north carolina highway historical marker program
North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program



Marker Text:

      Two weeks after the Battle of Plymouth (April 17-20, 1864), in which the C.S.S. Albemarle played a major role, the Confederate ironclad met seven Union ships in Albemarle Sound. The encounter has come to be known as the “Battle of Batchelor’s Bay,” although the events took place in the sound some distance east of the bay.

      On May 5, 1864, the Albemarle weighed anchor and started down the Roanoke River headed for New Bern. On entering the sound the ironclad, under command of Captain J. W. Cooke, and her escort vessels were attacked by four double-ended steamers and three smaller gunboats under Captain Melancton Smith. The Albemarle opened attack late in the day. Leading the first line of attack was the Union flagship, the Mattabesett. The Albemarle returned her fire, destroying the launch and cutting away some of the standing and running rigging.

      The steamer Sassacus struck the ironclad fullbore and stuck fast. The crew of the Albemarle then sent a hundred-pound shot through the starboard boiler of the Union vessel and into her wardroom. The scalded men managed to free the ship and they drifted out of range. All parties then withdrew. Only by throwing butter, lard, and bacon into the boilers was it possible for the crew of the Albemarle to raise enough steam to return to Plymouth.

John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (1963)
William G. Trotter, Ironclads and Columbiads: The Civil War in North Carolina, Volume III, The Coast (1989)
Robert G. Elliott, Ironclads of the Roanoke: Gilbert Elliott’s Albemarle (1994)
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War of the Rebellion, Ser. I, Vol. IX
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north carolina highway historical marker program

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