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Ozzy

Whither the WHB?

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We are all familiar with General Grant's "flagship," the Tigress. However, prior to steaming up the Tennessee River to assume command, 18 MAR 1862, of the expedition at Savannah, Ulysses S. Grant had made use of another steamer, described as, "the powerful towboat, WHB" (aka W. H. Brown). Just-promoted Major General Grant made use of the WHB, end of February 1862, following his success at Fort Donelson, on his ill-advised visit to Clarksville and Nashville (resulting in Grant being shelved at Fort Henry, for a couple of weeks.)

What happened to the towboat WHB that necessitated Grant's use of the Tigress? 

 

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The W. H. Brown was a commercial steamer prior to the war.It was commissioned in to Federal service to be based from Cairo and service the mississippi river and its tributaries.On April 13 1864  the ship was used as support during the red River Camp. and in aid to the Chillicoathe it took fire from Confederate batteries and was disabled.was towed back to cairo for repairs.It was commisioned out from service at mound City 12-8-65 and later 8-17-65sold at auction to a RR Hudson who used it commercially untill 1875.

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Mona

You are correct: the William H. Brown, fondly known as W.H.B., or simply -- B -- was disabled by enemy fire during the Red River Campaign (an event of which I was not aware until reviewing your answer). Congratulations!

The powerful towboat WHB also suffered "an incident" on about 10 March 1862. Specifically requested by Major General Grant for immediate use in the Tennessee River Expedition, Grant was informed that "the W.H.B. was disabled: boilers burst." It appears that the boat may have exerted her engine while attempting to tow seven-ton mortar rafts to Island No.8 in advance of Flag-Officer Foote's operation against New Madrid Bend and Island No.10. With the "B" unavailable, General Grant made use of Tigress, instead.

Cheers

Ozzy

 

References:  OR 52 part 1 page 222 (telegram from Grant of 11 MAR 1862, and response from BGen Cullum of 11 MAR 1862.)

 

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