With the next batch of ship drawings still on the slipways - here is the overview for 1901-1910. Enjoy!
US National Overview:
This decade of political and social upheaval started with an assassination in the US only two years after an anti-emancipation fundamentalist shot and killed Confederate President Benton McMillin. On April 15th 1902, US President Matthew Quay was shot by an anarchist sniper while giving a speech in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He lived for another three months before succumbing to his wounds causing his vice-president; a former Secretary of the Navy named Theodore Roosevelt to be sworn in as president in early August.
Roosevelt, easily one of the most dynamic and energetic leaders in US history, oversaw a period of dramatic change in the United States, both domestically as well as in international affairs, as well as a doubling of his beloved US Navy. Switching to the newly established Progressive Party for the 1904 election as it was more inline with his political views; Roosevelt was elected in a landslide. Running for an unprecedented third term in 1908, he was re-elected easily as his party gained control of both houses of Congress. During his long administration he oversaw many changes; civil service reform, trust regulation, conservation initiatives, food and drug safety and other programs.
The man his friends called “TR” made his mark on foreign issues as well. He strengthened ties with Mexico and dramatically improved relations with Argentina and Peru. He reached out to most of the major powers in Europe and hosted a highly successful summit with Great Britain and France in 1910. Held in a resort at Lake Tahoe, the summit is credited by modern historians with beginning the reconciliation between the US and the Confederacy’s two major European allies.
Two major wars occurred during TR’s time in office. The first, the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905) was the first time modern capital ships had met in battle and was the catalyst for the development of the “all-big gun” battleship; the first of which; HMS Dreadnought was launched in 1905. Roosevelt offered to serve as peace negotiator in the conflict which earned him a Nobel Prize. Ironically, less than a year later, he would become commander in chief during the first full-scale conflict between the US and CSA since the Civil War. The Western Pacific War was fought between 1906 and 1908 over Confederate expansionist moves and threats against the Hawaiian Islands. The war was fought mainly at sea and was a decisive US victory that gained the country Guam, the Carolinas and the Marianas island chains. In a testament to Roosevelt’s earlier diplomatic efforts, it was ended by the Treaty of London – much to the Confederacy’s chagrin.
Matthew S. Quay (R-PA) 1901-1902 A
Theodore Roosevelt (R-NY; P-NY after 1904) 1902-1913
Theodore Roosevelt (R-NY) 1901-1902 S
Office vacant 1902-1905
Robert M. La Follette (P-WI) 1905-1913
Political party abbreviations: D-Democratic Party; R-Republican Party; P-Progressive Party
Key: A: Assassinated; D: Died in office; I: Impeached; R: Resigned; S: Succeeded to presidency
States admitted (year):
Other acquired territory:
Guam: Acquired by the United States following the Western Pacific War – territory from 1908
Costa Rica: Protectorate established in 1901 following Central American Crisis
Caroline Islands: Acquired by the US following the Western Pacific War – protectorate from 1908
Mariana Islands: Acquired by the US following the Western Pacific War – protectorate from 1908
CS National Overview:
In the aftermath of the McMillin assassination in 1900, the Confederacy struggled for direction. For CS President George Vest, preventing the overturn of the Emancipation Act of 1899 became his primary focus and other issues were forced to the back burner. This had a cascade effect that threw the congressional elections of 1901 into chaos, Confederation-Reform party members were swept from office almost to a man and President Vest himself would resign (some evidence says “forced” out) in 1903.
In an unsettling move, the States First majority in the CS Congress would appoint the current Secretary of War, James Pugh, as interim president. As he served out the remainder of Vest’s term, Pugh instigated a massive build-up of the Confederate military – including the acquisition of the CSN’s first submarines – much to the concern of the United States.
Pugh was succeeded in the election of 1903 by Charles Culberson of the traditionalist wing of the Confederation Party. He would continue the military build-up begun by Pugh and push through planning for the occupation of Hawaii leading to the outbreak of war with the United States in 1906.
Following the CSA’s defeat in the Western Pacific War, it was surprising that Culberson’s vice-president; Marion Butler was elected in 1909 – vote tampering and out-right fraud was suspected by many in the opposition but never conclusively proved. Butler proved to be an utter failure both domestically and on the foreign stage, alienating most of the CSA’s European allies and shunning any diplomatic overtures from the US – infuriating President Roosevelt who called him “that Immoral Southern Brigand”. Unsurprisingly, relations continued to worsen as a result. Butler also was manipulated by hawks from both major parties in Congress to escalate the naval arms race with the US despite the destabilizing effect it would have – setting the stage for the brutal and destructive war between the Americas which would erupt thirteen years later.
George G. Vest (CR-MO) 1900-1903 R
James L. Pugh (S-AL) 1903-1904
Charles A. Culberson (C-TX) 1904-1910
Office vacant 1900-1904
Marion Butler (CR-NC) 1904-1910
Political party abbreviations: C-Confederation Party; S-States First Party; CR-Confederation-Reform Party; RF-Reform Party; F-Foundation Party
Key: A: Assassinated; D: Died in office; I: Impeached; R: Resigned; S: Succeeded to presidency
States admitted (year):
Other acquired territory:
Western Pacific War 1906-1908:
The conflict which many historians call a “dress-rehearsal” for the War of the Americas began in late August of 1906. It was planned from the beginning that a large CSN strike fleet based in the Philippines would hit the few military installations in Hawaii – centered on the island of Oahu – in order to seize control. Afterward, a large contingent of Confederate ground forces would be established there to prevent the US from retaking the islands. As the plan required utmost secrecy it was decided early on that no formal declaration of war would be issued by the Confederate government. On August 22, 1906, a group of CS warships set sail for the Hawaiian Islands from their base in Manila Bay. Ten days later, a convoy of troop transports and supply vessels with heavy naval escort left the Guaymas Naval Base in the state of Independence. This force was spotted traversing the Gulf of California by a Mexican cruiser out of Puerto Escondido on the Baja peninsula. The cruiser immediately sent a warning by wireless to the base there and in turn to Mexico City and soon after, Washington DC.
President Roosevelt immediately ordered US ships out of San Diego (the nearest major US base) to search for the Confederate ships and divine their intentions. Locating their quarry a few days later and discovering their course for Hawaii, the ships reported back their findings and continued to shadow the CS ships. Roosevelt – perhaps remembering the lack of a formal declaration of war at the beginning of the Central American Crisis – was incensed and immediately called for an emergency joint session of Congress.
That body at first was reluctant to act based on the evidence presented. This all changed when frantic wireless messages began arriving from Oahu. A sizable force of Confederate ships had engaged the small force of second-line cruisers stationed there without warning – destroying the entire force and shelling the forts defending Pearl Harbor. Congress quickly voted to declare war and Roosevelt wasted no time – ordering the entire Pacific Fleet into action.
The first encounter was between the CS convoy and its escorts and the US ships which had been shadowing them and took place on September 17, 1906. A hard fought battle; the result was a narrow victory for the US that saw the transports and supply ships fleeing for temporary refuge in Honduras. Damaged ships were sent back to the West Coast for repair and the rest rendezvoused with the main Pacific Fleet which sailed to Hawaii to force the occupying Confederate squadron to battle.
First Battle of Hawaii: September 28, 1906
The first battle for the Hawaiian Islands set the tone for the entire conflict. The First US Pacific Squadron – now augmented by the still operational ships of the shadowing force neared Oahu on the morning of September 28th. Under the command of Rear Admiral John K. Barton, the US force consisted of 6 battleships, 6 armored cruisers, 12 protected cruisers, and 22 destroyers. Barton’s flagship was the battleship USS New Hampshire.
The occupying Confederate force was under the command of Rear Admiral Presley M. Rixey and was made up of 5 battleships, 4 armored cruisers, 6 protected cruisers, 7 destroyers and 26 torpedo boats with Rixey’s flagship the armored cruiser CSS Steadfast.
Warned of the approaching US force by one of his destroyers, Rixey decided to force the US ships to come to him and hopefully thin their numbers by running past the now-Confederate manned coastal forts. Barton took the bait but managed to get past the shore batteries losing only a destroyer. Entering Pearl Harbor, the US ships immediately engaged the Confederate vessels in a brutal six hour battle which ended with Rixey’s hasty withdrawal from Oahu. US losses in the battle were 2 armored cruisers, and 2 destroyers; while Confederate losses were higher at 2 battleships, 1 protected cruiser, 2 destroyers, and 10 torpedo boats.
With the departure of the CS squadron and the arrival several days later of US ground troops, the Confederate Army forces occupying Oahu surrendered October 20th. Rixey was later court-martialed for what many in the CSN Admiralty considered a “cowardly” withdrawal despite testimony that the US held both a tactical and strategic advantage after the battle. He was replaced by Fleet Admiral David Arthur of Spanish-Confederate War fame.
Guam Campaign: February 16, 1907 to October 4, 1907
Admiral Arthur, realizing that the Confederacy’s prewar naval buildup had failed to match the US in major warships, created a brilliant plan following the defeat in Hawaii to undertake a campaign of harassment and diversionary battles to whittle down the US Pacific Fleet in order to facilitate retaking the Hawaiian Islands by early 1908.
Arthur chose the island of Guam as his objective with strikes throughout the Caroline and Marianas island chains as diversions. Beginning in February of 1907 and running through October, the campaign was at first very successful, seeing the Confederacy occupying Guam in April. However, as more US ships were shifted from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the recently completed Panama Canal (over the CSA’s vehement objections) the tide began to turn. The last “official” battle of the campaign was the Third Battle of the Marianas October 4th 1907 where the battered remains of Arthur’s First Battle Fleet withdrew under heavy fire – Arthur himself being fished out of the water after his flagship – the battleship CSS Arkansas – was sunk. Offering to surrender, Arthur was taken to see Admiral John Barton; commander of the victorious US fleet. Barton accepted Arthur’s dress saber but then immediately returned it stating “I cannot accept your sword sir, as you have more than earned the right to retain it with a superbly orchestrated operation fought with courage and honor.”
The seven month campaign had seen the heaviest losses of the entire war with the US losing 2 battleships, 1 armored cruiser, 1 protected cruiser, 2 scout cruisers, and 4 destroyers to the CSA’s loss of 2 battleships, 2 armored cruisers, 2 protected cruisers, 4 destroyers and 19 torpedo boats.
In addition to the losses of ships and personnel, the failed Guam Campaign also destroyed Admiral Arthur’s career. He was quickly made the scapegoat by the Culberson Administration and his Reformist political leanings didn’t help matters. He was forced into early retirement in early November of 1907 and returned to his home in Virginia. After the War ended, Admiral Barton made a personal plea on Arthur’s behest as he still held his former opponent in high regard, but to no avail. Nevertheless, the two men became friends with Arthur making several trips north as a guest of Barton’s until the latter’s death in 1921.
Second Battle of Hawaii: January 14-15, 1908
The man tapped to replace Arthur as commander of the First Battle Fleet was Rear Admiral William Davis Mayfield – a political crony of CS President Culberson. Mayfield, promoted to Fleet Admiral November 11th, 1907, immediately put forth a bold, albeit ill-conceived plan; namely to attempt another occupation of the Hawaiian Islands. As Mayfield’s scheme was debated, one thing quickly became clear; it would require nearly the entire Confederate Navy to have even a chance of victory and could not wait for new ships currently under construction to enter service as many of Mayfield’s subordinates wanted – including the first “dreadnoughts” in North America – the Georgia class. Mayfield countered with the fact that the US was also building new ships and already held a nearly two to one advantage in heavy warships – why this fact didn’t dissuade the Admiral from this dangerous course has been hotly debated to this day.
With President Culberson’s full support, the plan quickly moved forward. Nearly the entire Confederate battle-line was mobilized and would lead the attack. Departing from the Guaymas Naval Base on January 3rd, the ships; 5 battleships, 6 armored cruisers, 11 protected cruisers, 6 destroyers, and 42 torpedo boats led by Mayfield’s flagship – the battleship CSS Mississippi – reached the Kaiwi Channel between Oahu and Molokai by late morning on January 14th.
Within an hour, Mayfield had broken up his torpedo boats into six flotillas each led by a destroyer and sent them into Pearl Harbor for both reconnaissance and to cause as much damage as possible. Unbeknownst to the Confederates, however, the USN had been quietly building up its facilities on Oahu for nearly a year – all during the Guam Campaign – and had also built up a powerful force of 12 battleships, 14 armored cruisers, 24 protected cruisers, 6 scout cruisers and 30 destroyers. Rear Admiral Clarence Halstead led the US force from his flagship, the battleship USS Rhode Island.
Mayfield’s torpedo boats and their destroyer “leaders” thus immediately ran into a group of US destroyers – over half of which were advanced Henley, Edmondson, or Duvall class ships – which intercepted them just inside the outer channel. The attack was totally disrupted and nine Confederate craft were sunk and another eight damaged before they could withdraw. Following the enemy ships, the US destroyers spotted part of Mayfield’s force as it also withdrew to the east of Molokai and quickly came about to warn the rest of the fleet.
Regrouping his forces just before sunset, Mayfield ordered a risky night attack by his main battle group which entered the outer channel just after midnight. Despite patrolling scout cruisers and destroyers, the Confederates did achieve some measure of surprise and opened fire on the heavy warships anchored off Ford Island. The US ships quickly rallied however, and the battle was joined. It ranged all over the harbor and in the confined space quickly turned into a slug-fest. When it ended four hours later, it had cost the US 2 battleships, 3 protected cruisers, 2 scout cruisers and 7 destroyers with many more damaged to varying degrees. CSN losses were much higher – 3 battleships, 3 armored cruisers, 5 protected cruisers, 5 destroyers and 9 more torpedo boats were sunk before the Confederate fleet managed to slip out of the harbor just before daybreak. Regrouping again off Molokai, Mayfield decided he’d had enough – his battered fleet was now outnumbered more than two to one and worse, many of his remaining ships were no longer fit to fight. With the US fleet certain to sortie at any time, he wrote off the entire operation and set course for home.
End of the War and aftermath:
Following the Second Battle for Hawaii, Mayfield was stripped of command of First Battle Fleet and reassigned to the CSN Academy in Mobile. Although President Culberson and many in the government wanted to press forward despite the setback, the truth was it would be a catastrophic mistake which could only lead to the destruction of the CSN. Down to only two operational battleships and three armored cruisers compared to ten US battleships and fourteen armored cruisers – with more under construction – launching another offensive would be a suicide mission.
Although some minor skirmishes occurred over the next few weeks, a ceasefire was in place by February 11, 1908, and peace negotiations began in London by the beginning of March. The resulting Treaty of London, sighed in late May ceded Guam and the Carolinas to the United States. Germany sold the Marianas Islands (liberated from CSA occupation) to the US shortly thereafter leaving only the Philippines in the Confederacy’s control.
US Navy 1901-1910:
The most significant developments for the US Navy during this decade were the advent of “dreadnought” battleships, the adoption of steam turbines, and the first operational submarines. When the launch of HMS Dreadnought turned the naval world on its head in 1905, the US was slow to realize the fact that all her battleships were now obsolete. The New Hampshire through North Dakota classes were all progressive improvements on the Vermont class (commissioned in 1903) the first built under the leadership of Richard Tallmadge, the new head of BuC&R and were conventional mixed caliber designs. Reports coming out of Great Britain and the Confederacy however, forced the USN to reevaluate its policies. Unable to convince the Secretary of the Navy of the need for single caliber battleships of its own, Tallmadge’s team created the Oregon class. A compromise design in several respects, the new ships carried four 12” and twelve 10” guns and were quickly classed as “semi-dreadnoughts” by the other naval powers. It would not be until early in the next decade that the US would have true dreadnoughts of its own. Steam turbine propulsion, on the other hand, was adopted very quickly, first on destroyers, then on progressively larger warships until USS Montana was commissioned in 1909 as the first turbine-driven US battleship. Submarines entered the fleet in 1902 with two A class boats based on the Sailfish, a prototype built for the Navy by Connecticut native Xavier Haversham. Submarine technology advanced very quickly and the US D class of 1909 was fully the equal of any sub design in the world. Another development was the emergence of scout cruisers. These ancestors of the light cruiser first appeared in 1905 with the Lake Huron class and were armed with 6” main guns, were faster with similar range at roughly half the displacement of protected cruisers. A total of eleven were in service by the end of the decade.
By 1910, the US Navy could field 131 ships and consisted of 2 semi-dreadnoughts, 14 pre-dreadnoughts, 20 armored cruisers, 34 protected cruisers, 11 scout cruisers, 37 destroyers and 13 submarines.
CS Navy 1901-1910:
This decade saw the Confederate Navy effectively abandon any pretense of equaling the US Navy in sheer numbers and focus entirely on quality in design and staying innovative. This was originally a policy decision, but after the crushing defeat the Navy suffered during the Western Pacific War, it became its raison d’etre. In the adoption of turbines and practical submarines the CSN was able to pace the progress of their northern rivals for the most part. Although the first Confederate turbine-driven capital ship; CSS Rio Grande entered service nearly a year before the Montana – the first CS submarines (patterned after the British B-Class) didn’t enter service until 1906. It was in capital ships that the Confederacy leapfrogged the US once again. In 1907, the keels for two true dreadnought battleships, the Georgia class, were laid down in Norfolk. Designed with assistance from the British, the new ships were very similar to the Royal Navy’s Bellerophon and St. Vincent classes then under construction. The other significant event during this decade was of course the Western Pacific War. It was a conflict the CSN would have preferred to avoid and was a humiliating defeat – costing the Navy twenty heavy warships and nearly ninety small combatants. Thus the CSN was forced to rely on the new dreadnoughts and soon to appear battlecruisers to level the playing field once again.
By the end of the decade the Confederate Navy comprised 107 ships; 2 dreadnoughts, 5 pre-dreadnoughts, 7 armored cruisers, 11 protected cruisers, 9 destroyers, 65 torpedo boats and 8 submarines.
Last edited by StealthJester on May 31st, 2019, 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.