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At the start of the American Civil War, neither side had warships on the Mississippi River and in the first few months both sides scrambled to gather a flotilla, converting existing riverboats for naval use. These ships were transformed into powerful naval weapons despite a lack of resources, trained manpower and suitable vessels. The creation of a river fleet was a miracle of ingenuity, improvisation and logistics, particularly for the South. This title describes their design, development and operation throughout the American Civil War.