Discussion The Mississippi Marine Brigade.

Joined
Aug 4, 2019
While we are on the topic, I wish to put in another tale of the effectiveness of the said rams little discussed. There was yet another rebel fleet, be it a loosely called fleet, that we may laid claim that the Ellet’s rams played a major role causing its destruction. Immediately after the Battle of Memphis, the Federals send a raid force down the Mississippi River, and they eventually went up the Yazoo River before ending the operation. This force was composed mostly of Ellet’s rams and their speed caught the Confederates by complete surprise. Here is the background: they by chance stubble upon a collections of Confederate gunboats and maybe a few other vessels who had been mainly the survivors/escapees of the Battle of the Forts (New Orleans). These rebels were trying to concentrate and organize into somewhat of an effective force at this Yazoo River base/landing. Upon appearance of the Federals, for reasons not clear, the Rebels were seized by panic and set ablaze their entire fleet without firing a shot. Thus, another fleet is destroyed, and we are robbed of another Memphis style melee. Maybe the rebels steam barrels were not fired up of movement or they lack adequate crew members as many deserted or they read about Memphis in their newspapers. The conflagration is so immense that a few Federal vessels nearly caught fire themselves.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

Colonel
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The best source to refer to here (definitely not the first time I've recommended it):
  • Hearn, Chester G. Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State Univ. Press, 2000. 256 pp.​

Hearn ably covers the Brigade's creation from Ellet's ram fleet, its operations, and its (many) problems. It appears to have caused nearly as much confusion and annoyance to the Union forces as to the Confederate... Enjoyable reading, too.

There was a somewhat similar formation in the East during the Bermuda Hundred campaign (Graham's Naval Brigade) but it is tough to find information on, probably because it caused less of a headache.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Central Ohio
The Mississippi Marine Brigade did not have anything to do with the US Marine Corps.

Definitely not.

There was very little involvement of real Marines in the river war. The Marine Guards aboard Farragut's warships of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and a handful of guards at the Mound City naval base were all there were in-theater, despite naval officers' frequently begging the department for them. The substitute was to break up an infantry regiment, usually one that had already been decimated by casualties, and put them on board the river gunboats, but I don't think this really sufficed.
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Definitely not.

There was very little involvement of real Marines in the river war. The Marine Guards aboard Farragut's warships of the West Gulf Blockading Squadron and a handful of guards at the Mound City naval base were all there were in-theater, despite naval officers' frequently begging the department for them. The substitute was to break up an infantry regiment, usually one that had already been decimated by casualties, and put them on board the river gunboats, but I don't think this really sufficed.
The Marines could not even meet their modest 2,000 man authorized strength levels. I wrote a paper about the CW era Marines. A friend sent me a photo of his CW ancestor who had Russian knots instead of shoulder boards on his shoulders. I had never seen a photo of a US Marine officer & originally speculated that he was… Russian… because of the knot. That’s what I like about CW history, there is always something that you never knew.

I wouldn’t be surprised if I have posted 50 corrections to posts about the Mississippi Marine Squadron. The name is a wellspring for all manner of misconceptions. The later stage of the MMS operations was nothing Marines would want in their history.

The few Marines who distinguished themselves in CW combat were members of gun crews on warships.
 

Borderruffian

1st Lieutenant
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Aug 4, 2007
Location
Marshfield Missouri
Did the US navy consider creating their own marine brigade?
The United States Marine Corps, especially at that time has always " belonged" to the Navy in some very real and some not so real ways, that is why they are Department of the Navy, (the Men's Department). The Corps was much smaller then mostly ship detachments and some shore ( guard) detachments. The Corps didn't have enough Marines to go around so Ellets Infantry Volunteers were made an Ad-hoc Landing Force for the Mississippi Squadron in place of a USMC formation.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2019
If not mistaken, I seem to recall the soldiers who were to serve on the Ellet Fleet were from the 59th ILL. They may have been under the command of Charles Ellet's brother Alfred. They were in active battle at Pea Ridge and were at that part of the Federal battle line that decisively defeated the most important Rebel assault of the day on the right flank on that first day. Charles was allowed to enroll them after this battle. They may have been armed with carbine (maybe be wrong here) but I am almost certain they had them when placed on the rams. What a shame they did not shoot down that Rebel Pilot before he shot Charles Ellet at Memphis. I believed the Rebel drown afterwards in the river upon his boat sinking. I further understand Ellet's soldier played hell upon the Rebel pivot bow gun crews who were in the open and on each Rebel ram during the battle at Memphis.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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Mar 31, 2012
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Central Ohio
Coincidentally, my wife has just determined that one of her direct ancestors served aboard the ram Monarch as a second assistant engineer. Looks like I'll have to dig into this topic a little deeper than I have in the past; I started by downloading a PDF of Crandall's history from Google Books, and we'll see where I go from here...
 

major bill

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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Aug 25, 2012
My copy of Military Images summer issue arrived today. The summer issue has an article about the Mississippi Marnie Brigade by Paul Russinoff. In MMP Mr. Russinoff discusses the Mississippi Marine Brigade.
 
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