Quais eram as simpatias da Marinha dos Estados Unidos na época da Guerra Civil Americana?

Quais eram as simpatias da Marinha dos Estados Unidos na época da Guerra Civil Americana?

Na época da Guerra Civil Americana, os militares terrestres (isto é, o Exército) simpatizavam com a causa da Confederação, na minha opinião, devido ao fato de a composição dos militares da época ser majoritariamente do Sul dos Estados Unidos. Muitos dos líderes e comandantes militares eram de estados do sul e suas simpatias tendiam a ser para seus estados de origem. A Marinha dos Estados Unidos na mesma época deve ter tido um núcleo de oficiais que veio em maioria de algum lugar, mas eu não vi nenhum material escrito que investigasse isso.

Qual era a composição da Marinha dos EUA nessa época? A maioria era de estados do Norte que já possuíam cultura naval? Admito que a Marinha dos Estados Unidos era relativamente pequena nessa época, mas essas pessoas tiveram que vir de algum lugar e estou interessado em saber como avaliar onde suas simpatias podem estar.


Ao contrário do Exército, onde um número desproporcional de oficiais veio do Sul, a Marinha dos EUA era praticamente dominada pelo Norte. Uma evidência disso foi o fato de que a frota em Norfolk, Virgínia, foi afundada por seus marinheiros para evitar que caísse nas mãos do sul. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Monitor

Uma das principais razões para o sucesso do bloqueio da União foi que quase todos os navios (com a notável exceção do Merrimac de ferro, rebatizado de Virginia) permaneceram com a União.


10 coisas que você pode não saber sobre a guerra mexicano-americana

1. Antes de invadir o México, os EUA tentaram comprar parte de seu território.
No final de 1845, o Presidente James K. Polk enviou o diplomata John Slidell em uma missão secreta ao México. Slidell foi encarregado de resolver um antigo desacordo sobre a fronteira entre os dois países, mas também foi autorizado a oferecer aos mexicanos até US $ 25 milhões por seus territórios no Novo México e na Califórnia. & # XA0

Quando os mexicanos se recusaram a considerar a oferta, Polk aumentou a aposta ao ordenar que 4.000 soldados comandados por Zachary Taylor ocupassem as terras entre o rio Nueces e a região do Rio Grande & # x2014a que o México reivindicou como seu próprio território. O México respondeu enviando tropas para a zona disputada e, em 25 de abril de 1846, sua cavalaria atacou uma patrulha de dragões americanos. Os oponentes de Polk & # x2019s mais tarde argumentariam que o presidente havia incitado os mexicanos à luta. & # XA0

No entanto, em 13 de maio de 1846, o Congresso votou por uma margem esmagadora para declarar guerra ao México.

2. A guerra marcou a estreia em combate de vários futuros generais da Guerra Civil.
Junto com os futuros presidentes Zachary Taylor e Franklin Pierce, a força dos EUA no México incluía muitos oficiais que mais tarde fizeram seu nome nos campos de batalha da Guerra Civil. & # XA0

Os generais da União Ulysses S. Grant, George Meade e George McClellan serviram, assim como muitos de seus adversários confederados, como Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson e George Pickett. Lee, então capitão do Corpo de Engenheiros do Exército, emergiu da guerra como um herói depois de fazer o reconhecimento de passagens que permitiram que os americanos manobrassem os mexicanos nas batalhas de Cerro Gordo e Contreras.

3. Santa Anna usou a guerra para recuperar o poder no México.
A maioria dos americanos considerou Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna um inimigo mortal por suas ações na Batalha do Álamo de 1836 e # x2019, mas o carismático general voltou ao poder durante a Guerra Mexicano-Americana graças a um aliado surpreendente: James K. Polk. & # XA0

Santa Anna estava sofrendo em Cuba quando a guerra começou, tendo sido exilada após uma temporada como ditador do México. Em agosto de 1846, ele convenceu o governo Polk de que negociaria uma paz favorável se tivesse permissão para voltar para casa por meio de um bloqueio naval americano. Polk acreditou na palavra do general, mas logo após colocar os pés em solo mexicano, Santa Anna traiu os americanos e organizou tropas para lutar contra a invasão. Além de recuperar a presidência, ele liderou os mexicanos durante quase todas as principais batalhas da guerra.

4. Abraham Lincoln foi um dos críticos mais severos da guerra.
A invasão do México foi um dos primeiros conflitos nos EUA a gerar um movimento anti-guerra generalizado. Oponentes políticos identificados como & # x201CMr. Polk & # x2019s War & # x201D uma apropriação desavergonhada de terras, enquanto os abolicionistas viam que era um esquema para adicionar mais Estados escravos à União. Entre os críticos mais notáveis ​​estava o congressista calouro de Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, que assumiu o plenário da Câmara em 1847 e apresentou uma série de resoluções exigindo saber a localização do & # x201Cspot de solo & # x201D onde a guerra & # x2019s primeira escaramuça ocorreu. & # xA0

Lincoln afirmou que a batalha havia sido provocada em terras mexicanas e classificou Polk como um buscador covarde da & # x201 Glória militar. & # X201D As chamadas & # x201CSpot Resolutions & # x201D ajudaram a colocar Lincoln no mapa como um político, mas eles também prejudicou sua reputação com seus constituintes pró-guerra. Um jornal de Illinois chegou a chamá-lo de & # x201Co Benedict Arnold de nosso distrito. & # X201D

5. Incluiu o primeiro grande ataque anfíbio dos militares dos EUA.
A fase mais significativa da Guerra Mexicano-Americana começou em março de 1847, quando o General Winfield Scott invadiu a cidade mexicana de Veracruz pelo mar. No que foi a maior operação anfíbia da América até a Segunda Guerra Mundial, a Marinha usou barcos de surfe especialmente construídos para transportar mais de 10.000 soldados americanos para a praia em apenas cinco horas. Os desembarques foram em sua maioria sem oposição pela guarnição em menor número da cidade, que mais tarde se rendeu após um bombardeio de artilharia e um cerco de 20 dias. Tendo assegurado Veracruz, o exército de Scott & # x2019s lançou o golpe final da guerra & # x2019s: uma marcha de combate de 265 milhas de seis meses para & # x201CHalls of Montezuma & # x201D na Cidade do México.

6. Um bando de católicos irlandeses abandonou os EUA e lutou pelo México.
Uma das unidades mais conhecidas da guerra foi o Batalhão de St. Patrick, um grupo de soldados dos EUA que abandonou o exército e se uniu ao México. A equipe de 200 homens era composta principalmente por irlandeses católicos e outros imigrantes que se ressentiam do preconceito que enfrentavam dos protestantes nos Estados Unidos. & # XA0

Sob a liderança de um irlandês chamado John Riley, o & # x201CSan Patricios & # x201D desertou e se tornou a força de artilharia de elite de Santa Anna & # x2019. Eles serviram com distinção nas Batalhas de Buena Vista e Cerro Gordo, mas a maior parte de sua unidade foi posteriormente morta ou capturada durante um confronto em agosto de 1847 em Churubusco. Após uma corte marcial, o Exército dos EUA executou cerca de 50 soldados por enforcamento. Vários outros foram chicoteados e marcados com um & # x201CD & # x201D para & # x201Cdeserter. & # X201D Embora desprezados nos Estados Unidos, os San Patricios se tornaram heróis nacionais no México, onde ainda são homenageados todos os dias de São Patrício & # x2019s.

7. A Batalha de Chapultepec deu origem a uma famosa lenda no México.
Quando chegaram à Cidade do México em setembro de 1847, as forças dos EUA encontraram a rota oeste para a capital bloqueada pelo Castelo de Chapultepec, uma fortaleza imponente que abrigava a academia militar do México e # x2019. O general Scott ordenou um bombardeio de artilharia e, em 13 de setembro, suas tropas invadiram a cidadela e usaram escadas para escalar sua fachada de pedra. A maioria dos defensores mexicanos logo se retirou, mas um grupo de seis cadetes militares adolescentes permaneceu em seus postos e lutou até o fim. & # XA0

De acordo com a tradição do campo de batalha, um cadete evitou a captura da bandeira mexicana enrolando-a em seu corpo e saltando para a morte das paredes do castelo. Enquanto Chapultepec estava perdido, os mexicanos saudaram os seis jovens estudantes como os & # x201CNi & # xF1os Heroes & # x201D ou & # x201CHero children. & # X201D Mais tarde, eles foram homenageados com um grande monumento na Cidade do México.

8. Um diplomata americano desobedeceu às ordens para encerrar a guerra.
Enquanto a guerra se aproximava de seu fim em 1847, o presidente Polk enviou o secretário do Departamento de Estado, Nicholas P. Trist, ao sul da fronteira para selar um tratado de paz com os mexicanos. As negociações começaram lentamente e, em novembro de 1847, Polk ficou frustrado e ordenou que Trist encerrasse as negociações e voltasse para casa. Trist, entretanto, não faria tal coisa. Acreditando que estava prestes a romper com os mexicanos, ele desobedeceu à ordem do presidente e, em vez disso, escreveu uma carta de 65 páginas defendendo sua decisão de continuar seus esforços de paz. Polk ficou furioso. Ele ligou para Trist & # x201Cdestituto de honra ou princípio & # x201D e tentou removê-lo do quartel-general do Exército dos EUA, mas não conseguiu interromper as negociações. & # XA0

Em 2 de fevereiro de 1848, Trist assinou o Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo, um acordo de princípio para encerrar a guerra. Embora Polk tenha aceitado o acordo com relutância, ele despediu & # xA0Trist & # xA0 assim que o diplomata desonesto voltou para os Estados Unidos.

9. A guerra reduziu o tamanho do México em mais da metade.
Além de renunciar a todas as reivindicações ao Texas, o Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo também forçou o México a aceitar um pagamento americano de US $ 15 milhões por 525.000 milhas quadradas de seu território & # x2014 um lote maior que o tamanho do Peru. As terras cedidas pelo México mais tarde englobariam todos ou parte dos futuros estados da Califórnia, Novo México, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, Oklahoma e Kansas.


Citações da Guerra Civil

"A guerra é crueldade. Não adianta tentar reformá-lo. Quanto mais cruel for, mais cedo terminará."

- & # xa0William Tecumseh Sherman

" Guerra significa lutar, e lutar significa matar."

- Nathan Bedford Forrest

"Quase todos os homens podem suportar a adversidade, mas se você quiser testar o caráter de um homem, dê-lhe poder."

"Vamos atravessar o rio e descansar à sombra das árvores."

- Últimas palavras de Thomas “Stonewall" Jackson

"Eu odeio jornalistas. Eles vêm ao acampamento e pegam os boatos do acampamento e os imprimem como fatos. Eu os considero espiões, o que, na verdade, eles são. Se eu matasse todos eles, haveria notícias do Inferno antes do café da manhã."

- William Tecumseh Sherman

"General Lee, este não é lugar para você. Esses homens atrás de você são georgianos e virginianos. Eles nunca falharam com você e não irão falhar aqui. Vocês vão, meninos? & # Xa0"

"Meus planos são perfeitos, e quando eu começar a executá-los, que Deus tenha misericórdia de Bobby Lee, pois não terei."

- & # xa0'Fighting' Joe Hooker (deixou)

"Acabei de ler seu despacho sobre cavalos com a língua dolorida e fatigados. Perdoe-me por perguntar o que os cavalos de seu exército fizeram desde a Batalha de Antietam que cansa tudo? & # Xa0"

- & # xa0Abraham Lincoln em resposta ao General McClellan.

"Uma União que só pode ser mantida por espadas e baionetas, e na qual a contenda e a guerra civil devem tomar o lugar do amor fraterno e da bondade, não tem encanto para mim."& # xa0

"O passado está morto, deixe-o enterrar seus mortos, suas esperanças e suas aspirações diante de você está o futuro - um futuro cheio de promessas de ouro."& # xa0

"Deixe-me dizer que nenhum perigo e nenhuma dificuldade me fazem desejar voltar para aquela vida universitária novamente."

"Conversamos sobre o assunto e poderíamos ter resolvido a guerra em trinta minutos se ela tivesse sido deixada para nós. "& # xa0

- & # xa0Soldado Confederado Desconhecido & # xa0referindo-se a um encontro que teve com um soldado da União nas entrelinhas.

"Oh, estou muito cansado de ouvir sobre o que Lee vai fazer. Alguns de vocês sempre parecem pensar que de repente ele vai dar uma cambalhota dupla e pousar em nossa retaguarda e em ambos os flancos ao mesmo tempo. Volte para o seu comando e tente pensar o que vamos fazer nós mesmos, em vez do que Lee vai fazer."

- & # xa0Ulysses S. Grant (direito)

"O Exército da Virgínia do Norte nunca foi derrotado. Simplesmente se desgastou chicoteando o inimigo. "& # xa0

"Se eu fosse o dono do Texas e do Inferno, alugaria o Texas e moraria no Inferno."

"Se é um crime amar o Sul, sua causa e seu presidente, então sou um criminoso. Prefiro deitar-me nesta prisão e morrer do que deixá-la devendo fidelidade a um governo como o seu."

"Eu apelo a você como um soldado para me poupar da humilhação de ver meu regimento marchar ao encontro do inimigo e eu não compartilho seus perigos."

"Eu sei que o Sr. [Jefferson] Davis pensa que pode fazer muitas coisas que outros homens hesitariam em tentar. Por exemplo, ele tentou fazer o que Deus falhou em fazer. Ele tentou fazer um soldado de Braxton Bragg."

"A arte da guerra é bastante simples. Descubra onde está o seu inimigo. Chegue até ele o quanto antes. Golpeie-o o mais forte que puder e continue seguindo em frente."

É tudo por agora. Se você tiver algumas citações favoritas da Guerra Civil, sinta-se à vontade para compartilhá-las nos comentários abaixo.


Os americanos estão cansados ​​da mentira da esquerda de que os EUA são sistematicamente racistas

O racismo é a prática de conceder direitos e privilégios a um indivíduo não com base na igualdade perante a lei, mas sim de acordo com a raça que essa pessoa nasceu.

É a antítese de todos os princípios sobre os quais nosso país foi fundado, desde a promessa de nossa Declaração de Independência de que “todos os homens são criados iguais” à cláusula de proteção igualitária de nossa Constituição. Foi uma doença maligna que lutamos na Guerra Civil para remover. Por gerações, tem sido denunciado por todos os americanos de boa vontade pelo mal que é.

No entanto, essa perigosa patologia social está agora desenfreada em Washington. O Comitê Judiciário da Câmara adotou recentemente uma medida em uma votação partidária para estabelecer uma comissão com o propósito declarado de consagrar o racismo na lei sob o pretexto de reparações de escravidão.

A composição tendenciosa desta comissão é óbvia. Não há uma única nomeação republicana. Ele é projetado para alcançar o passado há muito morto, reviver seus conflitos mais malévolos e reintroduzi-los em nossa época.

É impossível imaginar uma medida mais polêmica, polarizadora ou injusta do que aquela que usaria a força do governo para exigir que pessoas que nunca foram donas de escravos paguem indenizações a pessoas que nunca foram escravas - com base não em qualquer coisa que fizeram, mas apenas por causa da raça que pertenciam nascido.

A história nos oferece um suprimento inesgotável de queixas e injustiças que são poderosas o suficiente para alimentar ódios e ressentimentos que podem separar qualquer sociedade. É disso que trata este movimento. É mau em seus efeitos, se não em sua intenção.

Lincoln freqüentemente destacou que nosso país nasceu em um mundo onde a escravidão era uma instituição estabelecida. Os fundadores americanos insultaram-no e colocaram princípios em nossos documentos de fundação que eles estavam confiantes de que acabariam por colocar essa instituição perversa em vias de extinção e levariam a uma república onde homens e mulheres de todas as raças e origens poderiam juntos desfrutar das bênçãos da liberdade.

Justiça igualitária perante a lei significa uma sociedade daltônica em que raça simplesmente se torna irrelevante e, até recentemente, tínhamos feito um tremendo progresso em direção a essa visão como nação.

O Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King expressou o padrão ouro da harmonia racial: que devemos ser julgados pelo conteúdo de nosso caráter e não pela cor de nossa pele.

É a proteção igual da lei e a visão da sociedade daltônica que se estende dos fundadores americanos a Lincoln e Dr. King que agora está sob ataque da esquerda racista.

Sim, existem racistas em nossa sociedade. Existem racistas de todas as cores em todas as sociedades, é o lado mais vil da natureza humana. Mas nenhuma nação lutou mais para transcender essa natureza e isolar e marginalizar seus racistas do que os americanos.

Sim, políticas extremamente prejudiciais e tolas afetaram desproporcionalmente as comunidades negras nas últimas décadas. Escolas dominadas por sindicatos que não conseguiram educar crianças em centros urbanos, programas de bem-estar que destruíram famílias e a retirada da proteção policial de bairros infestados pelo crime estão certamente entre eles. Mas essas políticas devastam todas as comunidades onde são praticadas, independentemente da raça. A resposta é mudar essas políticas - não desculpá-las porque são ideologicamente agradáveis ​​à esquerda.

A esquerda racista se contenta em ignorar todos esses males atuais. Em vez disso, tenta colocar vizinho contra vizinho e americano contra americano com base em sua raça. Eles dizem que isso é cura. É exatamente o oposto. Eles sabem disso. Na verdade, eles contam com isso.

Americanos de boa vontade de todas as raças e credos - já estão fartos disso. Eles estão cansados ​​de ver nossos filhos ensinados a se odiarem e a odiarem uns aos outros. Eles estão cansados ​​de ver nosso país demonizado como racista por aqueles cujo primeiro e solitário foco é a raça. Eles estão cansados ​​da mentira de que nossa nação é sistemicamente racista quando fez mais para produzir uma sociedade multirracial civil e tolerante do que qualquer outro povo na história da civilização.

Já passou da hora de cada americano de todas as heranças denunciar esse mal pelo que ele é, e de extirpar de nosso discurso civil aqueles iscas raciais de todos os quadrantes que poluíram nosso diálogo nacional e corromperam nossa herança nacional.


Uma breve visão geral da Guerra Civil Americana

A Guerra Civil é o evento central na consciência histórica da América. Enquanto a Revolução de 1776-1783 criou os Estados Unidos, a Guerra Civil de 1861-1865 determinou que tipo de nação seria. A guerra resolveu duas questões fundamentais deixadas sem solução pela revolução: se os Estados Unidos seriam uma confederação dissolvível de Estados soberanos ou uma nação indivisível com um governo nacional soberano e se esta nação nasceu de uma declaração de que todos os homens foram criados com um igual direito à liberdade, continuaria a existir como o maior país escravista do mundo.

A vitória do Norte na guerra preservou os Estados Unidos como uma nação e encerrou a instituição da escravidão que dividira o país desde o início. Mas essas conquistas custaram 625.000 vidas - quase o mesmo número de soldados americanos que morreram em todas as outras guerras em que este país lutou juntas. A Guerra Civil Americana foi o maior e mais destrutivo conflito no mundo ocidental entre o fim das Guerras Napoleônicas em 1815 e o início da Primeira Guerra Mundial em 1914.

Arquivos Nacionais

A Guerra Civil começou por causa de diferenças intransigentes entre os estados livres e escravos sobre o poder do governo nacional de proibir a escravidão nos territórios que ainda não haviam se tornado estados. Quando Abraham Lincoln ganhou a eleição em 1860 como o primeiro presidente republicano em uma plataforma que prometia manter a escravidão fora dos territórios, sete estados escravistas no sul profundo se separaram e formaram uma nova nação, os Estados Confederados da América. A nova administração de Lincoln e a maioria do povo do Norte recusaram-se a reconhecer a legitimidade da secessão. Eles temiam que isso desacreditasse a democracia e criasse um precedente fatal que acabaria por fragmentar os não mais Estados Unidos em vários países pequenos e conflitantes.

O evento que desencadeou a guerra ocorreu no Fort Sumter, na Baía de Charleston, em 12 de abril de 1861. Reivindicando este forte dos Estados Unidos como seu, o exército confederado naquele dia abriu fogo contra a guarnição federal e forçou-a a baixar a bandeira americana em rendição. Lincoln convocou a milícia para suprimir essa "insurreição". Mais quatro estados escravistas se separaram e se juntaram à Confederação. No final de 1861, quase um milhão de homens armados se confrontaram ao longo de uma linha que se estendia por 1.200 milhas da Virgínia ao Missouri. Várias batalhas já haviam ocorrido - perto de Manassas Junction na Virgínia, nas montanhas do oeste da Virgínia, onde as vitórias da União pavimentaram o caminho para a criação do novo estado de West Virginia, em Wilson's Creek no Missouri, no Cabo Hatteras na Carolina do Norte, e em Port Royal, na Carolina do Sul, onde a Marinha da União estabeleceu uma base para um bloqueio para impedir o acesso da Confederação ao mundo exterior.

Mas a verdadeira luta começou em 1862. Enormes batalhas como Shiloh no Tennessee, Gaines 'Mill, Second Manassas e Fredericksburg na Virgínia e Antietam em Maryland prenunciaram campanhas e batalhas ainda maiores nos anos subsequentes, de Gettysburg na Pensilvânia a Vicksburg no Mississippi para Chickamauga e Atlanta na Geórgia. Em 1864, o objetivo original do Norte de uma guerra limitada para restaurar a União deu lugar a uma nova estratégia de "guerra total" para destruir o Velho Sul e sua instituição básica de escravidão e dar à União restaurada um "novo nascimento de liberdade, "como disse o presidente Lincoln em seu discurso em Gettysburg, para dedicar um cemitério para os soldados da União mortos na batalha lá.

A famosa foto de Alexander Gardner do confederado morto antes da Igreja Dunker no campo de batalha Antietam em Sharpsburg, Maryland, 1862. & # 13 Biblioteca do Congresso

Por três longos anos, de 1862 a 1865, o Exército de Robert E. Lee da Virgínia do Norte evitou invasões e ataques pelo Exército da União de Potomac comandado por uma série de generais ineficazes até que Ulysses S. Grant veio do teatro ocidental para a Virgínia tornou-se general-chefe de todos os exércitos da União em 1864. Depois de batalhas sangrentas em lugares com nomes como The Wilderness, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor e Petersburg, Grant finalmente trouxe Lee para a baía em Appomattox em abril de 1865. Nesse ínterim, exércitos da União e frotas fluviais no teatro de guerra que compreende os estados escravistas a oeste da cadeia dos Montes Apalaches, obteve uma longa série de vitórias sobre os exércitos confederados comandados por generais confederados infelizes ou azarados. Em 1864-1865, o general William Tecumseh Sherman liderou seu exército nas profundezas do coração confederado da Geórgia e da Carolina do Sul, destruindo sua infraestrutura econômica, enquanto o general George Thomas virtualmente destruiu o Exército da Confederação do Tennessee na batalha de Nashville.

Na primavera de 1865, todos os principais exércitos confederados se renderam, e quando a cavalaria da União capturou o presidente confederado Jefferson Davis na Geórgia em 10 de maio de 1865, a resistência entrou em colapso e a guerra terminou. O longo e doloroso processo de reconstrução de uma nação unida livre da escravidão começou.


O Bloqueio Sindical dos Estados do Sul

O bloqueio da União Naval isolou a Confederação e a impediu de estabelecer uma economia de guerra em grande escala.

Durante séculos, os bloqueios foram instrumentos importantes de nações beligerantes e, quando bem-sucedidos, deram uma vantagem ao país que os implementou. Em abril de 1861, Abraham Lincoln anunciou que instituiria um bloqueio da costa confederada. O apelo de Lincoln para um bloqueio, que criou a necessidade de uma grande marinha, pode ter sido sua decisão mais sábia durante a guerra, dado o importante papel desempenhado por essa Força durante o conflito.

A marinha dos Estados Unidos estava longe de ser forte quando a guerra começou e era incapaz de bloquear toda a costa confederada. No papel, havia apenas noventa navios de guerra na Marinha. Cinqüenta eram navios à vela, dos quais os maiores eram úteis principalmente como navios de recebimento e treinamento. Dos quarenta navios a vapor listados, dois estavam inacabados, três serviam como navios de recepção e três patrulhavam os Grandes Lagos. Oito outros, incluindo cinco fragatas a vapor, foram colocados para reparos. Essas cinco fragatas a vapor constituíam o principal elemento da força naval americana. Embora fossem navios de guerra formidáveis, eles não podiam patrulhar com eficácia as águas rasas do sul por causa de suas correntes de ar. A Marinha tinha apenas três navios armados prontos para serviço na costa do Atlântico no início da guerra. Os navios restantes estavam no Golfo do México ou em estações estrangeiras, de onde alguns não retornaram por seis meses. [1]

O anúncio do bloqueio veio em duas mensagens. O primeiro foi uma proclamação de Lincoln em 19 de abril e incluiu todos os estados confederados costeiros, exceto Carolina do Norte e Virgínia. Em 27 de abril, Lincoln emitiu uma segunda proclamação que incluía os dois últimos estados. Ele indicou nas proclamações que os Estados Unidos iriam & ldquof seguir a lei das nações & rdquo e que os navios de guerra dariam primeiro um aviso e capturariam qualquer navio na próxima tentativa de escapar do bloqueio. [2]

Aspectos jurídicos de um bloqueio

Antes do anúncio do bloqueio, Lincoln e seu gabinete discutiram outras opções. A ideia de Lincoln de bloquear a Confederação encontrou algumas divergências. Alguns argumentaram que o governo deveria fechar os portos em vez de bloqueá-los. Discussões acaloradas seguiram sobre os dois planos propostos. Supondo que a rebelião fosse uma luta interna, o governo poderia simplesmente fechar seus portos ao sul de acordo com a lei dos Estados Unidos. Fechar os portos parecia simples, exigindo apenas uma ordem executiva. Um defeito dessa abordagem era que a portaria de fechamento só permitia a aplicação em águas territoriais americanas. Além disso, os infratores dessa ordem teriam violado apenas uma lei de receita dos Estados Unidos e, portanto, só poderiam ser julgados em um tribunal federal no estado e distrito onde ocorreu a infração, uma impossibilidade porque agora estavam sob o controle da Confederação. Mais importante ainda, o fechamento dos portos não forçaria os países europeus a reconhecer essa ação porque o direito internacional não reconhecia essa forma de interdição comercial.

O secretário de Estado William Henry Seward convenceu Lincoln a adotar um bloqueio. Seward sabia que a maioria das nações do mundo reconhecia os bloqueios, o que evitaria complicações internacionais. Ao emitir uma notificação de bloqueio, no entanto, a União implicitamente atribuiu à Confederação o estatuto de beligerante, porque o bloqueio é um direito beligerante e implica que está a lutar com um inimigo externo.

Em 13 de maio de 1861, o governo britânico anunciou sua neutralidade. Os britânicos não protestaram contra o bloqueio de Lincoln porque seus interesses navais de longo prazo consistiam em expandir e manter a prática de bloqueio. Embora o bloqueio americano os incomodasse, gerasse animosidades e fosse às vezes inconveniente, os britânicos o aceitaram. Em 16 de maio, a França também confirmou sua aceitação. [3] Com o apoio francês, ficou claro que as principais potências da Europa reconheceriam o bloqueio dos Estados Unidos se a marinha o mantivesse de acordo com o direito internacional. Isso resolveu um dos primeiros e mais graves problemas da União.

Em 13 de julho, seis dias após a proclamação do primeiro bloqueio, o Congresso aprovou a Lei dos Portos. Essa legislação deu ao presidente autoridade para fechar os portos. Lincoln sabiamente continuou o bloqueio e não usou essa lei para fechar um porto até 11 de abril de 1865, muito depois que a intervenção estrangeira não era mais uma ameaça.

A Declaração de Paris de 1856 definiu os padrões internacionais de prática de bloqueio. A maioria das nações do mundo assinou esse acordo, mas os Estados Unidos não foram signatários. A lei internacional exigia apenas que "força adequada" permanecesse o tempo todo na entrada de um porto para impedir a comunicação. Pela interpretação mais ampla da lei, um navio era qualificado como uma força adequada.

Os navios da União deveriam estabelecer o bloqueio de cada porto confederado por meio de notificação escrita. Depois que essa notificação desembarcou, os navios então no porto tiveram 15 dias para partir sem medo de captura. Uma vez que a Marinha instituiu o bloqueio de um porto, pelo menos um navio teve que permanecer na estação. Se por algum motivo os bloqueadores saíssem, ou o clima ou os navios de guerra inimigos os expulsassem, a Marinha tinha de restabelecer o bloqueio. Isso exigia o envio de outra notificação em terra e permitia um período de carência de 15 dias para os navios saírem do porto sem penalidades.

No início da guerra, alguns líderes sindicais acreditavam que um bloqueio abrangente exigiria apenas trinta navios de guerra. A realidade rapidamente dissipou essa noção porque o bloqueio não foi nem um pouco eficaz por muitos meses. Nas seis semanas após o bombardeio de Fort Sumter, quase 30.000 fardos de algodão deixaram o porto de Charleston sozinho. De junho a dezembro de 1861, 150 embarcações, principalmente pequenas embarcações de cabotagem, chegaram a Charleston pelas vias navegáveis ​​interiores. Os outros grandes portos do sul experimentaram comércio semelhante. Essa frouxidão fez com que o Atlanta Daily Intelligencer ostentando, & ldquoContempt for Lincoln & rsquos bloqueio deve prevalecer mesmo em Timbucktoo! & rdquo [4]

Na tentativa de traçar uma estratégia global e oferecer soluções para uma série de problemas potenciais, o secretário da Marinha Gideon Welles criou uma Comissão de Conferência, também conhecida como Conselho de Estratégia de Bloqueio. Este conselho foi o único grupo que se reuniu durante a guerra que se aproximava em caráter de um estado-maior geral. A ideia para a criação desse conselho surgiu com o professor Alexander Dallas Bache, superintendente do United States Coast Survey. Organizado em 27 de junho de 1861, o conselho consistia em Bache, Engenheiro-Chefe do Departamento do Exército de Washington, Major John Gross Barnard, e dois oficiais da Marinha, Capitão Charles Henry Davis, que atuou como registrador e secretário, e Capitão Samuel Francis Du Pont, quem serviu como presidente.

O conselho se reuniu na Smithsonian Institution de julho a setembro. Examinando cartas e estudando informações hidrográficas, topográficas e geográficas, seus membros desenvolveram estratégias e criaram métodos para tornar o bloqueio mais eficaz. Eles também acumularam as informações necessárias para estabelecer as bases logísticas. Em seis relatórios principais e quatro suplementares, eles recomendaram pontos que a Marinha poderia apreender como postos de carvão e bases navais. O conselho também preparou um guia geral para todas as operações de bloqueio que o Departamento da Marinha acompanhou de perto durante a guerra. [5]

A tarefa de patrulhar 3.500 milhas de costa rasa contendo 189 enseadas, portos e rios exigiria uma força muito maior do que a marinha tinha disponível em abril de 1861. A geografia específica da costa confederada complicou a implementação e manutenção do bloqueio. Para agravar esse desafio, estavam as numerosas ilhas-barreira que protegiam as passagens internas ao longo da maior parte da costa confederada. As enseadas separavam essas ilhas em intervalos e freqüentemente se abriam em grandes estuários. Essa intrincada rede de vias navegáveis ​​permitiu que os navios de calado raso mantivessem as comunicações abertas sem a necessidade de entrar no Oceano Atlântico ou no Golfo do México.

Em maio de 1861, o Departamento da Marinha inicialmente criou dois esquadrões de bloqueio. As responsabilidades do Esquadrão de Bloqueio do Atlântico e rsquos incluíam os portos orientais da Baía de Chesapeake a Key West, Flórida, e o Esquadrão de Bloqueio do Golfo patrulhado de Key West ao Rio Grande. No final de outubro de 1861, o Esquadrão de Bloqueio do Atlântico se dividiu nos recém-formados esquadrões de bloqueio do Atlântico Norte e do Atlântico Sul. As responsabilidades do Esquadrão de Bloqueio do Atlântico Norte eram as costas da Virgínia e da Carolina do Norte e o Esquadrão de Bloqueio do Atlântico Sul vigiava a costa da Carolina do Sul a Key West. Mais tarde, o último limite mudou para incluir a costa apenas até o sul do Cabo Canaveral. The Gulf Coast Blockading Squadron split in February 1862. The East Gulf Blockading Squadron patrolled from Cape Canaveral to St. Andrew&rsquos Bay, Florida, and the West Gulf Blockading Squadron&rsquos area of responsibility began west of St. Andrew&rsquos Bay, Florida and stretched to the Rio Grande.

An early embarrassment to the efficiency of the blockade was the operation of Confederate privateers. The majority of these vessels sortied out of Charleston, Savannah and New Orleans. These warships operated under Letters of Marque issued by the Confederate government. This commission allowed private vessels to make prizes of Union shipping. The privateers, however, could only operate out of Confederate ports since international law, as laid out in the 1856 Declaration of Paris, did not recognize privateering. Thus, once they captured a prize they had to return to a Confederate port. While these vessels had limited early successes, as the blockade became more stringent they could not operate without extreme risk and by 1862, they were no longer a threat. They did, however, occupy the full attention of the naval authorities early in the war. While the Union officials protested this form of warfare, the United States failure to sign the 1856 Declaration of Paris, gave it little sympathy from foreign governments.

In May 1861, when the Atlantic Coast Blockading Squadron formed, it included only fourteen warships. There were only three major port cities to watch from Virginia to Key West&mdashthey were Norfolk, Charleston and Savannah. Norfolk never developed as a Confederate port because of the United States Navy&rsquos presence in the Chesapeake Bay. The ports in the sounds of North Carolina also might have served the Confederacy. The shallow draft of the bars entering the sounds limited the trade and by the spring of 1862 most of the interior towns were under Union control.

Union warships did not blockade Savannah, Georgia until June 1861. The single narrow channel that led into the river made the blockade of this port relatively simple. When Union forces captured Fort Pulaski, guarding the mouth of the Savannah River, in April 1862, this effectively closed the port to most of the traffic. [6]

Even apart from its political and psychological importance, Charleston stood out as the major port on the Atlantic Coast and the most crucial to blockade. The city had a wide and deep harbor, one of the best in the south. The bar lay about five miles from the harbor entrance and four main channels offered access into the harbor. When Bermuda and Nassau became the major points of transshipment for blockade goods, the port of Charleston with its well-developed rail connections became a prime port. Only about 780 miles from Bermuda and just over 500 miles from Nassau, Charleston offered a quick trip for blockade runners. Until early 1863, Charleston served as the Confederacy&rsquos most frequented port and remained open for business until February 1865.

By the beginning of 1863, Charleston became the major target of the Union military forces and the Navy Department sent a large number of warships and ironclads there. After the April 1863 attack on the forts at the mouth of the harbor, the ironclads moved into the main ship channel and these warships effectively restricted the blockade running traffic. It was at this time that Wilmington, North Carolina, became the most important port in the Confederacy. While there was already a brisk trade at Wilmington, the virtual closure of Charleston forced the Confederacy and the mercantile firms running the blockade to refocus their efforts. Wilmington&rsquos importance as a blockade running port was unsurpassed for the rest of the war.

Wilmington was North Carolina&rsquos principal seaport and, with a population of about ten thousand, the state's largest city. In 1861, the city boasted the largest naval stores market in the country and traded in other natural resources. At the beginning of the war Wilmington seemed to have no special attribute that would make it so important to the Confederacy. Wilmington was an important port in North Carolina, but compared to Charleston, Norfolk, and Savannah its overall trade was miniscule. It was not considered important enough to blockade until nearly three months into the war

Geography and communications determined Wilmington's growth and importance. Wilmington had rail connections to both Charleston and Richmond, which linked it to two of the Confederacy's most important cities. Wilmington lay on the banks of the Cape Fear River, twenty miles from the river&rsquos mouth and fifteen miles from a second navigable entrance at New Inlet, and beyond the reach of a direct assault by naval vessels. Smith Island lay between the two navigable entrances and stretched for six miles into the ocean. In addition, Frying Pan Shoals extended over twenty miles farther into the Atlantic, making the distance between the inlets by sea almost fifty miles while the distance directly between them was only six or seven. The double inlets required two separate blockading forces and made it possible for the blockade runners to lie in the river and to observe the blockading fleet at their stations and then choose the most weakly guarded inlet from which to make their escape.

After Bermuda and Nassau became the major points for transshipment of goods into the South, Wilmington became even more convenient. Large ships brought contraband cargoes to these island ports where smaller and faster blockade runners carried them to the Confederacy. Only 570 miles from Nassau, a steamer could travel to Wilmington in 48 hours. Bermuda was only 674 miles from Wilmington and a steamer could make the trip in about 72 hours.

During the war, more than 100 different steamers ran the blockade of Wilmington about 260 times in total. Stopping this trade became a priority for the Navy Department and the naval force here became the largest concentration of warships of any squadron. Additionally, the tactics to stop blockade running continually evolved and some of the Union warships patrolled as far as 130 miles offshore and along the tracks of the blockade runners coming from the island entrepots.

The blockade of the Gulf Coast was, in some ways, more difficult than the East Coast blockade. While both Charleston and Wilmington attracted a large Confederate trade, the expansive and shallow waters of the Gulf Coast also invited blockade running activity. The Navy Department initially focused on many of the busy Confederate ports on the Atlantic, but the vastness of the Gulf coast would stymie the federal government&rsquos efforts to forge an effective blockade. From the Gulf&rsquos entrance at Key West to Brownsville was nearly 2,000 miles, not including the interior waters of the bays and the inlets that stretched along the coast. Like the Atlantic Coast, shallow water and barrier islands limited most of the trade to shallow draft vessels. Only a couple of entrances to the Mississippi River, Mobile, Alabama, and Galveston, Texas, could accommodate oceangoing steam blockade runners. The rest of the coast was perfectly suited to small vessels&mdashparticularly schooners.

During the war, schooners violated the blockade on the Gulf Coast more than any other type of vessel. They were fast, could sail close to the wind and could escape into the small shallow inlets. During the night and certain phases of the weather, they were nearly impossible to detect. The owners of these craft were often owner/operators. They carried local produce like cotton and sugar out and usually imported dry goods, medicines and items that they could sell locally. [7] The steam powered blockade runners, however, received the most attention from the Union navy. Local papers heralded their passage through the blockade and this alerted the Navy Department.

The trade along the Gulf coast differed from that seen along the East Coast because small sailing vessels, in large numbers, ran the blockade of the Gulf coast throughout the war. With a fleet consisting of mainly large warships, the task of blockading the Gulf coast effectively was initially nearly impossible. During 1861, in the Gulf alone, over 400 different vessels ran through the Union cordon more than 1,600 times in total. From 1861-65, there were nearly 3,000 attempts to run the blockade of the Gulf coast, about two a day, a rate 33% more than on the East Coast. [8]

The Capture of New Orleans

The most important ports in the Gulf were Mobile, New Orleans and Galveston. The five entrances to the Mississippi River were difficult to watch with only the small naval force available in the first months of the war. New Orleans was the Confederacy&rsquos largest city and a major manufacturing center. These attributes made the city an important target and with the warships struggling to contain blockade running, the Navy Department organized an expedition to capture the city. This was part of a larger goal of the department to gain control the Mississippi River. The capture of New Orleans in 1862 stopped the blockade running trade into the river and was a blow to the Confederacy, denying it its largest city and commercial center.

For most of the war, the West Gulf Blockading Squadron&rsquos major task was the blockade of Mobile, Alabama. The entrance to Mobile had features that complicated the Union&rsquos success. Outside the harbor were several bars and islands that dissected the entrance. The outer bar was more than three miles from the mouth of the harbor. Four channels led to the mouth of the bay. Deep draft vessels could enter the main channel only. Complicating the blockade&rsquos enforcement here was the shallow water to either side of the main ship channel. It allowed only the most shallow draft warships to maneuver in these shoal areas. The Confederate defenses, likewise, kept the Union ships at a distance from the mouth of the harbor. Mobile remained the most important port in the Gulf during the war because the larger steam blockade runners could access the harbor and the city&rsquos rail connections led to important points in the Confederacy.

Havana served as the main entrepot for blockade goods running into the Gulf Coast ports. Only 590 miles from Mobile, steam blockade runners could make the trip in two days. As the war progressed and more warships were available, the blockaders began patrolling along the approaches to Havana to curtail the trade.

Mobile remained a viable and important port until August 5, 1864. On this day, a fleet led by Rear Admiral David Glasgow Farragut advanced into the harbor and defeated the Confederate warships in the Battle of Mobile Bay. This ended Mobile&rsquos role as a Confederate port.

Galveston, Texas was a shallow-water port allowing vessels with no more than a 13-foot draft to enter. While this was a major limitation, the lack of rail connections in the state of Texas was even more so. None of the state&rsquos railroads connected east of the Mississippi and this limited the importance of any goods imported into Galveston. Galveston&rsquos value, however, increased slightly after the Battle of Mobile Bay in August 1864. This port remained open until June 1865. The surrender of the forces in the Trans-Mississippi occurred later than R.E. Lee&rsquos surrender. Kirby Smith&rsquos command did not officially surrender until 2 June and the Union forces took control of Galveston on 5 June. Like the rest of the Gulf Coast, small schooners sailed in and out of this port with near impunity. Its closeness to Havana, ports in Mexico and the British colony of Belize enabled small sailing craft to make their journeys quickly. Some of these craft made more than two dozen trips during the war.

The East Gulf Blockading Squadron handled the blockade of the state of Florida. The blockade of this state, while never easy, did not have the dire strategic consequences as other areas. The sparse population of the state and its lack of railroad connections to the rest of the South limited the value of the cargoes to the Confederacy and to the merchants who would illegally run the blockade. Small craft performed most of the blockade running and the cargoes mainly benefited the local inhabitants rather than the Confederacy.

Commerce Raiders, Torpedo Boats and Ironclads

Confederate commerce raiders, like the Alabama e a Flórida, torpedo boats, and Confederate ironclads challenged the maintenance of the blockade and made blockade duty uncertain and dangerous. [9] Despite the numerous attacks by these classes of Confederate warships, there were few Union losses. Depois de Alabama attacked and sank the Hatteras off Galveston, the small and lone gunboats could not safely make patrols along stretches of the Gulf Coast or to blockade shallow inlets without support. The real impact that the commerce raiders had on the blockade was the detachment of large numbers of naval vessels to chase the Confederate warships around the world, decreasing the effectiveness of the blockade. The greatest threat to the blockaders in fact, proved to be from small steamers or small boat expeditions that sortied against sail-powered or anchored blockaders. They managed to capture and destroy many Union ships during the war.

Types of Blockading Ships/Purchasing Program

Because the Union navy began the war with only a small number of warships and many of them incapable of blockading the Southern coast, the Navy Department had to both purchase and build a navy. Initially, it obtained every steam vessel it could purchase in the Northern ports, including tugs, ferryboats, and passenger vessels. These steamers often made less than adequate blockaders. Not designed to carry heavy guns or large crews, the merchant ships frequently had no protection for their engines, some of which lay above deck.

The initial building program that augmented the navy was that which built the Unadilla-class gunboats often called the 90-day gunboats due to their rapid construction. There were twenty-three in this class and they served both as blockaders and in river operations. Following this, the navy also constructed twenty-eight Sassacus-class gunboats that served in a similar capacity. Particularly valuable were the sloops of war constructed during the war. These vessels had heavy armament, good speed and a long cruising range and were capable of dealing with commerce raiders, other enemy combatants and Confederate fortifications.

The Union navy also had success converting captured blockade runners into blockading vessels. These ships often served as successful blockaders due to their speed. Os exemplos incluem o Robert E. Lee, which became the USS Forte Donelson, e as Ella e Annie renamed the USS Malvern.

Early in the war, passenger steamers, square-rigged sailing vessels and other pre-war traders ran the blockade. Sailing vessels tested the Union blockade more than any other type of vessel. Sailing vessels, however, were generally slower than steamers, lookouts could see them farther at sea, and they were dependent on the weather and the currents to move. Gradually these ships became less capable of successfully evading the Union ships once the Navy Department stationed more warships off the major ports. While large vessels powered by wind alone could no longer be risked, fast schooners ran the blockade during the entire war.

Stopping steam powered blockade runners developed into the Union navy&rsquos greatest challenge. The British, the main participants in this trade, began building steam ships to meet the challenges of a stricter blockade. These new, specially designed steamers were the fastest of the day. Usually constructed of iron or steel, they sat low in the water, had extremely narrow beams and rakish designs, and sometimes had turtle-back forward decks to help them drive through heavy seas. Both screw and side-wheel vessels had distinct advantages.

Avoiding detection was the most important characteristic necessary for the success of the blockade runners. In many cases, they carried only a light pair of lower masts, with no yards. A small crow's nest on one of the masts often appeared as the only alteration from the ship's sharp outline and low profile. Some steamers had telescoping funnels, which the crew could lower to the deck in order to maintain the lowest profile possible. Usually painted a dull grey to camouflage the vessel, they also sported other colors and in some instances, the color approached a pinkish hue. When approaching the shore, these vessels showed no lights, and sometimes muffled their paddle wheels with canvas, all to avoid detection.

High profits were the incentive that lured many foreign businessmen into the trade. A single round trip might allow profits enough to pay for both the cargo and the vessel. These high returns ensured that the trade would continue. A well-handled steamer could average about one round trip a month but might make a round trip in as little as eight days. Some of the blockade runners ran through the blockade as regularly as packets.

General Practices of the Blockade

Early in the war, the blockaders usually lay at anchor but remained ready to move. They normally maintained their stations at the main ship channels only. Shallow draft vessels running the blockade had easy access to nearly all the water near the ports, and this complicated the enforcement of the blockade when many of the Union warships were large and had deep drafts. With few ships available, the naval vessels irregularly checked the shallower inlets nearby the main ports, usually doing so when cruising for coal and repairs and travelling back to their blockading stations.

The Confederate defenses at the entrances to the ports or inlets complicated the enforcement of the blockade. The threat of gunfire kept the warships at a respectable distance and gave an added advantage to blockade runners that could get under the protection of the defenses. During the day the blockaders anchored out of the range of the fortifications, but at night usually moved nearer the mouth of the harbors and as near as they could to the Confederate defenses without being seen. They changed their positions before daylight. At night, small picket boats deployed from the blockaders and patrolled closer to shore and into the shallow areas giving better coverage. These craft could get close in at night and they could signal the warships when a blockade runner left port.

On both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts the flag officers, when possible, kept what they termed a close blockade. A single vessel lying directly in the channel could control the waterway and virtually stop blockade running activity. The blockaders could only do this when there were no Confederate defenses, but it effectively closed the most shallow and less important entrances. These vessels, however, were most vulnerable to attacks by Confederate gunboats and small boats.

Blockading tactics continued to evolve as the war progressed. As more vessels became available, the warships increasingly patrolled farther from the harbors and along the shipping lanes, particularly those leading to Havana, Bermuda and Nassau. The steam blockaders also began moving about more at night, ready to chase blockade violators. These practices increased the stringency of the blockade.

While weather, enemy activity and other operational needs had an impact on the blockade, logistical problems had an equally large influence on its effectiveness. The logistical difficulties became more evident as the warships began to take their stations in numbers and the navy deployed more steamers. During the first month of the war, the Navy Department realized that getting coal to the blockaders would be a vital concern. Despite the efforts to establish coaling bases and repair facilities, as much as 20% of the blockading fleet remained away for coal or repairs during much of the war. In mid-1864, the navy had the equivalent of an entire squadron sitting in repair facilities waiting to get back to their stations.

Scholars still debate the effectiveness of the blockade and the lack of Confederate customs records makes the question difficult to resolve. In North and South Carolina, there were at least 2,054 attempts to run through the blockade, averaging 1.5 attempts a day. Along these coasts over 472 different sailing vessels tested the blockade. The steamers numbered over 250. [10] Looking at figures for the blockade of the Gulf Coast, it makes the blockade look like a sieve. There were nearly 2,500 successful trips into Gulf ports, an 83% success rate, and nearly two attempts each day. Blockade runners, however, made a large percentage of their successful trips during the first year of the war. [11] The figures, however, do not tell the full story. Small sailing craft made most of these successful runs and their cargoes contributed little to the war effort.

The blockade&rsquos effectiveness relied on its deterrence, and after 1862, only the fastest and most specialized steam vessels could successfully escape. Small sailing vessels did continue to run the blockade in the Gulf of Mexico. While much materiel passed through the blockade, it amounted to only a small percentage of the South&rsquos pre-war commerce. The Confederacy might have solved a number of its manufacturing and transportation issues had the blockade never been implemented. The Union blockade isolated the Confederacy and kept it from establishing a full-scale war economy. It exacerbated inflation and when the raw materials ran out, or the Union forces captured or destroyed the industrial centers, the Confederacy had little means to replace the losses. The blockade, while not airtight, created a situation whereby the Confederacy could not hope to win a long lasting conflict.

  • The quotation in the title is from Gideon Welles to David Farragut, January 25, 1862 in United States Navy Department, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, 31 vols. (Washington D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1894-1927), Series I, volume 18, p. 9, (hereafter cited as O.R.N., I, 18, 9). [1] Robert M. Browning Jr., From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron During the Civil War (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993), 1-2. Receiving ships were usually old or obsolete ships stationed at navy yards. They served as floating barracks and accommodated new recruits and men awaiting orders.
  • [2] Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln, 19, 27 April 1861 in O.R.N., I, 5, 620-1).
  • [3] Browning, From Cape Charles to Cape Fear, 5.
  • [4] Hills to Wells, 2 May 1861, in O.R.N., I, 5, 361 Daily Intelligencer, (Atlanta) September 18, 1861.
  • [5] Browning, From Cape Charles to Cape Fear, 9.
  • [6] Vessels did patrol off Savannah earlier but did not remain.
  • [7] See William Watson, The Civil War Adventures of a Blockade Runner ( London: Unwin Brothers, 1892).
  • [8] Marcus W. Price, “Ships that Tested the Blockade of the Gulf Ports: 1861-1865,” The American Neptune, Vol. XI, No. 4 (Oct. 1951):262, 290. Price includes the entire Gulf in his figures, which would include the ports in West Florida.
  • [9] Torpedo boats were small fast craft that carried a spar torpedo that projected in front of the vessel. The weapon was discharged by running the torpedo into the enemy’s ship.
  • [10] Marcus W. Price, “Ships that Tested the Blockade of the Gulf Ports: 1861-1865,” The American Neptune, Vol. XII, No. 3 (July 1952): 236.
  • [11] Price, “Ships that Tested the Blockade of the Gulf Ports”, 196, 199.

If you can read only one book:

Browning, Robert M. Jr. From Cape Charles to Cape Fear, The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron During the Civil War. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1993.


The Secrets and Lies of the Vietnam War, Exposed in One Epic Document

Brandishing a captured Chinese machine gun, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara appeared at a televised news conference in the spring of 1965. The United States had just sent its first combat troops to South Vietnam, and the new push, he boasted, was further wearing down the beleaguered Viet Cong.

“In the past 4 1/2 years, the Viet Cong, the Communists, have lost 89,000 men,” he said. “You can see the heavy drain.”

That was a lie. From confidential reports, McNamara knew the situation was “bad and deteriorating” in the South. “The VC have the initiative,” the information said. “Defeatism is gaining among the rural population, somewhat in the cities, and even among the soldiers.”

Lies like McNamara’s were the rule, not the exception, throughout America’s involvement in Vietnam. The lies were repeated to the public, to Congress, in closed-door hearings, in speeches and to the press. The real story might have remained unknown if, in 1967, McNamara had not commissioned a secret history based on classified documents — which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

By then, he knew that even with nearly 500,000 U.S. troops in theater, the war was at a stalemate. He created a research team to assemble and analyze Defense Department decision-making dating back to 1945. This was either quixotic or arrogant. As secretary of defense under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, McNamara was an architect of the war and implicated in the lies that were the bedrock of U.S. policy.

Daniel Ellsberg, an analyst on the study, eventually leaked portions of the report to The New York Times, which published excerpts in 1971. The revelations in the Pentagon Papers infuriated a country sick of the war, the body bags of young Americans, the photographs of Vietnamese civilians fleeing U.S. air attacks and the endless protests and counterprotests that were dividing the country as nothing had since the Civil War.

The lies revealed in the papers were of a generational scale, and, for much of the American public, this grand deception seeded a suspicion of government that is even more widespread today.

Officially titled “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force,” the papers filled 47 volumes, covering the administrations of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to Johnson. Their 7,000 pages chronicled, in cold, bureaucratic language, how the United States got itself mired in a long, costly war in a small Southeast Asian country of questionable strategic importance.

They are an essential record of the first war the United States lost. For modern historians, they foreshadow the mindset and miscalculations that led the United States to fight the “forever wars” of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The original sin was the decision to support the French rulers in Vietnam. President Harry S. Truman subsidized their effort to take back their Indochina colonies. The Vietnamese nationalists were winning their fight for independence under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, a Communist. Ho had worked with the United States against Japan in World War II, but, in the Cold War, Washington recast him as the stalking horse for Soviet expansionism.

U.S. intelligence officers in the field said that was not the case, that they had found no evidence of a Soviet plot to take over Vietnam, much less Southeast Asia. As one State Department memo put it, “If there is a Moscow-directed conspiracy in Southeast Asia, Indochina is an anomaly.”

But with an eye on China, where the Communist Mao Zedong had won the civil war, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said defeating Vietnam’s Communists was essential “to block further Communist expansion in Asia.” If Vietnam became Communist, then the countries of Southeast Asia would fall like dominoes.

This belief in this domino theory was so strong that the United States broke with its European allies and refused to sign the 1954 Geneva Accords ending the French war. Instead, the United States continued the fight, giving full backing to Ngo Dinh Diem, the autocratic, anti-Communist leader of South Vietnam. Gen. J. Lawton Collins wrote from Vietnam, warning Eisenhower that Diem was an unpopular and incapable leader and should be replaced. If he was not, Collins wrote, “I recommend re-evaluation of our plans for assisting Southeast Asia.”

Secretary of State John Foster Dulles disagreed, writing in a cable included in the Pentagon Papers, “We have no other choice but continue our aid to Vietnam and support of Diem.”

Nine years and billions of American dollars later, Diem was still in power, and it fell to Kennedy to solve the long-predicted problem.

After facing down the Soviet Union in the Berlin crisis, Kennedy wanted to avoid any sign of Cold War fatigue and easily accepted McNamara’s counsel to deepen the U.S. commitment to Saigon. The secretary of defense wrote in one report, “The loss of South Vietnam would make pointless any further discussion about the importance of Southeast Asia to the Free World.”

The president increased U.S. military advisers tenfold and introduced helicopter missions. In return for the support, Kennedy wanted Diem to make democratic reforms. Diem refused.

A popular uprising in South Vietnam, led by Buddhist clerics, followed. Fearful of losing power as well, South Vietnamese generals secretly received American approval to overthrow Diem. Despite official denials, U.S. officials were deeply involved.

“Beginning in August of 1963, we variously authorized, sanctioned and encouraged the coup efforts …,” the Pentagon Papers revealed. “We maintained clandestine contact with them throughout the planning and execution of the coup and sought to review their operational plans.”

The coup ended with Diem’s killing and a deepening of American involvement in the war. As the authors of the papers concluded, “Our complicity in his overthrow heightened our responsibilities and our commitment.”

Three weeks later, Kennedy was assassinated, and the Vietnam issue fell to Johnson.

He had officials secretly draft a resolution for Congress to grant him the authority to fight in Vietnam without officially declaring war.

Missing was a pretext, a small-bore “Pearl Harbor” moment. That came Aug. 4, 1964, when the White House announced that the North Vietnamese had attacked the USS Maddox in international waters in the Gulf of Tonkin. This “attack,” though, was anything but unprovoked aggression. Gen. William C. Westmoreland, the head of U.S. forces in Vietnam, had commanded the South Vietnamese military while they staged clandestine raids on North Vietnamese islands. North Vietnamese PT boats fought back and had “mistaken Maddox for a South Vietnamese escort vessel,” according to a report. (Later investigations showed the attack never happened.)

Testifying before the Senate, McNamara lied, denying any American involvement in the Tonkin Gulf attacks: “Our Navy played absolutely no part in, was not associated with, was not aware of any South Vietnamese actions, if there were any.”

Three days after the announcement of the “incident,” the administration persuaded Congress to pass the Tonkin Gulf Resolution to approve and support “the determination of the president, as commander in chief, to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression” — an expansion of the presidential power to wage war that is still used regularly. Johnson won the 1964 election in a landslide.

Seven months later, he sent combat troops to Vietnam without declaring war, a decision clad in lies. The initial deployment of 20,000 troops was described as “military support forces” under a “change of mission” to “permit their more active use” in Vietnam. Nothing new.

As the Pentagon Papers later showed, the Defense Department also revised its war aims: “70 percent to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat … 20 percent to keep South Vietnam (and then adjacent) territory from Chinese hands, 10 percent to permit the people of South Vietnam to enjoy a better, freer way of life.”

Westmoreland considered the initial troop deployment a stopgap measure and requested 100,000 more. McNamara agreed. On July 20, 1965, he wrote in a memo that even though “the U.S. killed-in-action might be in the vicinity of 500 a month by the end of the year,” the general’s overall strategy was “likely to bring about a success in Vietnam.”

As the Pentagon Papers later put it, “Never again while he was secretary of defense would McNamara make so optimistic a statement about Vietnam — except in public.”

Fully disillusioned at last, McNamara argued in a 1967 memo to the president that more of the same — more troops, more bombing — would not win the war. In an about-face, he suggested that the United States declare victory and slowly withdraw.

And in a rare acknowledgment of the suffering of the Vietnamese people, he wrote, “The picture of the world’s greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 noncombatants a week, while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one.”

Johnson was furious and soon approved increasing the U.S. troop commitment to nearly 550,000. By year’s end, he had forced McNamara to resign, but the defense secretary had already commissioned the Pentagon Papers.

In 1968, Johnson announced that he would not run for reelection Vietnam had become his Waterloo. Nixon won the White House on the promise to bring peace to Vietnam. Instead, he expanded the war by invading Cambodia, which convinced Daniel Ellsberg that he had to leak the secret history.

After The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers on Sunday, June 13, 1971, the nation was stunned. The response ranged from horror to anger to disbelief. There was furor over the betrayal of national secrets. Opponents of the war felt vindicated. Veterans, especially those who had served multiple tours in Vietnam, were pained to discover that U.S. officials knew the war had been a failed proposition nearly from the beginning.

Convinced that Ellsberg posed a threat to Nixon’s reelection campaign, the White House approved an illegal break-in at the Beverly Hills, California, office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, hoping to find embarrassing confessions on file. The burglars — known as the Plumbers — found nothing, and got away undetected. The following June, when another such crew broke into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, they were caught.

The North Vietnamese mounted a final offensive, captured Saigon and won the war in April 1975. Three years later, Vietnam invaded Cambodia — another Communist country — and overthrew the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. That was the sole country Communist Vietnam ever invaded, forever undercutting the domino theory — the war’s foundational lie.


Civil War Sub Development

Today it is known that a lot of work was done on developing and deploying submarines on both sides of the Civil War. There is very little information available concerning these Civil War submarines to be found in official record. Porque? To hide new developments from the enemy?

But the main reason is much more entertaining. Submarines were considered practically illegal.

Therefore, most submarine development carried on in the Confederacy was done under the direction of the Secret Service rather than under the direction of the Navy. As the war was coming to a close most records of southern submarine development were destroyed to protect those that had taken part. It was feared that anyone involved in the development of "Infernal Machines," as northerners were so fond of calling subs, would face harsher treatment than the average Confederate rebel.

This makes the Union's involvement in submarine development all the more entertaining. While publicly decrying undersea warfare, the U.S. Navy maintained its own submarine development and building program. For consistency, the Official Record from this time shows almost no involvement in such a program, and when a mention does appear it is accompanied by repeated calls for secrecy on the matter.

For these reasons, most of what we know about Civil War submarines does not come from official government records on the matter.

We do know, however, that the overall goal on the two sides was somewhat different. Most Union submarine development was done with the goal of clearing obstructed harbors, while most Confederate submarine development was done with the goal of breaking up the Union blockade.

There were several other Union subs developed, of which little is known. Although, at one point USN Admiral Dahlgren asked for the services of "3-4 submarines" to help clear Charleston Harbor of obstructions. This means the Admiral was either out of his mind, or the Union had several harbor clearing subs at their disposal. While there is no officially recorded response to this request, shortly thereafter, Confederates reported sighting a sub being towed into Charleston harbor and sliding beneath the surface.

A couple other northern subs that deserve mention, even though they did not see service in the civil war, are the Intelligent Whale e a Explorer. There is not room here for their stories but perhaps we will get to them later.

Meanwhile, in the south there were many efforts underway to build a sub to break up the Union blockade. First, there were "David" boats: long, narrow steamboats which ran awash with snorkel type smoke stacks and air intakes. These boats were largely ineffectual and not truly submarines.

As early as 1861 there were reports of experimental subs being tested in the harbors at New Orleans, Mobile, and Savannah. There were many different subs developed in the Confederacy, but the work of William Cheeney and Horace Hunley is most well known.

Cheeney worked in Richmond and had his subs attempting attacks as early as 1861. He continued to work on producing improved subs throughout the Civil War.

Hunley worked mainly in Mobile, Alabama, where he and his team built the Pioneer, Pioneer II, e Hunley. It is believed that they may have built and tested other subs as well. Curiosamente, o Pioneiro was the first submarine to be granted a letter of marque by the Confederate government. This basically allowed its private owners to legally attack enemy ships.

Overall, there is enough information available for historians to surmise that there must have been more than 20 submarines, from both sides, developed throughout the American Civil War.


Unraveling the historical lies on the Philippine-American War

LAST February 4 was the 122nd anniversary of the first shot fired during the Philippine-American War. As bad as the shooting war was the propaganda war that the Americans conducted on the Filipinos that all but obliterated this conflict in the memory of many until today. The three-year war, apart from its other effects, killed about 200,000 Filipinos. We only remember the so-called legacies of education and governance, which, although not small achievements for the Americans, also cast over our nation a culture of dependency that still affects us today.

One lie that was told to us was that the conflict was an insurrection, meaning that legally, under the Treaty of Paris, our revolutionaries were mere rebels under a nation that had legitimate jurisdiction over them. Hence it was called “The Philippine Insurrection against the United States.” But we already had a national revolutionary government since the beginning of the revolution in 1896, which was headed eventually by General Emilio Aguinaldo who proclaimed Philippine independence in 1898 on account of the many victories the revolutionaries were already gaining against the Spaniards. That conflict was a war between two independent sovereign nations.

Another lie would be that it was the Filipinos who started that war, that we were the first one to fire a shot against the Americans on the night of Feb. 4, 1899. Hearing this disinformation in the middle of the debate in the US Congress to ratify the Treaty of Paris, the undecided swung towards the pro-imperialists and ratified the treaty. Turns out the first shot came from the side of the volunteers of the United States.

But before that important incident, it was made to appear that the Americans did not have any intention to occupy the Philippines.

Three important original primary documents recently surfaced at the Leon Gallery that showed the duplicity that characterized the Americans’ dealings with the Philippine revolutionary government.

The first is a letter from the American General Wesley Merritt, general of the division of the Department of the Pacific and the 8th Army Corps, on Aug. 20, 1898 (curiously written by various scribes in Spanish), addressed to “General en Jefe de las Fuerzas Filipinas” but signed by him, proposing that Manila and environs should be jointly placed under the jurisdiction of both the American and Filipino forces.

This was seven days after the mock Battle of Manila when the Americans took over Intramuros after a fake battle with the Spaniards and giving the impression of recognizing the Filipinos’ revolutionary government, which at that time was trying to create a nation, the first time in 333 years that they could breathe the little air of freedom.

But a 22-page typewritten US Navy official report dated Nov. 23, 1898, tells of the Americans’ ship, Monadnock, reconnaissance of Filipino positions around Northern Luzon. This was happening even as the revolutionary government in Malolos had convened a Congress that was drafting the constitution that would create the “first constitutional democratic republic in Asia.” Previously published by historian Gregorio Zaide in his Documentary Sources in Philippine History, the US Navy report assessed the intelligence and education of the native Filipinos, and analyzes relations between the rich and poor, the military towards the civil class, church influences, the popularity of the aspiration for independence, attitudes towards the US, and how well were the Filipinos prepared to wage war on them.

And while President Emilio Aguinaldo continued to hope that America would recognize our soon-to-be-born Republic, on Nov. 30, 1898, Admiral George Dewey, the so-called “Hero of the Battle of Manila Bay,” signed a typewritten letter on the stationery of the “United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station” at the famous ship Olympia, addressed to Maj. Gen. Elwell S. Otis, the military governor in Manila: “It is to be hoped that we will soon receive instructions from Washington which will enable us to take some action in the premises. My ships are ready to move at a moment’s notice, and I hope that your troops will also be prepared, as in my judgment Iloilo and Cebu should be occupied at the earliest possible moment.”

The letter referred to their knowledge of a shipment of arms coming for the Philippine revolutionaries: “It appears to me also that the best way to prevent the importation of arms into the North is to occupy Aparri, and there will be vessels ready to convoy your troops whenever they can move.”

“I agree with you that the proposed shipment of arms will probably be attempted from Shanghai, but I hope we will be able to block that game.”

All of this proved that the decision to occupy the Philippines was taken despite the promises of the consuls Pratt and Wildman to Aguinaldo, and even before President William McKinley fell on his knees to pray for light and guidance on whether to annex the Philippines, and God supposedly answered in the affirmative.


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