From Riverboats to Confederate Navy to Knighthood:
A True Southern Family History
by Dr. Betty Ann Brooks

Travelling on riverboats captained by his father, William Param Brooks, grew to become an able seaman and was later assigned as an assistant engineer on the SS Habana, a steamship transporting goods from New Orleans to Cuba. On a return trip back to New Orleans – as the first shots are fired at Fort Sumter – Brooks’ path crosses with that of Captain Raphael Semmes. The meeting with Semmes leads to William’s recruitment to the CSS Sumter, a Confederate raider whose mission is to disrupt Federal trade.

William Brooks is sent to England and, during this time, a steamship (soon to be christened the CSS Alabama) is under construction. Ironically, the young engineer is re-assigned to a warship that will achieve great fame and notoriety during the American Civil War. Before embarkation, Brooks meets a beautiful lady named Emily and a whirlwind courtship ensues. The exciting story now follows William’s career in the Confederate Navy and to ports spanning the globe.

Years of research by Betty Ann Brooks, William Param Brooks’ granddaughter, led to discovery of this seaman’s naval journals, personal letters, and other important historical documents. The addition of family stories – some handed down for more than a century – provides depth and meaning to this unusual story. Moreover, the author has included her memories of growing up in the South during the 20th century, through the years of Depression, Prohibition, and Segregation. This results of this heartfelt study provide readers with a fascinating Southern family history.


Betty Ann Brooks grew up in Decatur, Georgia and attended Agnes Scott College. She became a medical doctor, living and working in Decatur. In the 1980’s, she moved to St. Simons Island and continued to see patients in southeast Georgia. Dr. Brooks also established a clinic in Brunswick near the Georgia coast. The author now resides with her dog, Mr. Higgins, in Watkinsville, Georgia.


128 Pages in Softcover with illustrations.

Retail price is $12.95 from Books Galore, 1011 Stonebridge Pkwy, Suite 105, Watkinsville, Georgia 30677, (706) 769-1443 and at these locations:

Avid Books, 493 Prince Avenue  Athens, GA 30601; The National Civil War Naval Museum, 1002 Victory Drive, Columbus, GA 31901; and, Tall Tales Book Shop, 2105 Lavista Rd NE # 108  Atlanta, GA 30329.