New Release Books by Saxon Bisbee

Saxon Bisbee is the author of Engines of Rebellion (2018) and The Scuppernong River Project (2012).

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Engines of Rebellion

release date: Aug 07, 2018
Engines of Rebellion
A challenge to the prevailing idea that Confederate ironclads were inherently defective. The development of steam propulsion machinery in warships during the nineteenth century, in conjunction with iron armor and shell guns, resulted in a technological revolution in the world’s navies. Warships utilizing all of these technologies were built in France and Great Britain in the 1850s, but it was during the American Civil War that large numbers of ironclads powered solely by steam proved themselves to be quite capable warships. Historians have given little attention to the engineering of Confederate ironclads, although the Confederacy was often quite creative in building and obtaining marine power plants. Engines of Rebellion: Confederate Ironclads and Steam Engineering in the American Civil War focuses exclusively on ships with American built machinery, offering a detailed look at marine steam-engineering practices in both northern and southern industry prior to and during the Civil War. Beginning with a contextual naval history of the Civil War, the creation of the ironclad program, and the advent of various technologies, Saxon T. Bisbee analyzes the armored warships built by the Confederate States of America that represented a style adapted to scarce industrial resources and facilities. This unique historical and archaeological investigation consolidates and expands on the scattered existing information about Confederate ironclad steam engines, boilers, and propulsion systems. Through analysis of steam machinery development during the Civil War, Bisbee assesses steam plants of twenty-seven ironclads by source, type, and performance, among other factors. The wartime role of each vessel is discussed, as well as the stories of the people and establishments that contributed to its completion and operation. Rare engineering diagrams never before published or gathered in one place are included here as a complement to the text.

The Scuppernong River Project

release date: Dec 15, 2012
The Scuppernong River Project
This project emerged from conversations between three individuals, Dr. Lawrence Babits (Program in Maritime Studies, ECU), Dr. Nancy White (UNC-Coastal Studies Institute), and Feather Phillips (Pocosin Arts Folk School) in the spring of 2011. This meeting was focused on a very simple question, “how can we work together?” Coincidentally, I had recently become the Interim Program Head at the Coastal Studies Institute (a joint appointment with the Program in Maritime Studies), and was scheduled to teach HIST6835: Advanced Research Methods for Maritime Archaeology (a class for MA students centered on utilizing technology in maritime archaeology and focused on instructing students in utilizing remote sensing instrumentation). It was obvious that with these three organizations in the lead, we could start the process of concurrently researching the largely unexamined Scuppernong River (and adjacent Bull Bay) while also teaching students how to conduct a remote sensing survey. Consequently, I was thrown into the fray. At first I felt some trepidation – after all, not all rivers are the same – not all rivers hold the potential to teach our students about the techniques and technologies at our disposal, and even fewer rivers guarantee us the promise of engaging our intellectual curiosities.


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