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Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War 1861-65 (New Vanguard) [Kindle Edition]

Angus Konstam , Tony Bryan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Print List Price: $17.95
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Book Description

At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on the Mississippi River and in the first few months both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use. These ships were transformed into powerful naval weapons despite a lack of resources, trained manpower and suitable vessels. The creation of a river fleet was a miracle of ingenuity, improvisation and logistics, particularly for the South. This title describes their design, development and operation throughout the American Civil War.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The unrivalled illustrated reference on fighting vehicles, transport and artillery through the ages. Each volume is illustrated throughout, making these books uniquely accessible to history enthusiasts of all ages.

About the Author

Angus Konstam hails from the Orkney Islands and is the author of over 15 books, many of which are published by Osprey. His other maritime titles include Elite 67: Pirates 1660–1730, Elite 69: Buccaneers 1620–1700 and Elite 70: Elizabethan Sea Dogs 1560–1605. Formerly the Curator of Weapons in the Royal Armouries at the Tower of London, he also served as the Chief Curator of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West, Florida. He is now based in London, where he combines a freelance museum consultancy business with a career as a historian and writer.

Product Details

  • File Size: 4829 KB
  • Print Length: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing (February 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AGV89I8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,360 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A tolerable survey, marred by critical mistakes January 24, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Someone wanting a brief survey of the role of the gunboats during the Civil War on western waters will find this book moderately useful. My view is that it spends too much time on the Confederate river forces, given their almost utter lack of success and strategic insignificance after the battle of Memphis. Also I would question the selection of the battle of New Orleans as illustrative of the usage of gunboats on the rivers; the Confederate gunboats in that battle were handled terribly, and they were up against ocean-going warships, hardly typical of western gunboat fighting. Much better instead would have been to treat one of the operations on the White or the Yazoo. But reasonable people might disagree.

I was very disappointed, however, to encounter some grave errors. It says on page 46 that "The 'walking beam engine' was the most common type of engine used on the paddleboats that plied the western rivers in peace and in war." That is entirely false. By at least 1830 and probably even earlier, the walking beam transmission (typically associated with low-pressure engines, and essentially always with vertical cylinders) had been entirely superceded on the western waters by the Evans-type, horizontal-cylinder, high pressure steam engine, with direct drive from the piston rod to an oscillating "pitman," a wooden beam that turned the crank of the paddle wheel. The principal motion of the pitman was fore-and-aft, though it moved up and down just enough to accomodate the rotation of the crank.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Includes the original USS Lexington. July 27, 2009
If I might be forgiven for adapting that old cliché about buses; I was blissfully unaware of the existence of Osprey Publishing until several books from this particular publisher came along at once. More importantly, I have yet to be disappointed by any title so far studied. My review of their "US Cruisers 1883-1904" attracted several comments in which I was asked about similar titles covering historic US Ships - so I asked for more.

Up to last week, I thought the USS Lexington was an aircraft carrier from WW2 and had no idea that name had been used previously. From this book, however, I learned that the first ship of that name was one of three Union river gunboats to see service on the Mississippi during the American Civil War. She displaced 362 tons and carried four 8 inch smoothbore and two 32 pounder guns.

Whilst warships have changed considerably since that time, I shall never look at the Natchez or Creole Queen (two similar, albeit unarmed, river boats which still ply the Mississippi) in quite the same way - should I ever see those magnificent vessels again.

If anything, this book will teach almost everybody something they did not previously know about the shallow-draught river gunboats which fought the naval battles within the confined spaces of one of the world's greatest rivers at that time. A particularly intriguing incident came about when the Governor Moore rammed the Varuna. Locked together for that short time before the Governor Moore could reverse away, the Varuna's gun crew were confronted by an enemy ship which was so close as to be below the trajectory of their main bow gun. Consequently they depressed the barrel to its absolute maximum and fired a round through their own decks and into the attacking ship causing mortal damage.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Civil War Gunboat History-In a Nutshell January 20, 2003
This compact book is great for getting someone interested in the gunboats used on the Mississipi during the Civil War. Not a detailed reference, but a good overview with photos, plates and cutaways making this an interesting book that I have shared with many friends. The text and listing of boats used by both sides has led me to a whole new area of interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the smoke clears. October 31, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Most of the hype and recognition for the Civil War goes to the many battlefields and the carnage that resulted. Popular history doesn't give justice to the bravery and hardships suffered by those contesting the Mississippi River and other waterways of the western theater. This book provides excellent illustrations of boats used by both sides. I was so impressed that I also bought Union Monitor 1861-65 and Confederate Ironclad 1861-65.
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More About the Author

With over 50 history books in print, Angus is a widely recognised and much-published historian. While he specialises in military and naval history he has also written numerous more general history books, designed to make the subject more accessible to a wider audience. Uniquely he has been able to draw on his expertise as a senior museum curator who has worked on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as on his academic training as a historian and as a maritime archaeologist.

His latest book is a full-length biography: Blackbeard: America's Most Notorious Pirate, which is published by Wiley & Sons. of New York (June 2006)

Angus is also just finished writing a history of the Allied landings at Salerno in September 1943 for the British publisher Pen & Sword, and he is currently working on a new project, with the working title of Supership: The Quest for the Renaissance Battleship.

Angus lives in Edinburgh, in Scotland.

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