The Confederate States of America started life in a pretty good position. Having just broken away from the United States it pretty much had a template for a central government, a government infrastructure to start with and even a decent economy. Building an army to defend all of it was not even much of a challenge as tens of thousands of men flocked to the colors. There was however one area that they were going to lag far behind, they needed a navy.
In February 1861 the Confederate Navy had 30 ships of which only 13 were actually considered seaworthy. This was compared to the US that had over 90 ships in their fleet. They would never really catch up so they relied on technology and tactics to make up the lost ground.
The Confederate Navy would pioneer the use of ironclads and submarines and even a rough version of the torpedo (mines). As the United States Navy attempted to control the rivers and coast of the Confederacy and implement a blockade against them the rebels fought the best they could, but soon focused their naval efforts on two fronts.
Running the blockade with war supplies, luxury items and other sundries was their lifeline and the navy was tasked helping to make that possible. Then of course were the privateers who became the living embodiment of the struggle on the seas as they made the US economy bleed.
Eventually the Confederate Navy would number over a hundred ships with names such as Virginia, Alabama and the infamous CSS Shenandoah who fought on after the war only surrendering her colors in November 1865, five full months after the war had ended.