Lt. William Barker Cushing was a Union naval officer who, in 1862, took the gunboat USS ELLIS up the New River to attack any blockade runners upstream and raid Jacksonville. Cushing had been given ELLIS in October 1862 while under orders to watch Bogue Inlet. The 200 ton ELLIS, captured from Confederate forces the spring before, was outfit with two 32-pound guns and a crew of 30 men. In late November, 1862, Cushing entered the New River and proceeded towards Jacksonville. Arriving at the town, Cushing and his men captured several slaves, arms, clothing, and two sailing schooners. On return to the river mouth, Confederate cavalry followed the flotilla and fired on the sailors. An ambush was prepared further down river but was prematurely initiated, giving Cushing time to engage those on shore. ELLIS’ guns proved more powerful and the Confederate forces retreated. Cushing set out towards the river mouth only to ground before reaching New River inlet. Confederate forces returned and soon destroyed ELLIS, however Cushing and his men were able to escape on one of the schooners.