The Civil War in Missouri

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The Artifact Gallery was made possible by a generous gift from the William T. Kemper Foundation – Commerce Bank, Trustee.


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U.S. Gunboat Osage

Painting by Thomas H. Burridge, 1863-1864
MHM Collections

In the Federal western flotilla, 14 of the 22 ironclad gunboats were made at James B. Eads' shipyards in Carondelet, Missouri, and he shared in the design of four others at Mound City, Illinois. Eads' gunboats patrolled the western waters and helped secure the Mississippi River for the Union. The Osage was one of Eads's smaller and lighter ironclads. It carried two cannons in a revolving turret protected by a half foot of iron plating. It had a draft of only 3½ feet, giving it a low profile in the water. While engaged in an attack on Spanish Fort, near Mobile, Alabama, on March 29, 1865, the Osage struck a Confederate mine and was sunk in the Blakely River. This painting's artist, Thomas H. Burridge, was a draftsman for Eads during the war.