WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A military life if often filled with lots of tales and travels, and John Winslow's was certainly that. The Civil War star was born in Wilmington in 1811, just a block off of now busy 3rd St.
His military career began at the ripe age of 16 when he enlisted in the Navy. A rise through the ranks didn't take long. By the time war broke our with Mexico, Winslow was a key player and was present for the fall of Veracruz. For his gallantry in action, he was allowed to take command of a schooner.
His real fame would come from his action in the Civil War. Even though Winslow was born in Wilmington, he was educated in the north and was a staunch abolitionist. When the Confederacy was formed, his allegiance lined with the Union.
He had command of the U.S.S. Kearsarge, a powerful ship which set sail for European waters looking for Confederate raiders. They were looking for the C.S.S. Alabama, which had successfully raided 65 Union ships.
The Kearsarge and the Alabama would finally meet in a clash off the coast of France in the Battle of Cherbourg. After a barrage of shells, Captain Winslow and the armor-clad Kearsarge sunk the Alabama to the ocean floor. This earned Winslow the thanks of Congress, but may not have garnered a lot of cheers from his hometown.