CSS Albemarle (1864-1864)
CSS Albemarle , a relatively small ironclad ram, was built at Edwards Ferry, North Carolina. Commissioned in April 1864 under the command of Commander J.W. Cooke , CSN, she almost immediately went into action. On 19 April 1864, Albemarle attacked U.S. ships off Plymouth, N.C., sinking USS Southfield and driving away USS Miami and two other gunboats. With their waterborne communications severed, the Union forces were forced to surrender Plymouth to the Confederates.
Just over two weeks later, on 5 May, Albemarle , accompanied by the steamers Cotton Plant and Bombshell , steamed out into the North Carolina Sounds and attacked another U.S. Navy force, consisting of the "Double-ender" gunboats Sassacus , Wyalusing and Mattabesett , converted ferryboat Commodore Hull and small gunboat Ceres . Though Sassacus made a valiant attempt to sink the Albemarle by ramming, she was badly damaged in return. The Confederate ironclad was but lightly damaged in the engagement, which threatened the entire Union position on North Carolina's internal waters.
Desperate circumstances yield desperate responses, and on the night of 27-28 October 1864, Lieutenant William B. Cushing , USN, took the torpedo boat Picket Boat Number One upriver to Plymouth and bravely attacked Albemarle at her berth, sinking her with a spar torpedo. Following the Union recapture of the town, Albemarle was refloated. Taken to the Norfolk Navy Yard in April 1865, she remained there until sold in October 1867.
19th Century photographic reproduction of an artwork
CSS Albemarle at the Norfolk Navy Yard, Virginia, after salvage, circa 1865.
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Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken after the ship was salvaged, 1865
Engraving published in "Harper's Weekly", May 1864, depicting CSS Albemarle driving off USS Miami , after ramming and sinking USS Southfield (foreground), 19 April 1864.
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