Civil War Sesquicentennial – War on the Seas

The USS Monitor showing some of the damage inflicted by the Merrimac after their famous ironclad battle in 1862.

When we think of Civil War battles, most of us probably think of the bloodbaths on land – Gettysburg, Shiloh, Antietam. But the war was also being fought on the sea. With the Union blockade, the development of the Confederate’s submarine, and the epic battle of the ironclads, history buffs wanting to know more about the War Between the States would do good to catch up on the naval side of things.

Listed here are a few books and resources that highlight this lesser-known aspect of the Civil War.



Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History – Craig L. Symonds

Gunfire Around the Gulf: The Last Major Naval Campaigns of the Civil War – Jack D. Coombe

The H.L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy – Tom Chaffin

The Last Shot: The Incredible Story of the C.S.S. Shenandoah and the True Conclusion of the American Civil War – Lynn Schooler

Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War – Craig L. Symonds

The Lost Fleet: A Yankee Whaler’s Struggle Against the Confederate Navy and Arctic Disaster – Marc L. Songini

Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine – Brian Hicks

Reign of Iron: The Story of the First Battling Ironclads, the Monitor and the Merrimack – James L. Nelson

Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah – Tom Chaffin

Thunder Along the Mississippi: The River Battles that Split the Confederacy – Jack D. Coombe

Wolf of the Deep: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama – Stephen R. Fox



A Country of Our Own: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea – David Poyer

Fire on the Waters: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea – David Poyer

Southern Seahawk: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea – Randall S. Peffer

That Anvil of Our Souls: A Novel of the Monitor and the Merrimack – David Poyer

Thieves of Mercy: A Novel of the Civil War at Sea – James L. Nelson



Mariners” Museum: Battle of Hampton Roads

Navy Department Library: Overviews of Naval History (Civil War)

U.S. Navy: Naval History and Heritage: Civil War

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