As Lee invaded Pennsylvania, Lt. Charles W. Read, age 23, was raiding Union commerce along the Atlantic coast. Read commanded fewer than two dozen Confederate sailors onboard a series of vessels “borrowed” from the Yankees. He was so successful that the Union Navy pulled 40 ships off the blockade to look for him and his band of merry men.
At the same time Confederate Cavalry rode into Gettysburg, Read and crew sailed into the harbor of Portland, Maine. That night they boarded and captured the Union revenue cutter Caleb Cushing. Calm winds and a flooding tide conspired to foil their chances to get away, but they were able to blow the ship up before being captured.
Hollywood couldn’t make up the career of Charles Read. This book by David W. Shaw (1961- ) is the only detailed account of this amazing Confederate Navy hero.