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Captain Bulloch: The Life of James Dunwoody Bulloch, Naval Agent of the Confederacy

Stephen Chapin Kinnaman

Pages: 580
ISBN: 978-145751-822-5
List Price: 45
Available: August 2013
Edition: Hardcover (DJ)

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James Dunwoody Bulloch’s central place in history has always rested on his Civil War era achievements as a secret agent of the Confederate States Navy in Europe. He gained fame for having brought into being the Confederate States cruisers Florida, Alabama and Shenandoah. But he also built or purchased a formidable collection of warships and blockade runners, and at the War’s very end, commissioned the Confederacy’s only seagoing ironclad, the C.S.S. Stonewall. Less well known are his illustrious Georgia ancestors, who were so firmly entwined with the earliest American colonial experience, and his prominent family connections—he was the uncle of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. It has even been suggested that Bulloch is the forgotten hero of the South, whose contributions to the Confederacy’s war effort rivaled those of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, but who died in obscurity far from his native land. Captain Bulloch presents the full story of the life and times of this most remarkable man. Bulloch’s antebellum career was that of a very accomplished marine professional, first as an officer in the U.S. Navy and then as a captain of mail steamers. Examination of his American sea service reveals how Bulloch honed the tools of his trade, tools which he used so effectively during the Civil War. Bulloch’s early life at sea also paralleled the golden age of the American merchant marine; his exploits provide a valuable snapshot of its period of greatness. This coincidence is supremely ironic as his unique talents in the service of the Confederacy were largely responsible for its untimely demise. As for the man that was James Bulloch, his life was one of many caught up in a gripping family saga that started with his father’s scandalous second marriage and progressed to his step-sister’s alliance with the Roosevelts of New York. Bulloch’s extended family was soon separated by the worst crisis America has endured—the Civil War—but it survived its unwanted trial stronger than ever. At the war’s end, Bulloch was an exile, unable to return to his homeland. His subsequent years in Liverpool illustrate a tale of redemption and survival as he struggled to rebuild his life in a society far removed from his Georgian roots, Victorian England. Throughout Bulloch is revealed as a warm human being, loving and sensitive, who experienced personal tragedy but who always remained positive and productive. With a clearer picture of his life from beginning to end, we can now recognize Bulloch not only as an unsung hero of the Civil War but also as a shining example of the American experience.

Stephen Chapin Kinnaman is an offshore and marine technology professional with over thirty years of experience. He was born in 1950 and grew up in upstate New York and New Jersey. He and his wife, Maureen, currently reside in Chappell Hill, Texas. Stephen Kinnaman is the author of an article titled, “Inside the Alabama,” which appeared in the U.S. Naval Institute’s Summer 1990 issue of Naval History, and which explored the unique features of this famous warship. He is also the author of The Most Perfect Cruiser, a book focused on James Dunwoody Bulloch’s most stunning achievement, getting the commerce raider Alabama to sea. Using his perspective as both an operations manager and a historian, he has been able to craft a spirited account of the most dynamic period of Bulloch’s life, his four years as the chief Confederate naval agent in Europe.

In preparation for writing Captain Bulloch, Stephen Kinnaman followed in the footsteps of James Dunwoody Bulloch, gaining a first-hand feel for the terrain which shaped his life. Places so visited include Savannah and Roswell, Georgia; Hartford, Connecticut; New York City, Washington, D.C.; Liverpool, England; Cherbourg, France and the island of Terceira in the Azores. In addition to exploring the principal locations which figured so large in Bulloch’s life, Stephen Kinnaman has also immersed himself in the history of the world inhabited by James Dunwoody Bulloch. The result is an exposition of not only the life of the South’s most successful naval agent, but of the times in which he lived and the events which influenced him.