Clad in Iron: The American Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power
AbstractThis work addresses many persistent misconceptions of what the monitors were for, and why they failed in other roles associated with naval operations of the Civil War (such as the repulse at Charleston, April 7, 1863). Monitors were 'ironclads'- not fort-killers. Their ultimate success is to be measured not in terms of spearheading attacks on fortified Southern ports but in the quieter, much more profound, strategic deterrence of Lord Palmerston's ministry in London, and the British Royal Navy's potential intervention. During the American Civil War, one of the greatest fears of the Union government was that the United Kingdom might intervene on the side of the Confederacy. This book is a unique study that combines a lively and colourful narrative with a fresh interpretation of the American effort to avoid a naval war with Great Britain. The author chronicles the growth and development of the Union "Ironclads," beginning with U.S.S. Monitor, during the American Civil War.Unlike other similar histories, however, the author does not simply recount the battle actions of these metal monsters. Instead, he crafts a fast-paced narrative that focuses on the military men and government officials who drove the decision-making processes, and outlines the international ramifications of the revolution in naval affairs that took place in the 1860s. He demonstrates that Federal ironclads were not constructed solely in response to their Confederate counterparts, but, even more importantly, to counter the ocean-going iron ships of the Royal Navy. The author places the naval developments of the Civil War within the broader context of Anglo-American relations and the rapidly developing international rivalry between the United States and Britain. The wide reaching implications of the technological advances, and the unprecedented expansion of the U.S. Navy are usually depicted as a sidebar to the main events of the Civil War. This work, however, brings a new perspective to this important yet overlooked aspect of diplomacy during this time.
PublisherPraeger Publishers Inc.