the nucleus of the subsequent river force in the three little wooden steamers, Conestoga
, and Tyler
About the time that these small craft had been converted into practicable gunboats, the department made a contract with James B. Eads
, of St. Louis
, for the construction of seven iron-clad steamers, and so, late in 1861 and early in 1862, there came into being the famous fighters, Cairo, Carondelet, Cincinnati, Louisville, Mound City, Pittsburgh
, and St. Louis
. To these were simultaneously added the powerful, converted snag-boats, Benton
, almost twice the size of any of those built by Eads
proved, despite her slowness, to be the most formidable vessel on the river.
She was armored with 3-inch plating, was about one thousand tons burden, and carried two 9-inch guns, seven rifled 42-pounders, and seven 32-pounders, a total of sixteen guns.
Thirty-eight mortar-boats completed the Western Flotilla
, as first organized.
It was soon evident that friction was bound to exist as long as naval officers were subject to the orders of innumerable military officials who happened to rank them.
Nevertheless, it was not until October 1, 1862, that the Western Flotilla
was transferred to the control of the Navy Department, and henceforth was called the Mississippi Squadron.
During the year 1861 there had been little done by either the army or the navy along the Western
But the early months of 1862 saw both gunboats and troops in active employment, and so they continued until practically the close of hostilities.
The separate actions that took place have already been covered in detail in previous volumes of this history.
The first action of any moment was the capture of Fort Henry
, on February 6th, where Flag-Officer Foote
's flotilla consisted of the Cincinnati
(flagship), Carondelet, St. Louis
, and Essex
, to which formidable force were added the three small wooden gunboats, Lexington
, and Conestoga
This was a joint army and navy movement, a combination of the two able minds of Ulysses S. Grant
and Andrew H. Foote
. General Lloyd