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May 6, 1817 - August 4, 1902

Joseph Edward Montgomery was captain of several steamboats that Clemens piloted. When Clemens rammed the steamboat CITY OF MEMPHIS in another boat at New Orleans while awaiting Montgomery's orders to back off, Montgomery took full responsibility. Clemens recorded the incident in his personal notebooks and journals. He later recalled the incident in Life on the Mississippi but misidentified the boat as the CRESCENT CITY. Montgomery later became commodore of the Confederate River Fleet which was destroyed in June 1862. In 1866 Clemens wrote a brief profile of Montgomery which was published in the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise and reprinted in other western newspapers.

Clemens' comments: One time I mistook Capt. Ed Montgomery's coat hanging on the big bell for the Capt. himself and waiting for him to tell me to back I ran into a steamboat at New Orleans.
- Mark Twain's Notebooks & Journals, Vol. 2

Edward Montgomery is worthy to be an admiral of the blue. I ran the CITY OF MEMPHIS into a steamboat at New Orleans one night under his orders and he never went back on me - shouldered the responsiblity like a man.
- reported in Saint Louis Times, 2 May 1874

Some of the pilots whom I had known had had adventures - the outcome fortunate, sometimes, but not in all cases. Captain Montgomery, whom I had steered for when he was a pilot, commanded the Confederate fleet in the great battle before Memphis; when his vessel went down, he swam ashore, fought his way through a squad of soldiers, and made a gallant and narrow escape. He was always a cool man; nothing could disturb his serenity.
- Life on the Mississippi

See story in Virginia City Territorial Enterprise.

Index | Intro | Cub Pilot | Licensed Pilot | River Tour 1882 | 1902 Farewell | Steamboat Men | Glossary

Joseph Edward Montgomery is featured in:

reference book
Mark Twain A to Z, The Essential Guide to His Life and Writings
edited by R. Kent Rasmussen
available from amazon.com

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