Divided Waters: The Naval History of the Civil War

Ivan Musicant, Author
Ivan Musicant, Author HarperCollins Publishers $30 (0p) ISBN 978-0-06-016482-9
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Musicant (Battleship at War) draws on the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion and a broad spectrum of published primary and secondary sources for this history of the Civil War's naval operations. He focuses on the responses of both combatants to unfamiliar challenges. New ship types--ironclads and submersibles--were merely the most visible characteristics of a general flexibility and originality. This account is an operational narrative, not a strategic analysis. Musicant is at his best when describing the duel between the Kearsarge and the Alabama, or Admiral David Farragut's forcing of Mobile Bay. He demonstrates as well the vital role of Union sea power in such combined-arms riverine operations as the siege of Vicksburg. His final conclusion, that the Union blockade ultimately deprived the Confederacy of the commercial and political contacts it needed to survive, is well supported in this highly readable volume. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Aug.)