Thursday, March 15, 2012

New and Noteworthy----CSS Virginia At War and At Peace

The CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender,John V. Quarstein,592 pages, 119 black and white images, paperback $24.99. [March 2012]

From the Publisher: When the CSS Virginia (Merrimack) slowly steamed down the Elizabeth River toward Hampton Roads on March 8, 1862, the tide of naval warfare turned from wooden sailing ships to armored, steam-powered vessels. Little did the ironclad’s crew realize that their makeshift warship would achieve the greatest Confederate naval victory. The trip was thought by most of the crew to be a trial cruise.

Instead, the Virginia’s aggressive commander, Franklin Buchanan, transformed the voyage into a test by fire that forever proved the supreme power of iron over wood. The Virginia’s ability to beat the odds to become the first ironclad to enter Hampton Roads stands as a testament to her designers, builders, officers and crew. Virtually everything about the Virginia’s design was an improvisation or an adaptation, characteristic of the Confederacy’s efforts to wage a modern war with limited industrial resources. Noted historian John V. Quarstein recounts the compelling story of this ironclad underdog, providing detailed appendices, including crew member biographies and a complete chronology of the ship and crew.

John V. Quarstein is an award-winning historian, preservationist, lecturer and author. He served as director of the Virginia War Museum for over thirty years and, after retirement, continues to work as a historian for the city of Newport News. He is in demand as a speaker throughout the nation. Quarstein is the author of fourteen books, including the companion volume to The CSS Virginia, The Monitor Boys. He has produced, narrated and written six PBS documentaries, including the Civil War in Hampton Roads series, which was awarded a 2007 Silver Telly.

John Quarstein is the recipient of over twenty national and state awards, such as the United Daughters of the Confederacy’s Jefferson Davis Gold Medal in 1999. He lives on Old Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia, and on his family’s Eastern Shore farm near Chestertown, Maryland.

CWL: If Quarstein matches his past efforts, readers of Confederate maritime history, the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, and Civil War enthusiasts in general will welcome CSS Virginia: Sink Before Surrender. Here's CSS Virginia's Table of Contents. It reveals Quarstein's comprehensive approach to the topic:

1. “A Magnificent Specimen of Naval Architecture” 17
2. Flashpoint—Gosport 27
3. Iron Against Wood 45
4. The Virginia 63
5. The Race for Hampton Roads 87
6. Like a Huge Half-Submerged Crocodile 113
7. Aftermath 137
8. Enter the Monitor 151
9. “Mistress of the Roads” 175
10. Equal to Five Thousand Men 191
11. Fire a Gun to Windward 203
12. Loss and Redemption 213
13. I Fought in Hampton Roads 231
Appendix I. You Say Merrimack, I Say Virginia 265
Appendix II. CSS Virginia Designers 269
Appendix III. The Commanders 275
Appendix IV. CSS Virginia Officers’ Assignment Dates 285
Appendix V. Confederate Navy Volunteers Aboard the CSS Virginia 287
Appendix VI. Confederate Marines Aboard the CSS Virginia 291
Appendix VII. Confederate Army Volunteers Aboard the CSS Virginia by Unit Designation 295
Appendix VIII. CSS Virginia Casualties, March 8, 1862 305
Appendix IX. CSS Virginia Personnel Paroled at Appomattox, Virginia, and Greensboro, North Carolina 309
Appendix X. CSS Virginia Officer Assignments, March 8, 1862 311
Appendix XI. CSS Virginia Dimensions and Statistics 315
Appendix XII. The Crew of the CSS Virginia 317
Appendix XIII. Chronology of the CSS Virginia 435

Notes 497, Bibliography 559, Index 581

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