Talk:Confederate States Navy

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Issues with introduction[edit]

There are some pretty bold statements in the opening paragraph that either need to be cited or the introduction needs to be changed to something less dramatic. In general, this whole entry seems very loaded with propaganda like statements that try to make the CSN did more than it really did. Gcal1971 (talk) 15:19, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Confederate privateers[edit]

The statement was made that Confederate privateers "sank many warships." No they did not. Confederate privateers captured a few merchant ships, but never sank any warships. See USS St. Lawrence vs. Privateer Petrel. The whole enterprise was abandoned in favor of commissioned warships. Gcal1971 (talk) 15:19, 18 July 2019 (UTC)

Untitled[edit]

I added a good bit of information today, in hopes of pulling this article out of its "stub" status. I've been working on it for a while though and really need a break. I'm just making it known that, while I have added a lot, there's still more I intend to do.

Robbiesqp 00:03, 24 April 2006 (UTC)


"She was among the few submarines of the war, and of the few submarines to have existed since the Turtle of the American Revolutionary War."

That second part needs rephrasing somehow--there have been quite a few submarines since the Turtle, after all. I'm not clear what it's trying to say.

  • "She was ... one of the first built since the Turtle"?
  • "She was ... one of the few built before SS-1"?
  • "She was among ... the few built before SS-1"?

—wwoods 01:44, 2 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Provisional Navy[edit]

How should that be handled? Should it be its own article or mentioned in here instead? It was a completely separate navy and officers to that were marked with PNCS (for Provisional Navy of the Confederate States) instead of CSN. It's a fairly interesting story, actually -plange 02:53, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

In my opinion, it depends on how much you've got to say about it. Less than a screen-full — make it a section of this article. Half a dozen screens — definitely its own article, plus a section here summarizing it and how it relates to the CSN. If you don't have a full-sized article ready to plunk down, you could start small here and then spin it off when you expand it, or simply start with a stub.
—wwoods 06:31, 28 June 2006 (UTC)
Plange, from what I've researched, it seems you could certainly make a well-rounded article regarding the Provisional CS Navy. I'll help if you need me.
--Robbie 04:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Sounds great, I'll start working on it soon-- I think it's a very fascinating aspect of naval history...plange 19:40, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

Task Force[edit]

Anyone want to form a task force to collaborate on articles related to the Confederate Navy? It could be a task force under WP:MilHist -plange 21:46, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

In an effort to at least find other editors interested in collaborating, I've made this category Category:Wikipedians interested in the Confederate Navy which you can go to to get the userbox....

I would be extremely interested in forming this kind of task force. If the Confederate States Navy happens to be too specific of a topic, what about a Confederate States Military History task force?
--Robbie 04:36, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
Should we approach KirillLoshkin and ask or should we wait and see if more add themselves to the category I made first? plange 04:38, 2 July 2006 (UTC)
We should wait. It doesn't seem like the military wikiproject is old enough and that there are yet enough people to justify making a Confederate history taskforce. We will though, we just need more time.
--Robbie 18:53, 2 July 2006 (UTC)

USN and CSN equal in early 1861?[edit]

I definitely need to see sources for this statement: "In early 1861, both the Confederate and Union navies were both unimpressive, but they were equal." In early 1861, the CSN had virtually no ships and the USN had ships, definitely not equal. When Virginia joined in April they got some ships and by then some civilian ships had been purchased, plus they gained a navy yard, but still. That was what Mallory always had to compete against (unequal footing) and why he decided to go the innovation route to try and achieve a balance. Some would argue they never did.... I can get sources-- am at work, but thought I'd put this out there. -plange 19:16, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

The two navies were definately NOT equal in early 1861. The US Navy in 1860 consisted of 11 steam frigates and 15 steam sloops, in addition to 33 sailing frigates and sloops (a further 10 sailing ships-of-the-line were on the stocks or used as receiving ships, but not put into active commission). Although the CS Navy did capture one of these frigates (USS Merrimac) and put it into service as the ironclad CSS Virginia, this in now way made up for its deficit with what the US Navy had in service. (Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships: 1860-1905, New York: Mayflower Books, 1979. Silverstone, Paul H. Civil War Navies: 1855-1883. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2001.) Nicholas F 20:40, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
That's what I thought!! Thanks for the cite! How should we re-word that sentence, would you say from that list of US assets that it would be wrong to say it was unimpressive? I do remember that they had a lot of old ships, but still.... plange 20:50, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
I've already reworked the paragraph to emphasize that the CS Navy wasn't attempting to match the US Navy ship per ship but rather hoped to overcome its lack of ships through technological innovation. Nicholas F 21:04, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Saw that, sounds good to me, is in line with what I remember. I mean, heck, as stated above, that's why Mallory went the innovative route. Should be mention Maury's "Mosquito fleet" idea? plange 21:09, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Maury's gunboats are more of a footnote to the history of the CS Navy than part of the main story as Mallory quickly abandoned the concept for the ironclads. Although one hundred of these gunboats were planned, only 15 were laid down and none ever entered service. Nicholas F 21:20, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
True, I've always looked at it as a quirky sidenote to the CSN history...plange 21:39, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Black Confederates[edit]

Well, I have to give you credit for persistence Sf46. I notice something conspicuously absent though, from the little section you have put up. Namely that many, if not all of the said people, were, well, slaves. There is nothing "complicated" about their reasons for being there. Either way, I'll be going through Wiley's Southern Negroe 1861-1865 to find the sources needed to substantiate some of this stuff. SiberioS (talk) 01:09, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

The editor who added the section on “Black Confederate Seamen” has brought this issue up on two other articles, Military history of African Americans and Confederate States Army, using identical and/or similar “sources”. The discussion pages of these articles show that he is a minority of one in espousing this agenda. He has canvased dozens of other editors to come to his assistance and has posted an additional request for assistance on the talk page at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Military history. Still there is no support for his positions.
In this instance he footnotes three sources. The first is simply to a picture of a book -- there is no citation as to what pages in this book might have relevant information. The second cite is to a website created by a person whose main claim to fame seems to be that he has written a fictional novel concerning a black CSA soldier. These two cites relate only to the first sentence.
The third cite refers to an article by a person named John Nevins. I have been unable to determine what qualifications (i.e degrees, publications) this author has. He does make the claim that the number of actual black combat soldiers in the CSA “ranges from 50,000 to 90,000” -- a totally unsupportable number since most historians limit the range to a few dozen recruited after March 1865 in the last days of the CSA. Nevins claims as his source for the naval figures an estimate by “Dr. Edward Smith, Dean of American Studies at American University”, but nowhere does he reference where Dr. Smith is alleged to have made that claim. The balance of the article is made up of anecdotal evidence.
I have replaced the existing section with information from “Divided Waters: The Naval History of the Civil War” by Ivan Musicant, a recognized scholar on naval history and recipient of the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 14:32, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Tom, aside from the removal of Professor Smith's number estimates, the section you put appears to me to say more or less the same thing. So, I'm failing to understand what the problem is. Sf46 (talk) 14:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
The numbers, or lack thereof, are important, and include not just the total but the difference between 5% and 20%. Also Musicant mentions specific limitations on the occupations filled by blacks and introduces into the article that slaves make up some proportion of the blacks. Using unreliable sources is always a problem. You have consistently failed to event attempt to show why your sources are reliable -- questioning sources is not "edit warring" but an essential part of the editing process. Tom (North Shoreman) (talk) 15:30, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
The problem is not just sources, but also context. If we presume (and we should, since not everyone knows American history who uses wikipedia) your entries make black contributions to the war not only seem on par with their contributions to the Union forces (they weren't) but also that slavery or impressment were almost non-existing factors. Saying "their reasons for doing so were complicated" is a dodge of what the real reasons were. SiberioS (talk) 19:42, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Siberio, I think their reasons for serving should be the subject of another article entirely. I submit that there were some (if not the majority) who served because they were slaves and did so involuntarily. Of those slaves, if we consider that their whole body & mine was controlled by their master, would be unreasonable to believe that some were "brainwashed" and in their own mind their service was somewhat voluntary. And then there are free blacks. Maybe they supported the cause, maybe they were just looking for a steady paycheck, etc. Do you not see now what I mean that the motivation topic could be a whole other article?
Tom you say that questioning sources is not edit warring. I'll agree with that statement, but I do submit that immediately deleting information that doesn't fit your picture and that you don't agree with from a source you call questionable without giving one a chance to answer that or fix it IS in fact edit warring. History is not merely plain and simple. It's an interpretation of the so called facts in front of you. My intterpretation seems to differ somewhat from yours, and yet I'm not allowed even a controversy section or opposing viewpoint to stay undeleted. Sf46 (talk) 21:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree that the master slave relationship as well as the relationship of freedmen to the larger white population in the Antebellum South could be a whole different article. In fact, I think such an article would be very interesting. But even if such an article were to be written (it may in fact already exist, I haven't checked) that does not mean the conditions in which blacks labored under the Confederacy should not be mentioned in other articles where it is relevant. And it is certainly relevant in the case of articles about the Confederacy's military organization (as would be talk of white conscription as well as desertion, two things either only vaguely mentioned or not at all).
I am unsure what you mean when you suggest that history is an "interpretation of the so-called facts". It is clearly Wikipedia policy that there is to be no original research. There should be no "interpretation" at all in these pages, unless its to show the contrasting opinions of scholars or other recognized authorities on the subject. SiberioS (talk) 22:48, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
Again, I point you to two very good books on the subject. Wiley's the Southern Negro 1861-1865 and Brewer's The Confederate Negro:Virginia's Craftsment and Laborers 1861-1865. And in fact, both scholars have some conflicting views on the willingness (or not) of those involved. Wiley's is significantly more pessimistic about why they served, while Brewer mostly just avoids the question. Even Durden is more positive about the attempt at emancipation on the Confederacy's part (though he changed his mind when a new edition was printed), whereas Levine is again, more negative about it. SiberioS (talk) 23:11, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

History: Burning USS Merrimack and Norfolk Navy Yard[edit]

The existing article states "On April 20, 1861, the Union abandoned the Norfolk Navy Yard but did not burn the facility or ships." Many sources state that the Yard was set ablaze and the USS Merrimack burned to the waterline before sinking. One citation would be DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/sh-usn/usnsh-m/merimak2.htm Another would be THE CONFEDERATE NAVY: A PICTORIAL HISTORY by Philip Van Doren Stern

  HermannTL (talk) 18:00, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Date for Navy Seal?[edit]

CS Navy Department Seal.png

If you look at the Navy Department Seal that is shown in this article(right) you see the CSA flag on it(no big surprise there). However, look at the type of flag — yes — it is the 1865 flag. Thus, it must have been a very short lived navy seal and dated 1865. --SomeDudeWithAUserName (talk with me!) 04:03, 21 March 2011 (UTC)

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Post-war disposition of ships[edit]

If anyone has a source, it would be interesting to know what happened to the ships of the CSN fleet following the defeat of the Confederate forces. Were they absorbed into the Union Navy? Sold off? Broken up? A paragraph on the topic would be great. Mobi Ditch (talk) 05:00, 23 January 2019 (UTC)

Ranks[edit]

Lots of problems with the Ranks section. The rank of Flag Officer, not Admiral, was immediately above Captain and was between Captain and Admiral. Flag Officer had the insignia of 4-stars on the shoulder passants and 4 stripes on the cuff. The rank of Admiral was higher than Flag Officer and only held by one person, Franklin Buchanan. Its insignia were 5 stars and 5 stripes on the shoulder and cuffs, respectively. In sum, on the chart/table, the rank of Admiral is missing and the rank of Flag Officer is mislabeled Admiral. There are a lot of sources for this, don't know where the current display would come from. Venqax (talk) 18:24, 25 July 2020 (UTC)

If you could dig up one or more of those sources that'd help. Mobi Ditch (talk) 01:14, 26 July 2020 (UTC)

It seems like there was also a rank of Commodore.[1] Mobi Ditch (talk) 01:29, 26 July 2020 (UTC)

The "Ranks" table was added by @Cdjp1:. Maybe they can recall what their sources were. I've added a "citation needed" tag. Mobi Ditch (talk) 23:05, 26 July 2020 (UTC)
Here is a primary source that mentions "commodores" as a rank, but not "flag-officer". From my limited knowledge of military ranks, my understanding is that "flag officer" refers to a set of ranks that would command groups of ships. So maybe some sources about Barron use "commodore" and "flag officer" more or less interchangeably. The main Internet sources I'm finding look like one-person operations without any citations. For example: [2]. Mobi Ditch (talk) 23:23, 26 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi @Mobi Ditch:, I didn't create the table, simply copied across the table that was present on the page Ranks and insignia of the Confederate States, on that page the source for the table is the website you have found. I'll have a look through some books I have to see if any of them can provide citation. Cdjp1 (talk) 09:17, 27 July 2020 (UTC)
Hi @Mobi Ditch:, it looks like Flag Officer was a rank, alongside the ranks of Flag Captain and Commodore, according to how people like Josiah Tattnall and Franklin Buchanan are referred to in sources from the Library of Virginia, as well as the sources providing text for their wiki articles. Cdjp1 (talk) 11:38, 31 July 2020 (UTC)
It sounds like the situation isn't cut-and-dried. Your edits [3], are a big improvement. Thanks! Mobi Ditch (talk) 23:53, 2 August 2020 (UTC)