Book Review: Success Is All That Was Expected: The South Atlantic Blockading Squadron During the Civil War


by Robert M. Browning

Washington: Potomac Books, 2005. Pp. xii, 495. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $24.95. ISBN: 157488705X

Dr. Browning, Chief Historian of the Coast Guard, takes a comprehensive looks at the Union blockade of the Confederacy, focusing on the South Atlantic Squadron, which covered the coasts of Georgia and Florida .

While the book has a number of hot sea fights, many tough stern chases, and several attempts by the fleet, often in cooperation with the army, to capture various Confederate coastal installations, for the most part it is deals with the tediousness of the blockade, in which ships and men lay offshore for months on end in the furtherance of the Union's strategy to strangle the South's economy.  It gives us an excellent look at the organization and management of the blockade, including the complex and surprisingly sophisticated logistical arrangements needed to keep the fleet supplied and effective.  The book also touches upon the manyimportant innovations in naval operations, from the development of specialized auxiliary vessels, such as refrigerator ships, repair ships, command ships, and, of course, ironclads, and also provides mini-profiles of a number of interesting naval officers, such as DuPont and Dahlgren. 

An important book for those interested in the maritime aspects of the Civil War or in naval warfare in general.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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