Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

An Attempt to Sink the CSS Albemarle: Union Uses Torpedoes

MAY 25TH, 1864:  A boat crew from the USS Mattabesett made an unsuccessful attempt to sink the CSS Albemarle in the Roanoke River near Plymouth, North Carolina.    After ascending the Middle River with two 100-pound torpedoes, Charles Baldwin, coal heaver, and John W. Lloyd, coxswain, swam across the Roanoke carrying a towline with which they hauled the torpedoes to the Plymouth shore.

Baldwin planned to swim down to the ram and position a torpedo on either side of her bow.  Across the river, Alexander Crawford, fireman, would then explode the weapons.

However, a sentry discovered Baldwin when he was within a couple yards of the Albemarle and the daring mission was abandoned.

John Lloyd cut the guidelines and swam back across the river to join John Laverty, fireman, who was guarding the far shore.  They made their way to the dinghy in which they had rowed up the river and, with Benjamin Lloyd made their way back to the Mattahesett.

Baldwin returned to the ship on the 29th, completely exhausted.

The ship's captain, M. Smith recommended each of the five sailors for a Medal of Honor and they received them.

A Bit of Bravery Well rewarded.  --Old B-Runner

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