Sunday, January 4, 2015

November 19, 1864

November 19, 1864


---George Templeton Strong of New York City describes with evident good humor in his journal a meeting of the Union League Club, where they feted the new young hero of the day, Lieut. William B. Cushing of the U.S. Navy, who, after weeks of frustration, devised a method of sinking the new Rebel ironclad CSS Albemarle, a ship powerful enough to break the Union blockade:

A hundred or more of its members came together to meet Lt. Cushing, who finished the rebel ram Albemarle with a torpedo boat in the waters of North Carolina, thereby not only doing the country most substantial service, but shewing the most distinguished personal gallantry and daring.  He blew up his own boat with the iron-clad, and saved himself by swimming.  According to our abominable national usage, somebody had to make a “few remarks” on the occasion; and John Jay was happy to make them and belabored his modest, boyish-looking young hero with ten minutes of eulogy.  He blushed and looked uncomfortable, but made his inevitable reply, simply and briefly, and passed this ordeal as creditably as the other, which I dare say he found hardly more trying.  He seems a most charming young fellow; handsome, intelligent, and dignified in his bearing, thought very young (twenty-two) and looking much younger.
George Templeton Strong

Lieutenant William B. Cushing, USN

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