“The Very Essence of Nightmare”—The Battle of Plymouth, NC, and the Destruction of the CSS Albemarle, pt. IV

Emerging Civil War

General Henry Wessels, pictured in 1863.  (National Archives) General Henry Wessels, pictured in 1863. (National Archives)

We are pleased to welcome back guest author Sam Smith
part four of a series

By daybreak on April 20, with a couple of signal shots from the Albermarle, Confederate infantry rushed forward toward the forts defending Plymouth. The Union defenders opened fire as soon as the Confederates were in range. Lieutenant Wright led his men in what he called “one of the grandest charges of the war.” The Confederates were torn by grape, canister, and musketry as they ran through the open fields in front of the Union forts. Corporal Council was killed by shell fragments, true to his presentiment.[i]

The fighting swept into the streets of Plymouth, and a “most terrific street fight” erupted as the Union soldiers tried to check the Confederate onslaught. Outnumbered by more than four to one, they could not kill quickly enough to stop the Rebels. Soon enough…

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