Tinclads in the Civil War

Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862–1865


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About the Book

Once the Union Army gained control of the upper rivers of the Mississippi Valley during the first half of 1862, slow and heavy ironclads proved ineffective in patrolling the waters. Hastily outfitted steamboats were covered with thin armor and pressed into duty. These “tinclads” fought Confederate forces attacking from the riverbanks, provided convoy for merchant steamers, enforced revenue measures, and offered tow, dispatch, and other fleet support services. This history documents the service records and duties of these little-known vessels of the Union fleet.

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: 431
Bibliographic Info: 81 photos, maps, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3579-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5703-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Abbreviations      viii
Introduction      1

1. Rivers and Steamboats      7
2. Insurgents and Gunboats      18
3. The Coming of the Tinclad      35
4. Early Rounds, August–December 1862      62
5. Tinclad River Guardians, January–April 1863      88
6. Guerrilla Attacks and Morgan’s Raid, May–December 1863      122
7. Troubled Rivers, January–March 1864      159
8. Fort Pillow, the Petrel, and Red River, April 1864      184
9. The Big Guns of Brig. Gen. Major, Col. Greene, and Capt. Creuzbauer, May 1864      211
10. Long, Hot Summer, 1864      239
11. Decatur and Johnsonville, October–November 1864      268
12. Nashville and Beyond, December 1864–April 1865      294
13. Winding Down, May to the Fall of 1865      328

Appendix I: Tinclad Acquisition Chronology, 1862–1865      341
Appendix II: Tinclad Postwar History, 1865–1876      345
Chapter Notes      349
Bibliography      391
Index      409

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Extensive research…clear…recommended”—Choice
  • “This attention is long overdue. The subject is very important, and a knowledge of it is essential to an understanding of the war. Smith’s research is most impressive—even awe-inspiring”—Blue & Gray Magazine
  • “Excellent…highly recommended”—The Coast Defense Journal
  • “An impressive bibliography…a wonderful resource”—Nautical Research Journal
  • “Essential”—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”—America’s Civil War
  • “A well-researched, thoroughly documented, comprehensive study of the subject. Not only does Smith discuss the ships and the men who built and operated them, but he has plumbed the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion and archival holdings to provide a detailed history of their myriad operations. His study is so thorough that the story will not need to be told again”—United States Naval Institute
  • “Deserves a spot on a Civil War aficionado’s shelves”—The Nautilus
  • “A monumental naval series…an extraordinarily comprehensive yet minutely detailed look at the gunboat war on the western waterways”—Civil War Books and Authors
  • “Wow!”—The Lone Star