"Gather up the fragments; let nothing be lost, to show the coming ages what liberty cost"  


United States Navy

in the

Civil War

(Western Rivers and Gulf of Mexico)





"Allow one so sorely tried in this his willing sacrifice to beseech you to believe that while we defend our rights with our strong arms and honest hearts, those we meet in battle may also have hearts as brave and honest as our own. We have buried two brave and honest gentlemen. Peace to their ashes; tread lightly over their graves." (Albert Miller Lea, C.S.A., at the burial of son, Edward Lea, U.S.N.)

This site is an attempt to tell the story of the "BrownWater Navy" and the brave men and women who served their country on the Western Rivers and Gulf of Mexico. While history books, period newspapers, printed biographies and the Official Records provide the facts of the events of the Naval war, much of the real "story" is found in the letters and diaries of those who served and those whose lives were most affected.

This site will be Under Construction until the last "fragment" is "gathered."

WARNING! SNAGS, SANDBARS & EDDIES AHEAD!  This site was re-launched late in 2005 after nearly 3 years in dry-dock. As of this date, I am still in the process of reworking most pages and images, as well as repairing numerous now-broken links. Please bear with me until the project is completed, at which time a notice will appear here. In the interim, your patience will be greatly appreciated.

~ Gary


BrownWater Deck Log - A chronological list of changes and additions to help readers quickly find updates since their last visit.   Coming Soon.

Naval Conquest of the Upper Mississippi River - Chronological account of operations of the Western Gunboat Flotilla, the Mississippi Squadron and the Army Ram Fleet operating southward from St. Louis, Cairo (IL) and the Ohio River.

Naval Conquest of the Lower Mississippi River - Chronological account of the Western Gulf Blockading Fleet and the Mortar Flotilla, operating northward from the Gulf of Mexico. (1862 to August 1863 when command of the lower river was transferred to the Mississippi Squadron)

Naval Operations on the Tennessee River - Chronological account of operations of the Western Gunboat Flotilla and the Mississippi Squadron operating southward from the Ohio River.

Naval Operations on the Cumberland River - Chronological account of operations of the Western Gunboat Flotilla and the Mississippi Squadron operating southward from the Ohio River.

Western Gulf Blockade - Operations of the Western Gulf Blockading Fleet including the battle of Mobile Bay.

Ellet's Ram Fleet and the Mississippi Marine Brigade - A brief history and roster of these little-known units which saw action on the western rivers.

Sailors - Gallery of Images and a growing roster of individuals who served in the Union Navy during the period 1861 - 1865. Find or add your ancestor/relative!

Unsung Heroes - Biographies and images of the men whose humble contributions the history books have overlooked.

In Their Own Words - First-hand accounts of daily life and significant western rivers actions, told through in the diaries, letters and written accounts of combatants and civilians.

Vessels - Images and other information on vessels known to have seen action in the Western Theatre.

Resources - Links to primary resources used in developing this site as well as other interesting naval-related sites.

To help us achieve our goal, we encourage you to contribute information—either of a general nature or about your ancestor and his service to the country. We are especially interested in copies of deck logs, rosters, photos, diaries, letters or papers which refer to vessels and/or crew members who served in the western theatre Navies. Use the email address below to attach general information, digital images and/or scanned documents or contact me for a snail-mail address to which photocopies may be sent.


Little Rock, AR

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