The Timberclads in the Civil War

The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Waters

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About the Book

In the most detailed history ever of Union warships on the western waters of the Civil War, the author recounts the exploits of the timberclad ships Lexington, Tyler, and Conestoga. Converted to warships from commercial steamboats at the beginning of the conflict, the three formed the core of the North’s Western Flotilla, later the Mississippi Squadron. The book focuses on the activities of these wooden warriors while providing context for the greater war, including accounts of their famous commanders, their roles in both large and small battles, ship-to-ship combat, and support for the armies of Gen. U.S. Grant and Gen. William T. Sherman.

About the Author(s)

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

Bibliographic Details

Myron J. Smith, Jr.
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 560
Bibliographic Info: 106 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013 [2008]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7721-0
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5195-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by B. Franklin Cooling      1
Preface      5
List of Abbreviations      9

1. Rivers and Rebellion, January–April 1861      11
2. Commander Rodgers Goes West, April–June 1861      40
3. From Cincinnati into the War Zone, June–August 1861      68
4. New Men, Hotter War, September 1–October 9, 1861      96
5. Columbus-Belmont, October 10–November 9, 1861      129
6. Skirmishing and Fleet Building, November–December 1861      166
7. Fort Henry: Preparations and Battle, January–February 1862      189
8. To Florence and Fort Donelson, February 1862      225
9. Tennessee River–Columbus–Island No. 10, February–March 1862      253
10. Tennessee River: Shiloh, March–April 1862      281
11. White River and the C.S.S. Arkansas, June–July 1862      317
12. An Anniversary, POW Convoys, and the Death of a Timberclad Hero, July–December 1862      361
13. 1863: Arkansas Post to Helena      389
14. Peripheral Streams and Red River, 1863–1864      424
15. Cavalry Versus Timberclads, June 1864      465

Epilogue: Winding Down, July 1864–August 1865      478
Chapter Notes      483
Bibliography      519
Index      537

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Thorough research…the first, and what is likely to be the definitive, study of the timberclads. Highly recommended.”—Choice
  • “Provides a vast amount of detail…immensely valuable…impressive…highly recommend it”—North & South
  • “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
  • “A comprehensive, well-researched account…a must read”—Nautical Research Journal
  • “Smith seasons his treatment of operations and engagements by drawing upon first hand accounts, which can be griping, informative, amusing, or even all three, making the narrative much more vivid and helping to give us an excellent look at the river war”—Strategypage.com
  • “Fantastic”—The Lone Star
  • “This very thick and intensively researched book describes admirably the very important role played by those three ships. The author has performed a valuable service in so vibrantly bringing to life this very important factor in the Union Navy’s role in winning the Civil War”—Baird Maritime
  • “An excellent account of the Civil War on the Mississippi and the other great western rivers…gripping, informative, amusing…vivid”—The NYMAS Review.