Rank and Organization: Landsman, U.S. Navy. Born: 1845, New York, N.Y. Accredited
To: New York. G.O. No.: 45, 31 December 1864.
Wilkes served on board U.S. Picket Boat No. 1 in action, 27 October 1864, against the
Confederate Ram, Albemarle, which had resisted repeated attacks by our steamers and had
kept a large force of vessels employed in watching her. The picket boat, equipped with a
spar torpedo, succeeded in passing the enemy pickets within 20 yards without being
discovered and them made for the Albemarle under a full head of steam. Immediately taken
under fire by the ram, the small boat plunged on, jumped the log boom which encircled the
target and exploded its torpedo under the port bow of the ram. The picket boat was
destroyed by enemy fire and almost the entire crew taken prisoner or lost.