Week 3



Learning Modules:

Politics of Command – The Major Players and Their Abilities


Video: CIVIL WAR at Sea – Parts 1-5 -FINAL

This documentary offers an overview of US Navy contributions throughout the war as well as the people who made these plans successful. (Yes, it feels like you are watching an introductory film for a historic site, but it has a lot of good information, go with it!)


Symonds, Craig.  Decision at Sea, (Oxford UP, 2005).

Scanned Documents

Niven, John. Gideon Welles: Lincoln’s Secretary of the Navy. Chapters 21 – 23. (Louisiana UP, 1973).

Discussion Board:

  1. Varina Davis (wife of Jefferson Davis) once wrote that even a child’s disapproval bothered her husband. Secretary of the Navy Maury was only one of two cabinet members that made it through his entire administration!  After reading sections of Connelly (previously) and Symonds, what are your thoughts on Jefferson Davis – micromanager, megalomaniacal, frustrated by issues beyond his control, “a simple pawn in game of life.” – Mongo, Blazing Saddles.  Tell us about JD.
  2. Compare and contrast Gideon Welles and Stephen Mallory. Their personalities bring a lot to the table, not only for working with their leaders but with the Navy command structure. What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  3. Looking at the video and zoom lecture, what was the Confederacy up against in matters of time, materiel, and leadership?

Zoom PP Lecture:

Incident at Cape Fear Lecture – A Microcosm of Confederate High Command (Lecture from NASOH)

Week 1

Getting to Know You & Navigating The American Civil War

Learning Modules:

Quick primer and historiography on the causes of the Civil War.


Scanned Readings

Towers, Frank. “Partisans, New History, and Modernization: The Historiography of the Civil War’s Causes, 1861-2011,” Journal of the Civil War Era, Vol. 1, No. 2 (June 2011), pp, 237-264.

Gunderson, Gerald. “The Origin of the American Civil War,” Journal of Economic History, Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec 1974), pp. 915-950.

Hsieh, Wayne Wei-Slang. “Total War and the American Civil War Reconsidered: The End of an Outdated Master Narrative,” Journal of the Civil War Era, Vol. 1, No. 3 (September 2011), pp. 394-408.

Discussion Board: 

  1. Introduce yourself – what is your background, where are you from, what interests you the most about this class?
  2. Review the historiography and causes of the war. Is history static or ever changing?  What interpretation do you believe is the most “correct?”
  3. SIDEBAR! This is YOUR discussion thread.  Bring up interesting articles, wild questions, or anything that you think pertains to the Civil War – social, religious, material culture, military, or personalities.  Sometimes this can be the best discussion thread in the class.  Go for it!

Zoom PP Lecture: 

An overview of the course.  What we will be studying, what the professor is looking for in student discussion posts and papers and, of course, the structure of the class, where LSS hides things on Blackboard.

Who writes history? Why is historiography important (Super Historians)? Discuss James Sprunt, Lost Cause, and how interpretation is ever changing.  Reminder: share student thoughts, images, etc.  We want your experience to be as similar to a seated class as possible with more fun technology!

Super Historians

LSS Notes:

Give time for students to familiarize themselves with the structure of the course and order the books that they need for the semester.  Scanned documentation is uploaded before the course begins. Use the first two weeks of scanned documents to give students time to purchase a few books at a time instead of having to buy everything at once.  Go with the tide and the wind.


18-Century Cannons

18century sailorsLearning About Artillery

Cannons are interesting.  They are useful for interpretation, programming, and of course, people love to see them go boom!  And while I should have gotten a little more into the fun of the learning experience, I went into serious mode and worried about nomenclature, identifying all implements, commands, and was determined to make an “A” on the written evaluation, which I did, but I focused too much on perfection and less on enjoying the moment with colleagues.  Most of them are located across the state and I rarely see them.   I also had the opportunity to meet new people in the field.

Coming from a 19-century background, I learned a great deal about artillery during the Age of Sail and our instructor is a fount of knowledge, down to why I was wearing a black neckerchief.  When I returned back to work, I was able to stand in front of our cannon in the museum and spew forth “those are the cheeks, that is the caskabell, these are the linchpins, those are the trunnions, etc. etc.”  It will be extraordinarily useful when giving tours and working on interpretation.

I cannot help but think about the damage these machines of war caused to wooden vessels.  Splintered railings flying through the air, sailors slipping on blood-soaked decks, ships trying to keep formation in a rocking sea – all crossed my mind as we learned to check the piece, handle cartridge, and fire using a linstock and quills.

cannon on vesselThis 12-pounder is on the replica French Frigate Hermoine.  The cannon at the Maritime Museum in Southport is a 6-pounder with a very similar carriage.  The 6-pounder (stamped by a British foundry) was found on a Spanish vessel that ran aground on Smith’s Island.  The crew was taken to Charleston on suspicion of piracy but was soon released due to lack of evidence.