C.S.S. Raleigh



The CSS Raleigh was a steam gunboat of 65 tons that carried from one to four guns. From the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships:

CSS RALEIGH was originally a small, iron-hulled propeller-driven towing steamer operating on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. She was taken over by the State of North Carolina in May 1861 and transferred to the Confederate States the following July. Her commanding officer during 1861-62 was Lt. J. W. Alexander, CSN. Her entire service was in coastal waters of North Carolina and Virginia and in the James River.

RALEIGH supported Forts Hatteras and Clark on 28-29 August 1861; took part in an expedition on 1 October to capture United States Army steamer FANNY with valuable stores on board; and accompanied CSS SEA BIRD when she reconnoitered Pamlico Sound 20 January 1862. She was also active in defense of Roanoke Island, N.C., against an amphibious assault by overwhelming Federal forces on 7-8 February 1862 at Elizabeth City N.C., 2 days later. Thence RALEIGH escaped through Dismal Swamp Canal to Norfolk, Va.

On 8-9 March 1862 RALEIGH was tender to CSS VIRGINIA during the historic battle of ironclads at Hampton Roads, for which she received the thanks of the Confederate Congress.

With the Federal recapture of Norfolk Navy Yard in May 1862, Raleigh steamed up the James River but thereafter a shortage of crew members restricted her to flag-of-truce or patrol service.

RALEIGH, renamed ROANOKE near the end of the war was destroyed by the Confederates on 4 April 1865 upon the evacuation of Richmond.


Unfortunately, I have not yet collected the names of the other crew. Any help would be appreciated.


[T1] Parker, William Harwar. Recollections of a Naval Officer 1841-1865. See bibliography.

[T2] Kell, John McIntosh. Recollections of a Naval Life Including the Cruises of the Confederate States Steamers "Sumter" and "Alabama". See bibliography.

[T3] Journal of the Congress of the Confederate States of America. 1861-1865. See bibliography

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