The iron clad ram, the CSS Albemarle was the most successful Confederate ironclad of the Civil War and twice defeated the Union Navy. Build in a cornfield on the Roanoke River near Scotland Neck, the Albemarle played a pivotal role in the Battle of Plymouth by sweeping the 5 gunboats of the Union Navy from the Roanoke River on April 18, 1864. In that battle the Albemarle rammed and sank the USS Southfield. Also in the same battle, the Union Navy Commander, Charles Flusser, was killed when his own shell bounced off the Albemarle and back at his feet on the deck of his flagship, the USS Miami.
On May 5, 1864, during the Battle of Bachelors Bay, the Albemarle faced another seven Union gunboats. A four hour battle ensued. The Union fleet mounted 60 guns against the Albemarle's 2 Brook Rifles and fired 557 shells at her, but could not sink the Albemarle!
The career of the CSS Albemarle came to an end five months later. She was destroyed on October 27, 1864 in the most daring commando raid of the way by 21 year-old US Navy Lieutenant William Barker Cushing who was avenging the death of his friend, Charles Flusser! During the night he steamed up the Roanoke River to Plymouth in a 30' steam launch with a group of volunteers and, with a spar-mounted torpedo, sank the Albemarle.