The CSS Albemarle and William Cushing

The Remarkable Confederate Ironclad and the Union Officer Who Sank It

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About the Book

On October 27, 1864, two marvels of the Civil War collided on the Roanoke River near Plymouth, North Carolina. The first was the formidable Confederate ironclad Albemarle, a 376-ton behemoth that had for months roamed the nearby rivers and waters of Albemarle Sound, defeating in turn everything the Federal Navy could throw at it. The second was William B. Cushing, a 21-year-old Federal naval lieutenant who had been selected to lead a virtual suicide mission to destroy the ironclad in her berth. This chronicle of the young officer’s “David vs. Goliath” victory over the daunting ironclad presents a tale of courage and accomplishment.

About the Author(s)

Jim Stempel is an authority of the Eastern campaigns of the American Civil War. His articles on psychology, human development, and warfare have also appeared in the New Times, Concepts In Human Development, and North & South. He lives in western Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Jim Stempel
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 246
Bibliographic Info: 16 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6529-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8873-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Preface 1

Prologue 5

 1. The Mosquito Fleet 13

 2. A Close One, Sir 20

 3. We Are About to Build a Large Number of Gun Boats 26

 4. When Fought as Gallantly as That 34

 5. For Want of This Iron Our Work Has Been Going Backward 41

 6. Wrong Wharf, Wrong Boat 47

 7. In High Favor 53

 8. In a Cornfield at Edward’s Ferry 60

 9. A Presidential Compliment 65

10. Magnificent, Grim, Irresistible 70

11. The Good Ship Albemarle 79

12. Shokokon to Monticello 85

13. Winter Offensive 91

14. The Essence of Impudence 96

15. All Ahead, Full 102

16. Plymouth Is Ours 108

17. Heaven Has Crowned Our Efforts with Success 114

18. A Terrific Grand Waltz 119

19. Four Miles from Wilmington 127

20. Captain Cushing’s Exploits in the Cape Fear River 134

21. Captain Cooke 140

22. David against Goliath 147

23. To Prevent an Impending Calamity 151

24. Send the Boats On 156

25. I Have Undertaken a Great Project 160

26. You Must Not Hope to Return 166

27. Pick Your Men 170

28. An Example of Coolness and Skill 176

29. The Fixed Determination to Escape 182

30. No More Gallant Thing 188

31. Dead Gone Sunk 193

32. It Is Done 198

33. Cheer Ship 202

34. Thanks of Congress 207

35. The Cost of the Nation’s Unity 211

36. Blind to the Facts 218

Epilogue 225

Chapter Notes 227

Bibliography 237

Index 239

Book Reviews & Awards

“an entertaining and well-written book…highly recommended”—Civil War News; “a dramatic and thought-provoking read…thoroughly researched and devoid of any errors”—Naval Historical Foundation; “an entertaining read”—History of War; “this is a very exciting naval story and will hold the reader’s attention through-out the entire story…an excellent addition. A WOW Rating”—The Lone Star Book Review.