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History Unplugged Podcast

with Scott Rank

This Civil War-Era Luke Skywalker Destroyed an Ironclad Death Star

00:00 33:32
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One of America’s greatest but little-remembered Civil War heroes was Commander William Barker Cushing, who sank the Confederate ironclad Albemarle in a spectacular mission in 1864.

Regarded as erratic and insubordinate, Midshipman Cushing was drummed out of the Naval Academy in March 1861. But with the outbreak of war, the Union needed every trained officer it could find— and whatever his flaws, Cushing was an extremely talented naval officer. Ferocious, uncompromising, courageous, and loyal, he became a U.S. Navy commando and at the age of twenty-one was sent to destroy the South’s ultimate naval weapon—the Albemarle, an unsinkable vessel with a devastating iron ram.

Todays guest, Jerome Priesler, is author of "Civil War Commando." We discuss the death-defying mission that succeeded in sinking the Albemarle, helped reelect President Abraham Lincoln, and earned Cushing a hero’s grave in the Naval Academy’s cemetery.
December 24, 2020
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Meet Your Host
Scott Rank is the host of the History Unplugged Podcast and a PhD in history who specialized in the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey. Before going down the academic route he worked as a journalist in Istanbul. He has written 12 history books on topics ranging from lost Bronze Age civilizations to the Age of Discovery. Some of his books include The Age of Illumination: Science, Technology, and Reason in the Middle Ages and History’s 9 Most Insane Rulers.. Learn more about him by going to scottrankphd.com.
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