Robert M. Browning Jr.
The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War
University of Alabama Press 2015
Though the U.S. Navy’s blockade of the Confederacy has not received the attention devoted to the bloody campaigns on land, it was an important contributor to the Union’s victory in the Civil War. In Lincoln’s Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War (University of Alabama Press, 2015), Robert M. Browning Jr. describes the operations of the blockade in the Gulf Coast region. At the start of the war the newly-formed West Gulf squadron was faced with the task of patrolling hundreds of miles of coastline, from the Florida port of Pensacola to the Rio Grande River. Initially composed of just a handful of ships, the squadron would often spend months stationed off the coast, attempting to interdict the blockade runners that aided the Confederate war effort by bringing in the supplies the Confederates could not produce themselves. As the war went on the squadron took on the formidable task of capturing the major Confederate ports, and under the command of David Farragut it was instrumental to the capture of New Orleans and Mobile, as well as the occupation of the lower Mississippi River. It was through such efforts that the navy helped the Union win the war, and sooner than might otherwise have been possible.