CSS Albemarle, a relatively small ironclad ram, was built at Edwards Ferry, North Carolina. Commissioned in April 1864 under the command of Commander James W. Cooke, CSN, she almost immediately went into action. On 19 April 1864, Albemarle attacked U.S. ships off Plymouth, North Carolina, sinking USS Southfield and driving away USS Miami and two other gunboats. With their waterborne communications severed, the Union forces were forced to surrender Plymouth to the Confederates.
Just over two weeks later, on 5 May, Albemarle, accompanied by the steamers Cotton Plant and Bombshell, steamed out into the North Carolina Sounds and attacked another U.S. Navy force, consisting of the "Double-ender" gunboats Sassacus, Wyalusing and Mattabesett, converted ferryboat Commodore Hull and small gunboat Ceres. Though Sassacus made a valiant attempt to sink Albemarle by ramming, she was badly damaged in return. The Confederate ironclad was lightly damaged in the engagement, which threatened the entire Union position on North Carolina's internal waters.
Desperate circumstances yield desperate responses, and on the night of 27-28 October 1864, Lieutenant William B. Cushing, USN, took the torpedo boat Picket Boat Number One upriver to Plymouth and bravely attacked Albemarle at her berth, sinking her with a spar torpedo. Following the Union recapture of the town, Albemarle was refloated and towed towed to Norfolk Navy Yard by USS Ceres following the end of hostilities, arriving there on 27 April 1865. Condemned as a prize, she was purchased by the Navy who sold her in October 1867.