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End of Story for CSS Neuse

The hull of the CSS Neuse in 1965

On March 11, 1865, the Confederate ironclad CSS Neuse was scuttled in the Neuse River, just downstream from Kinston, to prevent its capture by advancing Union forces. Following the Battle of Wyse Fork, fought the three days earlier, Gen. Braxton Bragg ordered the gunboat’s commander, Capt. Joseph Price, to use his vessel to hold off Union Gen. Jacob D. Cox’s force while the Confederate Army evacuated the town and retreated west toward Goldsboro. The ship was then to be destroyed.

Capt. Joseph Price, commander of the Neuse.The CSS Neuse had been partially constructed at what is now Seven Springs, starting in October 1862. It was floated downriver to Kinston in the summer of 1863, where it was outfitted with armor plating, engines and guns. The project was delayed numerous times, but the Neuse was launched in April 1864 and commanded to steam downriver to assist in an attempt to recapture Union-occupied New Bern.

Unfortunately, the ship ran aground and never made it downriver again until being called into action in March 1865. Following Gen. Bragg’s orders, once the evacuation of Kinston was complete, the crew of the Neuse set fire to the ship and left it to sink. By March 13, the crew was in Halifax awaiting their next assignment.

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