Book Review Defending The Arteries Of Rebellion; Confederate Naval Operations In The Mississippi Valley, 1861-1865

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
In his book about Confederate Naval Operations in the Mississippi Valley author Neil P. Chatelain fills in a missing gap. Those of us who have studied the river war have, for good reason, concentrated on the Union Army-Navy conquest of the Mississippi River. The narrative is one of the Confederate river forces playing the part of the Washington Generals to the USN Globetrotters throughout the war. Apart from biographies of individual ironclads & their inevitable fiery cutting by their crews, there hasn't been a book that explores what the Confederate leadership planned to do, what they did do & how their efforts played out.

I was fortunate to hear Neil Chatelain's online CivilWarTalk zoom cast. He began by graphing the multiple commands that fractured the defense of the Mississippi. To those of us familiar with the Army of Tennessee the personality driven infighting & self-defeating territorial bureaucracies are all too recognizable. The dour effects of a fractured chain of command that was fighting a unified opponent is enlightening.

The tactical victories that are the highlights of Defending the Arteries of Rebellion never produced strategic advantages that the Confederacy so desperately needed. This book deserves a place on your shelf, right next to Tinclads in the Civil War & Johnsonville. They are like dovetails that click together to create a strong joint that holds the narrative together.
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
In his book about Confederate Naval Operations in the Mississippi Valley author Neil P. Chatelain fills in a missing gap. Those of us who have studied the river war have, for good reason, concentrated on the Union Army-Navy conquest of the Mississippi River. The narrative is one of the Confederate river forces playing the part of the Washington Generals to the USN Globetrotters throughout the war. Apart from biographies of individual ironclads & their inevitable fiery cutting by their crews, there hasn't been a book that explores what the Confederate leadership planned to do, what they did do & how their efforts played out.

I was fortunate to hear Neil Chatelain's online CivilWarTalk zoom cast. He began by graphing the multiple commands that fractured the defense of the Mississippi. To those of us familiar with the Army of Tennessee the personality driven infighting & self-defeating territorial bureaucracies are all too recognizable. The dour effects of a fractured chain of command that was fighting a unified opponent is enlightening.

The tactical victories that are the highlights of Defending the Arteries of Rebellion never produced strategic advantages that the Confederacy so desperately needed. This book deserves a place on your shelf, right next to Tinclads in the Civil War & Johnsonville. They are like dovetails that click together to create a strong joint that holds the narrative together.

Has anyone noticed that the index is very messed up?
In order to find something listed in the index, you need to add 6 pages to the page number(s) given.
Except the maps. They can actually be found on the pages that are given.

I discovered this by accident.
In order to study some of the vessels in the book, I wrote down the page numbers given in the index, so that I could photocopy them.
(This allows me to highlight, underline, add marginalia, etc without irreversible damage to the book)
When I returned from the UPS store and started to study what was said about these vessels, I discovered the faulty nature of the index, requiring a second photocopying trip.

While studying the index I also realized that some dozen and a half entries which listed a "photo" are not photographs at all, but sketches, lithographs, and numerous other forms of images.

Considering that the book cost $32.95, I was disappointed to find these deficiencies.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Has anyone noticed that the index is very messed up?
In order to find something listed in the index, you need to add 6 pages to the page number(s) given.
Except the maps. They can actually be found on the pages that are given.

I discovered this by accident.
In order to study some of the vessels in the book, I wrote down the page numbers given in the index, so that I could photocopy them.
(This allows me to highlight, underline, add marginalia, etc without irreversible damage to the book)
When I returned from the UPS store and started to study what was said about these vessels, I discovered the faulty nature of the index, requiring a second photocopying trip.

While studying the index I also realized that some dozen and a half entries which listed a "photo" are not photographs at all, but sketches, lithographs, and numerous other forms of images.

Considering that the book cost $32.95, I was disappointed to find these deficiencies.
That is something that will get corrected in a second edition. I had nothing to do with producing this book, but my work as an illustrator left me with an appreciation for how hard it is to get everything right no mater how hard you try.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Has anyone noticed that the index is very messed up?
In order to find something listed in the index, you need to add 6 pages to the page number(s) given.
Except the maps. They can actually be found on the pages that are given.

I discovered this by accident.
In order to study some of the vessels in the book, I wrote down the page numbers given in the index, so that I could photocopy them.
(This allows me to highlight, underline, add marginalia, etc without irreversible damage to the book)
When I returned from the UPS store and started to study what was said about these vessels, I discovered the faulty nature of the index, requiring a second photocopying trip.

While studying the index I also realized that some dozen and a half entries which listed a "photo" are not photographs at all, but sketches, lithographs, and numerous other forms of images.

Considering that the book cost $32.95, I was disappointed to find these deficiencies.
That is also one of the problems of not having full editorial control of your work, and a major reason why I chose to publish "The Southern Iron Navy" via Wargamesvault.com. Plus the fact that i could get it out there at an affordable price.
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
That is something that will get corrected in a second edition. I had nothing to do with producing this book, but my work as an illustrator left me with an appreciation for how hard it is to get everything right no mater how hard you try.

Are you saying that I should buy this book again in order to get a proper copy?
Doesn't seem very reasonable.
Other books seem to get things like this correct the first time.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Are you saying that I should buy this book again in order to get a proper copy?
Doesn't seem very reasonable.
Other books seem to get things like this correct the first time.
No, that would be absurd. What I am saying is that an errata should be published for the first edition. The second edition should be published with any corrections that are needed. That is common & ordinary practice in book publishing going back hundreds of years.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Just received my copy of the book and also found the index is messed up. Also, Neil made the same two mistakes that everyone seems to be making these days that I addressed in a previous post but got no replies.
RED ROVER: The "Red Rover" WAS NOT built at Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 although Neil only says "Missouri in 1859." The Steamboat “Red Rover” was actually contracted for in Louisville, Kentucky by Captain John D. Taylor around 19 June 1857 after he purchased the Steamer “Buckeye State” for $9000 to use her machinery in the new boat. Captains William Strong and Taylor had John Cunningham of Louisville construct the new boat. The “Red Rover” was launched in Louisville in October 1857. The “Red Rover” arrived at the Louisville, Kentucky Strader’s Wharf 21 December 1857. The Steamer “Red Rover” then proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee and began to serve the Nashville-New Orleans trade. She continued in that trade, occasionally visiting St. Louis, until the Civil War. According to the John Julius Guthrie papers as listed in the Official Records, Navies, the “Red Rover” was purchased by the Confederate States for $30,000 and Guthrie was to take command 7 November 1861 at New Orleans, Louisiana. He was then to proceed with her to Memphis, Tennessee on 25 November 1861, or wherever the floating battery New Orleans was located. According to the same source she arrived at Columbus, Kentucky 11 December 1861. However, the owners of the “Red Rover,” William Strong, John D. Taylor, William B. Wyatt, Frank Shackleford, and Ammon L. Davis were not paid the $30,000 until 6 March 1862 by Commander John K. Mitchell at New Orleans, Louisiana. That was only one month before she was captured at Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River on 7 April 1862. Strong was Owner and Master and Shackelford her Owner and Clerk when she was purchased by the Confederacy. Captured at Island No. 10 she was converted by the Union into the renowned hospital boat. If anyone needs the references to the above let me know.
J.E. MONTGOMERY: The Commodore of the Confederate River Defense Fleet was JOSEPH Ed Montgomery not James E. Montgomery. Given most of the material published on him prior to the war and during the was only listed him as J.E. Montgomery, for some reason the government made the same mistake in the ORA and the ORN. He was Captain of several steamboats before the war that Mark Twain piloted but Twain or Clemons always referred to him as Captain Ed Montgomery or Captain Edward Montgomery. He died at his son's home in Chicago.
CSS MISSOURI: Although this was not mentioned before, Neil has the engines of the "Paul Jones" being installed on the CSS Missouri at Shreveport. I have not completed my research on this yet but Carter's letter of February 1863 would lead one to believe that happened as Moore & Smoker (the contractors) were sent east of the river to check into the "Paul Jones" in a letter of 15 February 1863 and Carter (in his letterbook) says they had purchased a steamboat with machinery by 18 Febrary 1863. However, Bowen and the Missouri troops at Grand Gulf were using the "Paul Jones" to transport Cockrell's Brigade across the river in early April 1863, to engage Grant according to Bowen's letterbook. She was tied to the "Charm" and sunk in the Big Black River in May 1863. Margie Bearss (Ed Bearss' wife) found the boats and made a scrapbook on them. Parts of the "Paul Jones" engines were found so I suspect between the dates and what has been found in the river, that another boat was purchased by Moore & Smoker for the $65,000. If anyone has input on that I would like to hear from you.
Other than that I would still highly recommend Neil's book as a much needed reference on the naval war in the west. Neil has done allot of good research and the references he gives can be very useful for anyone interested in this area. As anyone knows, who researches this area, the documents are not as readily available as on the east coast navy and allot of digging has to be accomplished. Thanks Neil for the book. And, sorry for the long post. Ray Nichols Cape Girardeau,MO. [email protected].
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
Just received my copy of the book and also found the index is messed up. Also, Neil made the same two mistakes that everyone seems to be making these days that I addressed in a previous post but got no replies.
RED ROVER: The "Red Rover" WAS NOT built at Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 although Neil only says "Missouri in 1859." The Steamboat “Red Rover” was actually contracted for in Louisville, Kentucky by Captain John D. Taylor around 19 June 1857 after he purchased the Steamer “Buckeye State” for $9000 to use her machinery in the new boat. Captains William Strong and Taylor had John Cunningham of Louisville construct the new boat. The “Red Rover” was launched in Louisville in October 1857. The “Red Rover” arrived at the Louisville, Kentucky Strader’s Wharf 21 December 1857. The Steamer “Red Rover” then proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee and began to serve the Nashville-New Orleans trade. She continued in that trade, occasionally visiting St. Louis, until the Civil War. According to the John Julius Guthrie papers as listed in the Official Records, Navies, the “Red Rover” was purchased by the Confederate States for $30,000 and Guthrie was to take command 7 November 1861 at New Orleans, Louisiana. He was then to proceed with her to Memphis, Tennessee on 25 November 1861, or wherever the floating battery New Orleans was located. According to the same source she arrived at Columbus, Kentucky 11 December 1861. However, the owners of the “Red Rover,” William Strong, John D. Taylor, William B. Wyatt, Frank Shackleford, and Ammon L. Davis were not paid the $30,000 until 6 March 1862 by Commander John K. Mitchell at New Orleans, Louisiana. That was only one month before she was captured at Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River on 7 April 1862. Strong was Owner and Master and Shackelford her Owner and Clerk when she was purchased by the Confederacy. Captured at Island No. 10 she was converted by the Union into the renowned hospital boat. If anyone needs the references to the above let me know.
J.E. MONTGOMERY: The Commodore of the Confederate River Defense Fleet was JOSEPH Ed Montgomery not James E. Montgomery. Given most of the material published on him prior to the war and during the was only listed him as J.E. Montgomery, for some reason the government made the same mistake in the ORA and the ORN. He was Captain of several steamboats before the war that Mark Twain piloted but Twain or Clemons always referred to him as Captain Ed Montgomery or Captain Edward Montgomery. He died at his son's home in Chicago.
CSS MISSOURI: Although this was not mentioned before, Neil has the engines of the "Paul Jones" being installed on the CSS Missouri at Shreveport. I have not completed my research on this yet but Carter's letter of February 1863 would lead one to believe that happened as Moore & Smoker (the contractors) were sent east of the river to check into the "Paul Jones" in a letter of 15 February 1863 and Carter (in his letterbook) says they had purchased a steamboat with machinery by 18 Febrary 1863. However, Bowen and the Missouri troops at Grand Gulf were using the "Paul Jones" to transport Cockrell's Brigade across the river in early April 1863, to engage Grant according to Bowen's letterbook. She was tied to the "Charm" and sunk in the Big Black River in May 1863. Margie Bearss (Ed Bearss' wife) found the boats and made a scrapbook on them. Parts of the "Paul Jones" engines were found so I suspect between the dates and what has been found in the river, that another boat was purchased by Moore & Smoker for the $65,000. If anyone has input on that I would like to hear from you.
Other than that I would still highly recommend Neil's book as a much needed reference on the naval war in the west. Neil has done allot of good research and the references he gives can be very useful for anyone interested in this area. As anyone knows, who researches this area, the documents are not as readily available as on the east coast navy and allot of digging has to be accomplished. Thanks Neil for the book. And, sorry for the long post. Ray Nichols Cape Girardeau,MO. [email protected].
As to your comments on the Paul Jones being sunk in the Big Black River, with engines intact, you are exactly correct.
Maybe Moore and Smoker discussed and even tried to buy her, but they certainly did not do so. As you know a little basic research tells the true fate of the Paul Jones.
Your comments on the Red Rover and J.E. Montgomery are also on the mark.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
Thanks Biscoitos for your reply. I'm still trying to find what steamboat Carter bought from a guy named Russell B. Roberts, for the machinery. He's a hard guy to find. Most of the references to him in newspapers are for a R B Roberts as master of various steamboats before the war. I discovered last night that Neil made another mistake on the CSS Missouri (p 288). The Missouri was taken over by the Feds and a skeleton crew sailed her to Mound City, Illinois not New Orleans. There is actually a log of that trip that I have a copy of. At Mound City she was sold in the same sale as the Red Rover in November 1865, leaking badly.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Here are some comments from myself and Charlie Robbins.

Notes on “Defending the Arteries of Rebellion”

Page 20:
Double banded 9” SB – Who by and where was it done?

Page 44: CSS Ivy was not equipped with an 8” Whitworth MLR. It was an 8”SB. The date is too early for large calibre Whitworth naval rifles and they didn’t manufacture an 8” calibre.

Page 60:
The Tift proposal presented to and approved by the CSN Board of Officers, subsequently authorised for construction by Mallory was a simple 16 gun box battery ship. The final as constructed design with 20 guns was by Joseph Pearce.

Page 61: Joseph Pearce was indeed Chief Carpenter at Gosport, Norfolk Navy Yard, but he had no input into the Virginia design. CSN Chief Constructor John L Porter was tasked with drawing up the working plan for CSS Mississippi, which was then handed to Pearce who was made Acting Naval Constructor rank with the promise by Mallory that on completion he would be made a full Constructor.

Page 62: Mississippi’s engines and boilers were designed by Chief Engineer James H Warner, construction and installation superintended by E.M. Ivens from Tredegar.

Page 65: B.M. Runyan was a US army transport .

Page 67:
CSS Livingston was a ferry converted during construction, not a tugboat.

Page 67: Stern wheeler Pink Varble no 2 being prepared for conversion into CSA Slidell – not CSS - was captured on the Cumberland River January 1863.

Page 72: The James Martin Contract. Under the supervision of I.N. Brown, Mallory reported two ironclad centre wheel steam gunboats mounting four guns with iron prows as rams were under construction at Algiers La. In February 1862 They had engines and 24ft (whether width or diameter is not clear) wheels by Anderson of New Orleans. Robert Holcombe thought they were Muscogee type, I thought they may be modified Missouri type. They can’t be either as the contract predates the plans of either type. The closest match I can find is John Roy’s earlier gunboat plans. Oddly it seems four were ordered, but there is no record of who was to construct the other two. To add to the confusion, at least one official source claims these were Richmonds, ie 150ft pp gunboats.

Page 72: The James Watson contract of March 1862 was for one ironclad gunboat to Draft no 1 plan attributed to John L Porter, but more probably his brother Sydney. Engines for two vessels were ordered.

Page 114:
The eight guns sent to Memphis were the ordnance for CSS Arkansas, and despite Hollins fighting to get them sent to New Orleans they went with the vessel to the Yazoo

Page 119: Although the Tennessee could have been launched and towed to the Yazoo with Arkansas, all available ordnance, iron and machinery including that for the Tennessee were taken and the Tennessee destroyed on the slip.

Page 243: The Yazoo “monster” was an enlarged Nashville type to plans by John L Porter. It would have had two 40ft sidewheels powered by four “standard” western river type engines, and two 8ft propellors powered by the Tennessee’s machinery. The armour was to be 4.5” from Shelby iron Company. In reality it is likely that I.N. Brown would have had the vessel completed utilising his experience with his planned conversions and the Arkansas, so the result may well have been something resembling a very large paddlewheel version of that ship.

Page 243: I.N. Brown proposed three river boat conversion, but the vessel proposed for construction at Florence was a modified “Nashville” type. This became CSS Memphis, later Pheonix, one of a pair designed by Prime Emmerson and constructed by J.T. Shirley ad David Dehaven at Selma Ala.

Page 260: A plan exists on which the construction of CSS Missouri was based, and there is a painting of her in service by Union seaman Stauffer and a description by Commander W.E Fitzhugh USN who briefly was her USN captain.

Page 265: James Meads was the former Chief Carpenter at Rocketts Yard Richmond. He converted one of the two Abrams Tobacco Company vessels into CSS Brandywine, completed CSS Richmond from the knuckle upwards to his own design and oversaw the construction of CSS Fredericksburg, for all of which he was made up to full Constructors rank.

Page 292. The Brooke 6.4” muzzle loading rifle (MLR) was not “ the Brooke version of the standard navy 32-pounder.” They were quite different weapons. In fact, the only thing that they had in common was their bore size - 6.4”. The Confederates used a large number of the 32-pounders, both in the original smooth bore (SB) version and the rifled and sometimes banded MLR conversions. The Brooke 6.4” MLR was a heavier and larger weapon, firing heavier projectiles to greater effect. It’s closest Union equivalent would be the Parrott 100 pounder, which had the same 6.4” bore and resembled the Brooke weapon in configuration. In fact, Union sources often referred to the Brooke 6.4”as the Brooke 100 pounder.

Page 292. The gun illustrated is not a Brooke 6.4”. The photograph is from a set taken by William F. Browne in 1865 of captured Confederate weapons in the fortifications along the James River below Richmond. They were published after the war as “View of Confederate Water Batteries on the James River”. The only 6.4” Brooke MLR in these defenses was in the batteries on Chaffins Bluff , below Drewry’s Bluff but on the north side of the river. The gun illustrated is in Battery Brooke, between Drewry’s Bluff and Battery Semmes on the south side of the river. By comparing the gun illustrated with the person standing beside and noting the configuration and size of the gun, it is larger than a Brooke 6.4” MLR. The gun is a double banded Brooke 10” SB, two of which were located in this battery.

Page 293. Other Brooke guns did make their way to the Mississippi River, though not many. In the inventory of weapons captured at Vicksburg were two Brooke MLRs, one 6.4” and one 7”. The 7” may be one of the four intended to be the chase guns on CSS Mississippi, of which only three reached New Orleans before the fall of that city. It may be that this gun reached Jackson, Mississippi and was diverted from there to Vicksburg.



 

Thomas Weine

Cadet
Joined
Nov 29, 2019
Here are some comments from myself and Charlie Robbins.

Notes on “Defending the Arteries of Rebellion”

Page 20:
Double banded 9” SB – Who by and where was it done?

Page 44: CSS Ivy was not equipped with an 8” Whitworth MLR. It was an 8”SB. The date is too early for large calibre Whitworth naval rifles and they didn’t manufacture an 8” calibre.

Page 60:
The Tift proposal presented to and approved by the CSN Board of Officers, subsequently authorised for construction by Mallory was a simple 16 gun box battery ship. The final as constructed design with 20 guns was by Joseph Pearce.

Page 61: Joseph Pearce was indeed Chief Carpenter at Gosport, Norfolk Navy Yard, but he had no input into the Virginia design. CSN Chief Constructor John L Porter was tasked with drawing up the working plan for CSS Mississippi, which was then handed to Pearce who was made Acting Naval Constructor rank with the promise by Mallory that on completion he would be made a full Constructor.

Page 62: Mississippi’s engines and boilers were designed by Chief Engineer James H Warner, construction and installation superintended by E.M. Ivens from Tredegar.

Page 65: B.M. Runyan was a US army transport .

Page 67:
CSS Livingston was a ferry converted during construction, not a tugboat.

Page 67: Stern wheeler Pink Varble no 2 being prepared for conversion into CSA Slidell – not CSS - was captured on the Cumberland River January 1863.

Page 72: The James Martin Contract. Under the supervision of I.N. Brown, Mallory reported two ironclad centre wheel steam gunboats mounting four guns with iron prows as rams were under construction at Algiers La. In February 1862 They had engines and 24ft (whether width or diameter is not clear) wheels by Anderson of New Orleans. Robert Holcombe thought they were Muscogee type, I thought they may be modified Missouri type. They can’t be either as the contract predates the plans of either type. The closest match I can find is John Roy’s earlier gunboat plans. Oddly it seems four were ordered, but there is no record of who was to construct the other two. To add to the confusion, at least one official source claims these were Richmonds, ie 150ft pp gunboats.

Page 72: The James Watson contract of March 1862 was for one ironclad gunboat to Draft no 1 plan attributed to John L Porter, but more probably his brother Sydney. Engines for two vessels were ordered.

Page 114:
The eight guns sent to Memphis were the ordnance for CSS Arkansas, and despite Hollins fighting to get them sent to New Orleans they went with the vessel to the Yazoo

Page 119: Although the Tennessee could have been launched and towed to the Yazoo with Arkansas, all available ordnance, iron and machinery including that for the Tennessee were taken and the Tennessee destroyed on the slip.

Page 243: The Yazoo “monster” was an enlarged Nashville type to plans by John L Porter. It would have had two 40ft sidewheels powered by four “standard” western river type engines, and two 8ft propellors powered by the Tennessee’s machinery. The armour was to be 4.5” from Shelby iron Company. In reality it is likely that I.N. Brown would have had the vessel completed utilising his experience with his planned conversions and the Arkansas, so the result may well have been something resembling a very large paddlewheel version of that ship.

Page 243: I.N. Brown proposed three river boat conversion, but the vessel proposed for construction at Florence was a modified “Nashville” type. This became CSS Memphis, later Pheonix, one of a pair designed by Prime Emmerson and constructed by J.T. Shirley ad David Dehaven at Selma Ala.

Page 260: A plan exists on which the construction of CSS Missouri was based, and there is a painting of her in service by Union seaman Stauffer and a description by Commander W.E Fitzhugh USN who briefly was her USN captain.

Page 265: James Meads was the former Chief Carpenter at Rocketts Yard Richmond. He converted one of the two Abrams Tobacco Company vessels into CSS Brandywine, completed CSS Richmond from the knuckle upwards to his own design and oversaw the construction of CSS Fredericksburg, for all of which he was made up to full Constructors rank.

Page 292. The Brooke 6.4” muzzle loading rifle (MLR) was not “ the Brooke version of the standard navy 32-pounder.” They were quite different weapons. In fact, the only thing that they had in common was their bore size - 6.4”. The Confederates used a large number of the 32-pounders, both in the original smooth bore (SB) version and the rifled and sometimes banded MLR conversions. The Brooke 6.4” MLR was a heavier and larger weapon, firing heavier projectiles to greater effect. It’s closest Union equivalent would be the Parrott 100 pounder, which had the same 6.4” bore and resembled the Brooke weapon in configuration. In fact, Union sources often referred to the Brooke 6.4”as the Brooke 100 pounder.

Page 292. The gun illustrated is not a Brooke 6.4”. The photograph is from a set taken by William F. Browne in 1865 of captured Confederate weapons in the fortifications along the James River below Richmond. They were published after the war as “View of Confederate Water Batteries on the James River”. The only 6.4” Brooke MLR in these defenses was in the batteries on Chaffins Bluff , below Drewry’s Bluff but on the north side of the river. The gun illustrated is in Battery Brooke, between Drewry’s Bluff and Battery Semmes on the south side of the river. By comparing the gun illustrated with the person standing beside and noting the configuration and size of the gun, it is larger than a Brooke 6.4” MLR. The gun is a double banded Brooke 10” SB, two of which were located in this battery.

Page 293. Other Brooke guns did make their way to the Mississippi River, though not many. In the inventory of weapons captured at Vicksburg were two Brooke MLRs, one 6.4” and one 7”. The 7” may be one of the four intended to be the chase guns on CSS Mississippi, of which only three reached New Orleans before the fall of that city. It may be that this gun reached Jackson, Mississippi and was diverted from there to Vicksburg.
Wow!

Page 145

The mortars used on Porter’s schooners (at New Orleans and at Vicksburg in 1862 were 13 inches, not 15, likewise the mortars used against Vicksburg in 1863.

I have never seen any mention of a 15 inch mortar being used anywhere in the CW., but maybe one of the “ironheads” on CWT has. Let ‘em speak up.
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
Here are some comments from myself and Charlie Robbins.

Notes on “Defending the Arteries of Rebellion”

Page 20:
Double banded 9” SB – Who by and where was it done?

Page 44: CSS Ivy was not equipped with an 8” Whitworth MLR. It was an 8”SB. The date is too early for large calibre Whitworth naval rifles and they didn’t manufacture an 8” calibre.

Page 60:
The Tift proposal presented to and approved by the CSN Board of Officers, subsequently authorised for construction by Mallory was a simple 16 gun box battery ship. The final as constructed design with 20 guns was by Joseph Pearce.

Page 61: Joseph Pearce was indeed Chief Carpenter at Gosport, Norfolk Navy Yard, but he had no input into the Virginia design. CSN Chief Constructor John L Porter was tasked with drawing up the working plan for CSS Mississippi, which was then handed to Pearce who was made Acting Naval Constructor rank with the promise by Mallory that on completion he would be made a full Constructor.

Page 62: Mississippi’s engines and boilers were designed by Chief Engineer James H Warner, construction and installation superintended by E.M. Ivens from Tredegar.

Page 65: B.M. Runyan was a US army transport .

Page 67:
CSS Livingston was a ferry converted during construction, not a tugboat.

Page 67: Stern wheeler Pink Varble no 2 being prepared for conversion into CSA Slidell – not CSS - was captured on the Cumberland River January 1863.

Page 72: The James Martin Contract. Under the supervision of I.N. Brown, Mallory reported two ironclad centre wheel steam gunboats mounting four guns with iron prows as rams were under construction at Algiers La. In February 1862 They had engines and 24ft (whether width or diameter is not clear) wheels by Anderson of New Orleans. Robert Holcombe thought they were Muscogee type, I thought they may be modified Missouri type. They can’t be either as the contract predates the plans of either type. The closest match I can find is John Roy’s earlier gunboat plans. Oddly it seems four were ordered, but there is no record of who was to construct the other two. To add to the confusion, at least one official source claims these were Richmonds, ie 150ft pp gunboats.

Page 72: The James Watson contract of March 1862 was for one ironclad gunboat to Draft no 1 plan attributed to John L Porter, but more probably his brother Sydney. Engines for two vessels were ordered.

Page 114:
The eight guns sent to Memphis were the ordnance for CSS Arkansas, and despite Hollins fighting to get them sent to New Orleans they went with the vessel to the Yazoo

Page 119: Although the Tennessee could have been launched and towed to the Yazoo with Arkansas, all available ordnance, iron and machinery including that for the Tennessee were taken and the Tennessee destroyed on the slip.

Page 243: The Yazoo “monster” was an enlarged Nashville type to plans by John L Porter. It would have had two 40ft sidewheels powered by four “standard” western river type engines, and two 8ft propellors powered by the Tennessee’s machinery. The armour was to be 4.5” from Shelby iron Company. In reality it is likely that I.N. Brown would have had the vessel completed utilising his experience with his planned conversions and the Arkansas, so the result may well have been something resembling a very large paddlewheel version of that ship.

Page 243: I.N. Brown proposed three river boat conversion, but the vessel proposed for construction at Florence was a modified “Nashville” type. This became CSS Memphis, later Pheonix, one of a pair designed by Prime Emmerson and constructed by J.T. Shirley ad David Dehaven at Selma Ala.

Page 260: A plan exists on which the construction of CSS Missouri was based, and there is a painting of her in service by Union seaman Stauffer and a description by Commander W.E Fitzhugh USN who briefly was her USN captain.

Page 265: James Meads was the former Chief Carpenter at Rocketts Yard Richmond. He converted one of the two Abrams Tobacco Company vessels into CSS Brandywine, completed CSS Richmond from the knuckle upwards to his own design and oversaw the construction of CSS Fredericksburg, for all of which he was made up to full Constructors rank.

Page 292. The Brooke 6.4” muzzle loading rifle (MLR) was not “ the Brooke version of the standard navy 32-pounder.” They were quite different weapons. In fact, the only thing that they had in common was their bore size - 6.4”. The Confederates used a large number of the 32-pounders, both in the original smooth bore (SB) version and the rifled and sometimes banded MLR conversions. The Brooke 6.4” MLR was a heavier and larger weapon, firing heavier projectiles to greater effect. It’s closest Union equivalent would be the Parrott 100 pounder, which had the same 6.4” bore and resembled the Brooke weapon in configuration. In fact, Union sources often referred to the Brooke 6.4”as the Brooke 100 pounder.

Page 292. The gun illustrated is not a Brooke 6.4”. The photograph is from a set taken by William F. Browne in 1865 of captured Confederate weapons in the fortifications along the James River below Richmond. They were published after the war as “View of Confederate Water Batteries on the James River”. The only 6.4” Brooke MLR in these defenses was in the batteries on Chaffins Bluff , below Drewry’s Bluff but on the north side of the river. The gun illustrated is in Battery Brooke, between Drewry’s Bluff and Battery Semmes on the south side of the river. By comparing the gun illustrated with the person standing beside and noting the configuration and size of the gun, it is larger than a Brooke 6.4” MLR. The gun is a double banded Brooke 10” SB, two of which were located in this battery.

Page 293. Other Brooke guns did make their way to the Mississippi River, though not many. In the inventory of weapons captured at Vicksburg were two Brooke MLRs, one 6.4” and one 7”. The 7” may be one of the four intended to be the chase guns on CSS Mississippi, of which only three reached New Orleans before the fall of that city. It may be that this gun reached Jackson, Mississippi and was diverted from there to Vicksburg.



Rebel at Sea

The two of you really analyzed this book for artillery and other inconsistencies.

I seem to recall seeing the term “napoleon rifle” somewhere in the first portion of the book. Unfortunately, I did not write down the page number like you did and could not find it when I looked for it later.
If I am mistaken about this term being in the book, I apologize profusely for bringing this up.
If “napoleon rifle” is mentioned, I would like to know the page number, as I am unfamiliar with such a weapon and would like to check it out.
If anyone sees it please contact me.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Rebel at Sea

The two of you really analyzed this book for artillery and other inconsistencies.

I seem to recall seeing the term “napoleon rifle” somewhere in the first portion of the book. Unfortunately, I did not write down the page number like you did and could not find it when I looked for it later.
If I am mistaken about this term being in the book, I apologize profusely for bringing this up.
If “napoleon rifle” is mentioned, I would like to know the page number, as I am unfamiliar with such a weapon and would like to check it out.
If anyone sees it please contact me.
Similarly, on my first read through I noticed a reference to a Paixhans gun, but can I find it again - no !
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Just received my copy of the book and also found the index is messed up. Also, Neil made the same two mistakes that everyone seems to be making these days that I addressed in a previous post but got no replies.
RED ROVER: The "Red Rover" WAS NOT built at Cape Girardeau, MO in 1859 although Neil only says "Missouri in 1859." The Steamboat “Red Rover” was actually contracted for in Louisville, Kentucky by Captain John D. Taylor around 19 June 1857 after he purchased the Steamer “Buckeye State” for $9000 to use her machinery in the new boat. Captains William Strong and Taylor had John Cunningham of Louisville construct the new boat. The “Red Rover” was launched in Louisville in October 1857. The “Red Rover” arrived at the Louisville, Kentucky Strader’s Wharf 21 December 1857. The Steamer “Red Rover” then proceeded to Nashville, Tennessee and began to serve the Nashville-New Orleans trade. She continued in that trade, occasionally visiting St. Louis, until the Civil War. According to the John Julius Guthrie papers as listed in the Official Records, Navies, the “Red Rover” was purchased by the Confederate States for $30,000 and Guthrie was to take command 7 November 1861 at New Orleans, Louisiana. He was then to proceed with her to Memphis, Tennessee on 25 November 1861, or wherever the floating battery New Orleans was located. According to the same source she arrived at Columbus, Kentucky 11 December 1861. However, the owners of the “Red Rover,” William Strong, John D. Taylor, William B. Wyatt, Frank Shackleford, and Ammon L. Davis were not paid the $30,000 until 6 March 1862 by Commander John K. Mitchell at New Orleans, Louisiana. That was only one month before she was captured at Island No. 10 in the Mississippi River on 7 April 1862. Strong was Owner and Master and Shackelford her Owner and Clerk when she was purchased by the Confederacy. Captured at Island No. 10 she was converted by the Union into the renowned hospital boat. If anyone needs the references to the above let me know.
J.E. MONTGOMERY: The Commodore of the Confederate River Defense Fleet was JOSEPH Ed Montgomery not James E. Montgomery. Given most of the material published on him prior to the war and during the was only listed him as J.E. Montgomery, for some reason the government made the same mistake in the ORA and the ORN. He was Captain of several steamboats before the war that Mark Twain piloted but Twain or Clemons always referred to him as Captain Ed Montgomery or Captain Edward Montgomery. He died at his son's home in Chicago.
CSS MISSOURI: Although this was not mentioned before, Neil has the engines of the "Paul Jones" being installed on the CSS Missouri at Shreveport. I have not completed my research on this yet but Carter's letter of February 1863 would lead one to believe that happened as Moore & Smoker (the contractors) were sent east of the river to check into the "Paul Jones" in a letter of 15 February 1863 and Carter (in his letterbook) says they had purchased a steamboat with machinery by 18 Febrary 1863. However, Bowen and the Missouri troops at Grand Gulf were using the "Paul Jones" to transport Cockrell's Brigade across the river in early April 1863, to engage Grant according to Bowen's letterbook. She was tied to the "Charm" and sunk in the Big Black River in May 1863. Margie Bearss (Ed Bearss' wife) found the boats and made a scrapbook on them. Parts of the "Paul Jones" engines were found so I suspect between the dates and what has been found in the river, that another boat was purchased by Moore & Smoker for the $65,000. If anyone has input on that I would like to hear from you.
Other than that I would still highly recommend Neil's book as a much needed reference on the naval war in the west. Neil has done allot of good research and the references he gives can be very useful for anyone interested in this area. As anyone knows, who researches this area, the documents are not as readily available as on the east coast navy and allot of digging has to be accomplished. Thanks Neil for the book. And, sorry for the long post. Ray Nichols Cape Girardeau,MO. [email protected].
Thank you for that info on her engines, I too followed the wisdom about them coming from the Paul Jones as did Saxon Bisbee in his tome.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Wow!

Page 145

The mortars used on Porter’s schooners (at New Orleans and at Vicksburg in 1862 were 13 inches, not 15, likewise the mortars used against Vicksburg in 1863.

I have never seen any mention of a 15 inch mortar being used anywhere in the CW., but maybe one of the “ironheads” on CWT has. Let ‘em speak up.
I would suggest that is a typo by the publisher misreading a 3 for a 5.
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
I would suggest that is a typo by the publisher misreading a 3 for a 5.
Good idea, and quite possible, but considering your list of incorrect statements made concerning artillery, its also possible that its not a typo, but simply another factual mistake. Could be either.
 

Biscoitos

Corporal
Joined
May 14, 2020
Similarly, on my first read through I noticed a reference to a Paixhans gun, but can I find it again - no !
Page 69: The Pontchartrain was “Armed with seven guns, including at least on eight-inch smoothbore based on the French Paixhan model built at the Leeds foundry in New Orleans.”

I chanced upon the above. Wonder what the source is?

Still haven't seen the napoleon rifle that I think I saw.
 

rebelatsea

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
Page 69: The Pontchartrain was “Armed with seven guns, including at least on eight-inch smoothbore based on the French Paixhan model built at the Leeds foundry in New Orleans.”

I chanced upon the above. Wonder what the source is?

Still haven't seen the napoleon rifle that I think I saw.
Thank you, two pairs of eyes are better than one, will keep looking for your Napoleon ! I would like to know where that gun came from too. All I know about the vessel is here.
CSS PONTCHARTRAIN.jpg


Name: CSS Pontchartrain
Class: conversion
Type: SW Ironclad Sloop. Paddles(s): two sidewheels, Speed: 11 knots
Dimensions: 204ft (OA) x 36.5ft (B) x 13.5ft (D), 1,436 tons disp. Guns: 7 including at least 2 -32pdr SB Armour: 4” iron on unknown timber backing, 40 degree slope Design: unknown. Builder: Unknown
History Converted from “Lizzie Simmons” at New Orleans into a cottonclad gunboat for John N Hollins’ Squadron of the lower Mississippi, she saw action at Island No 10 and St Charles before being sent up the Arkansas River to Little Rock. Conversion to a full ironclad began at Island No10, being completed only to abaft the paddlewheels, she sent to Little Rock for completion. Burned on September 10th1863, incomplete. CSN Chief Engineer James H Warner was sent to survey her engines for use in a “miniature tinclad Nashville” conversion, and an assistant naval constructor James Meads was sent from Richmond to supervise. Whether any work was ever done is not known.
 
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