The Old War Horse

The USS Benton on Western Waters, 1853–1865


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About the Book

With a unique prewar history as a snagboat and James B. Eads’ noted catamaran salvage vessel, the Benton survived a tumultuous government acquisition process and conversion to become flagship of the Union’s Civil War Western river navy. From Island No. 10 through the Vicksburg and Red River campaigns, the revolutionary ironclad participated in both combat and administrative activities, earning a prominent place in nautical legend and literature.
This first book-length profile of the warship reveals little known details of both her prewar and wartime career and reviews her final disposal.

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: 264
Bibliographic Info: 98 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2024
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8689-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-5040-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Abbreviations viii
Introduction 1
Chapter One. From Snagboat to War Boat 5
Chapter Two. Selling a Submarine (1) 28
Chapter Three. Selling a Submarine (2) 43
Chapter Four. Building an Ironclad 57
Chapter Five. Island No. 10 77
Chapter Six. Fort Pillow and Memphis 97
Chapter Seven. The Arkansas 114
Chapter Eight. Back to Vicksburg 129
Chapter Nine. Vicksburg, April–July 1863 146
Chapter Ten. Red River and Beyond 170
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 223
Index 249