John Newland Maffitt
|Nickname(s)||"Prince of Privateers"|
|Born||February 22, 1819|
|Died||May 15, 1886 (aged 67)|
Wilmington, North Carolina
|Allegiance|| United States of America|
Confederate States of America
|Service/|| United States Navy|
Confederate States Navy
|Years of service||USN 1832-1861|
|Battles/wars||American Civil War|
John Newland Maffitt (February 22, 1819 – May 15, 1886) was an officer in the Confederate States Navy who was nicknamed the "Prince of Privateers" due to his success as a blockade runner and commerce raider in the U.S. Civil War.
Maffitt was born at sea on a ship bound for New York City, his parents having emigrated from Ireland. Maffitt's parents, Reverend John Newland Maffitt and his wife Ann Carnicke, settled with their son in Connecticut. When Maffitt was about five years old, he was adopted by his uncle, Dr. William Maffitt who traveled across the Atlantic Ocean with them, and moved to Fayetteville, North Carolina to live at the Ellerslie Plantation.
He was a slave owner, and sold Cornelia Williams Read in 1857. During the Civil War, while commanding the CSS Florida, he was chased by the USS Niagara to Europe. On board the Niagara was William B. Gould, who would marry Read after the war.
At the end of the war, he refused to surrender his ship to the United States. Instead, he returned Owl to agents in Liverpool. He chose to remain in England, and, after passing the British naval examination, he served for about two years in command of the British merchant steamer Widgeon running between Liverpool and South America. He returned to the United States in 1868 and settled on a farm near Wilmington, North Carolina. In 1870, Maffit commanded a warship for Cuban revolutionaries during the Ten Years' War.
Maffit died in Wilmington in 1886, leaving an unfinished manuscript about piracy in the West Indies. His collected papers are in the library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.