From 1861 to 1865, some of the most horrific land battles in history were fought at places called Shiloh, Antietam, and Gettysburg. But while the soil ran with blood, it was the lesser-known naval battles raging for control of the Gulf of Mexico--the lifeline of supplies and weapons to the Confederacy--that would determine the outcome of the Civil War.
In this vivid and powerful account, acclaimed historian Jack D. Coombe combines meticulous research with a breathtaking narrative to re-create the fierce naval battles for the ports around the Gulf, including those at New Orleans, Mobile Bay, and Vicksburg, with all the adventure and immediacy of a great novel. This is an extraordinary story of the ingenuity, daring, courage, and--all too often--human folly upon which the fate of a nation rested.
Coombe takes us inside the suffocating hulls of steam-powered ironclads shuddering under the impact of cannonballs and battering rams, into nights lit by the fires of burning ships, and into harrowing battles as gunships hammer away at each other from virtually point-blank range, often unable to tell friend from foe.
From the politicians, industrialists, and engineers on both sides who scrambled to build navies almost from scratch, to daredevil blockade runners and privateers, and from wily Confederate commanders such as Raphael Semmes, who bagged sixty-nine Union ships, to a virtually forgotten old naval officer from Tennesse named David Glasgow Farragut, whose bold and courageous leadership on behalf of the Union would become the stuff of legend, here are the stories of the men who made history.
Here, too, is a compelling look at the ships, strategies, and pioneering technology that proved the difference between victory and defeat: the potentially invincible Confederate ironclad Tennessee; the squat, ugly, much-feared Manasses; the South's explorations into torpedoes, fire rafts, and even the first successful submarine; and the Union's relentless drive upriver, braving hazards both natural and manmade to run a fearsome gauntlet of stone citadels bristling with firepower.
Filled with colorful historical characters and unparalleled battle scenes, Gunfire Around the Gulf is an important addition to the history of a little-known but crucial theater of the Civil War as well as a gripping and unforgettable read.
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At the start of the Civil War, strategists for both the North and South understood the supreme importance of the seas. In Gunfire Around the Gulf, author Jack D. Coombe (Thunder Along the Mississippi) suggests that the War Between the States may in fact have been decided by the largely uncelebrated naval actions in the Gulf of Mexico. "One could argue that the defeats in the Gulf constituted the nadir of the Confederacy itself. The closing of such important and vital ports as New Orleans, Mobile, and Galveston isolated it from the rest of the world and kept vital sustaining material from reaching its armies and its populace," he writes. Coombe's main character is Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, the Union commander lauded as "the shining example of what a good leader should be, in the tradition of a Lord Nelson or a John Paul Jones." He credits Farragut with disproving "the old dictum that wooden ships could not go against stone forts" and win. Coombe is not a mere chronicler of men and events, but a sharp interpreter of why events unfolded the way they did. Just as Confederate troops on land benefited from exceptional military leadership, he notes, the Southern navy had innovation on its side: underwater mines (called "torpedoes") sank or damaged 33 Union vessels. But it was handicapped, too, by a debilitating command structure that crippled its ability to wage war on the seas. Elements of the Confederate navy outlasted Lee's surrender at Appomattox, but, as Coombe shows, Farragut and his Union sailors had delivered a death-blow long before then. --John J. MillerFrom the Back Cover:
Praise for Jack D. Coombe's Thunder Along the Mississippi:
"Essential for anyone with an interest in Civil War naval operations or the war in the west."
"Fascinating...Coombe is a skilled writer....This work will be a delight for Civil War buffs, but there is also much here for the well-informed general reader, too."
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Descrizione libro Bantam Books, New York, NY, 1999. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Condizione sovraccoperta: New. First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 256 p. Contains: Illustrations. Audience: General/trade. Codice libro della libreria 730310
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Descrizione libro Bantam, 1999. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110553107313
Descrizione libro Bantam, 1999. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0553107313