Joseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads

The USS Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia


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SKU: 9780786495764 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

A Scottish immigrant to Illinois, Joseph Brown made his pre–Civil War fortune as a miller and steamboat captain who dabbled in riverboat design and the politics of small towns. When war erupted, he used his connections (including a friendship with Abraham Lincoln) to obtain contracts to build three ironclad gunboats for the U.S. War Department—the Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia. Often described as failures, these vessels were active in some of the most ferocious river fighting of the 1863 Vicksburg campaign. After the war, “Captain Joe” became a railroad executive and was elected mayor of St. Louis. This book covers his life and career, as well as the construction and operational histories of his controversial trio of warships.

About the Author(s)

Prolific author Myron J. Smith, Jr., is emeritus library director and professor at Tusculum University, Greeneville, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Myron J. Smith, Jr.

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 396
Bibliographic Info: 123 photos, 16 maps, notes, bibliograpy, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9576-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2680-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
1—Joseph Brown: The Honorable Steamboat Captain  5
2—War and Gunboats  42
3—Building Capt. Brown’s Ironclads  55
4—The Chillicothe Goes to War: Yazoo Pass and Red River  107
5—Indianola: The Shortest Cruise  177
6—Tuscumbia: The “Broad Giant” vs. Vicksburg  229
7—Joseph Brown, Enterpreneur and Mayor Again:
Life After Gunboats  279
Chapter Notes  329
Bibliogaphy  355
Index  373

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Smith has produced a number of excellent books on Civil War naval operations…and this new book continues that trend…a thorough history of both Joseph Brown, an antebellum entrepreneur with political connections to Abraham Lincoln, and his efforts to design, construct, and equip three of the ironclad gunboats produced by the Union for operations on the Mississippi River…a plethora of maps, illustrations, and charts…recommended”—Choice
  • “Fact-filled and generously illustrated, comprehensive…in-depth…exemplary”—Civil War News
  • “If it sailed on the brown water of America’s Western rives during the Civil War and flew the Stars and Stripes of the Union Navy, Myron Smith more than likely knows about it. He has staked out an underappreciated, albeit critical, aspect of the Union’s military strategy in the West…its efforts to gain control of the region’s rivers and use them as nautical highways into the heart of the Confederacy”—America’s Civil War
  • “Impressive”—The NYMAS Review
  • “Prolific body of work…profound contribution to Civil War naval history…documents at unprecedented depth the men and machines involved in countless riverine operations conducted throughout the inland west…heavily laden with maps, photos, and drawings…a fine job…most significant contribution to Civil War naval studies published over the past twenty-five years”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “Documents the life and career of Joseph Brown, a miller and steamboat captain who built three ironclad gunboats for the US War Department”—ProtoView