Maffitt's one of my favorites to read about. Unlike Semmes, he seems to have had quite a sense of humor. I've said before that, Semmes might have accomplished somewhat more (debatable), but Maffitt's the one you would have wanted to sit and have a beer with. XD
While he wasn't an officer, I think we should at least mention Stephen Mallory. His work in organizing a fleet from almost nothing is well worth credit, and was, along with Judah Benjamin and John Reagan, easily one of the most useful in Davis' cabinet.
Mallory was the Secretary of the Confederate Navy.Mallory was on my full list as well, but in the OP you specified officers.
Agreed !IMHO, the man on that list that made the biggest individual contribution to the Southern war effort was certainly James Dunwoody Bulloch. Without him, no Florida, no Alabama, no Shenandoah, no Fingal to run the blockade and later become the CSS Atlanta, and he even managed through sleight of hand to get a Confederate seagoing ironclad into service (the Stonewall). He wound down his affairs and concluded his accounts almost perfectly, and to top it off he wrote a vital history of the entire proceedings (with some urging by his nephew, later President Theodore Roosevelt).
William C. Whittle, JrSemmes the Captain of the Alabama. The Alabama was an effective raider for a good little while. The commander if the CSS Florida who allowed the USS Waschusets to somehow tow his ship out of Bahia Brazil without doing any damage to the USS Waschusets maybe not so much on the top five list.
Hollins is an interesting case. He was skilled but considered politically to be a bit of a "loose cannon". The big debate about him is whether his presence at the forts below NO would have made any difference. His recall just before the battle was one if not the worst timing of any of Richmond's decisions on the river. It can be argued that Hollins recall was both a disciplinary measure and a sign that his tendency to order or "acquire" assets for the NO station that the treasury had to find a way to pay for had reached its limit. Both Lt. Kennon (also a spender) and Lt. Read had a high opinion of him. Both of these officers tended toward independent decisions and Hollins sometimes had to reel them back in. Lt. Read wrote in his memoirs after the war that Hollins was planning another strike against Union vessels in the river at the time he was recalled to Richmond. The potential clinker was that Hollins had sent an officer across to take command of John Stevenson's privateer ram Manassas just before launching an attack on the Union blockaders at Head of Passes. A few months later Stevenson was Senior captain of what became the River Defense fleet's Southern Squadron at the forts. Just how well he would have worked with Hollins is anyone's guess. In defense of Stevenson, although he proclaimed the independence of the RDS boats loudly, he actually did make a number of attempts at cooperation. As it ended up virtually the entire crew of the Manassas less 3 officers decamped in October at the forts when Lt Warley took command and had to be replaced causing a 24-hour delay in launching the sortie. The reason for their departure was Warley's reading the naval regulations about sharing out prize money and a strong resistance to naval discipline by the rivermen privateers of Stevenson's original crew. Hollins was a bit unique in having experience both up river and down. His judgement about where the CSN's limited resources should be placed proved dead on.George N. Hollins showed alot of "zest" in the first couple of years of the war, then after the fall of New Orleans became sort of a non-factor.
I have always thought that George N Hollins, Isaac Newton Brown and Arthur Sinclair would have been the best combination for