Featured Character – 1861-1862
USS Ceres was an armed side-wheel merchant steamer built in New York in 1856 and commissioned in September 1861. On September 18, the Ceres was ordered from the Potomac to operate in the rivers and sounds of Virginia and North Carolina, where it captured four blockade runners during its service and helped in the capture of other vessels. The Ceres served to support the Union Army’s attempts to take coastal positions and to provide cover and assistance during amphibious operations. It was present at the Battle of Roanoke Island on February 7–8, 1862, and joined the Union vessels in following the defeated Confederate Navy to Elizabeth City. Here, on February 10, the USS Ceres captured the CSS Ellis. During the following years of the war, the USS Ceres patrolled the waters of northeast North Carolina, capturing the steamer Wilson in 1862 and covering the landing of the army in positions in Hamilton, New Bern, and Washington, North Carolina. During a series of attacks on Plymouth, on October 27–28, 1864, Lieutenant William B. Cushing of the Ceres torpedoed the Confederate ship Albemarle, which the Ceres later towed to Norfolk. On July 14, 1865, the Ceres was decommissioned and sold in New York 11 days later.