The CSS Arkansas

A Confederate Ironclad on Western Waters


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About the Book

While the Monitor and Merrimack are the most famous of the Civil War ironclads, the Confederacy had another ship in its flotilla that carried high hopes and a metal hull. The makeshift CSS Arkansas, completed by Lt. Isaac Newton Brown and manned by a mixed crew of volunteers, gave the South a surge of confidence when it launched in 1862. For 28 days of summer, the ship engaged in five battles with Union warships, falling victim in the end only to her own primitive engines. The saga of the CSS Arkansas represents the last significant Rebel naval activity in the war’s Western theater.

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: 360
Bibliographic Info: 101 photos, 2 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4726-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8485-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Foreword by George Wright      1
Introduction      5

1. Beginnings      9
2. The Upper River Ironclads      24
3. A Frustrating Start, August–December 1861      38
4. From Memphis to Yazoo City, January–May 1862      57
5. Five Weeks Up the Yazoo, Early May–Late June 1862      80
6. Descending the Yazoo, June 25–July 15, 1862      125
7. Morning (Part I), July 15, 1862: Dawn Fight in the Yazoo      151
8. Morning (Part II), July 15, 1862: Running the Gauntlet      178
9. Surviving Farragut’s Charge: Night, July 15, 1862      204
10. Arkansas vs. Essex, Round One: July 16–22, 1862      231
11. Arkansas vs. Essex, Round Two: Finale Off Baton Rouge, July 23–August 6, 1862      267

Epilogue      295
Chapter Notes      299
Bibliography      329
Index      343

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “An excellent account…highly recommended”—Choice
  • “An incredibly detailed chronicling of the river gunboats’s career from construction to self-destruction…the ship’s 23 day operational career is meticulously recounted…the most thorough, and best by far, treatment for the vessel’s history”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “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”—America’s Civil War
  • “Smith provides a well-written and thoroughly engrossing account of this extraordinary vessel…this is a truly outstanding book, essential to any student of naval warfare…it highlights the essential role played by the Union and Confederate navies on the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers in 1862”—Civil War News