A review of Civil War Logistics: A Study of Military Transportation, By Earl J. Hess
Ran this past week on H-War. It included this interesting sentence: “Things might have been different, had the Confederates put more funding into the national rail system instead of the hugely expensive ironclads that contributed so little to their cause.”
Is this a widely shared opinion? I have read many books and articles about the use of ironclads by both the Union and Confederacy, and I was aware that few of the Confederate rams accomplished much, though the CSS Virginia and CSS Albemarle both sank ships and tied up considerable Union resources. But was the decision to build these ships controversial in the Confederate government? Was the decision to build the CSS Chicora, for example, made by South Carolina, or the government in Richmond? Have either naval or economic historians of the Civil War argued that the Confederacy would have been better off not investing in ironclads at all?