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