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Osprey New Vanguard 49 : Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War 1861-1865

At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on the Mississippi River, which was a vital strategic artery. In the first few months of the war, both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use. By 1862, the Confederates had a flotilla in the north guarding the upper Mississippi and a second protecting New Orleans. These ships and their Union counterparts were converted into powerful naval weapons, despite a lack of resources, trained manpower and suitable vessels. By 1863, while both sides had substantial river gunboat flotillas, the Union was able to produce a range of specialist craft designed to take the war deep into the Confederate heartland. The creation of a river fleet was a miracle of ingenuity, improvisation and logistics, particularly for the South. In action, these vulnerable vessels were used as rams, as they lacked the capacity for substantial armament. In the North, Colonel Ellet designed a flotilla of custom-built craft that proved superior to their confederate adversaries. This was a result of ingenious construction, logistics and training, and by the end of the war the Union river ports were adept at producing a variety of craft designed to support the war effort. Text by Angus Konstam with illustrations by Tony Bryan.

    Contents
  • Introduction
  • The Mississippi Theatre
  • The Union River Fleet
  • The Confederate River Fleet
  • The Role of Gunboats
  • Ship List - Union
  • Ship List - Confederate
  • Further Reading
  • Colour Plate Commentary
  • Index

 

Osprey New Vanguard


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