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NavSource Online: "Old Navy" Ship Photo Archive

USS Ellis
CSS Ellis (1861 - 1862)

Awards, Citations and Campaign Ribbons

Civil War Medal

Sidewheel Steamer:
  • Built in 1860 by Harlan & Hollingsworth, Wilmington, Delaware
  • Launched 1860
  • Purchased at Norfolk, VA. in 1861 by the State of North Carolina and turned over to the Confederacy when that State became a member
  • Ellis, CDR. W. T. Muse, CSN, in command, played an important part in the defense of Fort Hatteras and Fort Clark in Hatteras Inlet, N.C., 28-29 August 1861, of Roanoke Island, 7-8 February 1862, and finally of Elizabeth City, N.C. 10 February 10, 1862
  • Ellis was captured at Elizabeth City, 10 November by USS Ceres after a desperate struggle in which her commander, LT. James W. Cooke, CSN, was badly wounded.
  • Taken into the Union Navy, commissioned USS Ellis LT. C. L. Franklin in command
  • USS Ellis was assigned to the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron serving in the sounds and rivers of North Carolina
  • Ellis participated in a combined expedition which captured Fort Macon, Beaufort Harbor, N.C., 25 April 1862
  • Detailed to blockade of Bogue Inlet,14 October 1862, she captured and burned schooner Adelaide a week later
  • In November 1862 Ellis, under command of LT. W. B. Cushing, sailed up the New River Inlet to capture Jacksonville, N.C.
  • On her way down river Ellis ran aground, 24 November and could not be refloated
  • Under cover of darkness that night Cushing removed all the crew except six and all the equipment that could be moved to a captured schooner
  • Remaining onboard Cushing and his men prepared to fight
  • Confederate artillery opened fire the next morning forcing Cushing to decide between surrender and a pull of a mile and a half to a waiting schooner
  • choosing not to surrender Cushing set fire to the ship in five places before leaving his ship. Leaving the gun trained on the enemy his plan was to let the ship herself carry on the fight when flames would fire the cannon
  • Cushing was able to make good his escape and Ellis was blown to pieces by the explosion of her magazine
    Displacement 100 t.
    Length unknown
    Beam unknown
    Depth of Hold unknown
    Draft 6'
    Speed unknown
    Complement 28
    one 32-pdr rifle
    one 12-pdr howitzer
    Propulsion steam

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    Size Image Description Source
    Ellis 130k Copy of a pencil drawing of the captured Confederate gunboat CSS Ellis from a diary that was published in 1911 as the book "Long Roll", by Charles F. Johnson, 1843-1896. Robert Hurst
    Ellis 13k Drawing of CSS Ellis from the New York Historical Society collection. Tommy Trampp

    CSS Ellis / USS Ellis
    Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships (DANFS)
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    This page is created and maintained by Gary P. Priolo
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    Last Updated 3 November 2017