Tinclads in the Civil War: Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862–1865

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Smith's Tinclads in the Civil War is a continuation of what has become something of an informal series dealing with the naval war on the western waters. This firepower, limited [boiler plate over timber] but beneficial protective armor, and ability to go just about anywhere the ground was damp made them excellent multi-purpose tools for the Union's waterborne war effort. The author perhaps put it best in his enumeration of their duties as "dispatch and light replenishment vessels, towboats, patrol boats, swift raiders, minesweepers, troop ship guardians or anchor pickets, and gunfire support vessels" pg.

The relatively swift tinclads were also very effective in counterinsurgency operations, as guerrillas were generally lightly armed and without artillery.

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Multiple examples of the many types of operations listed above appear in the text. Clearly, covering all tinclad operations between and would take multiple volumes and thousands of pages, and Smith wisely elected to concentrate his own study on those events where tinclads occupied center stage. Too multitudinous to even summarize here, Smith's study encompasses events on all the major waterways of the Trans-Mississippi and western theaters where tinclads roamed.


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Some incidents and operations are familiar, but many more inform the reader in great detail of more obscure events. The volume and depth of information provided will be most welcomed by dedicated students with specialized interests. Samenvatting Once the Union Army gained control of the upper rivers of the Mississippi Valley during the first half of , slow and heavy ironclads proved ineffective in patrolling the waters.


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  • Hastily outfitted steamboats were covered with thin armor and pressed into duty. These "tinclads" fought Confederate forces attacking from the riverbanks, provided convoy for merchant steamers, enforced revenue measures, and offered tow, dispatch, and other fleet support services.

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    This history documents the service records and duties of these little-known vessels of the Union fleet. Recensie s extensive research The subject is very important, and a knowledge of it is essential to an understanding of the war. Not only does Smith discuss the ships and the men who built and operated them, but he has plumbed the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion and archival holdings to provide a detailed history of their myriad operations.

    His study is so thorough that the story will not need to be told again --United States Naval Institute; deserves a spot on a Civil War aficionado's shelves --The Nautilus; a monumental naval series Toon meer Toon minder. Betrokkenen Auteur Myron J. Smith Co-auteur Myron J.

    Tinclads thus provided the transport key to rapidly moving troops, massing them at key points with supporting firepower to overwhelm resistance or punish areas where attacks occurred. As the western campaigns intensified, the tinclads role expanded as the armies moved deeper into Southern territory. There is some chronologically confusing material in the first two chapters, in part due to the spatial range, variety of vessels and their attackers, and the sequence in which engagements occurred.

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    Given the wide area in which these vessels operated, the times of acquisition, fitting out, and commissioning, the mixing of chronology is understandable. Campaigns against Confederate raiders, and army support, occupied much of their time.

    "USS Cairo", an Iron Clad Gunboat from the American Civil War, Vicksburg, Mississippi

    The text is well illustrated and has a very good bibliography. There is a useful appendix listing all tinclads with their numbers to allow identification of vessels in photographs. The linkage between the photographs, participant accounts, and vessel statistics provides an outstanding knowledge base from which to begin to understand Confederate raider, partisan, and bushwhacker activities all over the western theater.

    This would be a good textbook for a course on the Civil War because it shows the diversity of activity, especially in the western theaters, that is often overlooked by historians focusing on the Virginia and Georgia campaigns.

    Currently Reading | American Civil War | LibraryThing

    In contrast to the somewhat makeshift tinclads, the City Class armored river gunboats were designed to engage Confederate warships and fortifications in stand-up fighting. Navy ship during the Civil War. This text covers the ship from its October 12, launching to its end as a wharf boat five months after the war ended. The text is well organized with a strategic introduction to the western ironclads. This is followed by an explanation of how the City Class gunboats were created.

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