Civil War Magazine Review: Civil War Navy: The Magazine

CivilWarNavyMagazineSummer2018Vol6No1McQuarrie, Gary & Williams, Charles (eds.). Civil War Navy: The Magazine. (CSA Media, LLC). 64 pages, images, maps, notes.  ISSN: 978-1-61121-216-7. 1 year (4 issues): $24.99; 2 years (8 issues): $45.99

Fans of the naval portion of the American Civil War have a solid alternative to the many Civil War magazines out on the market today.  In Civil War Navy: The Magazine, a quarterly publication, editors Gary McQuarrie and Charles Williams have produced a gorgeously laid out magazine and web site aimed at the everyday reader interested in Civil War naval affairs.  All theaters and aspects of the naval war appear to receive loving attention.  Images, maps, and sidebars are paired with an excellent lineup of contributors and annotated articles to produce content well worth the published subscription price.

Editor Gary McQuarrie was kind enough to provide some additional background on the origins of the magazine:

The inaugural issue of Civil War Navy—The Magazine was the Spring 2012 issue. The Editor & Publisher, Charles Williams (Savannah, GA), started purchasing Civil War-related domain names in 2003 because of his interest in the subject and had planned to develop a website on the Civil War navies. Over several years, Charles extended his contacts and by 2011 a group of 6 individuals (including Charles) with enthusiasm for the topic decided to start the magazine. It is and always has been published quarterly. By 2016, individuals in the group had fallen out of the process and left only Charles to produce and publish the magazine. In one of his Editor’s Notes, he asked readers for any assistance and I ultimately responded and offered to become the Managing Editor, which occurred in March 2017. We completely redesigned the magazine and moved to an expert-contributor model and expanded the content. The first issue of the redesigned version was Summer 2017. We also updated and redesigned the website at the same time.

The editors describe their magazine as follows on the main page of their web site:

Civil War Navy – The Magazine, published quarterly, was launched in 2012 to explore and describe in detail the naval history of the conflict and more fully underpin its military role and importance. The Civil War naval history explodes into life on the pages of Civil War Navy, a magazine about a time-honored era. The magazine was updated with a new design in 2017 and features new, expert-authored content supplemented with extensive period black and white photographs, illustrations, and artwork that define the naval history of the War Between the North and South. Our latest issue, the Table of Contents, and first pages of some of its articles are shown below. We invite you to subscribe to the magazine and support our mission.

I’m extremely impressed by the work of Mssrs. McQuarrie and Williams.  Since becoming a dad, my available time to read Civil War magazines has significantly declined, and I hadn’t heard of Civil War Navy—The Magazine until I was contacted by Mr. McQuarrie via email about items on my Siege of Petersburg site.  I was surprised to find out the magazine has been published for six years already! Currently, there are 64 pages of text with a few pages of advertisements added to the back of the magazine.  Images, maps, endnotes (sometimes), tables and more grace the pages.  The sheer amount and pleasing placement of images is what strikes first time readers the most.  You can’t hardly turn a page without finding something to break up the text, and in some articles images ARE the main story. With explanatory text tracking down identities or better explaining what the reader is viewing.


In the two issues I was given for review, the articles run the gamut of Civil War naval topics.  Various theaters are covered, as well as fresh water and salt water stories.  Articles appear to be your typical mix of what veteran Civil War magazine subscribers have come to expect: original articles, excerpts from books on Civil War navies, and reprints of classic articles which may not have very wide circulation.

In the Spring 2018 (Volume 5 Issue 4) and Summer 2018 (Volume 6 Issue 1) issues, for example, you get the following:

Original Articles:

  • “The Capture of Gosport Navy Yard” by John V. Quarstein
  • “Creating the Union Inland Navy” by Gary D. Joiner
  • “Bluejackets and Contrabands: African Americans in the Union Navy” by Barbara Brooks Tomblin
  • “African American Bluejackets: Identified Seamen Photographs” by Ron Field
  • “’Powder Monkeys:’ Boy Seamen of the Union Navy” by Ron Field
  • “Iconic Civil War Navy Image Revisited: The Story of First Class Boy Aspinwall Fuller” by Ron Field
  • “Perish Thus If Duty Calls: James E. Taylor and His Scrapbooks” by Olga Tsapina
  • “Pursuit of the USS Indianola” Dramatic Chase and Capture on the Mississippi River” by R. Thomas Campbell
  • “Collecting Admiral David Glasgow Farragut Memorabilia”” by Paul DeHaan
  • “USS Cumberland” Sink Before Surrender” by John V. Quarstein

CumberlandBook Excerpts

Reprinted Articles

  • “Black Men in Navy Blue During the Civil War” by Joseph P. Reidy (reprinted from Prologue Quarterly, Fall 2001, Volume 33 (No 3))
  • “Last Moments of the Cumberland” by Thomas O. Selfridge, U. S. N. (reprinted from the Memoirs of Thomas O. Selfridge; Selfridge was a Lieutenant on board the Cumberland during the battle and had an eyewitness view to momentous events)


  • Naval Art Gallery: A Look at a specific piece of art and the story behind it
  • Military Images: A guest column written by Ronald Coddington, wel known among Civil War buffs for his excellent Military Images magazine, also referred to as “MI.” It turns out the two magazines are supporters of one another, and both are excellently run and beautifully published.


As an added bonus, Mr. McQuarrie sent along an important reference article for people doing research on Civil War naval affairs.  This article, “Guide to Finding Civil War Naval Photographs,” appears in the Fall 2017 issue of Civil War Navy—The Magazine. In it, the editors of the magazine show interested researchers how to find naval images for free online.  They based this article on the Center for Civil War Photography’s guide of the same name, but added much to it.  This is an excellent guide to gathering and studying original Civil War images, and a purchase of this issue as a back copy is worth it for this article alone.

If you’re still with me, I highly recommend checking out the magazine’s web site:

Subscribing online could not be simpler.  As of late August 2018, you have a choice of 1 year (4 issues) for $24.99 or 2 years, (8 issues) for $45.99.  The latter is the better value. If you’re not convinced, the editors offer sneak peeks of the magazine on their site as well.

Civil War Navy—The Magazine is an impressive addition to the often crowded Civil War magazine field.  However, this magazine fills a specific niche, and fills it well.  The content you get for the subscription price is extremely reasonable when compared with its peers.  While the magazine appears to mainly aimed at the non-professional Civil War reading public, I know many academics would enjoy it as well.  If you are at all interested in the Civil War on the water, Civil War Navy—The Magazine is a worthwhile addition to your stable of Civil War magazines.  Subscribe today!

Note: Two issues of Civil War Navy (Spring 2018 (Volume 5 Issue 4) and Summer 2018 (Volume 6 Issue 1)) were provided free of charge for the purposes of this review.


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