Cover image for Civil War Navies, 1855-1883
Civil War Navies, 1855-1883
Silverstone, Paul H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xviii, 218 pages : illustrations ; 29 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
VA61 .S54 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

On Order



This is the second in a five-volume series by the author on US warships, listing the ships of the US Navy and the Confederate Navy during the war Civil War and the years immediately following the war, a significant period in the evolution of warships, the use of steam propulsion, and the development of ordnance. Entires on each ship list size and t

Author Notes

Paul H. Silverstone is an internationally recognized naval authority known for his many books and articles on warships. A resident of New York City where he is a travel consultant, Silverstone has been an avid student of naval history for many years. He holds an undergraduate degree from Yale University and a law degree from Harvard and became a member of the New York Bar in 1958

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Silverstone is a prolific author of several books on U.S. naval history and also an editor of Warship International, a quarterly journal. These two books are the first in a five-volume chronological series on U.S. warships. Both references begin with a contents page, a short article on U.S. naval ordnance for the relevant period, an explanation of data, and a list of abbreviations. Aside from this general similarity, the books are organized in differing ways. Civil War Navies is broken down in two parts: "United States Navy Warships" and "Confederate States Navy." Material in The Sailing Navy is organized under "The Continental Navy, 1775-1783," "State Navies, 1775-1783," "The United States Navy, 1797-1854," "United States Revenue Cutter Service," and "Texas Navy." Within the chapters of both volumes there are further subdivisions. Ships in Civil War are generally categorized by propulsion and vessel size, as well as duties; for the most part, ships in Sailing are listed by type. Within these divisions, ships are listed alphabetically by name in a letter-by-letter arrangement (e.g., Emma Henry, Eolus, Fort Donelson). A typical entry has a chart showing the name of the ship, builder, date laid down, date launched, and date commissioned. Entries also also provide information on tonnage, dimensions, machinery, crew complement, armament, and armor. Notes add data such as designer; service record, including engagements; ships captured; and later history. Each volume also has a short bibliography and an index of ship names. A random survey determined the bibliographies to be current and the indexes accurate. Scattered throughout the two volumes and appropriately placed are many black-and-white illustrations, mostly photographs and paintings, of the ships listed. Many of these illustrations were difficult to locate and represent a significant research effort. There is also a list of ships captured. Sailing has an appendix listing "Royal Navy Losses in North American Waters," and Civil War has an appendix that lists shipbuilders. There is only one comparable reference to these two volumes. The eight-volume Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (GPO, 1959-80) is arranged alphabetically by ship name and has detailed histories of each ship that are sometimes several pages long. The chronological arrangement of the titles under review makes it easier for users to compare classes of ships from a particular time period, and the chart format and indexes facilitate use. These easy-to-use references will be valuable complements to the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships and popular items in all military collections.

Choice Review

Silverstone is well known to all students of warship technology, having penned numerous titles over the years on vessels of different wars. His U.S. Warships of World War II (1965, reprinted 1989) is still one of the most valuable handbooks of its kind anywhere. Here Silverstone, naval notes editor of Warship International, the quarterly journal of the International Naval Research Organization, offers two titles on the vessels of the early US Navy. The Sailing Navy, 1775-1854 covers warships from the Revolution through the Mexican War and Perry Expedition, with attention also paid to the US Revenue Service and the Texas Navy. Ships are grouped by type, e.g., ships-of-the-line, frigates, brigs, etc. Each entry for every vessel within these groupings provides information on rate/size, tonnage, machinery, date and location of construction, builder, commissioning date and length of service, complement, armament, fate, combat activities/ships captured, and other names used if sold out of service. The abbreviations are well explained and precede the essay, "US Naval Ordnance, 1773-1854," by W.J. Jurens. Small reproductions of paintings or photos are provided with many entries, while a one-page bibliography and an index by vessel name concludes the work. Civil War Navies, 1855-1883 continues The Sailing Navy's format, and its vessel data, bibliography, and indexing are arranged exactly the same way. Readers should note one caveat. The Civil War volume is almost identical in every way to a 1989 Silverstone volume published for the Naval Institute Press entitled Warships of the Civil War Navies. Although both of these volumes are recommended, libraries that already have the 1989 work need not obtain the Civil War title reviewed here, as they already have it, and with better photographic reproduction. All collections. M. J. Smith Jr. Tusculum College

Table of Contents

Explanation of data List of Abbreviations Naval Ordnance, 1855-1883
Part I United States Navy Warships
1 Armored Vessels
2 Unarmored Steam Vessels
3 Acquired Combatant Vessels
4 Service Vessels
5 Sailing Ships
6 The Mississippi River Fleet
7 United States Revenue Cutter Service
8 United States Coast Survey
Part II Confederate States Navy Introduction
9 Armored Vessels
10 Unarmored Vessels
11 Area Defense Forces
12 Privateers
13 Blockade Runners
14 Tenders
Appendix: List of Shipbuilders