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Union Combined Operations in the Civil War$
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Craig L. Symonds

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780823232864

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823232864.001.0001

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“The Absence of Decisive Results”: British Assessments of Union Combined Operations

“The Absence of Decisive Results”: British Assessments of Union Combined Operations

(p.115) 9 “The Absence of Decisive Results”: British Assessments of Union Combined Operations
Union Combined Operations in the Civil War

Howard J. Fuller

Fordham University Press

Well before the Civil War erupted in 1861, military professionals in both Britain and the United States had sought to learn lessons from one another about the changing nature of modern war. British scrutiny of Union combined operations in the Civil War led to a reconsideration of the empire's entire defense establishment. While many whistled in the dark by attributing Union failures at Charleston and elsewhere to inferior soldiery and poor leadership, many more recognized that the lessons of Sevastopol—and of Charleston—compelled a reassessment of Britain's historical reliance on blue-water battleships. In the end, however, the reconsideration stopped short of revolution. Coastal flotillas, even ironclad flotillas, might be the key to victory at places like Charleston, but only in places like Charleston; for most British strategic thinkers, the blue-water battle fleet remained the sine qua non of naval power.

Keywords:   Civil War, Union, military professionals, defense, battleships, flotillas

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