21. Constructing Munitions of War: The Portsmouth Navy Yard Confronts the Confederacy, 1861-1865

by Richard E. Winslow III

Constructing Munitions of War, Portsmouth Marine Society

This book focuses on the Portsmouth Navy Yard from 1860 through 1865. Outside events affected Portsmouth, and Portsmouth, in turn, influenced the rest of the world. The U.S.S. Kearsarge, built at the Yard during 1861 and 1862, fought the C.S.S. Alabama off Cherbourg, France, in 1864. The Portsmouth merchant ship Rockingham, destroyed by the Alabama, became the center of Anglo-American diplomatic negotiations, leading to international treaties a few years later. Here too, is the story of the Agamenticus, the only ironclad built at the Yard.

Thousands of unpublished letters, diaries, and documents, along with printed letters and reports, have preserved many an anguished voice: a ship captain describing difficulties on the high seas or in faraway ports; Yard commandants reporting problems to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles or to bureau chiefs; a New Hampshire senator alleging graft and corruption at the Yard; officers and seamen aboard the U.S.S. Kearsarge and aboard gunboats on blockading duty detailing combat hazards.

7×10 Hardcover, 454 pages, clothbound, ISBN 0-915819-20-1 $35.00