At the start of the Civil War McCauley was in command of the Gosport Ship Yard. He supervised the destruction of the Ship Yard to prevent the ships and supplies from falling in to Confederate hands. By the start of the Civil War he was 68 years old. Was his age an issue or was he the best naval officer to command such a vital resource? McCauley had a fairly good career but perhaps not an outstanding career. Was he give command due to seniority? After the fall of Norfolk he soon retired and did not play a big part during the Civil War. Still the burning of Gosport Ship Yard and the fall of Norfolk had a huge impact on the Civil War.