Destruction of CSS Albemarle, 27 October 1864

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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 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1900): 624.


6 January 2000