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Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy: The Mississippi Squadron

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Overview

The Union inland navy that became the Mississippi Squadron is one of the greatest, yet least studied aspects of the Civil War. Without it, however, the war in the West may not have been won, and the war in the East might have lasted much longer and perhaps ended differently. The men who formed and commanded this large fighting force have, with few exceptions, not been as thoroughly studied as their army counterparts.

The vessels they created were highly specialized craft which operated in the narrow confines of the Western rivers in places that could not otherwise receive fire support. Ironclads and gunboats protected army forces and convoyed much needed supplies to far-flung Federal forces. They patrolled thousands of miles of rivers and fought battles that were every bit as harrowing as land engagements yet inside iron monsters that created stifling heat with little ventilation. This book is about the intrepid men who fought under these conditions and the highly improvised boats in which they fought. The tactics their commanders developed were the basis for many later naval operations. Of equal importance were lessons learned about what not to do. The flag officers and admirals of the Mississippi Squadron wrote the rules for modern riverine warfare.

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Editorial Reviews

Stacy D. Allen
Historian Gary D. Joiner has crafted a clear, concise, and masterful narrative history of the decisive role played by the Mississippi Squadron in winning the Civil War in the West. One of the least studied aspects of the conflict, this illuminating story of the improvised Brown Water Navy and the intrepid Union sailors who experienced the war from the deck of a western river gunboat will enthrall the reader.
Terrence J. Winschel
A growing number of historians claim that it was not Lincoln's generals who won the Civil War. Rather it was his admirals. The role of the United States Navy was the decisive factor in securing Union victory and nowhere was that more evident than on the inland waters where the ironclads, tinclads, and cottonclads of the 'Brown Water Navy' battled for control of the Mississippi River and its major tributaries. In stirring fashion Gary Joiner provides an overview of these heroic sailors and their unique vessels as they steamed and struggled their way into history at Fts. Henry and Donelson, Island No. 10, Memphis, Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, Grand Gulf, and in the Red River campaign. Their actions provided Lincoln with what he termed the 'key' to victory for their triumphs severed major Southern supply and communications lines, split the Confederacy in two, and effectively sealed the doom of Richmond. Long overdue, this work will broaden your understanding of these strategic waterways and the struggle waged for supremacy of these streams which determined the fate of a nation and its people.
Timothy B. Smith
Mr. Lincoln's Brown Water Navy is the first comprehensive, academic account of the Civil War's western riverine action to appear in a generation. Given the tremendous influence the Mississippi Squadron had on the Civil War, the previous minor coverage in the historical literature is inexplicable. Now, Joiner gives us the solid, well researched, and well written account that gives the brown water navy its due.
Civil War History
Gary Joiner has greatly added to the historiography of Civil War naval history and has hopefully shed enough light on the subject to motivate other scholars to research the subject further. This book is worth reading by many audiences, including professional historians, Civil War buffs, naval history enthusiasts, and those interested in early examples of joint force operations. This book is also recommended for use by educators for classes dealing with the Civil War.
— Daniel Sauerwein
The Journal Of Southern History
Excellent maps and pictures support Joiner's presentation . . . which is solidly researched and well written.
Choice
This is a worthy outing . . . [the book] deserves a sport on library shelves. . . . Recommended.
The Journal of Military History
Joiner is at his best when he is discussing strategy and the sometimes stormy army-navy relationships. . . . This is an excellent short introduction to the often-neglected yet vitally-important naval war in the West.
The Journal of Southern History
Excellent maps and pictures support Joiner's presentation . . . which is solidly researched and well written.
Civil War History - Daniel Sauerwein
Gary Joiner has greatly added to the historiography of Civil War naval history and has hopefully shed enough light on the subject to motivate other scholars to research the subject further. This book is worth reading by many audiences, including professional historians, Civil War buffs, naval history enthusiasts, and those interested in early examples of joint force operations. This book is also recommended for use by educators for classes dealing with the Civil War.
Booklist
Clearly written and well researched, Joiner’s sound study also offers a superior selection of photographs of the weird and wonderful craft that won the rivers for the Union.
CHOICE
This is a worthy outing . . . [the book] deserves a sport on library shelves. . . . Recommended.
The Journal Of Military History
Joiner is at his best when he is discussing strategy and the sometimes stormy army-navy relationships. . . . This is an excellent short introduction to the often-neglected yet vitally-important naval war in the West.
Sea History
A good scholarly introduction to this neglected aspect of Civil War maritime history.
Civil War Book Review
This book is well-written, thoroughly researched, and complemented by outstanding maps and illustrations. . . . A well-rounded and thoroughly engaging book that serves as a fine introduction to the Civil War on the western waters.
Journal Of Southern History
Excellent maps and pictures support Joiner's presentation . . . which is solidly researched and well written.
Civilwarhistory.Wordpress.Com
Gary Joiner has greatly added to the historiography of Civil War naval history and has hopefully shed enough light on the subject to motivate other scholars to research the subject further. This book is worth reading by many audiences, including professional historians, Civil War buffs, naval history enthusiasts, and those interested in early examples of joint force operations. This book is also recommended for use by educators for classes dealing with the Civil War.
— Daniel Sauerwein
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gary D. Joiner is a military historian, cartographer, and author who developed a special interest in studying river channel migration and historic road networks while studying the Red River Campaign of the U.S. Civil War. He is the author of One Damn Blunder from Beginning to End: The Red River Campaign of 1864, which has won two national history book honors, the A.M. Pate, Jr. and the Albert Castel awards. His other recent books include No Pardons to Ask, nor Apologies to Make; Through the Howling Wilderness: The Red River Campaign of 1864 and Union Defeat in the West; as senior editor, Little to Eat and Thin Mud to Drink, and as co-editor of O. Edward Cunningham's Shiloh and Western Campaign of 1862.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Blue Water and the Anaconda
Chapter 2: Mr. Welles, Mr. Eads and Mr. Pook: Creating the Brown Water Navy
Chapter 3: Early Actions from Belmont to the Battle of Shiloh
Chapter 4: Striking South
Chapter 5: The Lower River
Chapter 6: The Mississippi Squadron
Chapter 7: Vicksburg
Chapter 8: The Red River Campaign
Chapter 9: Epilogue: To the End of the War and After
Bibliography

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