Captain Josiah Tattnall, Confederate States Navy, (1795-1871)
|U.S. Naval Historical Center
Josiah Tattnall was born near Savannah, Georgia, on 9 November 1795. He became
a Midshipman in the Navy in January 1812, saw action during the War of 1812 and in the Barbary campaign that followed. During
the last part of the decade, Lieutenant Tattnall served in the Pacific Squadron. In the 1820s and 30s, his activities included
participation in campaigns against piracy in the West Indies, coast survey duty and command of the schooner Grampus.
After promotion to Commander in 1838, he was in charge of several Navy facilities, served at sea in the Mediterranean and
off Africa, and was wounded in combat during the Mexican War. As a Captain during the 1850s, he commanded the large frigate
Independence, the Sacketts Harbor Naval Station on Lake Erie, and U.S. Navy forces in the Far East. While in the latter
post, on 25 June 1859 he intervened in a battle between the Chinese and the British, aiding the latter. He justified his 'unneutral
actions' with the comment "blood is thicker than water".
In February 1861, as southern states were leaving from the Union, Captain
Tattnall resigned his commission to become an officer in the Georgia Navy and, soon after, in the Confederate States Navy.
During 1861, he commanded the naval defenses of Georgia and South Carolina, participating in the battle of Port Royal, S.C.,
on 7 November. He was placed in charge of the naval defenses of Virginia in March 1862, and took over command of the pioneer
ironclad Virginia after her battles with Federal warships on 8 and 9 March 1862. After two months of naval stalemate
in the Hampton Roads area, the Confederate evacuation of Norfolk forced Tattnall to destroy the CSS Virginia (ex-USS
Merrimack), an act supported by a subsequent court-martial. For the rest of the Civil War, Tattnall commanded naval
forces in Georgia and the Savannah naval station. He lived in Canada for four years after the war, then returned to Georgia
to serve as inspector of the port of Savannah. Josiah Tattnall died on 14 June 1871.
Reference: Department of the Navy, Naval History & Heritage Command,
805 Kidder Breese SE, Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C., 20374-5060
Reading: Confederate Ironclad vs Union Ironclad: Hampton Roads
1862 (Duel). Description: The Ironclad
was a revolutionary weapon of war. Although iron was used for protection in the Far East
during the 16th century, it was the 19th century and the American Civil War that heralded the first modern armored self-propelled
warships. With the parallel pressures of civil war and the industrial revolution, technology advanced at a breakneck speed.
It was the South who first utilized ironclads as they attempted to protect their ports from the Northern blockade. Impressed
with their superior resistance to fire and their ability to ram vulnerable wooden ships, the North began to develop its own
rival fleet of ironclads. Eventually these two products of this first modern arms race dueled at the battle of Hampton Roads
in a clash that would change the face of naval warfare. Continued below…
with cutting-edge digital artwork, rare photographs and first-person perspective gun sight views, this book allows the reader
to discover the revolutionary and radically different designs of the two rival Ironclads - the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor
- through an analysis of each ship's weaponry, ammunition and steerage. Compare the contrasting training of the crews and
re-live the horrors of the battle at sea in a war which split a nation, communities and even families. About the Author: Ron
Field is Head of History at the Cotswold School in
Bourton-on-the-Water. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 1982 and taught history at Piedmont
High School in California
from 1982 to 1983. He was associate editor of the Confederate Historical Society of Great Britain, from 1983 to 1992. He is
an internationally acknowledged expert on US Civil War military history, and was elected a Fellow of the Company of Military
Historians, based in Washington, DC,
in 2005. The author lives in Cheltenham, UK.
Reading: The Battle of Hampton
Roads: New Perspectives on the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia (Mariner's Museum). Description: On March 8 and 9, 1862, a sea battle off the Virginia coast changed naval warfare forever. It began when the Confederate States Navy’s
CSS Virginia led a task force to break the Union blockade of Hampton Roads. The Virginia
sank the USS Cumberland and forced the frigate Congress to surrender. Damaged by shore batteries, the Virginia retreated, returning the next day to find her way blocked by the newly arrived
USS Monitor. The clash of ironclads was underway. Continued below…
for nine hours, both ships withdrew, neither seriously damaged, with both sides claiming victory. Although the battle may
have been a draw and the Monitor sank in a storm later that year, this first encounter between powered, ironclad warships
spelled the end of wooden warships—and the dawn of a new navy. This book takes a new look at this historic battle. The
ten original essays, written by leading historians, explore every aspect of the battle—from the building of the warships
and life aboard these “iron coffins” to tactics, strategy, and the debates about who really won the battle of
Hampton Roads. Co-published with The Mariners’ Museum, home to the USS Monitor Center, this authoritative guide to the
military, political, technological, and cultural dimensions of this historic battle also features a portfolio of classic lithographs,
drawings, and paintings. Harold Holzer is one of the country’s leading experts on the Civil War.
Reading: Ironclad Down: USS Merrimack-CSS Virginia from Design to Destruction (Hardcover). Description: The result of more than fifteen years
of research, Ironclad Down is a treasure trove of detailed information about one of history s most famous vessels. Describing
the fascinating people--Stephen Russell Mallory, John Mercer Brooke, John Luke Porter, et al.--who conceived, designed and
built one of the world's first ironclads as well as describing the ship itself, Carl Park offers both the most thoroughly
detailed, in-depth analysis to date of the actual architecture of the Virginia
and a fascinating, colorful chapter of Civil War history.
Reading: A History of Ironclads: The Power of Iron over Wood. Description: This
landmark book documents the dramatic history of Civil War ironclads and reveals how ironclad warships revolutionized naval
warfare. Author John V. Quarstein explores in depth the impact of ironclads during the Civil War and their colossal effect
on naval history. The Battle of Hampton Roads was one of history's greatest naval engagements. Over the course of two days
in March 1862, this Civil War conflict decided the fate of all the world's navies. It was the first battle between ironclad
warships, and the 25,000 sailors, soldiers and civilians who witnessed the battle vividly understood what history would soon
confirm: wars waged on the seas would never be the same. Continued below…
About the Author: John V. Quarstein is an award-winning author and historian. He is director
of the Virginia
War Museum in Newport News and chief historical advisor for The Mariners' Museum's new USS Monitor Center
(opened March 2007). Quarstein has authored eleven books and dozens of articles on American, military and Civil War history,
and has appeared in documentaries for PBS, BBC, The History Channel and Discovery Channel.
Reading: Rebels and Yankees:
Naval Battles of the Civil War (Hardcover).
Description: Naval Battles of the Civil War, written by acclaimed Civil War historian Chester G. Hearn, focuses on the maritime
battles fought between the Confederate Rebels and the Union forces in waters off the eastern seaboard and the great rivers
of the United States during the Civil
War. Since very few books have been written on this subject, this volume provides a fascinating and vital portrayal of the
one of the most important conflicts in United States
history. Naval Battles of the Civil War is lavishly illustrated with rare contemporary photographs, detailed artworks, and
explanatory maps, and the text is a wonderful blend of technical information, fast-flowing narrative, and informed commentary.
Reading: Iron Afloat: The Story of the Confederate Armorclads. Description: William N. Still's book is rightfully referred to as the standard of Confederate Naval history.
Accurate and objective accounts of the major and even minor engagements with Union forces are combined with extensive background
information. This edition has an enlarged section of historical drawings and sketches. Mr. Still explains the political background
that gave rise to the Confederate Ironclad program and his research is impeccable. An exhaustive literature listing rounds
out this excellent book. While strictly scientific, the inclusion of historical eyewitness accounts and the always fluent
style make this book a joy to read. This book is a great starting point.