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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  October 19, 2014 10:05am-11:01am EDT

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this necessarily makes people better. i have anecdotal evidence from people that i talk to. but i see it as more of a spiritual thing for these inmates. it is very difficult to measure the spiritual effects of feeling valued. >> watch all of our events from green bay today at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. >> and next on american history tv, author discusses the fall of the confederate navy and 18 six to four. at the start of that year, the confederates were at the peak of their seapower. however, he explains that the loss of two important ships in the union victory, the battle of the- mobile bay, tripled rebel queen. this was part of a symposium hosted by the emerging civil war blog. >> our next speaker this morning , achristopher kolakowski
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good fellow polish boy -- a lot of man love between the two of us, let me tell you. [laughter] though,good thing because a lot of people have been coming up to me saying i love your perryville book and thanks so much for having me. polish kris deserves another. at one time, he worked here at the spotsylvania national military park but has since gone on to do amazing things. some of his career highlights, he served as supervisor out of perryville battlefield, the state park in connecticut -- kentucky, excuse me. currently he is now with the , general macarthur memorial in norfolk. he spends most of his days thinking about the pacific theater of world war ii, but his heart will always remain back in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864.
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so we are really pleased to have him come here, marrying his two loves, talking today about the confederate navy. christopher kolakowski -- [applause] >> thank you very much. that is certainly one of the more entertaining and interesting introductions i have ever had. [laughter] i also note that i go second, which is actually both a great spot but it also carries the caveat that you now have had your coffee, you have woken up, chris has warmed you up, but since i am the one guy talking about the navy, this is insurance that i do not put you to sleep. [laughter] so what can i say? i'm looking forward to an open discussion after this. i will certainly be open for questions and things of that nature after the presentation. both the union and confederacy knew that 1864 would be the decisive year in the civil war. regardless of how the fighting went on land and sea, by the end
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of the year, the future course of the civil war would be decided. for the confederacy, every effort on land and sea bent towards the cause of victory. the confederate navy this year achieved its peak strength and was certainly expected to do its part. what i want to talk about today is the result of those efforts. before we do that, i want to talk about the strategic setting the war at sea in 1864, the strategic setting for the confederate navy. the confederate navy has three main missions during the war. the first is to support land operations. they also want to break the blockade or at best, at minimum prevent it from tightening. , and they want to destroy union commerce. they want to wage economic warfare on the north. the u.s. navy, by contrast has , the opposite missions, support land operations, tighten the blockade, maintain and tighten the blockade, and protect united states commerce.
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there are five theaters in early 1864, five friends, if you will where the united states and , confederate navies stand eyeball to eyeball. james river, north carolina sounds, charleston, south carolina, the gulf of mexico, eastern gulf of mexico specifically and the atlantic. , three of these theaters will see decisive action during the year. charleston and the james remain effectively stalemated all through the year. there will be some skirmishing for local superiority, but charleston and the james remains stalemated. it is part of that stalemate that prevents the confederate navy from interfering with grant's crossing of the james from cold arbor to petersburg in -- from cold harbor to petersburg in june of 1864. said all that, i have to make the following clarification. because one cannot talk about the confederate navy in 1864 without mentioning the submarine
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hundley and the sinking of the uss housatonic off charleston harbor of february 1864. this was a technical achievement, however, not a strategic one. the statement i just made in no way takes away from the bravery and skill of lieutenant dixon and his crew in their success. but the hundley was really like the wright flyer. it demonstrated the possibilities of new technology, but needed further development and refinement to truly fulfill the potential. in fact, the next warship sunk by submarine was not until 1914, when the british destroyer was onpedoed by the german ju21 on september 5, 1914. one final note, naval warfare and naval history is a complex subject. it involves the intersection of
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technology, strategy, politics, and a host of other factors. in the end, the great sea stories, like the ones i am going to share with you today, they turn on the human factor. that should never be forgotten. i want you to remember that as we talk about sea fights in 1864. let us begin in the spring of 1864. let us begin in the sounds of north carolina. the confederate's, for the last 18 months in a cornfield on the roanoke river, had been building themselves an ironclad, which in the spring of 1864 after 18 months of construction is finally ready for service and is commissioned as the css album moborough. she is designed as the same man who designed the css virginia. he basically build a smaller river going version of the css virginia. the captain is a man named cook and he is anxious to go after the union. the union in 1862 had captured the sounds of north carolina. they recognize the outer banks
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in north carolina and the sounds behind there would be outstanding holes in the union blockade, outstanding opportunities for confederate blockade runners to go back and forth. that is why they went after them, one of the first amphibious assaults the union army makes in the entire war in 1862. what they have done is they have managed to plug all of the rivers that lead into the sounds on the coast of north carolina. they have created a series about -- of outposts. but they captured the cities, the ports at the mouths of the various rivers that feed into the carolina coast and pen the confederates up in the river. some of these outpost cities, for example elizabeth city, , plymouth, newburn -- to form this outpost line. but there is one major full or ability to the federal situation, federal disposition in the sounds of north carolina
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and that is that no oceangoing , ironclad can get in. they all have too deep a draft. they cannot get over and through the barrier islands. so what is left? what is left in the union navy to guard the sounds of north carolina and plug up the confederates? they called them double enders. they are side paddlewheel steamers made out of wood. so there is a good prospect of success. alsoonfederate army realizes the importance of north carolina, particularly because the army in virginia, robert e lee's army, draws a lot of its supplies from eastern north carolina. any force in eastern north carolina threatens that line of communication. they want to launch a counter offensive in the spring before the main fighting starts, which is expected to start in may. the commander in the area, a man ck, coordinatesu
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an offensive with the albermarle. in mid-april, houck with about 10,000 men is going to go towards plymouth and attacked. meanwhile, the albermarle will come out. on april 16 as the confederates approach, she will announce her presence with authority. the two union steamers, the miami and the southfield, are going to engage. the albemarle almost sinks herself in the process. that then there is a twist and le pops back to the surface. in miami is going to withdrawal. two days later, plymouth falls, surrendered in a combined army-navy attack by the confederates. all of a sudden the roanoke river is back open to confederate traffic.
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a few weeks later after consolidating their gains, the albemarle and union navy will go at it on the roanoke river just downstream of plymouth. as the albemarle gets the better of the fight going after these union double enders is going to explode one of them's boilers, force the others to retreat as one of the commodores there said at the time, if she had disabled one or two more of our steamers we would have lost control of the north carolina sounds. the blockade had loosened. the confederates came within a stone's throw up breaking it and ripping a hole in it in the north carolina sounds. but note the date of the action i just mentioned. may 5, 1864. what is going on in the war? this is the day ben butler leaves for munro and moves towards bermuda hunter. houck's commanded north carolina has to be withdrawn to reinforce the confederates in virginia.
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the north carolina sounds settle into uneasy, bloody stalemate at this point. the blockade is loosened. it has not been broken. the confederates certainly start the year off on a good note next to the css albemarle. as the calendar begins to turn for may into june, the naval focus for both sides shifts. it shifts eastward to the atlantic theater. the confederates in 1862 and as early as 1861 had developed a strategy the french term as war against the economy. war against commerce. they want to outfit raiders, build them under assumed names in london, in liverpool, in england, various shipyards -- mostly in liverpool.
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put them to sea. they meet a tender who has a confederate crew, has guns, all the implements of war. raise the confederate naval, and capture ships. most of these raiders have confederate southern offices. most of their men come from the captured ships or many of them are europeans that sign on with the promise of sharing in the prizes they are going to capture, the money that is thereby attained. eight major raiders. three of them achieve a marked success, set world records for commerce raiding. the css alabama, 64 union merchant ships and one union gunboat off the coast of texas, 65, which sets a world record. the css shenandoah with 37. css florida has 38. until the 20th century, those records will stand.
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among americans, u.s. and confederate sailors, those records stand even today because the top scoring american submarine ace sank 24 ships. these records still stand among the american and confederate navies. this success panics the north. drives up insurance prices, drives up the cost of shipping, pressures the northern war effort but not to the extent that the confederate navy would like, but it certainly has an effect. one of the easy things that most of the union merchant men do, they sell their ships, trade their papers to a neutral country. we may have all-american crew, all guys who talk with a boston accent -- that is a british flag we are flying. we are registered in london. you can't touch us. that works only to a certain extent. the alabama, the most successful
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under the command of raphael sims, the alabama operates in in may of 1862, operating in the north atlantic and the caribbean and the south atlantic, around the horn of africa into the indian ocean and even as far as the southwest pacific, where she takes a couple of ships in and around singapore and indonesia as we know it today. again 64 american merchant ships , she takes over the course of her career. by early 1864, the alabama is starting to fray at the edges, in a literal and figurative sense, much like a car where you drive and you don't maintain it. the alabama has not seen a drydock. it is not seen a significant refit period in over two years. literally, the seams in her timbers are starting to break. of theper in the bottom ship is slowing it up. the sails are getting worn.
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the ropes are getting worn. the men are exhausted. even sends himself admits he is exhausted. they need a refit. they need a rest. sims decides the best place to go is france, because napoleon the third has traditionally been very supportive of the confederacy. and so he heads for the port of cherbourg. 70 years ago less month, or 70 years ago in june and early july, it was the scene of another american drama during the normandy campaign. he puts into cherbourg june 11, 1864. actually he made a bit of a , mistake. he has chosen the wrong port. because it is a french navy port. all the shipyards there, all the places he could go our french -- are french navy, government. the laws allow neutral ports shipyards, to service
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belligerent ships. but government shipyards are completely different. it requires a telegraph to the emperor himself for permission to dock the alabama and refit her, permission which is not forthcoming. but the telegraph also sends news via another chain as well, that is the chain of united states councils. united states counsel in cherbourg telegraphs the embassy and the embassy telegraphs western belgium, because up there is an american frigate. it is under the command of a captain named john winslow. the alabama is here. winslow sets sail and on the 14th of june arrives off cherbourg. the union navy after hunting for the alabama for many months has now found her. winslow comes in, get some provisions, figures out it is
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the alabama, goes out the on the -- out beyond the international limit of three miles, and now we come to the moment where the human element begins to play into this story. the human element is rafael sims. raphael sims is a man of great pride and passion, but he is also a lightning rod for north and south. he is an unquestioned southern naval hero. arguably, the greatest southern naval hero at this point. he is also one of the greatest villains in the north. they have denounced him as a pirate. he has been threatened to be hanged. any number of things have been hurled against rafael sims. his actions carry great political weight north and south , and in this election year which he is very well aware, he , understands the political implications of his actions and what he might choose to do at this point. sims also has a great sense of personal honor and he understands the reputation of a ship and he's very protective of his own reputation and the
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reputation of his ship. but there is another thing, as well. this has been thrown at him. yet the alabama is good. ,against unarmed merchant men. you can do very well when you have eight guns against zero. even when there is one union gunboat with three guns, yeah, you can do fine. sims is determined to block that that perceived stain off of his record. he sends a message via the confederate agent in cherbourg. it says, basically, don't go anywhere. i want to come out and i want to fight you. i will be out there in 48 hours. it ends up being four days. john winslow, on the other hand, when he gets this message, basically writes back and says, fine, i'm not going anywhere. come and get me. it's one of the last great
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medieval-style chivalrous duels where the two champions will go forth and engage in single combat. on the morning of june 19, 1864, sunday at 9:00 in the morning, the css alabama weighs anchor and begins to set sail. she has a lot of eyes on her. because word of this dual has reached paris and there have been trains chartered from paris. [laughter] 15,000 frenchmen are on the bluffs overlooking cherbourg harbor. if you have ever been to that harbor today, those bluffs now have the remains of german bunkers on them. among them is a painter who will of theaint the scene battle he is about to witness. the french escort her to the three-mile limit of french waters. then that french ship turns around and heads back as fast as she can. [laughter]
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further out,d seven or eight miles out from the coast. then all of the sudden, john winslow turns and starts towards the confederate. these two ships are extremely evenly matched. alabama has nine guns. kearsarge has eight. those guns are heavier. alabama, 149 men. kearsarge, 163 men. speed, size, almost exactly a push. there is one advantage that some debate as to how much sims knew about this at the time. he got a real nasty education in the next few minutes. a little bit of yankee ingenuity for you -- john winslow had taken anchor chain and put it on the side of his wooden hulled ship uncovered that chain with wooden planking. so at a distance, it looks normal, but it has a makeshift iron armor on it. as the kearsarge comes in,
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showing her starboard side, the alabama turns and shows her starboard side and bubbles start -- and what will start is these two ships going around and around, chasing each other in concentric circles. the alabama opens fire and one of the trends of the fight will be the alabama will fire more often, but their shots will be wilder. the kearsarge will fire more directly, more slowly, but also more surely. the alabama aimed at the top of the ship, the rigging, the deck. john winslow ordered his gunners, aim at the water line of the confederates. aim low, boys, aim low. they go around once. alabama fires three before kearsarge fires her first. they go around a third time. during this third revolution, the kearsarge shutters. they later find a confederate shell has struck the stern post. that is where the writer with
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the ship -- where the rutter connects with the ship. but two years of storage in varying climates has withered confederate powder. the shell doesn't explode. had it exploded, that would've been the day for the kearsarge. they go around a fourth time. sims has realized, our shells are bouncing off the enemy. switch to solid shot. they go around a fifth time, a sixth time. it's now getting on for noon. the battle started at about 11:00 in the morning. sims starts to notice his ship is getting sluggish. she's filling with water. the federal fire is telling. as they go around the seventh time, as they start the seventh evolution, he turns to his second in command, john. when our bow points towards france, execute a turn and let's try to get to french waters.
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they got five miles to go. they go around the seventh time , and they end the seventh circuit. the alabama heels over to port. i think that turn was too hard and did some damage to the ship. it tries to take off. winslow gives chase. runs her down. sims quickly realizes he's not getting away. shortly before about 12:15 or so, rafael sims strikes the alabama's colors. winslow begins to take survivors. there's an english yacht in the area that has been watching the fight. actually, the owner of the yacht had polled his family, should we go out the next day and watch the fight from the yacht? three teenage boys and a mother and a father. well guess who won? , the children outpolled the parents.
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so they were out there. winslow says, go save the survivors. help me rescue the man. this yacht saves sims and about 60% of his crew with virtually all the officers and takes him -- them to england so they survive to fight another day. 12:30, with her head held high, css alabama sinks by the stern 8 miles off the coast of cherbourg. off the coast of france. 21 men were either killed during the battle or drowned in the process. confederates -- union, three wounded in action the entire battle. if you go to cherbourg today, i do not know how many have ever been there, but they have raised one of the blakely guns from the deck of alabama and it sits in the lobby of the museum right downtown. if you go up into the city cemetery, all you have got to do is ask for the tomb of the alabama.
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because two of the men who died in this fight are buried on a bluff overlooking the harbor. that is where they fought their last battle. cherbourg remembers. cherbourg knows about the american civil war. as for the battle's impact, when winslow reports and when the confederates and observers report the defeat of the alabama navy, secretary of the stephen mallory, sums it up well, he says, the loss of the alabama was announced in the federal papers with all the manifestations of joy which usually usher the news of great national victories, showing the calculating enemy fully understood and appreciated the importance of her distruction. this has just as much impact on the north political situation as any major land victory will over the course of that year.
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the north will win a couple other victories, as well. because the css florida in the atlantic front will be captured in brazil in early october of 1864. actually a violation of , brazilian neutrality by an overzealous union officer, that nonetheless removed the most successful commerce raider and the second most successful commerce raider have been wiped off the chessboard. there is one more piece that will be put on the chessboard before the end of the war, css shenandoah. it commissions in october of 1864. but i think her orders probably sum up well the strategic situation at that point. there's no more targets for you in the atlantic. go to the bering sea and take out the new england whaling fleet, and then, judging by what the news is, govern yourself accordingly. if you have to put into a neutral port, sell the ship, pay off the men, and disappear.
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in other words the war is not , going well. you may have to use your own discretion in 1865. rafael sims in 1862 did not get orders like that. but in 1864, james waddell of the shenandoah will. the shenandoah and her crews -- because it really starts in late 1864 -- is really beyond the scope of our discussion here today. june turns into july. again our focus shifts. , our focus shift west and southward to the gulf coast of mexico, specifically the eastern gulf coast and specifically mobile, alabama, and mobile bay. why is this place important? well, i will tell you. if you capture mobile, you can use the rivers that flow into mobile and mobile bay to go
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right into the heartland of the confederacy. right into the heartland of alabama, and cut them from the south, cut them from the underbelly. he actually proposed this as part of his initial campaign plan for 1864. because of insufficient resources, the expedition has been postponed until late july, early august of 1864. specifically august 4 and august 5. this sets up one of the iconic naval battles of the entire civil war. and the human factor here is really paramount. i want to discuss specifically how the human factor manifests itself. because it manifests itself in the two protagonists we will meet at mobile bay. i am referring to union admiral david g farragut and confederate admiral franklin buck buchanan. these two men are yin and yang. before these two figures, we
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must pause for a moment. because these two figures are titans, not just of the navy and the civil war, but of the prewar united states navy also. david g farragut from tennessee will remain loyal to the union. butanan is from maryland went south. we will discuss reasons in a moment. farragut had been at sea since he took a midshipman's commission at age 12. at age 14, he had commanded a prize crew in 1814 serving with his adopted uncle on the uss essex. at age 14, he is truly one of the great sailors this country has ever produced. farragut is hispanic. he has spanish ancestry on his mother's side. little known fact. buck buchanan, first superintendent of the naval academy of annapolis. he also was one of the captains
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of the ships that commodore perry took to tokyo bay. war --beginning of the first, let me talk about personality. farragut, calm, professional, good planner, good sense of what needs to be done and how to do it. when to act, when not to act. plan, execute an operation. buchanan is more of a fiery, passionate aggressive officer. very forthright a driver. , buck buchanan starting in 1861 allowed that passion and aggression to override his judgment from time to time. and there had been twice by 1864 where this has happened and it has cost him. in some cases, it cost his cause. in 1861, buck buchanan resigns his commission.
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he is anticipating maryland, his home state, will secede. when it does not he writes to , the navy department asking to be reinstated. [laughter] the navy department response to the effective, we don't want any sunshine patriots. thank you very much for your service. have a nice day. [laughter] that is how buck buchanan ends up in the confederate navy. he becomes the first admiral in the confederate navy. farragut becomes the first admiral of the united states navy. buchanan is placed close to norfolk. he takes command of the uss merrimack. march 8, 1862, he takes the virginia out against the navy in hampton roads. he deals them one of the greatest defeats the navy has ever suffered, the greatest defeat they will ever suffer until world war ii.
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but late in the day, as the uss congress is thinking before the -- is sinking before the css virginia, the ironclad starts to take incoming fire from the infantrymen onshore at newport news point. buck buchanan decides the best thing for him to do as commander of this great ironclad is to go on deck with a rifle and start shooting back. well, he sustains a very serious leg wound and is carried below. with fear for his life they end , up having to go into norfolk that night and he is evacuated off the ship. so he plays no role in the fight with the monitor the next day. on march 9, 1862. i pose the question, was that the appropriate response and appropriate reaction for a commanding officer? i leave you to decide. after recovery, he is sent to mobile, to superintend the construction of one of the most modern and powerful confederate ironclads, the css tennessee.
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it takes in 16 months and he -- it takes him about 16 months and he does a lot of railroading and driving to get the css tennessee into commission by the spring of 1864. he has with him to defend mobile the css tennessee, and three smaller gunboats. farragut is going to go into mobile bay with 18 ships. four ironclads, seven frigates, and seven smaller gunboats, one of which is the uss galena. that is where george mcclellan during the battle of albert hill had been enjoying lunch. [laughter] this is the fleet composition here. you need to understand -- to understand what is about to happen, you have to understand the geography of mobile bay. mobile bay is big. mobile sits at the very top. imagine a half inflated balloon
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which is real narrow at the stem out into aans semicircle-oval-shaped trade -- some a circle oval-shaped. that is mobile bay. at the south end of mobile bay, there is a mile and a half wide channel. at the book end are two stone forts that were built in the 1830's. fort gaines and fort morgan. across that channel, the confederates have put mines. torpedoes in 1864 parlance. they have left a small channel for blockade runners to run in and out of mobile bay. farragut -- here's the plan. the u.s. army is going to land on delphian island. farragut on the fourth of august. which they do.
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the next day on the morning of the fifth, farragut is going to take his fleet and then with the support of farragut from the mobile bay side, a combined army-navy advance will reduce fort gaines and pinch off mobile bay. to do this, they also have to defeat the css tennessee at some point. he knows it will be a running fight. he also knows because of the emphasis on speed and the fact that he is running under the guns at fort morgan, those gunboats ain't going to survive. he lashes them all to the left side, the port side of each of the seven frigates so they can all get through faster and safer, less time under the confederate guns. 5:30 in the morning august 5, 1864, farragut's fleet turns north and begins to head towards the entrance of mobile bay. the four ironclads are outside or to the outboard. they are leading. and then, the lines of frigates and gunboats.
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farragut, at the advice of his captains -- sir, we don't want you to go first. we want you to go second. uss brooklyn is in front. run through the guns as fast as you can but stay clear of the mines. the leading ironclad is the uss tecumseh under t.m. craven. as craven approaches the navigation buoys, he steers too far to one side of the channel. at 6:47 in the morning, hits a mine. it explodes. two minutes, uss tecumseh with 93 of 114 men are at the bottom of mobile bay where they sleep today. craven, a little note for you and the randomness of death at sea -- craven, as he's trying to get to the escape ladder, his pilot and he arrived at the foot of the ladder at the same time.
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after you, pilot, captain craven says. the pilot gets out. captain craven is at the bottom of mobile bay today. watching the destruction of the tecumseh in front of the entire fleet -- the captain of the brooklyn, james alden, immediately realizes if there is a mine there, there might be a mine here. instead of continuing full speed, he stops and begins to reverse. the entire federal fleet, like a traffic back up, begins to back up under the guns of four -- fort morgan. when i say under the guns of fort morgan, if we are the federal fleet, fort morgan is the spotsylvania courthouse. it is that close. with those heavy naval guns, that is point-blank range. the gunners begin to flay into these federal ships. this is the moment where the human factor and leadership on the federal side makes a difference. because farragut, who is in the
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rigging of his flagship and has been lashed to it for his safety, sees what is about to happen and can see the disaster not five minutes away. he calls down to the captain of the hartford, turn left, go around the ironclads. go around the brooklyn. get into mobile bay. signal the rest of the fleet to follow. but sir, the torpedoes. here is the immortal word. you all know what is coming. damn the torpedoes! he turns to the captain of the ship. full speed! these two ships, acting in concert, their propellers lash the water and move forward with great speed. the rest of the fleet follows them. they go through the mine field and into mobile bay.
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as the men underneath in the bowels of the ships, as they pass through the mines they hear pop, pop, pop, pop. those are the detonators of the mines going off. but the mines have been there 18 months and they are waterlogged. and none explode. farragut pushes into the mobile bay and at that point gets into a running fight with the css tennessee as buck buchanan comes out from behind four morgan. -- out from behind fort morgan. it ultimately will result in the three gunboats with the tennessee either being sunk, driven off, or captured. both sides disengage, farragut to the north, buck buchanan back to the guns at fort morgan. farragut anchors, fully expecting to have a few minutes to assess damage and plot his next move. buck buchanan at this moment under the guns of fort morgan has all of the advantages. he can steam west and block farragut's retreat of mobile
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bay. he can stay under the guns and force very get to go after him, both engaging the fort and ironclad at the same time at great advantage to the confederacy, or he can just sit there and wait for farragut to do something and act as necessary. either way, he has the advantage. he has the initiative. but for the third time in the civil war, buck buchanan allows his passion and his aggression to override the judgment. and he puts the tennessee's helm northward and goes after farragut's fleet. one ship against 17. farragut can't believe it. but he goes after him. it's a running melee. buchanan started a fight he could not win and after an hour and a half worth of melee, ramming bombarding, pounding the , tennessee, disabling her
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steering, blocking most of her gun ports, injuring buchanan with a broken leg at 10:00 in -- at 10:00 in the morning, the css tennessee strikes her colors. the battle of mobile bay is over, and the united states has been handed a great victory. what are the effects of this fighting, this less than four hours worth of fighting in and around the city of mobile? well, within the next fortnight, both forts fall to the union. and the last viable port for the confederacy east of the mississippi river on the gulf coast, the last major port, is now closed off and will remain closed off for the rest of the war. but there's another effect of this, as well. and that is that -- a fredericksburg native is the commander of the post of mobile
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and he and 10,000 men are forced to sit in mobile for the rest of the war, almost completely the rest of the war until they are forced out in the spring of 1865, guarding against any possible federal incursion northward into the heart of the confederacy. these troops sit here. they can be deadly needed. needed. they are badly missed and badly needed on other battlefronts. all of these effects are a direct or indirect result of the fact that took buchanan could not keep his head when he was under the guns of fort morgan and put the helm of the tennessee northward against farragut's fleet. the human factor making the difference. let us come back and conclude with where we started, the sounds of north carolina. i have not talked about a human element yet for the sounds of north carolina. it is this man here lieutenant
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, william b cushing. his older brother is alonso. you may remember him from the battle of gettysburg. the stalemate has continued because of lack of resources and lack of ground troops. the confederates have proposed a ttacks into the sounds of north carolina. the federals want to do something about this. it is a latent threat. it is a fleet in being, so to speak, and it is tying up federal resources that could be used elsewhere. the best plan is the one cushion comes up with. give me a small shift. i will put a long spar with an explosive at the end. i will run up against her and blow her up. go for it. [laughter] he takes a force of 20 men on 27, night of october
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1864 goes upstream. , gets past the confederate pickets. he is very close to doing plan b. if he gets that far and is not detected, he's going to try to land on the dock, take a ship , and sail away. at the last moment, he gets challenged. he greets them with gunfire, which is answered by gunfire. so the skiff turns out and goes back into the river. at this moment, cushing sees something he did not count on. there have been log berms that have been placed to prevent such an attack around the albemarle. but there is a little bit of a space between the side of the ship and the log. cushing goes back out in the stream. at this point, most officers would say try again some other time. not cushing. cushing gambles and says, those logs have probably been there several months. they are probably good and slimy
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uck.slippery with river mo he turns and puts on full speed and goes to the logs, up the logs, over and in and bumps up against the side of the albemarle. very calmly standing at the prowl, put underneath the armor -- puts the spar underneath the armor and pulls the explosive. the explosion blew a hole big enough to drive a wagon into. in five minutes, the css albemarle was at the bottom of the roanoke river. most of his men are captured. he himself is blown into the water by the force of the explosion. after an epic escape of 36 hours, he manages get back to the union fleet. 72 hours after the sinking of the albemarle, plymouth is back in federal hands. the federals attacked an army navy expedition and have taken
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plymouth and have retained the -- read tightened the blockade and undone the confederate gains of the previous spring on the north carolina sounds. what does all this mean? i pose the following question to you. would the expedition at fort fisher in december 1864 and january 1865 have occurred, or would the movement of john scofield's army through the north carolina sounds have occurred had the css albemarle been intact? that is the impact of cushing's success. in 150 days, june through october of 1864, defective -- confederate army has fought three decisive actions against the united states navy. in the atlantic, specifically the english channel. north carolina sounds and mobile bay. they have come out the loser on all three. by the end of 1864, the confederacy has been effectively defeated.
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no hope of recovery. and the sailors knew it. the final word on 1864's impact and the impact of all operations we have discussed goes to john mitchell. he wrote this on january 4, 1865. the enemy, with unlimited transportation, has in all expeditions against us, appeared in such overwhelming force as to render a successful resistance by us utterly out of the question. as went the navy, so went the confederacy a few months later. folks, i would like to thank you for your attention. if you have any questions, i would be happy to answer them. thank you very much. [applause] >> when we were first soliciting
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topics for the symposium -- so for months, i know he was thinking about this topic so he hosed use the "damn t torpedoes" line. [laughter] >> the first ship that went through mobile bay that was sunk was an ironclad? >> yes, uss tecumseh. >> the subsequent three went through -- they succeeded in getting through? >> the three other ironclads did. they were a decisive factor in taking on the tennessee. the tecumseh was the only ship that farragut lost. he lost considerable casualties on his other ships. particularly from the guns of fort morgan and from the tennessee. but the only federal ships sunk during the battle of mobile bay was the uss tecumseh right up the start. >> thank you. >> other questions? >> a lot has been written about
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the morale of soldiers on both sides. i am going to ask you to speculate, i suppose. but as the fortunes of the confederate navy began to deteriorate and you said the soldiers knew it, it seems like morale would be an even more pressing concern. because here you are not just on the losing side, but you are isolated on a ship and away from home in a physical way that other soldiers are not. you're not plugged into a larger support network. what must that be like for a navy person who realizes all hope is lost? >> there are two different types of confederate sailors. the first type, the one you referenced about being away from home and being on the high seas and things like that, that applies to the css shenandoah and the other commerce raiders. it was always the hope that no matter what happens, we are going to do our part is the sense i get from shenandoah and her officers. the true confederates. the other ones, quite frankly
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the europeans are mostly there , for a paycheck and to share in the profits of whatever prizes that they taken and whatever money they can collect from those prizes. put -- but the officers tend to say, we're going to be in it for the cause and strike a blow at the yankees. however when they find out the , war is over, morale plummets. waddell, it is a neat leadership trick for him to get the shenandoah back from the pacific to liverpool and to surrender and keep a mutiny from happening. the vast majority of confederate sailors are based in the confederacy. most of the guys, the crew of the three ironclads, are from virginia. they are based in and around richmond on the rivers. they are not that cut off. one of the best things that help ed sailor morale -- right up until the end, the navy has a far better ration system than
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the army does. one of the things that sustains the sailors, particularly the ones on the ironclads and the ones on the rivers, they are defending home, making a visible contribution, and these ironclads still remain a psychological advantage for the confederates. we are in an ironclad, we are in a new ship. the yanks are going to have trouble with us no matter what and we are going to cause trouble for them. so that helps sustain morale as much as anything. >> let me just remind folks, chris is the author of two fantastic books. one on the battle of perryville. and another one on something that is usually overlooked. just two brilliant, insightful books. he is one of several authors upstairs signing books. please take the opportunity to visit with folks upstairs. we will take a five minute break and then we will be back. thank you very much.
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[applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> the c-span cities tour takes book tv and american history tv on the road, traveling to u.s. cities to learn about their history to this weekend, we partnered with time warner cable for a visit to green bay, wisconsin. >> wisconsin is known as american dairy land because we make the most cheese but also the best cheese. the industry developed in wasonsin from what homestead cheese where everybody -- each farm family made cheese it wasir own use, and recognized that we had an ideal environment for raising dairy cattle. and cheese was really just a way ,o take that perishable product before refrigeration, would only last about three days. if you make cheese into it,
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cheddar cheese can last for a decade. the was may 1880's when industry got started in wisconsin. generally, farmers and the neighborhood would form a cooperative. they would hire a cheese maker who would work for the cooperative on shares. the cheesemakers tended to move a lot. there were thousands of them. plants, over 2000 cheese in wisconsin fed transportation and the road system improved, and a with consolidation among the smaller plant spirit that continued up until about 1990 when there were only about 200 cheese factories in wisconsin. >> in 2008, i published a book on torture. i was looking at torture and the war on terror. as i wrote this book, i realized that some of the techniques we on terror for the war appear in our prison system. i noticed these odd connections
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between overseas policies and domestic policies. so i started looking at what was happening in the prison system, and that then led me to start teaching the prison system and on me to another book solitary confinement at psychologists and psychiatrists have studied what happens to a person, and they developed these very distinctive -- one psychologist calls it the shoe syndrome. paranoia, a real aggressiveness, a sense that yourself is disintegrating. theard about people and kind of bodily harm they do to themselves in solitary confinement. the damage, the self-mutilation, the feces that they put on the door. this kind of deterioration of your whole sense of self, no more respect for self, and to damage my body. i do not have a lot -- strong
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that thisevidence makes people better. i have anecdotal evidence from people that i talk to. i see it as more of a spiritual thing. it next on american history tv, virginia tech history professor discusses the reconvening of the congress after the civil war. 2014is a portion of the civil war symposium hosted by the u.s. historical capital society. it is 45 minutes. >> i am paul finkelman, the visiting professor of law at the


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