American Civil War for Kids - Civil War Navy and Naval Battles Illustration

American Civil War for Kids - the Navy

Both the North and the South had navies as well as armies.  The North had a naval academy already established at Annapolis. Prior to the war, the South was home to several excellent military academies, but they trained men for the army. The new country of The Confederate States of America (the South) needed a naval training academy of their own. They established the Confederate Naval Academy in 1861; the school formally opened in 1863. The first and only class graduated from the Academy in December 1864. 

106 cadets were accepted into the Confederate Naval Academy. The cadets received pay of $500 per year, plus food, shelter, and uniforms. A ship was assigned to the Academy, the CSS Patrick Henry. The Patrick Henry held 52 men. So cadets were rotated between classrooms on land and instruction afloat on the Patrick Henry. The South wanted their education to be well-rounded, so besides seamanship, navigation, and gunnery, cadets were also schooled in French, German, English, math and physics.

The cadets were often ordered to lend the Confederate war effort a hand. Some briefly served on ironclads (ships) in rivers to gain experience. They manned the huge sea coast cannons. Under orders, when Richmond was attacked, a handful of cadets were able to escape Richmond with the Confederate treasury, which they delivered safely to President Jefferson Davis in South Carolina.

Navies of the Civil War

Pictures of Ships of the Civil War

The Ironclads: 1862, Monitor vs. Merrimack (also known as the Battle of Hampton Roads)

For Teachers

Free American Civil War Lesson Plans, Classroom Activities, Simulations, Debates, Role Play, Projects, Maps