Sea Wolf of the Confederacy by P-SimonSchuster


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									Sea Wolf of the Confederacy
Author: David W. Shaw
Table of Contents

ContentsPrefaceIntroduction1 Daring Combat2 High Seas Terror3 Dark Times4 Bold Escape5 Civilized
Pirates6 Foreign Threat7 Dangerous Mission8 Tropical Fire9 Well-Guarded Secret10 Devil's Cartel11
Enemies Draw Near12 Deadly Strike13 Lightning Response14 Tempestuous Seas15 Freedom Granted16
Cries of Outrage17 Desperate Deception18 Surprise Attack19 Final BattleAftermathAppendix: "The
Florida's Cruise"Author's NoteBibliographyAcknowledgmentsIndex

In June 1863, just days before the epic clash at Gettysburg ended the last rebel land invasion of the
North, a small party of the Confederate Navy mounted a devastating series of raids on the New England
coast, culminating in a battle off Portland, Maine. Veteran author David W. Shaw brilliantly re-creates this
almost forgotten chapter of the Civil War in rich narrative detail drawn from accounts of the participants.At
the center of the conflict were two men: the hotheaded young adventurer Charles W. Read, who resigned
his commission as a Union midshipman to become a lieutenant in the Confederate Navy; and Secretary
of the United States Navy Gideon Welles, a well-connected politician who ably oversaw the explosive
growth of the fleet -- including the revolutionary ironclads -- during the war despite his lack of maritime
experience. Serving aboard CSS Florida off the coast of Brazil, Read hatched a daring plan to sail a
captured brig directly into the Union's home waters and wreak havoc on their shipping lanes. Burning or
capturing more than twenty merchant vessels in less than three weeks, and switching ships several
times to elude capture, Read's rampage caused widespread panic in Northern cities, made headlines in
the major daily newspapers, and brought enormous pressure on Welles to "stop the rebel pirate." At one
point there were nearly forty Union ships sent to hunt down Read in a cat-and-mouse game that finally led
to his dramatic capture off the coast of Maine.Sea Wolf of the Confederacy brings to light this fascinating
yet little known episode of the war, combining Shaw's flair for powerful storytelling with extensive research
culled from contemporary newspapers, journals, and official war records. Taking readers to the heart of
the action on the decks of the burning ships, Shaw offers a compelling portrait of the complex Read and
an insightful new perspective on the divisions splitting North and South during this dark time in American

IntroductionThe American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States. There
were almost as many soldiers killed between 1861 and 1865 as were lost in all others from the
Revolutionary War to Vietnam. At its end in May 1865, with the final surrender of the last remaining
Confederate forces, approximately 620,000 soldiers on both sides were dead from wounds sustained on
the battlefield or from the effects of disease. The Civil War still resonates today, though well more than a
century has passed, as do the names of the great battles -- Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg,
Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Shiloh. The fighting raged from Pennsylvania to the New Mexico Territory, and
nearly all of it occurred on land or on rivers, bays, and sounds.But there was another little-known front,
one that played itself out on the vast, empty reaches of the world's oceans. Although the Confederacy
lacked the resources to field a mighty navy, its leaders understood that maritime commerce represented
the lifeblood of the Union, and they quickly took steps to send a handful of men on the lonely, thankless
mission to destroy as much of it as possible. Eight oceangoing Confederate commerce raiders, as well
as a few of their prizes fitted out for cruising, scuttled, burned, captured, or bonded more than two
hundred U.S. merchant vessels. They terrorized the maritime business community.While few in number,
Confederate commerce destroyers harpooned the U.S. Merchant Marine and spurred a decline already in
progress to end in the nineteenth-century America's bid for supremacy on the high seas. It was not so
much the destruction of shipping and cargoes that led to economic ruin, but the reaction of the
merchants and insurance underwriters to the risk involved in maritime commerce while rebel gunboats
stalked the shipping lanes of the world for Yankee victims. The rates for insuring vessels and cargoes
soared. Merchants diverted business from American to foreign-flagged ships, and shipowners sold off
their fleets to foreign companies. After the war, the United States calculated the financial damage to the
overall economy at as much as $9 billion. No small surprise, then, that these raiders were called pirates
in the North, and in coastal cities were among the most hated of the Confederates.One of the most
infamous of these pirates was a young man named Charles William Read, a second lieutenant in the
Confederate Navy. Initially Read showed little promise of greatness, evidence of superior intelligence, or
ability to lead, until he was given the opportunity to prove himself on the high seas when he took
command of a Yankee vessel captured by the CSS Florida in 1863 and fitted out as a Confederate raider.
Read then found himself locked in a battle of wits with the most senior man in the Navy Department, a
wise old Connecticut Yankee serving his country as Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of the Navy. His name
was Gideon Welles. Set against the backdrop of Robert E. Lee's advance toward Gettysburg in the early
summer of 1863, these two unlikely adversaries squared off in a whirlwind of dramatic events that
shocked the North and caused widespread panic in cities from New York to Portland, Maine.
Overshadowed by the horror and bloodshed that occurred at Gettysburg between July 1 and July 3, the
story of this young Confederate raider stands as an all-but-forgotten chapter of the Civil War on the high
seas.Copyright © 2004 by David W. ShawChapter One: Daring...
Author Bio
David W. Shaw
A journalist for nearly twenty years, David W. Shaw has written extensively about nineteenth-century
American history in four of his previous books. His most recent is America's Victory, a riveting account of
the world's most famous yacht race in 1851. Shaw's expertise as a sailor and his in-depth knowledge of
the Civil War make him ideally suited to tell the story of Confederate raider Charles W. Read and his
infamous voyage of 1863. Shaw has contributed articles to numerous publications, including The New
York Times, Sail, Entrepreneur, Cruising World, Woman's World, and New Jersey Monthly. He lives in
New Jersey with his wife.<br/>

This gripping story of rebel commerce raiders under the command of the intrepid twenty-three-year-old
Lieutenant Charles W. Read has all the exciting elements of a Patrick O'Brian novel -- and it is all true!
Capturing or destroying twenty-one American merchant ships and fishing boats during the same June
1863 days that the Army of Northern Virginia was invading Pennsylvania, Read created a panic along the
Atlantic seaboard and brought the war home to the North on water as Lee was doing on land. This is a
book for all Civil War and naval-war buffs.

and A Rage for GloryThe Confederate commerce raiders had a devastating effect on American shipping
during the Civil War, far out of proportion to their small numbers. Author David W. Shaw, by focusing on
just one of the handful of daring raiders -- the fiery Lt. Charles Read -- brings to vivid life one of the most
neglected aspects of America's most terrible war, and shows how this small group of high-seas
adventurers came to play such an important part in the conflict.

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