Student Essay

Mobile Bay and the Hunt for CSS Alabama
Union Naval Intelligence in the American Civil War: Moving Toward a Global Intelligence System

By Matthew Edward Skros

For the four bloody years of the American Civil War, the Northern states and the Southern states slogged it out on the field of battle, pitting brother against brother and friend against friend in a conflict that would cost over 600,000 lives. Places such as Gettysburg, Antietam, Petersburg, and Chancellorsville are well known because these battles were keys in the war's outcome.

However, also important in the history of the Civil War are the naval engagements that took place both in American territorial waters and around the world. These engagements, while small in scale relative to the fights on historic battlefields, were precursors to the global engagements that future generations would experience and would provide an introduction to American naval strategists to the requirement for the world-wide intelligence future engagements would require to ensure success. In that sense, these naval battles underscored what might not be so obvious to casual observers today: global commerce and its defense was crucial to the new nation, and challenges to that commerce were a paramount security concern.

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Posted: Jan 09, 2019 05:26 PM
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019 05:26 PM