Book Review: Confederate Admiral: The Life and Wars of Franklin Buchanan (Blue Jacket Books)


by Craig L. Symonds

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2008. Pp. xvi, 274 . Illus., maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $18.95 paper. ISBN: 1591148464


Franklin Buchanan had 45 years of distinguished service "under the old flag," when, early in 1861, he resigned from the U.S. Navy under the mistaken impression that Maryland, his home stat, was about to secede.  When Maryland didn?t secede, he attempted to return to service with the U.S.N., only to be rejected.  So he adhered to the Confederacy, and four years of impressive accomplishments followed, including promotion to admiral.

Originally published in 1999, Craig Symonds' is undoubtedly the best life of this outstanding officer.  Unlike most books about Civil War personalities, nearly half of the work is devoted to a detailed look at "Buck's" pre-war career, from the waning days of the War of 1812, through anti-piracy operations, the war with Mexico, the foundation of the Naval Academy, and cruises almost literally to every backwater washed by the seas.  Confederate Admiral then gives an account of the curious circumstances surround Buchanan's entry into Confederate service.  There follows a long discussion of Buchanan's career in the Confederate Navy, with outstanding accounts of his two principal battles, Hampton Roads and Mobile Bay. 

A valuable book for anyone interested in the naval side of the Civil War, or the history of the naval service.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   

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