|USS Ellis (ex-CSS Ellis)|
|Lieutant William B. Cushing|
Ellis arrived at Jacksonville at 1:30 in the afternoon. Finding little initial opposition, Cushing and his men proceeded to capture the post office, several stands of rifled muskets, grabbed any African American in sight to "liberate" them, and two schooners. A salt works was also destroyed soon after.
Around 5 p.m., Confederate ground forces converged on the town just as Ellis began head back down river. Darkness prevented any combat. As the Sun came up, the shooting started. Confederate infantry and cavalry would lay down fire on Cushing's little squadron while Ellis returned fire with her two guns. During this running fight, Ellis ran hard aground.
After several attempts to free her, Cushing transferred most of his men and material to one of the schooners. In typical Cushing-style, however, he and six volunteers stayed on board Ellis to provide covering fire. At this point in the battle, a battery of four Confederate guns (including one Whitworth rifle) fired on Ellis. Cushing refused to give up on Ellis until the last minute. Eventually, he declared Ellis a loss, set fire to her, and abandoned ship. She blew up the following morning.
After reading Cushing's after-action report, Commander Davenport (Cushing's commanding officer) reported to Admiral Lee, "I think the courage of this young officer should meet the commendation of his superiors."
Indeed he would be. It would only be the first of many commendations to come.