Could the CSA have realistically defended New Orleans?

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archieclement

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Raider's do not a sufficient Navy make. The Confederacy made no serious effort to establish a sufficient size blue water Navy that could do what a Navy is supposed to do and that is secure it's ports and maritime trade routes.
Leftyhunter
Think it depends on the purpose of the navy. Navy's seem based on one of two philosophy's 1. Sea Control, takes the largest and strongest navies in the world, US today or Britain WW2 and before, or 2. sea denial- where one realizes they cant possibly compete for control, so the purpose of the navy is to limit or deny the others control. raiders and submarines are hallmarks of this philosophy, the U-boat fleets of the 2 world wars, the soviet navy of the cold war, Chinas today, were built on this second philosophy, and its never intended to gain control of the seas, but to simply hinder the larger navy and merchant marine
 

leftyhunter

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Think it depends on the purpose of the navy. Navy's seem based on one of two philosophy's 1. Sea Control, takes the largest and strongest navies in the world, US today or Britain WW2 and before, or 2. sea denial- where one realizes they cant possibly compete for control, so the purpose of the navy is to limit or deny the others control. raiders and submarines are hallmarks of this philosophy, the U-boat fleets of the 2 world wars, the soviet navy of the cold war, Chinas today, were built on this second philosophy, and its never intended to gain control of the seas, but to simply hinder the larger navy and merchant marine
Interesting points. Nonetheless the secessionists never had a coherent naval strategy. Raider's don't work if Union ship owners simply switch ship registry. The secessionists should of learned from the experience of the Barbary Coast Pirates that sea denial or raiding will not deter a strong Navy.
The Confederacy wasn't even able to send a large fleet of raiders. At no time were even American ship owners so distressed by Confederate raiders that they demanded naval convoy's or at least no one has cited a source about that. Interesting if such a request was made by an association of American ship owners.
Arguably the Soviet and Chinese Navies in the Cold War were more oriented towards costal defense and nuclear deterrence.
Getting back to the OP only a strong blue water Navy could of prevented the fall of New Orleans.
Leftyhunter
 

archieclement

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Your making false assumptions as if the CSA had an equal opportunity in ships and resources to focus on a blue water navy, they didn't, they realized they didn't. so made no focus at all on building a "blue water navy", same as Russia and China does when looking at our multiple carrier battle groups and their lack of...…. When one has limited resources, it makes little sense to devote them to an area that is so understrength to not be able to realisticly compete to begin with. Raiders on the other hand did far more damage then what they cost, so were effective investments

You also seem confused to defend New Orleans didn't require a blue water navy at all, as its inland, a riverine fleet which isn't blue water at all, is all that was needed. The CSA may have been able to accomplish that IF they had time, but considering they only had about a year, with no fleet in being to begin with, they couldn't.

And one doesn't build the largest fleet of SSN with unlimited range for coastall defense...…... the electro SS are all thats needed for coastal defense, sea denial still requires force projection, to hinder worldwide, just as Germans built long range U-boats and not just short range coastal defense boats
 
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USS ALASKA

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Could one of the reasons that the South didn't put more effort into the defense of New Orleans be that they didn't believe that the North was capable of launching a successful joint operation at that point in time? With the more than a few officers that came south from the USN and USA, did they bring with them an assessment that with the current state of readiness of the USN and USA, an operation of this magnitude, so far away from an easily supplied Northern controlled base, was beyond the capacity of the North?
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archieclement

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Could one of the reasons that the South didn't put more effort into the defense of New Orleans be that they didn't believe that the North was capable of launching a successful joint operation at that point in time? With the more than a few officers that came south from the USN and USA, did they bring with them an assessment that with the current state of readiness of the USN and USA, an operation of this magnitude, so far away from an easily supplied Northern controlled base, was beyond the capacity of the North?
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I think they overestimated the effectiveness of forts, which was hardly new, would say everyone had up to the CW.
 

wausaubob

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Could one of the reasons that the South didn't put more effort into the defense of New Orleans be that they didn't believe that the North was capable of launching a successful joint operation at that point in time? With the more than a few officers that came south from the USN and USA, did they bring with them an assessment that with the current state of readiness of the USN and USA, an operation of this magnitude, so far away from an easily supplied Northern controlled base, was beyond the capacity of the North?
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USS ALASKA
They lost control of the western Gulf and then it was hard to get accurate intelligence of the US navy's progress. They thought the US navy could not get over the Head of the Passes, which had some rational basis. Then they underestimated the navy's ability to steam past the forts. And that was understandable. It was verifiably audacious.
 
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wausaubob

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The biggest problem for the Confederacy was they knew McClellan's army was the main threat. And then Johnston became consumed with retaliating against the loss of Donelson and the retreat from Nashville. At the cost of his own life and thousands of casualties, Johnston sidelined Grant for awhile. But by November Buell was gone and Grant was preparing for his first attempt to capture Vicksburg.
 

wausaubob

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The published Anaconda Plan had emphasized a downriver campaign. But of course Scott had led a combined arms campaign which landed at Veracruz and proceeded to Mexico City. The papers made fun of one plan but the blockade planning board had a different plan.
 
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leftyhunter

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Your making false assumptions as if the CSA had an equal opportunity in ships and resources to focus on a blue water navy, they didn't, they realized they didn't. so made no focus at all on building a "blue water navy", same as Russia and China does when looking at our multiple carrier battle groups and their lack of...…. When one has limited resources, it makes little sense to devote them to an area that is so understrength to not be able to realisticly compete to begin with. Raiders on the other hand did far more damage then what they cost, so were effective investments

You also seem confused to defend New Orleans didn't require a blue water navy at all, as its inland, a riverine fleet which isn't blue water at all, is all that was needed. The CSA may have been able to accomplish that IF they had time, but considering they only had about a year, with no fleet in being to begin with, they couldn't.

And one doesn't build the largest fleet of SSN with unlimited range for coastall defense...…... the electro SS are all thats needed for coastal defense, sea denial still requires force projection, to hinder worldwide, just as Germans built long range U-boats and not just short range coastal defense boats
My point is that the secessionists simply didn't think things through in terms of recognising that if the Confederacy is going to survive has an independent nation then it needs a blue water Navy. The US Navy did not attack New Orleans via the Mississippi River but via the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore an adequately sized blue water Navy was essential to the defense of New Orleans. It's not the Union's problem that the Confederacy can't build a blue water Navy. That is a problem that the secessionists simply ignored.
The U boat strategy failed miserably both times as did the Confederate raiders.
Leftyhunter
 

archieclement

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Again you didn't have to control the Gulf of Mexico for New Orleans defense. just the Mississippi River. Many historians would disagree with you on the effectiveness of the U boat campaigns. Why Soviet Union and China copied the submarine strategy to this day.

Most the countries in the world dont have strong blue water navies at all and get by quite fine......again blue water navies is reserved primarily for superpowers, as they are prohibitively expensive to build and maintain for most countries, we are pretty much the only country in the world to have one...….China and Russia have large fleets, but for sea denial, not sea control

We won the American Revolution without a blue water navy to rival Britain's.......its not a mandatory requirement as you suggest. I think you'd have a hard time finding examples of revolutionary countries that won their freedom from naval superiority, as to build and maintain a large naval force requires being established and having time to build the fleets, for the most part.
 
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Bruce Vail

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Yes but once the Union Army seized Battery Wagner they were able to greatly restrict the blockade runners in and out if Charleston. Of course the seizure of Battery Wagner was due in large part to the heroic sacrifice if the 54th Massachusetts USCT.
Leftyhunter
Well, we've all seen "Glory" and recognize the heroism of the 54th. But they didn't really do anything to reduce Fort Wagner. They just got slaughtered. The Confederates abandoned the fort about two months after the assault of the 54th.
 
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leftyhunter

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Well, we've all seen "Glory" and recognize the heroism of the 54th. But they didn't really do anything to reduce Fort Wagner. They just got slaughtered. The Confederates abandoned the fort about two months after the assault of the 54th.
Your ignoring the part where the dead bodies of the 54th Massachusetts plus dead Union soldiers from other regiments unearthed from constant Union bombardment produced such a foul oder that Confederate soldiers were compelled to abandon Battery Wagner.
Leftyhunter
 

leftyhunter

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Again you didn't have to control the Gulf of Mexico for New Orleans defense. just the Mississippi River. Many historians would disagree with you on the effectiveness of the U boat campaigns. Why Soviet Union and China copied the submarine strategy to this day.

Most the countries in the world dont have strong blue water navies at all and get by quite fine......again blue water navies is reserved primarily for superpowers, as they are prohibitively expensive to build and maintain for most countries, we are pretty much the only country in the world to have one...….China and Russia have large fleets, but for sea denial, not sea control

We won the American Revolution without a blue water navy to rival Britain's.......its not a mandatory requirement as you suggest. I think you'd have a hard time finding examples of revolutionary countries that won their freedom from naval superiority, as to build and maintain a large naval force requires being established and having time to build the fleets, for the most part.
Are you sure you have actually studied history? Did you know that the Colonial Rebels were greatly assisted by the blue water Navies of France and Spain? Did you know that the Spanish and French navies played a key role in the victory at Yorktown?
Did you know that the Union Navy entered the Mississippi River via the Gulf of Mexico therefore avoiding the Confederate batteries at Vicksburg?
U boats were effective until about March 1943 when they took a tremendous beating. After March 1943 there were certainly allied ships lost to U Boats but such losses were easily absorbed.
We don't know how effective Chinese and Russian naval doctrine is because it has never been put to the test other then minor skirmishes with pirates off the Coast of Somalia and vicinity.
Leftyhunter
 
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Ole Miss

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Well, check your calendar dates for early 1862. At the same time that Union forces were threatening New Orleans, Gen. McClellan was beginning his march on Richmond (Peninsula Campaign). Protection of Richmond always took presence over all else for the Confederate leadership.
You must remember the Confederates fought at Pea Ridge March 7 & 8 then at Shiloh April 6 & 7, so there were few Johnnies left to protect New Orleans!
Regards
David
 
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leftyhunter

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Think it depends on the purpose of the navy. Navy's seem based on one of two philosophy's 1. Sea Control, takes the largest and strongest navies in the world, US today or Britain WW2 and before, or 2. sea denial- where one realizes they cant possibly compete for control, so the purpose of the navy is to limit or deny the others control. raiders and submarines are hallmarks of this philosophy, the U-boat fleets of the 2 world wars, the soviet navy of the cold war, Chinas today, were built on this second philosophy, and its never intended to gain control of the seas, but to simply hinder the larger navy and merchant marine
If you want to quote an actual example of sea denial that worked you should of cited the allied submarine blockade of Japan in WWII. In that case the allies could afford to produce and man a large fleet of Submarine's from bases close to Japanese maritime sea lanes. The Japanese simply didn't have the technology and manpower to combat allied submarines.
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archieclement

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If you want to quote an actual example of sea denial that worked you should of cited the allied submarine blockade of Japan in WWII. In that case the allies could afford to produce and man a large fleet of Submarine's from bases close to Japanese maritime sea lanes. The Japanese simply didn't have the technology and manpower to combat allied submarines.
Leftyhunter

LOL are you serious? We didn't win WW2 because of sea denial, but because we built a blue water navy that decimated them for sea control, not sea denial. The submarine war was a sideshow in comparison.

In comparison the German WW 2 navy never challenged for sea control, Britain enters WW2 with the arguably the largest navy in the world, and the largest merchant marine. Britain alone loses 11.7 million tons of shipping to U Boats during the war, never to be the naval or merchant marine force it was entering the war. Churchill says ‘The only thing that ever really frightened me during the war was the U-boat peril."

The United states who had a far larger economy to devote, built a submarine force that sunk less then 6 million tons of Japanese shipping compared to Germany who sunk over twice as much allied merchant tonnage. (over 14 million tons) Again the results compared to the naval disadvantage Germany entered the war with, was widely successful, no other submarine campaign has came remotely close in destroying merchant marine forces

Though as usual you seem to wish to make silly false arguments that have nothing to do with the ACW, this seems to be the anything but ACW forum to you. Your comparing results that were less then half as much, seems to do little except go further off topic. And has little to do with the philosophy a navy was built around, as we in WW2 didnt focus on a sea denial instead of a sea control philosophy at all....... Perhaps you missed the building the Essex class aircraft carriers, the largest class of blue water CV's ever built, whose purpose is sea control.

And again it seems you who haven't studied history or all, or have a lack of reading comprehension. I asked for examples of revolutionary countries that won from naval superiority..........and you provide none, but play on words to "assisted" and only "assisted" from third parties which has little to do with a revolutionary counties naval philosophy at all, but instead some third parties...….. If you cant answer whats asked, refrain from disingenuous false answers....... But please continue to go further and further off topic with statements that dont hold water anyway.

Not sure where you think your silly argument is relevant to New Orleans or the ACW anyway......the purpose of a philosophy a naval strategy is based on is however relevent. The CSA like the US in the revolution never tried to build a blue water navy to rival Britain's for sea control, because they knew they couldn't, so they also resorted to primarily raiding for attempting some measure of sea denial. So the naval philosophies of the two seem to be similiar and relates to an actual CW philosphy.

Unless your discussion of naval philosophy relates directly to the CW, please try to stay to how it relates to CSA or New Orleans defense

Sea denial is a strategy utilized by the have nots to this day, in the case of the Soviet Union or China they mabye are even haves as a nation, but so far behind in naval strength its the only real viable option for them to pursue, and would have been the most appropriate for the Confederacy as well. The point of sea denial isn't to win the war in itself, but that they have recognized they are going to live or die by a land war, not a naval one, the same as the United States pursued in the revolution
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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While I'm ordinarily heavily Navy-oriented, I do feel that a lot of this (however interesting) is irrelevant. I'd like to reemphasize that the failure of the Confederacy to adequately defend New Orleans with land forces was the most important factor in its loss. If Farragut's fleet had run past the forts and then found New Orleans (or its outer defenses) teeming with a powerful and well-placed defense force, he could have done little other than bombard it or run past it further upriver.

What he accomplished at New Orleans was to bypass and cut off the primary defenses (Forts Jackson and St. Philip) as well as eliminate their naval covering force. Coupled with the (relatively small) Union land force, this effectively placed both forts in a state of siege with no realistic chance of raising it. The fall of the city itself was a strategic opportunity that Farragut perceived and took immediate advantage of, but even then it was a near-run thing-- he couldn't breathe easier until Porter and Butler completed the neutralization of the forts and sent troops upriver to garrison the city.

For their part, the Confederacy's mistakes seem to have been in overestimating the defensive value of the forts (as previously noted). It's important to remember that not everyone in the Confederate command fell into this error-- there was a lot of correspondence from local commanders and civil authorities in New Orleans basically pleading for the retention/return of troops that Louisiana had provided for use elsewhere, so the threat was correctly perceived at the local level. (But I'm sure being able to say "I told you so" was poor compensation for the loss of the South's largest city.)
 

JeffBrooks

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There is no evidence that the Confederacy could win a naval arms race with the US and no evidence that the British were willing to sell effective ironclad ships to the Confederacy.
Well, sure. But we're not talking about a naval arms race. We're talking specifically about the defense of New Orleans in the spring of 1862.
 
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