The Confederate ram Albemarle.
[from the New Orleans, La., Picayune, December 28, 1902, January 4, 1903.]
Built to clear the Roanoke, Neuse and Pamlico rivers, she accomplished her mission Brilliantly.
Early in 1863 the Federals
had complete possession of all the bays and sounds and rivers along the Virginia
and North Carolina
afforded a fine rendezvous for vessels of all kinds, while the towns along the Roanoke
and Pamlico rivers
were garrisoned by Federal troops.
From these garrisoned towns foraging parties scoured the country and destroyed or carried away every movable thing, including beast and fowl.
The people in that section, being robbed of everything they possessed, appealed to the authorities at Richmond
for aid and relief.
On March 14, 1863, General D. H. Hill
sent a brigade of infantry and a battery of smoothbore guns, under General J. J. Pettigrew
, in response to the call of the people, with instructions to destroy Fort Anderson
, on the Neuse river
, opposite Newbern, N. C.
bombarded the place for two hours, but, satisfied he could not capture it by assault, withdrew.
Subsequently, General George E. Pickett
was ordered from Kinston
, with instructions to capture Newbern
and destroy the enemy's fleet.
At this juncture the Confederates
did not have a vessel of any kind in either of the three rivers named.
, feeling the need of some diversion on the river, managed to get a lot of skiffs, or new boats, about thirty in all, which he filled with men armed with rifles and cutlasses, under command of Colonel John Taylor Wood
, who proceeded down the Neuse
, to co-operate with the infantry.
The enemy's fleet at Newbern
consisted of five gunboats-the Lockwood, Underwriter, Hetzel, Commodore Hull
, and the Hunchback
, while the forts were garrisoned by 4,000 men and fifty cannon.
The audacity of the Confederates
, therefore, in descending the river with thirty skiffs to attack the Federal fleet of five gunboats and two heavily-armed forts, scarcely has a parallel.
set out on his desperate mission with as brave a