Lincoln and His Admirals

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2008-10-17
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Abraham Lincoln began his presidency admitting that he knew "little about ships," but he quickly came to preside over the largest national armada to that time, not eclipsed until World War I. Written by prize-winning historian Craig L. Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals unveils an aspect of Lincoln's presidency unexamined by historians until now, revealing how he managed the men who ran the naval side of the Civil War, and how the activities of the Union Navy ultimately affected the course of history. Beginning with a gripping account of the attempt to re-supply Fort Sumter--a comedy of errors that shows all too clearly the fledgling president's inexperience--Symonds traces Lincoln's steady growth as a wartime commander-in-chief. Absent a Secretary of Defense, he would eventually become de facto commander of joint operations along the coast and on the rivers. That involved dealing with the men who ran the Navy: the loyal but often cranky Navy Secretary Gideon Welles, the quiet and reliable David G. Farragut, the flamboyant and unpredictable Charles Wilkes, the ambitious ordnance expert John Dahlgren, the well-connected Samuel Phillips Lee, and the self-promoting and gregarious David Dixon Porter. Lincoln was remarkably patient; he often postponed critical decisions until the momentum of events made the consequences of those decisions evident. But Symonds also shows that Lincoln could act decisively. Disappointed by the lethargy of his senior naval officers on the scene, he stepped in and personally directed an amphibious assault on the Virginia coast, a successful operation that led to the capture of Norfolk. The man who knew "little about ships" had transformed himself into one of the greatest naval strategists of his age. A unique and riveting portrait of Lincoln and the admirals under his command, this book offers an illuminating account of Lincoln and the nation at war. In the bicentennial year of Lincoln's birth, it offers a memorable portrait of a side of his presidency often overlooked by historians.

Author Biography

Craig L. Symonds is Professor Emeritus at the U.S. Naval Academy and the author of ten previous books, including Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History, which won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in 2006.

Table of Contents

1861: Getting Under Way
"What Have I Done Wrong?": Lincoln and the Fort Sumter Crisisp. 3
"A Competent Force": Lincoln and the Blockadep. 37
"No Affront to the British Flag": Lincoln and the Trent Affairp. 71
1862: Charting a Course
"Rain the Rebels Out": Lincoln and the River Warp. 101
"It Strikes Me There's Something in It": Lincoln and the Monitorp. 130
"We Cannot Escape History": Lincoln and the Contrabandsp. 157
1863: Troubled Waters
"The Peninsula All Over Again": Lincoln, Charleston, and Vicksburgp. 187
"I Shall Have to Cut This Knot": Lincoln as Adjudicatorp. 220
"Peace Does Not Appear So Distant as It Did": Lincoln and Wartime Politicsp. 250
1864: Full Speed Ahead
"A Worthy Object": Lincoln and the Red River Campaignp. 279
"A Vote of Thanks": Lincoln and the Politics of Promotionp. 306
"I Must Refer You to General Grant": Lincoln Relinquishes the Connp. 332
1865: Final Harbor
Epilogue: "Thank God That I Have Lived to See This": Lincoln and the End of the Warp. 355
Abbreviations Used in Notesp. 367
Notesp. 369
Bibliographyp. 407
Indexp. 417
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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