Charles Ellet, jr., an American engineer, born at Penn's Manor, Pa., Jan. 1, 1810, died at Cairo, 111., June 21, 1862. He planned and built the first wire suspension bridge in the United States, that across the Schuylkill at Fairmount, Philadelphia, the first suspension bridge across the Niagara below the falls, and the first one at Wheeling, Va. He was employed in many other important engineering works, and in 1846-'7 was president of the Schuylkill navigation company. During the civil war he urged upon the government the construction of steam rams for use on the large rivers of the west, and after his plans had been rejected by the navy department he presented them to the secretary of war, by whom they were approved. He was commissioned as colonel of engineers, and converted several powerful light-draught steamers on the Mississippi river into rams. With these he engaged in the naval battle off Memphis, June 4, 1862, and sank or disabled several of the confederate vessels. During the battle he was wounded above the knee by a musket ball, from the effects of which he died.

He was the author of " The Mississippi and Ohio Rivers," containing plans for their improvement and the protection of the delta (8vo, Philadelphia, 1853), etc.