Director of the Library Myron “Jack” Smith recently published his 80th book. His latest release, titled, “Tinclads in the Civil War — Union Light-Draught Gunboat Operations on Western Waters, 1862-1865, ” focuses on the converted riverboats that were used as naval vessels on the Western front of the Civil War from 1862-1865.
This is his third book in the “The Civil War on Western Waters” series. The first was “Le Roy Fitch: The Civil War Career of a Union River Boat Commander.” It was published by in 2007. The second volume in the series was Smith’s “The Timberclads in the Civil War: The Lexington, Conestoga and Tyler on the Western Waters,” published 2008.
“The College congratulates Jack on reaching this milestone,” said Tusculum College President Dr. Nancy B. Moody. “Publishing 80 books is an amazing lifetime achievement, and he is a shining example of how our faculty and staff contribute to academic excellence at Tusculum College.”
In its 412-pages, the new book covers in great detail the U.S. Navy’s tinclad river gunboats along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, especially in Tennessee and Kentucky, pointing out that “the U.S. Navy’s tinclad vessels met the needs of President Abraham Lincoln’s government for easily-procured vessels that could operate year-round in shallow rivers.”
According to Smith, the new volume focuses on Confederate resistance to Federal inland river nautical activity, emphasizing the South’s efforts to hit the Union steamboat logistical effort between the summer of 1862 and early 1865. Also included are the ship-to-shore battles between the Union tinclads and bands of Confederate guerrillas and gray-clad regular Army cavalry.
Once the Union Army gained control of the upper rivers of the Mississippi Valley during the first half of 1862, slow and heavy ironclads proved ineffective in patrolling the waters. Hastily outfitted steamboats were covered with thin armor and pressed into duty. These tinclads fought Confederate forces attacking from the riverbanks, provided convoy for merchant steamers, enforced revenue measures, and offered tow, dispatch and other fleet support services. This history documents the service records and duties of these little-known vessels of the Union fleet.
Smith’s latest work is dedicated to the staff at Tusculum College’s Thomas J. Garland Library.
The book’s price is retail priced at $55; however, it will be available in the Tusculum College Bookstore for $49.95. The Bookstore also has the first and second books of the “The Civil War on Western Waters” series in stock.