The Confederate Navy Essay

2122 words - 8 pages

Why did the Union Navy defeat the Confederate Navy? What battles took place and why were they unable to do as well as the Union? The Confederate Navy, what navy? A country is formed in about two months and you expect them to have a navy. Well, they did have a navy consisting of 10 ships. Most of these ships were the Unions and they were captured when the southern states seceded. The entire Confederate Navy had only 15 guns when it was formed. The Union Navy had a slight advantage, they had 90 ships, but 21 were unfit for duty, 27 were in need of repairs and 28 were in foreign docks. The Union Navy had only 14 sea worthy ships. Stephen R. Mallory was appointed Secretary of the Navy on February 21, 1861. He immediately began to form a navy. He signed onto countless number of contracts. A majority were for gunboats to help defend the rivers. Several of the ships were burned due to lack of good engines. The working engines were saved for the ironclads and the bigger ships. Secretary Mallory knew wooden ships were antiqued and would soon be replaced. He spent the majority of their budget on buying ironclads from the British and constructing some in the south. The lack of manufacturing facilities hurt the confederates. There were only 3 iron factories in the South. They could not maintain manufacturing pace with the North. They had several factories up and down its coasts. Also the South had not yet unified the railroad system, unlike its counterpart, the North. Transportation delays lengthened the time for supplies to reach their manufacturing facilities.Secretary Mallory, with the capture of the USS Merrimac, began building his first ironclad. Along with the newly named CSS Virginia, work began on four other ironclad ships. The architect behind the ships was John L. Porter. He had great plans for this navy, but due to lack of supplies, lack of skilled labor and the amount of time it took to transport the materials, he was unable to do everything he wanted to. The Merrimac was raised in about a month, but the materials to build it did not come until 8 months later. The CSS Virginia had five guns on her. She was to light and she was enormously slow. She could do a 180 turn in about 40 minutes. She then turned to destroy the blockade at Hampton Roads. She sunk two ships and hurt a third. In return, the Virginia took minimal to no damage. Just when she was going to finish the job, the Monitor showed up and protected the other ships. The ships fought for several hours, but neither was seriously damaged. Eventually, the Virginia had to retire due to the rising tide. Her crew was forced to scuttle or rip a hole in her, because her homeport was captured. They were afraid that the Union fleet would surround and capture the ship. The loss of the South's only ironclad was enormous, but four new ironclads were in the late stages of development. Secretary Mallory and the rest of the South knew it was going to be hard to keep up with the North and...

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