CSS Albemarle Ironclad Battle Report of Confederate Navy

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Report of Lieutenant Warley, C.S. Navy, commanding the C.S. ram Albemarle.

 PLYMOUTH, NC, October 28, 1864.

      SIR: The night of the 27th instant, a dark, rainy night, I had the watch on board doubled and took extra precaution. At or about 3 o'clock a. m., on the 28th, the officer of the deck discovered a small steamer in the river, hailed her, received an unsatisfactory answer, rang the alarm bell and opened fire on her with the watch. The officers and men were at their quarters in as quick time as was possible, but the vessel was so near that we could not bring our guns to bear, and the shot fired from the after gun loaded with grape, failed to take effect. The boat running obliquely, struck us under the port bow, running over the boom, exploded a torpedo, and smashed a large hole in us just under the water line, under a heavy fire of musketry. The boat surrendered and I sent Lieutenant Roberts to take charge of her. Manned the pumps and gave the order to fire up, so as to use the donkey engine. The water gained on us so fast that all exertions were fruitless, and the vessel went down in a few moments, merely leaving her shield and smokestack out.

      In justice to myself I must say the pickets below gave no notice of her approach, and the artillery which was stationed by the vessel for a protection, gave us no assistance, manning only one piece at too late a time to be of any service.

      Having condensed this report as much as I could, I respectfully request a court of enquiry, to establish on whose shoulders rests the blame of the loss of the Albemarle.

                    I am, respectfully, your obedient servant.

  A. F. WARLEY,
Lieutenant, Commanding, C.S. Navy

          HON. S. R. MALLORY,
                            
Secretary of the Navy.

Source: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion. Series 1, Vol. 10

Recommended Reading: The Hunt for the Albemarle: Anatomy of a Gunboat War (Hardcover). Description: On a muddy waterway, once called the River of Death, James Cooke and Charles Flusser met again after parting when the Civil War started. Once both navy lieutenants, they now were the opponents in naval warfare. Confederate Navy Lieutenant James Cooke had as many years of active naval service as Charles Flusser had years of living. Cooke was a devoted family man while Flusser was a bachelor with a mind for young Southern women, whiskey, cigars, fast horses, and early promotion. Continued below...

The Confederate ironclad Albemarle was the key to the river wars in North Carolina. Flusser's search for this ship would determine the success or failure of the Union navy in securing the North Carolina coast and rivers. James Cooke and the Confederates knew their only chance to break the blockade was with the new ironclad. The Hunt for the Albemarle is the dramatic story of these two men and their destiny. Both of these men shared one common characteristic. Each was willing to die for the cause he believed was right.

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Recommended Reading: Ironclads and Columbiads: The Coast (The Civil War in North Carolina) (456 pages). Description: Ironclads and Columbiads covers some of the most important battles and campaigns in the state. In January 1862, Union forces began in earnest to occupy crucial points on the North Carolina coast. Within six months, Union army and naval forces effectively controlled coastal North Carolina from the Virginia line south to present-day Morehead City. Union setbacks in Virginia, however, led to the withdrawal of many federal soldiers from North Carolina, leaving only enough Union troops to hold a few coastal strongholds—the vital ports and railroad junctions. The South during the Civil War, moreover, hotly contested the North’s ability to maintain its grip on these key coastal strongholds.

 

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Recommended Reading: A History of the Confederate Navy (Hardcover). From Publishers Weekly: One of the most prominent European scholars of the Civil War weighs in with a provocative revisionist study of the Confederacy's naval policies. For 27 years, University of Genoa history professor Luraghi (The Rise and Fall of the Plantation South) explored archival and monographic sources on both sides of the Atlantic to develop a convincing argument that the deadliest maritime threat to the South was not, as commonly thought, the Union's blockade but the North's amphibious and river operations. Confederate Navy Secretary Stephen Mallory, the author shows, thus focused on protecting the Confederacy's inland waterways and controlling the harbors vital for military imports. Continued below…

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An overview of the events in the early months preceding the outbreak of the war is presented. The chronological arrangement of the campaigns allows for ready reference regarding a single event or an entire series of campaigns. Maps and an index are also included. About the Author: Paul Calore, a graduate of Johnson and Wales University, was the Operations Branch Chief with the Defense Logistics Agency of the Department of Defense before retiring. He is a supporting member of the U.S. Civil War Center and the Civil War Preservation Trust and has also written Land Campaigns of the Civil War (2000). He lives in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

 

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