Monday, October 29, 2012

A Family Afair

Union Colonel Charles Rivers Ellet who commanded the USS Queen of the West, died October 29th 1863.

Charles Rivers Ellet was born June 1st 1843 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the son of Charles and Elvira Augusta (Daniel) Ellet.  He was studying medicine at Georgetown University when the war started.

Ellet first served the Union as an Assistant Army Surgeon.  After his father started the Union Ram Fleet he got a transfer in the spring of 1862 to serve with his father.  Ellet received a promotion to Colonel on November 5th 1862 and the command of the USS Queen of the West.  He had her on the Mississippi below Vicksburg in February 1863, and captured several Confederate riverboats on the Red River.  Ellet and the Queen came under heavy fire at Fort DeRussy and the ship was run aground.  Ellet’s next command was the ram the USS Switzerland, which was steamed, passed Vicksburg in March 1863.  He became the second in command of the Mississippi Marine Brigade and was with them when they fought on March 22nd 1863 in the Battle of Miliken’s Bend.

Ellet became ill with typhoid and died at Bunker Hill, Illinois October 29th 1863.  He is buried in the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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