AbstractsPolitical Science

‘Scott’s Great Snake,’ to what Extent was Coastal Warfare Crucial to the Outcome of the American Civil War?

by Joseph Richard William Davies

Institution: Aberystwyth University
Year: 2013
Record ID: 1400605
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2160/11870


~ Abstract ~ Scott’s Great Snake examines the extent to which coastal operations were crucial to the outcome of the American Civil War of 1861-65. The focus falls on three key areas, blockade, land operations and international relations as they interacted with coastal war. Particular weight is given to the blockade as the main method of Union coastal warfare, to which the other two efforts related to a greater or lesser degree. Land actions served to reinforce the blockade while offering ambitious Northern officers the chance to directly influence events. Foreign relations were important to the North’s ability to continue to strangle its erstwhile members into submission due to the United States’ small stature next to the European imperial powers of the day, whose navies would have rendered coastal warfare impossible had they intervened. The cumulative effects of a strangling blockade reinforced and complimented by sympathetic land actions and the failure or success of the American belligerents’ foreign policy served to facilitate the weakening and eventual failure of the Confederate home and fighting fronts shaping the conditions in which the North’s land armies were able to triumph in 1865.