James B. Eads: The Civil War Ironclads and His Mississippi - Rex T. Jackson.
Get to know James Buchanan Eads who was inducted in 1920 into the Hall of Fame for Great Americans along with Samuel Clemens and Daniel Boone. Known as one of the world's most accomplished engineers in all history, he made a fortune at an early age inventing a diving bell to salvage steamboat wrecks from the bottom of the Mississippi River.
The knowledge he gained about the river prompted the United States Government to contract him to build an inland navy fleet of ironclad gunboats during the Civil War, which captured Fort Henry a month before the famous dual of the Merrimac and the Monitor.
After the war his reputation as an unschooled civil engineer continued to blossom, after he built the first bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis, which learned engineers of the times said could not be done. Not long after this he further quieted the skeptics when he opened up the South Pass at New Orleans, Louisiana, to gulf shipping trade, by creating jetties that forced his Mississippi to scour out its own channel.
Before his death in 1887, and before the construction of the Panama Canal, he planned a railway to move great ships overland from one ocean to the other to shorten the Pacific shipping route to the Mississippi by thousands of miles.
(2003), 2007, 5½x8½, paper, index, 126 pp.