An often overlooked aspect of the American Civil War was the effort by the Confederate Navy to defend the Mississippi River in 1861 and 1862. Confederate officials struggled to build a navy from thing, converting steamers into gunboats while working to build several ironclad warships from the keel up along the banks of the Mississippi River. The CSS McRae, originally a Mexican ship involved in the Reform War, was among the vessels acquired by the Confederacy at the start of the war. The McRae was originally intended to roam the seas as one of the first commerce raiders with a secret mission to travel to England and gather much-needed supplies for the new Confederacy. Instead, circumstances kept her on the Mississippi River, where she fought from the river's mouth to the banks of Kentucky. Most tably, the McRae participated in the defense of New Orleans in April of 1862. Fought Like Devils shows how the Confederacy worked to build a navy and defend the most important waterway in North America. Drawing on government records, newspapers, personal letters, diaries, and reminisces; Neil P. Chatelain tells the story of the CSS McRae and its crew in their struggle to defend the Mississippi River for the Confederacy.