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Ellet's Brigade: The Strangest Outfit of All

Soon after the start of the Civil War, during the naval buildup on the central Mississippi River, celebrated engineer Charles Ellet, Jr., formed the Ram Fleet under U.S. secretary of war Edwin M. Stanton. Perhaps the most bizarre unit organized by the Union, the rams were shunned by both the army and the navy as useless instruments of wax. However, on June 6, 1862, they proved their worth by defeating the Confederate ironclads at Memphis while the U.S. Navy simply watched. In this lively study, the first on the rams since ...

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