Indiana native James Eads made a name for himself in St. Louis, Missouri as a civil engineer, boat builder, and salvager. At the beginning of the war, the government contracted him to quickly construct seven shallow-draft gunboats for riverine warfare. These ships, with flat-bottoms, wide-beams, and 2.5 inch armor plating, became known as the City class ironclads. City class ships were a revolution in design, as the casemates constructed by naval constructor Samuel Pook helped earn their nickname "Pook's Turtles." These ships became some of the more famous Union ships during the war, including the St. Louis, Carondelet, and Cairo, which was sunk by a naval mine during the first attempt to take Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1862. Eads would earn greater fame after the war for his construction of the Mississippi River bridge, also known as the Eads Bridge, in St. Louis. Eads held more than fifty patents at the time of his death in 1887.
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