the Colt)


The Monitor: History and Legacy - from the Mariners' Museum
The Denbigh Project - Investigating a blockade runner
Investigations of the Ivanhoe - A blockade runner wreck survey (FSU)
CSS Virginia Home Page - It wasn't the Merrimack; find out why!
Brooklyn History: The USS Monitor
The CSS Albemarle - the ironclad built in a cornfield that terrorized the Union Navy
Confederate States Navy page - A must-see if you had ancestors in the CSN
Battle between the Monitor and the Virginia
Navies in the Civil War
Brown Water Navy: The Union Navy on the Western Rivers Link MIA as of 9/15/02
The Civil War @ Charleston - The Hunley, blockade runners, Fort Sumter, and much more
Information about the CSS Phoenix - Ironclad wreck in Mobile Bay (FSU)
The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary - official site for the preservation of the Monitor
The Legacy of the Monitor - more about the Monitor
The Blockade Runners - fiction by Jules Verne
USS Harvest Moon Home Page
The American Civil War - Naval War - Nice collection of facts 'n' stuff
St. Louis' Ships of Iron - from The American Local History Network of St. Louis
Yazoo Afloat - the Yazoo Naval Preservation Foundation
Pre-Dreadnought Preservation - Slightly later in time, but good stuff
Virtual tour of HMS Warrior
Raising the Civil War Gunboats - Efforts to preserve the remains of the Johnsonville "tinclads"
www.css-alabama.com - see the latest efforts to conserve artifacts from the CSS Alabama.
The Diplomacy of the American Civil War
American Coast Defense Forts - Terrific detail on US coastal fortifications

Save Ohio's only Civil War battlefield!

Buffington Island Battlefield Archaeological Project - My alma mater (Heidelberg College) is leading the way
Battle Summary: Buffington Island
Ohio Historical Society: Buffington Island
Buffington Island Preservation Message Board - sound off!
Buffington Island (91st OVI)

My article on the Operations of the Mississippi Squadron during Morgan's Raid - now illustrated

Reenactment Organizations:

The Pook Turtle Project - Building a replica of a western rivers ironclad gunboat
Union Naval Historical Society / Western Gunboat Flotilla
The Kearsarge Afterguard and Marine Detachment

Museums and Historical Organizations:

USS Cairo Gunboat and Museum - The best-preserved of the raised Civil War warships
The CSS Neuse State Historic Site
The Mariners' Museum, Hampton Roads VA - Artifacts from the Monitor and Virginia plus much more
The Monitor Center - Part of the Mariners' Museum site, specific info on Monitor preservation efforts
Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Norfolk VA
Port Columbus/CSS Jackson - Formerly the Confederate Naval Museum
Smith's Master Index of North American Maritime Museum Resources
Friends of the Hunley - I'm not all that crazy about the Hunley, but if you are, this is a good site
The collapse of HMVS Cerberus - British ironclad hulk in peril
American Battlefield Protection Program (National Park Service)
San Francisco Maritime National Park Association
Navy League of the United States
The United States Naval Institute
Naval Historical Foundation
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Sons of Confederate Veterans

Documents and images:

U.S. Civil War Navies - articles, muster rolls and images
Civil War Album - Collection of photos, reports, and maps
Civil War Maps and Charts - Listed by state
US Navy ship images of the National Archives
Navies in Transition
US Navy Naval Historical Center
US Military Academy Department of History Civil War Maps
Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS) Online
Civil War Naval Forces Index
Treasurenet Naval Images
Treasurenet Naval Officers Images
Selected Civil War Photographs - Library of Congress
Images at the Naval Historical Center
Orin's Gallery - Computer images of Civil War warships
War Times Journal, Civil War Navies
Confederate naval personnel card index
Official Records, Armies (OR) online - at eHistory site
US Navy officers, 1 Jan 1865 (Naval Historical Center)
US Navy 1864 uniform regulations (Naval Historical Center)
Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant (online) - not Navy, but what the heck
Admiral David Glasgow Farragut - an online biography
Memoirs of Service Afloat - by Raphael Semmes, complete text online
Running the Blockade - by Thomas E. Taylor, complete text online
Narrative of a Blockade Runner - by John Wilkinson, complete text online
First Fight of Iron-clads - Century Magazine article by John Taylor Wood
In the Monitor Turret - Century Magazine article by Samuel D. Greene
Watching the Merrimac - Century Magazine article by R.E. Colson
Recollections of Foote and the Gun-Boats - Century Magazine article by James B. Eads
Operations of the Western Flotilla, Part I - Century Magazine article by Henry Walke
Operations of the Western Flotilla, Part II - Century Magazine article by Henry Walke

Gaming, books, etc. (Listing does not necessarily mean endorsement of commercial sites):

The Naval Wargames Society
Naval Wargames

WRM Graphics (Civil War naval art and models)
Civil War Gunboat Ship Paintings and Prints by C. Ron Virts
Bonegames (Sovereign Seas Lite)
A Hotter Fire (miniature rules)
Canis Publishing - Smoke on the Water (miniature rules)
Thoroughbred naval miniatures
Peter Pig naval miniatures (UK)
Langton Miniatures (UK)
Hobbyland Stores
Civil War Times Illustrated (magazine) Link MIA as of 9/15/02
Morningside Books
Broadfoot Publishing
The Naval Institute Press
Civil War Books Online
Navy books at Shamrock Hill Books
Guild Press (Official Records, Navies on CD-ROM)
Ship plans from the National Archives for sale
The Mariners' Museum - Soon coming out with collections of ship plans and blueprints

My review of Harry Harrison's alternate-history novel Stars & Stripes Forever.

Onscreen (Listing does not necessarily mean endorsement of commercial sites):

Lincoln's Secret Weapon - Recent "Nova" program on the Monitor
Ironclads (TV Movie, 1991) - Shaky but interesting; see a review
Civil War navy related videos at Amazon.com:

Index Sites:

American Civil War (Dakota State University) - Jim Janke's great index page
The Civil War Center - One of the best
American Civil War
United States Civil War
Civil War Interactive - premier Web Civil War magazine, great articles
Civil War Battlefields/Battlefield Vacations - maps, descriptions, history

John's Nautical and Boatbuilding Page - Includes the "Mother of All Maritime Links" list
Haze Gray & Underway - A tour de force site on the history of the Navy
Maritime History Research on the Internet
The World Wide Web Virtual Library: Naval and Marine

1997 Site Award



I'd like to thank all visitors to this site (over 60,000 now, which surpasses the number of visits to the old AOL address I used to have). Due to differences of opinion with the counter service I was using, I'm no longer tracking hits.
Some graphics courtesy of http://www.mccannas.com

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