Confederate Naval Cadet

The Diary and Letters of Midshipman Hubbard T. Minor, with a History of the Confederate Naval Academy


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About the Book

When the Civil War began, the southerners found themselves ill-prepared for the realities of waging war, especially on the naval front. Not only did the Confederates lack any semblance of a navy, they had few raw materials with which to construct one. The daunting task of building a navy fell on the shoulders of Stephen Mallory, newly appointed secretary of the navy. A former United States senator from Florida, Mallory had resigned from office when his home state seceded from the Union and he pledged himself to the service of the Confederacy. His intelligence and resourcefulness accomplished what many saw as impossible—the creation of a viable, combat-ready southern navy. Among his primary goals was the establishment of a naval academy, a step which Mallory considered essential for building a serious military force. In July 1863, the Confederate Naval Academy inducted its first class of cadets—among which was Hubbard T. Minor from the army’s 42nd Tennessee regiment.
Focusing on the latter part of the war, this work provides an in-depth look at the realities of life as a cadet at the Confederate Naval Academy. Beginning with an overview of the academy, the book contains a brief biographical sketch of each of the school’s principal instructors. The main focus of the work, however, is the diary which Hubbard Minor kept as a cadet requirement. One of only two such documents to survive, it provides a day-by-day account of Minor’s duties as well as his active service on board the CSS Savannah. Events covered include the June 1864 raid on the USS Water Witch, the evacuation of Savannah, and the Confederate retreat to Richmond. Selected letters from Minor’s correspondence are inserted where chronologically relevant, while introductions and other explanatory information are added only as necessary to aid the reader. Appendices contain a list of regulations from the Confederate school ship Patrick Henry; the initial report from Austin Pendergrast, commander of the USS Water Witch; a roster of officers assigned to the CSS Savannah; and a report from Commander Brent of the Confederate navy regarding the evacuation of Savannah. Illustrations and an index are also included.

About the Author(s)

Writer, editor and historian R. Thomas Campbell is a retired health systems consultant who lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania and Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Hubbard T. Minor
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 65 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2007
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2645-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. The 42nd Tennessee Infantry Regiment      5
2. The Confederate Naval Academy      16
3. The Academic Staff      31
4. The Diary      50
5. Some Final Thoughts      138

Appendices      141
Notes      205
Bibliography      209
Index      211

Book Reviews & Awards

“interesting…wonderfully illustrated and well edited…will be of special interest to confederate Naval buffs…recommended”—Civil War News; “a useful personal account”—Blue & Gray Magazine; “Campbell has crafted a brief but enthralling view of one man’s search for a purpose in life. As an account of wartime activities, Minor’s diary is itself a worthwhile read. But Campbell also brings out the human side of Minor as a typical example of the tribulations of wartime”—H-Net Reviews; “worthwhile reading”—The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord.