Who were the original crewmen of the CSS Raleigh?

French Forrest ordered the captains of the Raleigh and Ellis to turn their vessels over to Commander Lee on 22 July 1861 at Gosport Navy Yard. He also ordered Lt. J. W. Alexander to report to Commander Lee as commander of the CSS Raleigh on that same day. The Raleigh was at William A. Graves Shipyard in Norfolk August 17-20. On 22 August 1861, the CSS Raleigh passed through the locks on the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal. I think it would be safe to assume the Raleigh was being outfitted during this time.

Three men shipped aboard the CSS Raleigh on 6 August 1861 for the war: Walter Shipley, John Luck, and Charles Andrews. James Pugh and William J. Turner followed on 17 Aug. 1861. Next came John Brown on the 21st. The Raleigh set forth for Roanoke Island on the 22nd, passing through the Albemarle & Chespeake Canal Company’s Coinjock Cut the next day with their crew of six enlisted men.

Samuel Crane and David Hampton, residents of Coinjock and Narrow Shores in Currituck County, joined the crew on the 24th of August, followed by Griffin Jones of Narrow Shores and Joseph Dunton of Coinjock the next day. Army transfers Joseph L. Owens of Currituck and William H. Chambers of Perquimans County joined on the 31st. Before 2 September 1861, William Course (a free black man), John Melton, Samuel Sebastian, Jesse Cartwright (Camden, NC), Edward Williams, and D. Keight had also joined.

E. D. Poyner (Coinjock), Noah McHorney (Poplar Branch), William L. Owens, Thomas Crane, and Major Dowdy (Poplar Branch) all joined on 8 September 1861. The crew was filling up rapidly with North Carolina natives! John Jones, Spencer Gray, William Whitehead, Lorenzo Quidley, David Powell, James Longman, James N. Fulford, and Freeman Willably joined in November and December, rounding out the original crew.


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