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[233]

The Navy on the Tennessee River.

Federal success at Chattanooga made it important to patrol the upper Tennessee River, and a number of small gunboats were built for that purpose. They were actively engaged above Mussel Shoals in keeping open communications and convoying loaded transports. The “General Grant,” under Acting Ensign J. Watson, with the other sturdy little vessels of the land-locked flotilla, aided in restoring order in the thinly settled districts along the river. She and the “General Burnside” engaged a battery which the Confederates had erected above Decatur, Ala., Dec. 12, 1864. On the 22d the “General Thomas” had a brush with some Confederate troops near the same place and they returned her fire with fury. Early in January of 1865 the “Grant,” single-handed, silenced Confederate batteries at Guntersville and Beard's Bluff, Ala. Returning a few days later, she destroyed the entire town of Guntersville as punishment for hostile demonstrations against the gunboats. Thus these little vessels were kept busily at work till the close of the war. The “General Sherman” was commanded by Acting Master J. W. Morehead; her executive officer was G. L. McClung, by whose courtesy these fine pictures appear here. The vessels shown above, as they lay in the Tennessee near Bridgeport in March, 1865, are, from left to right, the “General Sherman,” No. 60; the “General Thomas,” No. 61; the “General Grant,” No. 62; and the “General Burnside,” No. 63; all named after the military leaders whose strategy had resulted in the recovery of Tennessee to the Union.

Federal gunboats on the upper Tennessee

Government steamboat used on the upper Tennessee in 1864-65


 

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