Featured Character – 1861-1862
Born in 1821 in County Mayo, Ireland, Patrick McCarrick immigrated to America as a young man. He eventually settled in Virginia and married Margaret Collins of Richmond. During the antebellum period, he served as captain of the Chesapeake Bay steamer Northampton. After North Carolina seceded, McCarrick took a lieutenant's commission in the state's navy and served aboard the converted steamboat Winslow. Following the sinking of the Winslow during a storm in November 1861, McCarrick became Lieutenant Commander of the Seabird, the flagship of the Confederate Navy's "Mosquito Fleet." The majority of the men killed or captured during the Battle of Elizabeth City were aboard the Seabird. The side-wheeled steamer was originally built in 1854 in Keyport, New Jersey, and purchased by the state of North Carolina in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1861. After refitting and armed with two cannon, it commenced operations along the Virginia and North Carolina coasts with Lieutenant McCarrick in command. The Seabird was used during the February 1862 invasions of Roanoke Island and Elizabeth City, at which time it was rammed and sunk by the USS Commodore Perry.