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FROM-- SET FIVE, CIVIL WAR STUDIES

 

Topic Eighty:  Commodore David Dixon Porter

 
Ironclads of the Civil War Learning Activity
 

U.S. Civil War Naval Ships, Men and Battles--Confederate and Union
A Part of My Civil War Weapons & Warfare Activity Page
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The turning point of the Civil War Naval War
PART ONE--INTRODUCTION AND CONTENT PAGE OF LINKS

THE MISSISSIPPI SQUADRON

INTRODUCTION

The Mississippi River Squadron was the Union brown-water naval squadron that operated on the western rivers during the American Civil War. It was initially created as a part of the Union Army, although it was commanded by naval officers, and was then known as the Western Gunboat Flotilla and sometimes as the Mississippi Flotilla. It received its final designation when it was transferred to the Union Navy at the beginning of October 1862.

American Civil War

The squadron was created on May 16, 1861, and was controlled by the Union Army until September 30, 1862. John Rodgers was the first commander of the squadron and was responsible for the construction and organization of the fleet. Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote relieved Rodgers and encouraged the army commander in the west, Major General Henry W. Halleck, to authorize an expedition down the Tennessee River against Fort Henry. Operating in conjunction with Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the District of Cairo, Foote subdued Fort Henry before Grant's troops could take their positions.

Foote led the squadron in the attack on Fort Donelson and then joined with Maj. Gen. John Pope's Army of the Mississippi for a joint attack on Island No. 10 on the Mississippi River. Charles H. Davis relieved Foote and proceeded to take Fort Pillow on the Mississippi. The U. S. Ram Fleet, commanded by Colonel Charles Ellet, Jr., accompanied the squadron during the Battle of Memphis. After the capture of Memphis the squadron was transferred to the control of the U.S. Navy. The transfer included the Ram Fleet, by then reconstituted as the Mississippi Marine Brigade. Davis aided Grant's first and unsuccessful campaign against Vicksburg. Rear Admiral David D. Porter relieved Davis in command and led the squadron at Arkansas Post and during the successful Vicksburg Campaign and siege of the city.

Red River Campaign

Porter led the squadron during the disastrous Red River Campaign and when the waters of the river dropped the fleet was almost lost. The engineering abilities of Colonel Joseph Bailey who supervised the construction of Bailey's Dam helped save the fleet. During the Red River Campaign, the Mississippi Squadron was composed of 10 ironclads, 3 monitors, 11 tin-clads, 1 timber-clad, 1 ram and various support vessels, including vessels in the following table:

Ship

Type

USS Osage

twin-turret river monitor

USS Neosho

twin-turret river monitor

USS Ozark

single-turret river monitor

USS Eastport

casemate ironclad

USS Essex

casemate ironclad

USS Benton

casemate ironclad

USS Carondelet

casemate ironclad

USS Cincinnati

casemate ironclad

USS Louisville

casemate ironclad

USS Mound City

casemate ironclad

USS Pittsburgh

casemate ironclad

USS Lexington

timberclad

USS Ouachita

sidewheeler steamer

USS Nyanza

sidewheeler steamer

Command temporarily passed to Alexander Pennock before Samuel P. Lee assumed command. Lee was in command until the squadron was discontinued on August 14, 1865.

List of Commanding Officers

Squadron Commander

From

To

Major Battles

Commander John Rodgers

16 May 1861

30 August 1861

construction of squadron

Flag Officer Andrew H. Foote

30 August 1861

9 May 1862

Fort Henry, Fort Donelson, Island No. 10

Flag Officer Charles H. Davis

9 May 1862

15 October 1862

Fort Pillow, Memphis, Chickasaw Bayou

Rear Admiral David D. Porter

15 October 1862

July 1864

Arkansas Post, Vicksburg, Red River Campaign

Captain Alexander M. Pennock

July 1864

1 November 1864

temporary

Rear Admiral Samuel P. Lee

1 November 1864

14 August 1865

 

RESOURCES:

READ OF COMMODORE PORTERS "GREAT HOAX AT VICKSBURG"

N.Y. Times blog:  "The Rise of the ‘Infernal Machines"

 

CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT ABOUT ADM. PORTER

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