Bad Timing

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Midshipman William Jackson was scheduled to join the crew of the CSS Beaufort on 11 February 1862 according to Beaufort commander William H. Parker. However, when Midshipman Robert Cammís arm was shot off during the battle of Roanoke Island, Jackson was sent to the CSS Ellis to replace Camm instead.


Jackson was aboard the Ellis on 10 February 1862 when crewmen of the USS Ceres boarded her during the battle of Elizabeth City. Lt. Commanding James Cooke of the Ellis ordered his crew to abandon ship and save themselves. Cooke remained on board and continued the fight; he was shot in the arm and bayoneted in the leg before he surrendered.


Following orders, Midshipman Jackson dove into the water. He was shot while still in the water swimming towards the shore. Wounded and captured, he was carried aboard the USS Hetzel for medical treatment. He died around 10:00 p.m. that night and was buried with all military honors at the fort the next day.