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