Kinston in Lenoir County, North Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
John Taylor Wood, CSN
And the Sinking of the USS Underwriter
On January 31, 1864 a Confederate Navy raiding party left Kinston and rowed down the Neuse River to New Bern. CSN Commander John Taylor Wood, nephew of the Confederate President Jefferson Davis and grandson of former U.S. President Zachary Taylor, commanded the expedition. Previously, Wood commanded several other "cutting out" expeditions that captured and burned Federal ships. The Confederate handpicked naval force consisted of 250 to 300 men, 35 officers, 25 marines, and 14 boats.
At New Bern the Confederates found the USS Underwriter, a side-wheel steamer 186 feet long, carrying two 8-inch shell guns with a 30-pound and a 12-pound Howitzer. The Underwriter was one of the largest federal gunboats in North Carolina waters and had seen extensive duty as part of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Wood divided his force into two divisions - one under his command, the other under Lieutenant Benjamin P. Loyall. At 2:30 a.m. on the morning of February 2, 1864 the Confederates boarded
(Sidebar): Lt. Loyall was later promoted to the commander of the CSS Neuse ironclad ship then being outfitted at Kinston. Lt. Hoge was later appointed executive officer of the CSS Neuse. Sixteen days after the attack, James Wickes, a CSS enlisted man on the Underwriter expedition, died on the submarine H.L. Hunley when it sank the USS Housatonic in the Union blockade of Charleston, S.C.
The wreckage of the Underwriter remains in the Neuse River and its location was pinpointed in 1964.
Erected by Lenoir County Battlefields Commission.
Location. 35° 15.599′ N, 77° 34.984′ W. Marker is in Kinston, North Carolina, in Lenoir County. Marker is at the intersection of South Heritage Street and West Caswell Street, on the right when traveling south on South Heritage Street. Click for map. Located in a river overlook park with ample parking space. Marker is in this post office area: Kinston NC 28501, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cat Hole (here, next to this marker); CSS Neuse Confederate Ironclad Gunboat (within shouting distance of this marker); CSS Neuse (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Town Of Kingston (about 700 feet away); Lenoir County WW I and WW II Memorial (about 700 feet away); Caswell (about 700 feet away); Harmony Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); Kinston Hangings (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Kinston.
More about this marker. On the left is a Sketch of the Sinking of the USS Underwriter. On the upper right is a portrait of Commander John Taylor Wood, circa 1858. In the sidebar is a reconstructed portrait of Boatswain Mate James A. Wickes, CSN.
Also see . . .
1. Attack on the Underwriter. A short narrative on the raid from North Carolina History. (Submitted on May 9, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. USS Underwriter. Official history of the Underwriter. (Submitted on May 9, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • War, US Civil • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,071 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.