Throughout the war the United States Navy was vastly superior to the ships that the Confederacy was able to scrape together, but that did not stop the Southerners from trying to build their navy. They often found very innovative ways to do it. The ironclad ram CSS Albemarle was begun in a cornfield near the Roanoke River in January, 1863. The Union troops heard of the rebel boat being prepared, but they did not have enough troops to send an expedition to destroy her. By April 1864, the CSS Albemarle was launched under the command of Captain James Cooke and ready to head down river to engage the Union fleet off Plymouth, North Carolina.