What happened during the waning days of the NCS Beaufort’s service in the North Carolina Navy? On 21 July 1861, Lt. Duvall was ordered to remain with the Beaufort and Lt. Crossan with the Winslow were ordered to take prizes until their ships were turned over to the Confederate Navy on 20 August 1861. The Beaufort engaged in a skirmish with the much larger USS Albatross near Oregon Inlet on that same day.
Lt. Crossan, with his swift commerce raider Winslow, continued his successful run by capturing the schooner Pricilla on 31 July and the brig Itasca on 4 August 1861. Arriving at Hatteras on 29 July 1861, Duvall and his slower tug Beaufort did not meet with success. The Beaufort log of 5 August 1861 observes: “No chance for the Beaufort as long as these fast steamers are here.”
In addition to the disappointment of capturing no prizes, the Post Boy arrived from New Bern on 30 July 1861 and delivered a document to Lt. Duvall from the honorable Secretary of the Navy. Duvall’s application for service in the Confederate Navy had been turned down. On 13 August, Duvall received a congratulatory letter concerning the Albatross affair from Military and Naval Board Secretary Warren Winslow. The Beaufort left Ocracoke Inlet the next day, setting sail for New Berne, NC, at 7:00 a.m. She anchored in New Berne harbor at 5:15 p.m. that same day, remaining anchored there until Duvall left the ship on the appointed date, 20 August 1861.
While the ship was anchored in New Berne Harbor, the discipline of the crew suffered. Four enlisted men went ashore on liberty on the 16th; three overstayed their time ashore. Two returned intoxicated at 1:30 a.m. the following morning. At 1:15 p.m., six more crewmen went ashore on liberty; three returned at 8:00 p.m. and one came aboard at 1:00 a.m., 18 August 1861. Two did not return. At 4:30 p.m. of the 18th, while ashore filling casks with water, two more crewmen deserted. Two more sailors went ashore at 6:30 p.m. on liberty.