Maffitt, May 1861–September 1862: An excerpt from Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War

Cover image of Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War courtesy of the University of North Carolina Press.

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Maffitt, May 1861–September 1862: An excerpt from Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War

by Bland Simpson
Southern Cultures, Vol. 19, No. 3: Civil War

"'No war? I have come to you directly from Washington City, where the caissons are rolling, where a great army has been gathering, where Lincoln is planning for war. Whether you are or not.'"

Bland Simpson’s Two Captains from Carolina tells the story of Moses Grandy (ca. 1791–ca. 1850) and John Newland Maffitt Jr. (1819–1886), two accomplished nineteenth-century mariners from North Carolina. The story of these captains—one African American, one Irish American—is a vivid tale of race and maritime culture in the antebellum and Civil War–era South. In this excerpt, North Carolina has seceded from the Union and distinguished naval officer Maffitt enlists in the Confederate navy, going on to become a legendary blockade-runner and raider.