CHARLES W. FLUSSER, LCDR, USN
Charles Flusser '53
Date of birth: September 27, 1832
Date of death: April 19, 1864
The Lucky Bag was first published in 1894.
Biography & Loss
Born at Annapolis, Maryland, Flusser entered the United States Naval Academy in 1847 and graduated with the Class of 1853 with the rank of passed midshipman. He received promotion to master and then lieutenant on September 15 and 16, 1855, while serving in the South American Squadron. In early 1861, Flusser was appointed to the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and oversaw its relocation to Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island.
Flusser served on blockade duty off the coast of Georgia in late 1861, before being appointed commander of the gunboat Commodore Perry for the Burnside Expedition, taking part in the victory at the Battle of Elizabeth City in February 1862.
Flusser was promoted to lieutenant commander in July 1862, also assuming command of all Union gunboats in Albemarle Sound. He took part in the expedition against Franklin, Virginia, in October 1862, with his ship only narrowly escaping capture.
Flusser was killed in action on April 19, 1864, during the Battle of Plymouth, in the engagement between the Miami and Southfield against the Confederate ironclad CSS Albemarle. In that action, Flusser personally fired a cannon shell at the Confederate ironclad. The shell, with a 10-second fuse, bounced off the Albemarle's armor and landed back on the deck of the Miami, where its explosion killed him. Brigadier General Henry Walton Wessels, commanding U.S. Army troops at Plymouth, North Carolina, noted: "In the death of this accomplished sailor the Navy has lost one of its brightest ornaments..."
Flusser was interred at the military cemetery in New Bern, but in 1868 his remains were transferred to the Naval Academy Cemetery.
He is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall.
Midshipman, 19 July, 1847. Passed Midshipman, 10 June, 1853. Master, 15 September, 1855. Lieutenant, 16 September, 1855. Lieutenant Commander, July, 1862. Killed on board the Miami, 19 April, 1864.
Several ships have been named for William:
- USS Flusser (1864) was captured in 1864 and sold in 1865.
- USS Flusser (Destroyer No. 20) was a Smith-class destroyer, commissioned in 1909 and sold in 1919; she was sponsored by his grandniece.
- USS Flusser (DD 289) was a Clemson-class destroyer, commissioned in 1920 and scrapped in 1930.
- USS Flusser (DD 368) was a Mahan-class destroyer, commissioned in 1936 and decommissioned in 1946.
He is used as an example of how to search for information of Civil War-era veterans by the National Archives of the United States.