Iron Clad "Essex," Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Attributed to McPherson & Oliver American

Not on view

Armored war vessels made their first appearance during the Civil War and played an increasingly important strategic role for both North and South. When the war began, neither side anticipated how important would be control of the great Western Rivers. The U.S.S. Essex began its life in 1856 in New Albany, Indiana, as the steam ferry New Era. Purchased by the federal government in September 1861, it was soon lengthened, widened, reengineered, and clad with iron, which completely altered its appearance and made it one of the Navy’s most instrumental river gunboats. She appears here in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, taking on coal; in the background are sailing vessels in Admiral David Farragut’s fleet.

Iron Clad "Essex," Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attributed to McPherson & Oliver (American, active New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1860s), Albumen silver print from glass negative

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.