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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Speaking Trumpet Used Aboard the Federal Gunboat USS Essex

MHM Collections

This speaking trumpet was used aboard the Federal ironclad gunboat the USS Essex by the executive officer to magnify voices during the Civil War. It was presented by Captain John C. Parker to the Missouri Commandery, Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the US. During the war, the Mississippi River and many of the larger rivers feeding into it were vitally important channels of transportation that were coveted by both the Union and the Confederacy. Gunboats of both sides were necessary to patrol their sections of the rivers to secure safe passage of troops and supplies. The USS Essex was just one of seven gunboats that would be commissioned by the United States government to be built in and around St. Louis by James B. Eads in 1861.