Charles Rivers Ellet (1843-1863)

Charles Rivers Ellet (June 1, 1843 - October 29, 1863) was a medical student who became a Colonel in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Ellet was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on June 1, 1843, the son of the noted civil engineer Charles Ellet, Jr. He was studying medicine when the Civil War began and served as an Army Assistant Surgeon during 1861-62. In the spring of 1862, when his father established the U.S. Ram Fleet, an Army unit of river steamers converted to Rams, Charles Rivers Ellet transferred to that organization.

Promoted to the rank of Colonel later in the year, he commanded the ram Queen of the West during her daring independent operations below Vicksburg in February 1863. He escaped when the ship was captured, and soon was placed in command of the ram Switzerland, in which he steamed passed the Vicksburg fortifications in March 1863.

He later commanded the infantry of the Mississippi Marine Brigade until his health failed. Charles Rivers Ellet died at Bunker Hill, Illinois, on October 29, 1863.

USS Ellet (DD-398), which was in service in 1939-1946, was named in honor of Charles Rivers Ellet and other members of his family.