Edenton (HMNAO)

Location: Edenton, NC 27932 Chowan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 36° 3.347', W 76° 36.59'

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Battle of Albemarle Sound

On May 5, 1864, the Confederate ironclad ram CSS Albemarle under Commander James W. Cooke, with gunboats Cotton Plant and Bombshell, steamed out of the Roanoke River into Bachelor's Bay and Albemarle Sound before you, bound for New Bern. Dead ahead, however, waited the U.S. Navy gunboats Ceres, Commodore Hull, and Whitehead, and the transport Ida May. Beyond lay the double-ended steamers Mattabesett, Sassacus, Wyalusing, and Miami. Union Capt. Melancton Smith, commanding the fleet, intended to sink Albemarle. After dispatching Cotton Plant upriver, Albemarle and Bombshell engaged the Federals off Chowan County's Sandy Point. During the three-hour battle, Bombshell sustained heavy damage and surrendered. Albemarle was rammed and almost sunk by Sassacus but fired point-blank into the steamer's boiler, disabling it. Albemarle then escaped upriver to Plymouth for repairs.

Divided Loyalties
Unionist sentiment was strong among eastern North Carolinians. The U.S. Navy presence in Albemarle sound began early in 1862, and many loyal men, both white and African American, enlisted. They included slaves and freedmen familiar with the Sound and its tributaries, who served as gunners, powder boys, cooks, and mechanics. Chowan County natives Henry Johnson, John Paxton, and Daniel Spruel sailed aboard Miami.

Other Edenton and Chowan County men joined local Confederate units, and many sympathizers moved father inland. Chowan County Confederates included Col. James K. Marshall, Lt. Col. John C. Badham, Maj. Tristim L. Skinner, Capt. William Badham, Jr., Capt. John A Benbury, Capt. Edward A. Small, Lt. John M Jones, and Lt. Blake B Hoskins. Edenton residents donated household, school, church, and courthouse bells to cast four bronze cannons for Capt. Badham's Edenton "Bell Battery," Co. B, North Carolina Light artillery Battalion.
Series This marker is part of the North Carolina Civil War Trails series
Placed ByNorth Carolina Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, September 1st, 2014 at 1:37am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 355005 N 3991334
Decimal Degrees36.05578333, -76.60983333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 36° 3.347', W 76° 36.59'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds36° 3' 20.82" N, 76° 36' 35.40" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)252
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 505 S Broad St, Edenton NC 27932, US
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