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Stan Hutson

"A Frolic up the Tennessee", an article on Naval activity during the larger Shiloh Campaign

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Thanks for providing the link to Tim Smith's excellent article, detailing the use of the Cincinnati-built Timberclads, contracted by Commander John Rodgers, on Phelp's Raid up the Tennessee River, immediately upon the fall of Fort Henry. Just a couple of points to add: the Samuel Orr acted as both floating Hospital and ammunition transport; and its cargo of "submarine batteries" (also termed "torpedoes") was destroyed before they could be put into place elsewhere -- perhaps the approach to Fort Donelson? (The Hospital patients were removed before Samuel Orr blew up.)

The capture of the MC & L Railroad bridge at Danville, along with capture of ironclad Eastport (subsequently converted to U.S. Navy use) and destruction of most of the powered watercraft on the Lower Tennessee River -- along with destruction of Samuel Orr -- were the highlights of Phelp's Raid. The low points, as mentioned in the article: the failure to destroy Bear Creek Bridge (perhaps too ambitious of a goal) and the escape of two Confederate steamers, hidden away in a creek near Florence (and feared by Union commanders to be converted into gunboats.) Subsequent raids (including General C.F. Smith's Expedition) focused on destruction of Bear Creek Bridge; and on tracking down those two missing steamers (their existence and escape mentioned in Southern newspapers.) But, it wasn't until after the Battle of Shiloh that Bear Creek Bridge was destroyed, and the two spectral steamers tracked down (one of these steamers became the first Tinclad, although it was officially registered as Tinclad No.21.)




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