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Rebel Steamer Ellis engaging our gun boats.
Civil War drawings collection, approximately 1861-1865.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400
August 1861-February 1862
Drawing: Graphite on blue-lined notebook paper. 7 1/2 x 9 13/16 in. Sailors on deck of a large ship load and fire cannons. Inscribed along lower edge in graphite: 'Rebel Steamer. Ellis. engaging our / gun boats.'
The C.S.S Ellis (later U.S.S Ellis) was a gunboat in the Confederate States Navy and the United States Navy during the American Civil War. The Ellis, under the command of Confederate Commander W. T. Muse, played an important part in the defense of Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark in Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina on August 28-29, 1861, of Roanoke Island on February 7-8, 1862, and of Elizabeth City, North Carolina on February 10, 1862; that day she was captured by the Union Army after a desperate struggle in which her commander, Lieutenant James W. Cooke, CSN, was badly wounded. United States Service Ellis was taken into the U.S. Navy, under the command of Lieutenant C. L. Franklin, USN, and spent her entire U.S. Navy service in the sounds and rivers of North Carolina. Ellis took part in a combined expedition which captured Fort Macon, near Beaufort, North Carolina, on April 25, 1862 and from August 15 to 19 she made an expedition to Swansboro, North Carolina to destroy salt works and a battery. On October 14, she was detailed to the blockade of Bogue Inlet, and a week later, captured and burned the schooner Adelaide with a valuable cargo of turpentine, cotton, and tobacco. The Ellis saw its last combat in November 1862. Under the command of Lieutenant William B. Cushing, she sailed up New River Inlet to capture Jacksonville, North Carolina. The steamer captured two schooners, some arms, and mail. On her way down river, Ellis ran aground on November 24 and could not be refloated. After dark, her commanding officer moved all the crew except six and all her equipment and supplies except her pivot gun, some ammunition to one of the captured schooners. While the schooners slipped down the river, Cushing and five of his men remained to fight it out. Early on the morning of November 25, the Confederates opened fire on Ellis. Cushing chose not to surrender and before leaving his ship, set fire to her in five places. Cushing and his men reached the schooner just in time to escape several companies of cavalry trying to cut off the schooner at the mouth of the inlet. Ellis was blown to pieces by the explosion of her magazine on the morning of November 25, 1862.
New-York Historical Society
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Naval operationsNorth Carolina--History--Civil War, 1861-1865Confederate States of America. NavyNaval battlesSteamboatsArtillery--United States--History--19th centurySailors
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