] Hewitt Clarke's Mississippi -- He Saw The Elephant

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He Saw The Elephant

He Saw the Elephant Cover

Hard Cover, 263 Pages,
28 Photos


He Saw The Elephant is a true story of the amazing Civil War adventures of Lt. Charles Read, CSN.

Mild mannered Charley Read was an Annapolis graduate from Mississippi. He entered the Confederate Navy at age 21. One of his shipmates said he could have easily stepped out of the pages of a Dumas novel.

In his brief but exciting career as a naval commander, Savvy Read accomplished a number of truly remarkable victories.  He ran one of the first iron clad CSA vessels down the Yazoo River, past the Federal ships cluster around Vicksburg and through the Federal blockade of the New Orleans harbor.  This he accomplished despite that fact that his vessel took fire from nearly 40 vessels in the river and from shore batteries, as well, as he headed out to sea.

When focusing on Read's war time activities, Clarke also speaks to  the many hardships suffered by the common seamen of the era and how a little compassion goes a long way in dealing with military subordinates.  "Savvy" was beloved by his crews, fellow officers and commanders alike.  Read was a unique Confederate officer.

Out numbered and out gunned was the normal course of events for Read, he was never daunted by the odds and in his attempts to deny the enemy shipping and manpower.  He often captured Federal vessels without firing a single cannon shot, occasionally this was because he had no guns.  In capturing many of the Federal vessels in his much celebrated New England coast raid, he fashioned cannon out of pieces of mast and painted them black to resemble cannon.  Savvy discovered that these "Quaker" guns worked very well indeed.

"Savvy" Read and his wife, Nebraska, are buried in the Confederate mound at Rose Hill cemetery in Meridian Mississippi.  A marker commemorates his bravery and bears the inscription, "With a crew of 17 he captured and burned 22 Union ships in 21 days and struck terror across the eastern seaboard."

When Read died in 1890, Admiral George Dewey said, "There is no one in America who deserves a place in history more than Charles Read."

The book also contests the recent revision of history that maintains the Civil War was over slavery.


  • Publisher:  Lone Star Press
  • Date Published:  June 2000.
  • ISBN:  0-9649231-2-2
  • Pages:  263



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