Navies of the Civil War

Navies in America’s Wars

The War on the Waves

The wars that defined America were not just fought on land. In the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, wooden American and British ships engaged in some of the most dramatic and iconic battles of the Age of Sail.

In the Civil War, the North and South fought each other on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the rivers of the mainland. The naval war shaped the strategic and economic fortunes of the United States and the Confederacy throughout the struggle. The Civil War also saw the first battle between ironclad ships, the introduction of sea mines and revolving gun turrets, and the first successful use of a submarine against an enemy ship– changing the trajectory of naval warfare around the globe.