Book Recommendations for the River War?

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Sep 17, 2011
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mo
The only one I can think of is Thunder along the Mississippi by Jack Coombe.....

Though I don't think it's as definitive or in as depth as what you want
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
Ouch... Well, here's a smattering. (For more of my bibliography, see https://civilwartalk.com/threads/knowledge-of-the-naval-war.77727/page-5#post-783063 .) Note that some of the below cover the same ground, for instance Gosnell, Merrill, Milligan, and Pratt's books cover most of the same things (though they're all good reads). This should get you started!

  • Ballard, Michael B. Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003. 576 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo (Revised ed.). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1980. 192 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Rebel Victory at Vicksburg. Vicksburg, Miss.: Vicksburg Centennial Commemoration Commission, 1963. 282 pp.
  • Browning, Robert M., Jr. Lincoln's Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 2014. 712 pp.
  • Campbell, R. Thomas. Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters: The Defense of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2005. 257 pp.
  • Catton, Bruce. Grant Moves South. Boston: Little, Brown, 1960. 564 pp.
  • Daniel, Larry J. and Bock, Lynn N. Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1996. 216 pp.
  • Dufour, Charles L. Night the War Was Lost, The. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960. 427 pp.
  • Ericson, Peter. Running the Batteries. Morrisville, N.C.: Lulu.com, 2008. 436 pp.
  • Gosnell, H. Allen. Guns on the Western Waters: The Story of River Gunboats in the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1949. 273 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Capture of New Orleans, The, 1862. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1995. 292 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2000. 256 pp.
  • Hughes, Nathaniel Cheairs, Jr. Battle of Belmont, The: Grant Strikes South. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. 295 pp.
  • McCaul, Edward B., Jr. To Retain Command of the Mississippi: The Civil War Naval Campaign for Memphis. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee, 2014. 239 pp.
  • Mahan, Alfred Thayer. Navy in the Civil War, The: Vol. 3, The Gulf and Inland Waters. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 267 pp.
  • Mayeux, Steven M. Earthen Walls, Iron Men: Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River. Knoxville, Tenn.: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2007. 329 pp.
  • Merrill, James M. Battle Flags South: Story of the Civil War Navies on Western Waters. Cranbury, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1970. 334 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. Gunboats Down The Mississippi. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1965. 217 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. (ed.). From the Freshwater Navy, 1861-64: The Letters of Acting Master's Mate Henry R. Browne and Acting Ensign Symmes E. Browne. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1970. 327 pp.
  • Pratt, Fletcher. Civil War on Western Waters. New York: Henry Holt, 1956. 255 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. CSS Arkansas, The: A Confederate Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2011. 297 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Civil War Biographies from the Western Waters: 956 Confederate and Union Naval and Military Personnel, Contractors, Politicians, Officials, Steamboat Pilots and Others. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2015. 318 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Fight for the Yazoo, The, August 1862 - July 1864: Swamps, Forts and Fleets on Vicksburg's Northern Flank. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2012. 460 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Joseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads: The USS Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia. Jefferson N.C.: McFarland and Co., 2016. 130 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2007. 424 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Timberclads, The in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2008. 482 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2009. 431 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. USS Carondelet, The: A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2010. 280 pp.
  • Tomblin, Barbara. The Civil War on the Mississippi: Union Sailors, Gunboat Captains, and the Campaign to Control the River. Lexington, Ky.: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2016. 372 pp.
  • Wideman, John C. Sinking of the USS Cairo, The. Jackson, Miss.: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1993. 139 pp.
 

Charlie Robbins

Private
Joined
Oct 13, 2015
Location
Arlington, Virginia
Ouch... Well, here's a smattering. (For more of my bibliography, see https://civilwartalk.com/threads/knowledge-of-the-naval-war.77727/page-5#post-783063 .) Note that some of the below cover the same ground, for instance Gosnell, Merrill, Milligan, and Pratt's books cover most of the same things (though they're all good reads). This should get you started!

  • Ballard, Michael B. Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003. 576 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo (Revised ed.). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1980. 192 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Rebel Victory at Vicksburg. Vicksburg, Miss.: Vicksburg Centennial Commemoration Commission, 1963. 282 pp.
  • Browning, Robert M., Jr. Lincoln's Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 2014. 712 pp.
  • Campbell, R. Thomas. Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters: The Defense of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2005. 257 pp.
  • Catton, Bruce. Grant Moves South. Boston: Little, Brown, 1960. 564 pp.
  • Daniel, Larry J. and Bock, Lynn N. Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1996. 216 pp.
  • Dufour, Charles L. Night the War Was Lost, The. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960. 427 pp.
  • Ericson, Peter. Running the Batteries. Morrisville, N.C.: Lulu.com, 2008. 436 pp.
  • Gosnell, H. Allen. Guns on the Western Waters: The Story of River Gunboats in the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1949. 273 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Capture of New Orleans, The, 1862. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1995. 292 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2000. 256 pp.
  • Hughes, Nathaniel Cheairs, Jr. Battle of Belmont, The: Grant Strikes South. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. 295 pp.
  • McCaul, Edward B., Jr. To Retain Command of the Mississippi: The Civil War Naval Campaign for Memphis. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee, 2014. 239 pp.
  • Mahan, Alfred Thayer. Navy in the Civil War, The: Vol. 3, The Gulf and Inland Waters. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 267 pp.
  • Mayeux, Steven M. Earthen Walls, Iron Men: Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River. Knoxville, Tenn.: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2007. 329 pp.
  • Merrill, James M. Battle Flags South: Story of the Civil War Navies on Western Waters. Cranbury, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1970. 334 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. Gunboats Down The Mississippi. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1965. 217 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. (ed.). From the Freshwater Navy, 1861-64: The Letters of Acting Master's Mate Henry R. Browne and Acting Ensign Symmes E. Browne. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1970. 327 pp.
  • Pratt, Fletcher. Civil War on Western Waters. New York: Henry Holt, 1956. 255 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. CSS Arkansas, The: A Confederate Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2011. 297 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Civil War Biographies from the Western Waters: 956 Confederate and Union Naval and Military Personnel, Contractors, Politicians, Officials, Steamboat Pilots and Others. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2015. 318 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Fight for the Yazoo, The, August 1862 - July 1864: Swamps, Forts and Fleets on Vicksburg's Northern Flank. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2012. 460 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Joseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads: The USS Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia. Jefferson N.C.: McFarland and Co., 2016. 130 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2007. 424 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Timberclads, The in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2008. 482 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2009. 431 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. USS Carondelet, The: A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2010. 280 pp.
  • Tomblin, Barbara. The Civil War on the Mississippi: Union Sailors, Gunboat Captains, and the Campaign to Control the River. Lexington, Ky.: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2016. 372 pp.
  • Wideman, John C. Sinking of the USS Cairo, The. Jackson, Miss.: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1993. 139 pp.
Bearss three volume set on the Vicksburg campaign would be valuable, but it’s nearly unobtainable now (and if found, unaffordable).
 

Lubliner

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Chattanooga, Tennessee
I have one here in my lap I need to read, but would like to also know from others more about it;
'History of the Confederate States Navy' by J. Thomas Scharf; © 1996 by Random House Value Publishing Inc.
Chapter XI--The Mississippi River from Cairo to Vicksburg, pages 239-262.
Chapter XIII-- Mississippi River from Gulf to Vicksburg, pages 278-302.
The book is 800+ pages with a Appendix and Index and appears to be very thorough.
Lubliner.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
Member of the Year
Joined
Mar 31, 2012
Location
Central Ohio
I have one here in my lap I need to read, but would like to also know from others more about it;
'History of the Confederate States Navy' by J. Thomas Scharf; © 1996 by Random House Value Publishing Inc.
Chapter XI--The Mississippi River from Cairo to Vicksburg, pages 239-262.
Chapter XIII-- Mississippi River from Gulf to Vicksburg, pages 278-302.
The book is 800+ pages with a Appendix and Index and appears to be very thorough.
Lubliner.

Scharf is valuable insofar as he was a witness to parts of it (having served as a junior officer in the Confederate Navy), but should be approached with caution due to a certain partisanship (similarly, David D. Porter's history of the naval war from a Union perspective).

It is to be regretted that Stephen R. Mallory did not attempt a history of the naval war from the Confederate perspective, as he was privy to a large amount of administrative detail that went up in smoke in Richmond in 1865.
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
Ouch... Well, here's a smattering. (For more of my bibliography, see https://civilwartalk.com/threads/knowledge-of-the-naval-war.77727/page-5#post-783063 .) Note that some of the below cover the same ground, for instance Gosnell, Merrill, Milligan, and Pratt's books cover most of the same things (though they're all good reads). This should get you started!

  • Ballard, Michael B. Vicksburg: The Campaign That Opened the Mississippi. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2003. 576 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Hardluck Ironclad: The Sinking and Salvage of the Cairo (Revised ed.). Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1980. 192 pp.
  • Bearss, Edwin C. Rebel Victory at Vicksburg. Vicksburg, Miss.: Vicksburg Centennial Commemoration Commission, 1963. 282 pp.
  • Browning, Robert M., Jr. Lincoln's Trident: The West Gulf Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 2014. 712 pp.
  • Campbell, R. Thomas. Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters: The Defense of the Mississippi River and Its Tributaries. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2005. 257 pp.
  • Catton, Bruce. Grant Moves South. Boston: Little, Brown, 1960. 564 pp.
  • Daniel, Larry J. and Bock, Lynn N. Island No. 10: Struggle for the Mississippi Valley. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Univ. of Alabama Press, 1996. 216 pp.
  • Dufour, Charles L. Night the War Was Lost, The. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1960. 427 pp.
  • Ericson, Peter. Running the Batteries. Morrisville, N.C.: Lulu.com, 2008. 436 pp.
  • Gosnell, H. Allen. Guns on the Western Waters: The Story of River Gunboats in the Civil War. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1949. 273 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Capture of New Orleans, The, 1862. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 1995. 292 pp.
  • Hearn, Chester G. Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2000. 256 pp.
  • Hughes, Nathaniel Cheairs, Jr. Battle of Belmont, The: Grant Strikes South. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1991. 295 pp.
  • McCaul, Edward B., Jr. To Retain Command of the Mississippi: The Civil War Naval Campaign for Memphis. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee, 2014. 239 pp.
  • Mahan, Alfred Thayer. Navy in the Civil War, The: Vol. 3, The Gulf and Inland Waters. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1883. 267 pp.
  • Mayeux, Steven M. Earthen Walls, Iron Men: Fort DeRussy, Louisiana, and the Defense of Red River. Knoxville, Tenn.: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2007. 329 pp.
  • Merrill, James M. Battle Flags South: Story of the Civil War Navies on Western Waters. Cranbury, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson Univ. Press, 1970. 334 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. Gunboats Down The Mississippi. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1965. 217 pp.
  • Milligan, John D. (ed.). From the Freshwater Navy, 1861-64: The Letters of Acting Master's Mate Henry R. Browne and Acting Ensign Symmes E. Browne. Annapolis: US Naval Institute, 1970. 327 pp.
  • Pratt, Fletcher. Civil War on Western Waters. New York: Henry Holt, 1956. 255 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. CSS Arkansas, The: A Confederate Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2011. 297 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Civil War Biographies from the Western Waters: 956 Confederate and Union Naval and Military Personnel, Contractors, Politicians, Officials, Steamboat Pilots and Others. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2015. 318 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Fight for the Yazoo, The, August 1862 - July 1864: Swamps, Forts and Fleets on Vicksburg's Northern Flank. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2012. 460 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Joseph Brown and His Civil War Ironclads: The USS Chillicothe, Indianola and Tuscumbia. Jefferson N.C.: McFarland and Co., 2016. 130 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Gunboat Commander. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2007. 424 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Timberclads, The in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2008. 482 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2009. 431 pp.
  • Smith, Myron J., Jr. USS Carondelet, The: A Civil War Ironclad on Western Waters. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, 2010. 280 pp.
  • Tomblin, Barbara. The Civil War on the Mississippi: Union Sailors, Gunboat Captains, and the Campaign to Control the River. Lexington, Ky.: Univ. Press of Kentucky, 2016. 372 pp.
  • Wideman, John C. Sinking of the USS Cairo, The. Jackson, Miss.: Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1993. 139 pp.
Good list. I would definitely add Gary Joiner's Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Location
Central Ohio
Good list. I would definitely add Gary Joiner's Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy.

I'm afraid I can't second that. I found it contained a number of errors and covered already-well-trodden ground in a lifeless way. It was a particular disappointment because others of Joiner's books have been quite good.

ETA: I always feel nervous when providing an unfavorable review, which is why I chose to simply highlight the books I found good/useful in my bibliography rather than try to rate each one. (There was an incident years ago when an author took rather severe issue with a review I had posted. In retrospect, I stand by my opinion but may have stated it more stridently than warranted.)

I think the best one-volume summary of the riverine war is Milligan's Gunboats Down the Mississippi. If you're going to pick one, choose that one. (Albeit it suffers from the same problem as all other one-volume histories in that it culminates with the fall of Vicksburg and treats Red River as sort of a sequel. Myron J. "Jack" Smith, Jr. has partly addressed that lack in his book on the 'tinclads,' which fills a major hole in the literature by treating the smaller and later battles on the rivers, instead of ending the story when Grant left to go East as most books do.)
 
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Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I'm afraid I can't second that. I found it contained a number of errors and covered already-well-trodden ground in a lifeless way. It was a particular disappointment because others of Joiner's books have been quite good.

ETA: I always feel nervous when providing an unfavorable review, which is why I chose to simply highlight the books I found good/useful in my bibliography rather than try to rate each one. (There was an incident years ago when an author took rather severe issue with a review I had posted. In retrospect, I stand by my opinion but may have stated it more stridently than warranted.)

I think the best one-volume summary of the riverine war is Milligan's Gunboats Down the Mississippi. If you're going to pick one, choose that one. (Albeit it suffers from the same problem as all other one-volume histories in that it culminates with the fall of Vicksburg and treats Red River as sort of a sequel. Myron J. "Jack" Smith, Jr. has partly addressed that lack in his book on the 'tinclads,' which fills a major hole in the literature by treating the smaller and later battles on the rivers, instead of ending the story when Grant left to go East as most books do.)
That's fair but I think we'll have to disagree. I know a couple of reviewers who would disagree, as well. One can also validly criticize material in some of the works cited. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be recommended in a reading list. Joiner's chapter on Shiloh makes a few points that most others have missed. But since this list is subjective, I certainly respect your opinion. The problem with Smith is that he doesn't get published by anybody other than McFarland (which I don't understand - maybe his material is too specialized or maybe he wants the minimal editorial control that publisher exercises). Paying that much for a relatively short soft-cover is a tough "ask" for folks on a budget.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
Approaching my recommendations more analytically-- I think a good understanding of the riverine war would encompass these areas:

1. Overview. I would choose two here; for a 19th-century perspective, A.T. Mahan's Gulf and Inland Waters. And then for a more historical perspective, Milligan's Gunboats Down the Mississippi.
2. The opening battles in the northern reaches of the river. Cheairs, Battle of Belmont would be good here.
3. Forts Henry and Donelson. Cooling, Benjamin Franklin, III. Forts Henry and Donelson: The Key to the Confederate Heartland.
4. Island No. 10. Daniel and Bock's Island No. 10.
5. You might want to insert your favored treatment of Shiloh here. Although the impact of the gunboats at Shiloh was not huge, it's still a part of the larger story.
6. The capture of New Orleans. Hearn, Capture of New Orleans.
7. Fort Pillow and Memphis. McCaul, To Retain Command of the Mississippi.
8. Initial thrusts at Vicksburg. Bearss, Rebel Victory at Vicksburg, (and the first volume of Bearss' trilogy if you can find it).
9. Vicksburg. Ballard's Vicksburg is good, or whatever your favored treatment is.
10. Smaller actions. Jack Smith's Tinclads and his biography of Le Roy Fitch, Jr.
11. Red River. Joiner's One Dam n Blunder from Beginning to End would do well here.
12. In-depth on a particular gunboat. Smith's Carondelet.
13. Confederate angle. Campbell, Confederate Naval Forces on Western Waters (and perhaps Chatelain's Defending the Arteries of Rebellion, though I haven't had time to crack into it yet).
14. A civilian/Confederate angle. Gunther, Charles F. and Allardice, Bruce S. (ed.) Two Years Before the Paddlewheel: Charles F. Gunther, Mississippi River Confederate.
15. Perspectives from the sailors. Milligan's From the Freshwater Navy and Tomblin's Civil War on the Mississippi.

That should do it. I would imagine that by the time you get through all those, you'll know where you want to go next...

Oh... I should have thrown in Wideman's Sinking of the USS Cairo and Bearss' Hardluck Ironclad. Perhaps in between 8 and 9? Also, Browning's Lincoln's Trident treats Farragut's lower-river force in some detail and is worth a look. Donald S. Frazier's ongoing "Louisiana Quadrille" is excellent for the regions of the lower river but is too in-depth for the first go-round... look at it after you have the basics down.
 
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Mark F. Jenkins

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The problem with Smith is that he doesn't get published by anybody other than McFarland (which I don't understand - maybe his material is too specialized or maybe he wants the minimal editorial control that publisher exercises). Paying that much for a relatively short soft-cover is a tough "ask" for folks on a budget.

I believe it's partly Smith's standing relationship with McFarland, and the fact his titles are perhaps too highly-specific for many publishers without going the self-publishing route. That's the big catch here... to get in-depth on a specialized subject is to get away from the 'mainstream'; so just getting published is part of the battle. (I have a little bit of insight here-- I have assisted Jack with some bits of information and a foreword. It's not so much that McFarland gives the author complete control as it is that Smith is very familiar with McFarland's requirements and knows how to write to those.)
 

Belfoured

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I believe it's partly Smith's standing relationship with McFarland, and the fact his titles are perhaps too highly-specific for many publishers without going the self-publishing route. That's the big catch here... to get in-depth on a specialized subject is to get away from the 'mainstream'; so just getting published is part of the battle. (I have a little bit of insight here-- I have assisted Jack with some bits of information and a foreword. It's not so much that McFarland gives the author complete control as it is that Smith is very familiar with McFarland's requirements and knows how to write to those.)
Interesting. That makes sense and confirms one of my assumptions. It's tough to entice anybody beyond a niche publisher to take on really specialized material. In my opinion McFarland's books range from great to - well, not so great. I'd definitely put Smith in the "A Group". Far better than, for example, what they've published on much of the Peninsula Campaign, with a couple of exceptions (such as Hardy and Zeller). I'd guess that Smith is one who doesn't need much editorial control. I know of a couple of instances where authors initially shopped with another publisher but went to McFarland because they wanted more "freedom". No idea if their perception was accurate but the results showed that they could have used a more thorough screening.
 

FedericoFCavada

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I'm not sure how well-regarded in the field of the maritime and naval and riverine war history of the U.S. Civil War this book might be, but James M. McPherson's War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (UNC: 2012) offers a synthesis.

I learned a lot from Donald L. Miller, Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign that Broke the Confederacy (Simon & Schuster, 2019) :cannon::notworthy:
 

Belfoured

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 3, 2019
I'm not sure how well-regarded in the field of the maritime and naval and riverine war history of the U.S. Civil War this book might be, but James M. McPherson's War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (UNC: 2012) offers a synthesis.

I learned a lot from Donald L. Miller, Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign that Broke the Confederacy (Simon & Schuster, 2019) :cannon::notworthy:
There's a lot of good stuff out there that hit this subject from a range of angles. Two more I'd recommend cover sailors' daily life and experiences in both the blue water and the brown water navies - Union Jacks by Michael Bennett and Life in Mr. Lincoln's Navy by Dennis Ringle. They contain ample material on the riverine warfare. There are also good biographies of David Porter and Andrew Foote. On the boats themselves, Osprey has some useful and inexpensive volumes on river ironclads, gunboats and tinclads.
 

Dave DuBrucq

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Tennessee
I need book recommendations (the more, the better) in order to get the best possible understanding on every aspect of the River War along the Mississippi River and its tributaries during the Civil War. Any help would be appreciated.

Go.
Divided Waters by Ivan Musicant. This book is packed full of information about both the Civil War on the Rivers as well as the high seas.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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I'm not sure how well-regarded in the field of the maritime and naval and riverine war history of the U.S. Civil War this book might be, but James M. McPherson's War on the Waters: The Union and Confederate Navies in the Civil War, 1861-1865 (UNC: 2012) offers a synthesis.

I learned a lot from Donald L. Miller, Vicksburg: Grant's Campaign that Broke the Confederacy (Simon & Schuster, 2019) :cannon::notworthy:

McPherson's is the best current single-volume history of the naval war. I was thinking something more targeted to the western rivers, but McPherson is a great starting point.
 
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