Lincoln And His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, The U.s. Navy And The Civil War

Date:
2008
Creator:
Symonds, Craig L.
Publisher/Studio:
New York, New York: Oxford University Press

Abraham Lincoln began his presidency admitting that he knew "little about ships," but he quickly came to preside over the largest national armada to that time, not eclipsed until World War I. Written by prize-winning historian Craig L. Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals unveils an aspect of Lincoln's presidency unexamined by historians until now, revealing how he managed the men who ran the naval side of the Civil War, and how the activities of the Union Navy ultimately affected the course of history. Beginning with a gripping account of the attempt to re-supply Fort Sumter--a comedy of errors that shows all too clearly the fledgling president's inexperience--Symonds traces Lincoln's steady growth as a wartime commander-in-chief. Absent a Secretary of Defense, he would eventually become de facto commander of joint operations along the coast and on the rivers. That involved dealing with the men who ran the Navy: the loyal but often cranky Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, the quiet and reliable David G. Farragut, the flamboyant and unpredictable Charles Wilkes, the ambitious ordnance expert John Dahlgren, the well-connected Samuel Phillips Lee, and the self-promoting and gregarious David Dixon Porter. Lincoln was remarkably patient; he often postponed critical decisions until the momentum of events made the consequences of those decisions evident. But Symonds also shows that Lincoln could act decisively. Disappointed by the lethargy of his senior naval officers on the scene, he stepped in and personally directed an amphibious assault on the Virginia coast, a successful operation that led to the capture of Norfolk. The man who knew "little about ships" had transformed himselfinto one of the greatest naval strategists of his age. Lincoln 's role as commander-in-chief during the Civil War is most often assessed through his dealings with his Union generals; thus, Symonds's expert and accessible work on the naval side is a real boon. He gives us a meticulous and graceful interpretive narrative, rich with primary-source anecdote, of Lincoln's relationship with the U.S. Navy and his evolution as a naval strategist. Symonds (emeritus, U.S. Naval Academy; Decision at Sea) keeps the characters central to his story, from the crusty, haphazardly bewigged secretary of the navy, Gideon Welles, to whom the new President confessed, "I know but little about ships," to assistant naval secretary Gustavus Vasa Fox and admirals with such familiar names as Farragut, Porter, DuPont, and Dahlgren. The Department of War and the Department of the Navy were cabinet coequals in Lincoln's time. Lincoln's dedication to the latter in pursuit of coastal and river dominance was crucial to Civil War victory. Essential for all Lincoln collections. Craig L. Symonds is Professor Emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy and the author of ten previous books, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in 2006.

Description (physical):

Softcover, 416 pages, 6 1/8" x 9 1/4"

Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Documents

Date:
1864-1864

General Orders from Lincoln. General Orders Sixty-Nine. Dated February 22, 1864. In this document, Lincoln calls for an end to the Blockade of Brownsville, Texas which had been a very important avenue of supply to the Confederates in the Trans Mississippi District.

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.189
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Documents

Date:
1864-1864

Broadside from Lincoln on 1864 Campaign, gives speeches of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis. Political broadside from New York in which it reads things like: "VOTE FOR LINCOLN! That is the most effectual way of ENDING THE WAR AND RESTORING THE UNION!"

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.092
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Newspaper

Date:
1864-1864

Houston Daily Telegraph - Houston, Texas, June 14, 1864. The front page includes an article entitled: "A Capitol Hit - The Lincoln Catechism Questions and Answers", a series of disparaging question and answers about Lincoln. Sample question and answers: "What is the Constitution? A compact with Hell now obsolete. By whom has the Constitution made obsolete? By Abraham Africanus the 1st. To what end? That his may be long in office and that he may make himself and his people equal of negroes. What is a President? A general agent for negroes." Also included is a reprint of an article from the New York News where General Grant is not allowing General Lee the time to temporarily stop fighting long enough to bury the dead. General Grant strategy is reported to be not only to defeat the enemy, but also to demoralize it. Also included are stories about how Generals Jackson and Longstreet were injured during battle. Also included are reports from the Baylor Guard (of Texas) that gives a long account of the regiments actions at and around Mansfield and Pleasant Hill.

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.051
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Newspaper

The Tri-Weekly Telegraph - Houston, Texas Dated: March 3, 1865. Article on President Lincoln's refusal to negotiate with the Southern States to end the war. Disturbing article on the conditions at Union Prison for Captured Confederates at Rock Island Prison Camp Describes how soldiers have to take "the Oath" just to survive starvation. Reports also describing the sinking of the USS Montawk (Iron Clad) by a Confederate Torpedo Boat. Reports also that the Texas Brigade is six miles below Richmond, 300 strong including the Third Arkansas.

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.031
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Newspaper

Date:
1864-1864

The Tri-Weekly Telegraph - Houston, Texas Dated: December 5, 1864. Annual address from President Jefferson Davis takes up the majority of the front page. Topics include: Richmond and Atlanta are not critical points and also the employment of slaves inside the Confederate Army. Also features an account of a speech given by General Benjamin Butler where he applauds Lincoln's Presidency and discusses the war at hand. Also, Butler went on to denounce Rebels as not worthy of living in a post-war United States, and that they should be exiled to Mexico and their lands divided up by Northern soldiers. Editorial follows: "Lincoln's Re-election - What Next".

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.027
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Newspaper

Date:
1864-1864

The Tri-Weekly Telegraph - Houston Texas from January 6, 1864. Articles include a report on a "Great Naval disaster in the blockading squadron off the coast of Charleston in which four officers and twenty-six men were killed when the ironclad Weehawaken unexpectedly sank." May have been the work of torpedo boats. Another article states that the US government will grant the rights of US citizenship to all who swear an oath of loyalty. Also a report on the US Congress considering the Emancipation of all slaves everywhere and for all time, from Abraham Lincoln. An editorial "The War - When will it End".

Description (physical):

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Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.002.017
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Stereograph

Stereoview of a lithograph of Lincoln on the cross. Entitled: " Lincoln Memorial: Dissected Leaves"

Description (physical):

.

Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.001.1412
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Stereograph

Date:
1865-1865

Stereoview of the image of Lincoln on the cross. Entitled: "Lincoln Memorial: Dissected Leaves".

Description (physical):

.

Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.001.1411
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier

Stereograph

Date:
1865-1865

Stereoview of a Lincoln memorial, which shows his image on a cross. It is entitled: "Lincoln Memorial: Dissected Leaves".

Description (physical):

.

Location:
6125 Boydton Plank Rd.Petersburg,Virginia 23803
Identifier:
2004.001.1410
Institution:
Pamplin Historical Park and the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier