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

Joined
Apr 26, 2020
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.
I don't have his book "Engines of Rebellion," but do have his 2012 Master's Thesis in which he offers two candidates: the Grand Era and the T.W. Roberts. The Grand Era was formerly the J.W. Mcrea and it is a good candidate (except dates), but I also have a newspaper article stating John Smoker bought the T.W. Roberts around 3 January 1863 at Alexandria, LA for $65,000. This fits Carter's letter of 1 February 1863 in which he stated he was sending the owner, R. B. Roberts to Richmond to collect the $65,000 (apparently sent Roberts' agent G.W. Smith instead). The only question on both these boats are the stated sizes of the cylinders and shafts. Neither fit the US Navy survey in '65. Also the number of boilers on each vessel is in question. I have only been able to uncover two boats that Russell B. Roberts owned at the time, the T.S. Conley and the T.W. Roberts. Will post the comparisons later. Would appreciate a copy of the page in Bixbee saying the Paul Jones. Does anyone have access to the January 1863 issues of the Shreveport News? The 3 January issue apparently has something to say about it. Newspapers.com and NewspapersArchive.com don't have these issues.
 
Joined
Apr 26, 2020
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.View attachment 380448

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.
You state the builder as unknown. The builder of the Lizzie Simmons was Dohrman & Humphries at New Albany, IN. I have attached a sketch of her. In appearance she looks much like the Buckeye State, the machinery of which went into the Red Rover hospital ship. Captain George H. Kirk contracted with them to build the Lizzie Simmons in March 1859. She was launched 16 July 1859 at the yard in New Albany. There's a good article on her in the newspaper Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, AR, Sunday, July 31, 1904, p. 5. Who did the drawings you enclosed? She was named after Elizabeth "Lizzie" Tatum from Autauga County, Alabama. Lizzie married John T Simmons 12 January 1848 in Autauga County, Alabama. They were living in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana when the boat was named after her. Dr. J. T. Simmons died in a boiler explosion on the maiden voyage of the new steam ferry between Monroe and Trenton 12 April 1867 at age 42. Lizzie Simmons married Alexander Lazare on 18 December 1871 in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. She died 17 July 1892 (aged 61). The boat was purchased from Kirk on 5 November 1861 for $65,000 (voucher attached). If you want any of this info, let me know at [email protected] and give me an email address to send it to as it's too much for this blog. Yes, my email indicates I served aboard the USS Bushnell (AS-15) in '63. She was the 2nd submarine tender named after David Bushnell who as most know made the Turtle, the first submarine (Oaken barrel) to attack an enemy ship during the Revolutionary War. Enough of my babbling.

Lizzie Simmons.jpg


046.jpg
 

rebelatsea

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Mar 30, 2013
Location
Kent ,England.
You state the builder as unknown. The builder of the Lizzie Simmons was Dohrman & Humphries at New Albany, IN. I have attached a sketch of her. In appearance she looks much like the Buckeye State, the machinery of which went into the Red Rover hospital ship. Captain George H. Kirk contracted with them to build the Lizzie Simmons in March 1859. She was launched 16 July 1859 at the yard in New Albany. There's a good article on her in the newspaper Arkansas Gazette, Little Rock, AR, Sunday, July 31, 1904, p. 5. Who did the drawings you enclosed? She was named after Elizabeth "Lizzie" Tatum from Autauga County, Alabama. Lizzie married John T Simmons 12 January 1848 in Autauga County, Alabama. They were living in Caldwell Parish, Louisiana when the boat was named after her. Dr. J. T. Simmons died in a boiler explosion on the maiden voyage of the new steam ferry between Monroe and Trenton 12 April 1867 at age 42. Lizzie Simmons married Alexander Lazare on 18 December 1871 in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana. She died 17 July 1892 (aged 61). The boat was purchased from Kirk on 5 November 1861 for $65,000 (voucher attached). If you want any of this info, let me know at [email protected] and give me an email address to send it to as it's too much for this blog. Yes, my email indicates I served aboard the USS Bushnell (AS-15) in '63. She was the 2nd submarine tender named after David Bushnell who as most know made the Turtle, the first submarine (Oaken barrel) to attack an enemy ship during the Revolutionary War. Enough of my babbling.

View attachment 380456

View attachment 380457
Excellent, thank you for the information.
 

ErnieMac

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May 3, 2013
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Defending the Arteries of Rebellion has just popped up as a special for $2.99 on my Amazon Kindle. Needless to say I bought it. Not sure if that price applies to all Kindle owners or not, but you might check.
 

Sharon C.

Private
Joined
Mar 23, 2015
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.
Who published Chatelain's book... and who was the editor? I don't have it, yet. Having been both publisher/editor for a couple of historical publishing companies, I think a book that goes to press without a viable Index has not had a final read/edit. Sorry, but that's my "humble" opinion.
 
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