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Home North Carolina Onslow County City of Jacksonville Historical Markers Onslow Raid

Onslow Raid

US 17, Jacksonville, NC, USA

Latitude & Longitude: 34° 43' 54.7608", -77° 25' 18.0732"
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Federal gunboat Ellis attacked this town Nov. 23, 1862, then ran aground downstream. It was abandoned under Confederate crossfire."
Under the command of Lieutenant William B. Cushing, who would later destroy the Confederate Ram Albemarle in the Battle of Plymouth, the federal gunboat Ellis carried out an attack on Jacksonville on November 23, 1862. Cushing left Beaufort that morning, maneuvering the Ellis into the New River where he planned “to sweep the river, capturing any vessels there, capture the town of Jacksonville, or Onslow Court House, take the Wilmington mail, and destroy any salt works that I might find on the banks.” Cushing accomplished these objectives by mid-afternoon and turned back down the river with his prizes.

The Ellis ran aground on a sandbar about three miles from the mouth of the river. Cushing stripped his ship of its valuables and loaded them and all but six of his men onto one of the schooners that he had captured. The schooner sailed downstream and anchored about a half mile away, leaving Cushing and his six volunteers to defend the Ellis overnight. Early the next morning, four batteries of Confederate artillery rendered the vessel helpless within about an hour of fighting. Cushing and his men set fire to the Ellis and then escaped the ship in a longboat, rowing to the awaiting schooner. The entire crew retuned to New Bern unscathed.

John G. Barrett, The Civil War in North Carolina (1963)
William R. Trotter, Ironclads and Columbiads: The Civil War in North Carolina, The Coast (1989)
Joseph Parsons Brown, The Commonwealth of Onslow: A History (1960)
Related Themes: C.S.A., Confederate States of America, Confederacy
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Onslow Raid North Carolina