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Mississippi River Gunboats of the American Civil War 1861-65 (New Vanguard 49) [Kindle Edition]

Angus Konstam , Tony Bryan
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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.


At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on either side of the Mississippi River and in the first few months of the war, both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use. These ships wrere converted 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.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 4829 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 48 Seiten
  • Verlag: Osprey Publishing (20. März 2002)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00B4CAV48
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #494.612 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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4.0 von 5 Sternen Seltene Informationen 11. März 2009
Der englische Text läßt sich flüssig und ohne Probleme lesen. Die Bilder und Colourplates, die grosse Schnittzeichnung im der Mitte, visualisieren die Schiffe in guter Weise. Man weiß, um was es geht!
Die Informationen über Bau, Einsatz und besondere Kampfhandlungen mit Beteiligung dieser Gunboats geben einen allgemeinen, aber schlüssigen und ausreichend informativen Überblick über das Thema. Wer zu mindestens allgemein über den US-Sezessionskrieg informiert sein will, der sollte dieses Buch unbedingt lesen; es lohnt sich.
Mein pers. Fazit: voll empfehlenswert!
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.0 von 5 Sternen  8 Rezensionen
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2.0 von 5 Sternen A tolerable survey, marred by critical mistakes 25. Januar 2014
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
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. Since the high-pressure boilers associated with the Evans-type engine were responsible for a number of grave tragedies during the war (notably on the USS Mound City and the USS Essex) as well as a number of fabled steamboat explosions in time of peace; and since hard work of getting over bars during low water in peace or war almost dictated the use of high-pressure engines, this really is an egregious error.

But worse. The centerfold colored, cutaway diagram of the USS Queen of the West is not only utterly conjectural, but it is almost certainly false in key respects. (Continue reading only if you want to hear the details of its misleadingness.) The engine shown appears to be of a compound type, with two in-line cylinders of different sizes -- nothing like the single-cylinder, high-pressure engine with which the Queen was almost certainly equipped. Compound engines were quite rare on the rivers until after the war. The piston rod emerges from the cylinder at an angle, a technical impossibility. It appears to be connected directly to the crank, another impossibility. There are no cylinder braces, so the engine should fall down onto the deck. There is no pitman, no crosshead to connect it to the piston rod. The paddle wheel in the diagram appears to be of metal; but western river wheels were all of wood (though braced by an "iron circle") -- a metal wheel could not be repaired on-the-spot in case an almost-inevitable collision with a log damaged it. The diagram includes a steam condenser -- no such thing on a customary high-pressure rig. The heads, where shown, would have emptied into the hold, a nasty buisiness; heads were usually on the guards right abaft of the wheelhouse, so that the deposits would fall into the water. Captain's day cabin and large stateroom, stuff and nonsense (what, is this an English boat?). Boatswain's store, utter conjecture. Boilers show below decks (probably on the assumption that the lowered boilers on the turtles and the timberclads were normal practice); but the boilers of this army ram, like all western steamboats, were on the main deck. The Queen was intended as a ram, with reinforced fore-and-aft bulkheads; lowering the boilers would have cut through these bulkheads, ruining the boat for its intended purpose. Boilers not long enough. No firebox, but instead, absurdly, fire door appears to enter forward end of boiler. Chimneys on the wrong side of the boiler (with return-flue boilers that were in universal use, the chimneys stood over the fire). There is more, but I can't go on.

All this shook my faith in these New Vanguard military books. In light of the serious deficiencies in the book's presentation of steamboat technology (the authors should have tried reading Louis C. Hunter's book), it doesn't deserve more than two stars. If you buy this, ignore the centerfold diagram, which is a travesty.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Includes the original USS Lexington. 27. Juli 2009
Von Ned Middleton - Veröffentlicht auf
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.

This is a book about the ships, the men and the actions they fought during a period of internal civil strife which went on to shape the United States of America. It is a fascinating document and one which has broadened my own knowledge of ships and naval warfare more dramatically than any other single work.

Once again we have some excellent artwork and a reasonable selection of historic photographs with the latter only limited by the lack of such images from that period. Altogether great VFM.

10 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Civil War Gunboat History-In a Nutshell 20. Januar 2003
Von D. Thomas - Veröffentlicht auf
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.
2 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen When the smoke clears. 31. Oktober 2009
Von Joseph E. Ginger - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
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.
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good reading. 30. April 2015
Von Steven M Blanchard - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Interesting volume on a, to me, relatively unknown subject. Good reading.
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