Civil War Anniversaries

By Panaggio, Leonard | Sea Classics, November 2011 | Go to article overview
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Civil War Anniversaries

Panaggio, Leonard, Sea Classics

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War is being recalled in the numerous^ re-enactments of battles and the appearance of published articles. The most important bit of news has indicated that the Missouri Civil War Museum, located at the Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, intends to be open to the public later this year.

Among one of the special exhibits viewers will learn how the ironclads operating on the Mississippi River preserved the Union.

In 1861, James B. Eads, an engineer, was summoned by Lincoln to Washington to determine military operations on the Mississippi. Eads suggested a fleet of gunboats and he built 14 of them and converted transports into armed vessels.

The ships were built in 1861 under contract to the War Department. However, the project was transferred to the Navy Department in 1862.

Relying on the many volumes of The Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships, and limited space, herewith are some of the battles in which the vessels of the Western Gunboat Flotilla participated.

On 15 July 1862 the 175-ft ironclad riverboat Carondelet battled the CSS Arkansas. The Union vessel was heavily damaged and counted 35 casualties. The 175-ft ironclad Cairo, built in 1862, joined in the triumph of seven Union ships and a tug, in action over eight Confederate gunboats off Memphis on 6 June 1862. Five of the opposing gunboats were sunk or run aground. The 175-ft Cincinnati, a stern-wheel casemate gunboat, built in 1861, joined in the attack on the Vicksburg batteries on 27 May 1863.

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