River Monitors

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Map of Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.
Courtesy OhioRiverCorridor.com.

At the onset of the Civil War, General Winfield Scott noted that a Union victory could be achieved by controlling the Mississippi River. Scott believed the entire Mississippi Valley could be controlled using only 12 to 20 gunboats and 60,000 soldiers. More resources would eventually be needed; however, the Federals ultimately enabled, as President Abraham Lincoln said, the ‘Father of All Rivers to flow unvexed to the sea.’ 

Because the Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles was preoccupied with establishing a blockade of the Confederate coastline, he placed control of the Western Gunboat Flotilla to the War Department. This action would give a strong unity of command as the Union army and naval forces endeavored to wrestle the river from the Confederacy. Commander John Rodgers was initially placed in command of the flotilla; however, he was soon replaced by Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote.    Read more

Way Back Wednesdays

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April 1937 Main entrance to museum

A new month means it’s time again for more #WayBackWednesdays photos, showing the exciting history of our museum.  This first picture (directly below) shows the front entrance of the museum (now the business entrance) in April of 1937.  A lot has changed since then as our museum has grown and further developed the area around the building.  I really like the old cars and buses visible in this shot as it makes you wonder if that was the only parking spot for museum visitors.  Probably so!

This next photo (below) shows children operating a bilge pump from USS Hartford that was placed at the museum.  The pump is ca 1865, so it’s great to see that it still worked for these kids.  Hartford was famous as the flagship of Rear Admiral Farragut during the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1964.  She was disposed of in Norfolk, Virginia in 1957, which is likely why we have the pump.  90+ years is an extremely long life for a ship, so she must’v been well built.   Read more