The Essex was an ironclad gunboat built in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1856. Originally commissioned the New Era, she served as a ferry until 1861, when she was purchased by the War Department and renamed. The Essex played an important part in the Vicksburg and Port Hutson campaigns.
The Choctaw, a side-wheel steamer built in 1853, was purchased by the government in 1862 and converted to an ironclad ram. The vessel spent the entire war patrolling the Mississippi River and its tributaries.
[quoted from Library of Congress, American Memory] Read about other vessels in the Mississippi Squadron by clicking on the link below:
John R. Sellers, Manuscript Division