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Warships of the Civil War

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The first thought for many when they think of the Civil War is one of massive armies squaring off at places such as Shiloh or Gettysburg. In addition to the struggle on land, there was an equally important battle occurring on the waves. Union warships encircled the Southern coast, economically choking the Confederacy and depriving its armies of much needed munitions and supplies. To counter this, the small Confederate Navy unleashed a swarm of commerce raiders with the goal of damaging Northern trade and drawing ships away from the coast.

On both sides new technologies were developed including the first ironclads and submarines. The Civil War was truly a pivotal moment in naval warfare as it signaled the end of wooden sailing ships, confirmed steam power as a means of propulsion, and gave rise to armored, ironclad warships. This gallery will provide an overview of some of the ships used during the war.

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USS CumberlandUSS CairoCSS FloridaH.L. Hunley
USS MiamiUSS NantucketCSS TennesseeUSS Wachusett
USS Hartford

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