The Civil War Round Table of St Louis is a not-for-profit organization for anyone interested in the factual history of the American Civil War era (1861 - 1865). We are located in St Louis, Mo. Our meetings about the Civil War include dinner, experts on the Civil War, as well as a social get together for friendly discussions of the Civil War and a trivia contest. Or, if you prefer, you can come to our speaker's Civil War presentation only.
We welcome all who are interested in the Civil War whether they live in the metro St. Louis, Missouri or Illinois area or just visiting.
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February 24, 2016 Meeting -
Mrs. Cher Petrovic,
"James Eads and his Gunboats"
Union supporter James Eads, a gunboat builder, made his fortune as a young man by salvaging sunken riverboats along the Mississippi River. Eads, a self-educated engineer, devised his own diving bell from a 40-gallon whiskey keg, helping him reclaim cargo. By the time he was 40 years old, he had become a wealthy, prominent St. Louisan.
Soon after war broke out, Eads expressed his concern about the Union's need for a strong navy presence on the Mississippi River to his friend, Attorney General Edward Bates. Bates, a fellow St. Louisan, knew of Ead's river expertise and supported his building a fleet. He also helped Eads get an audience with Lincoln.
After Eads traveled to Washington to meet with military leaders, the War Department contracted him for seven of what would be called "City Class" gunboats. With shipyards in Carondelet, Missouri, and Mound City, Illinois, Eads kept 4,000 men working around the clock, seven days a week. These were the first ironclad warships to be built, four at the Carondelet shipyard and three at Mound City.
Despite disruptions in government cash flow, Eads financed construction with his own funds.
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