Built by James B. Eads at the the Union Marine Ways, in the St. Louis suburb of Carondelet, the LOUISVILLE was a heavy “City Class” river gunboat. These vessels, paid for by the Army and operated by the Navy, were the heart of the Western Gunboat Flotilla (later the Mississippi River Squadron). Ponderous but powerful, they provided river-borne gunpower and protected the fleet of transports that allowed Western Federal armies to drive deep into Confederate territory.
The LOUISVILLE is shown in her everyday rigging, with canvas sunshades, to mitigate the terrible heat in the ironclad, her gunports open and cannon run out.
Photo courtesy of Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield
Missouri folk duo Kathy Barton and Dave Para sing a two-song melody of songs from the Free Soil side of the Missouri-Kansas Border War [aka, “Bleeding Kansas”].
Fighting between pro-slavery and Free Soil settlers helped radicalize people in the trans-Mississippi region, and push the nation at large towards war. The radicalization of actors in the Border War may have been a cause for some of the extreme violence seen during the region’s guerrilla conflict during the subsequent Civil War.
The song describes the Free Soil faction in Kansas as harbingers of freedom and democracy. The images mostly depict the fighting in Kansas from the Free Soil point of view.
Pro-Slavery activists and most Missourians would take great issue with the characterizations presented in both the songs and imagery.
The track can be found on Para and Barton’s CD:
Johnny Whistletrigger: Civil War Songs from the Western Border (Vol 1)
At the link above, you will find an exceptional map showing the vast scale of the Western Theater, and the huge distances covered by the victorious Federal armies in the West. The westerners not only decisively defeated Confederate forces in their region, but marched East to capture all of the eastern Confederacy south of Virginia.
Hal Jespersen has created a large number of excellent scholarly maps of battles and campaigns of the American Civil War. You can explore them all at the link in the resource section of this blog page.
Written by James M. McPherson, this is the first history to examine Lincoln as a military commander, and the interaction between the Army (and Navy), policy and politics.
It takes a national (and international) view of Lincoln as war commander. For students of the War in the West, it shows the importance of that region as the Theater where the war was won (and lost). It also follows Lincoln’s long search for a commander who could manage the (Eastern) Army of the Potomac. In the end, McPherson shows that it was in the West that Lincoln found the men to lead the Eastern army, and ensure that the two main Federal forces (the Army of the Potomac and the “Military Division of the Mississippi” finally worked in concert.
Understandable to the newcomer, and enjoyable to the veteran scholar.