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Amphibious soldiers--1865: officer and men of the U. S. Marine corps This striking picture of an officer and five privates in the United States Marine Corps shows the quality of the men who made up that highly important branch of the service. The United States Marine Corps was established by Act of Congress on July 11, 1798, “as an addition to the present military establishment.” On June 30, 1834, another Act for its better organization was passed. The marines were early in the war, not only in minor engagements along the coast incidental to the blockade, but in the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861, where they cooperated with the regular military forces. The marines proved especially useful in the fighting along the Western rivers. When Admiral D. D. Porter took command of the Mississippi squadron, he applied for a force of marines to be carried in suitable vessels accompanying the fleet of gunboats so that the forces could be landed at various points. It was necessary to have trained soldiers at hand to pursue and annihilate these irresponsible raiders, who pillaged on the property of non-combatants on both sides. The Navy Department at the time could not furnish the marines that Porter wanted, but the War Department undertook to organize a marine brigade and also to furnish the necessary transports to carry them about. The command of this was given to Brigadier-General Alfred Ellet. Ellet's marine brigade, numbering about 2,000 strong, first sailed up the Tennessee River in April, 1863, to join the flotilla of Lieutenant-Commander Fitch, which was trying to suppress marauding bands in that territory. On April 25th, the marine brigade was attacked at Duck River by 700 Confederates under Colonel Woodward, who had mistaken the Federal vessels for transports. They were disagreeably surprised when the marines, landing promptly, discomfited them in a sharp engagement and pursued them for twelve miles inland. On May 7th, since the waters of the Tennessee had become too low, the marine brigade joined Admiral Porter's squadron and rendered important service along the Mississippi and the Yazoo.

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