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Topping, Albert

ALBERT TOPPING
United States Navy
Middle Island


Albert Topping
United States Navy
Middle Island

Albert Topping was born May 26, 1843 in Middle Island. He was one of five children born to Joseph and Maria Topping.

Albert left Middle Island and his work as a clerk in a country store to enlist in the navy on October 22, 1862, in New London, Connecticut. Topping was 21 years old at the time, stood 5 feet 8 inches tall, had blue eyes and brown hair. His older brother, Gardiner, also joined the navy two years later.
The younger Topping was assigned to the U.S.S. Sabine as a landsman. The Sabine, a sailing frigate, was armed with 49 guns and was manned by a crew of 375 men. It was assigned to the Atlantic Squadron and participated in the blockade of southern ports.

Topping, Albert
U.S.S. Sabine

In November of 1862, the Sabine was dispatched to find the Confederate raider, the C.S.S. Alabama. The Sabine spent four months patrolling the shipping lanes just south of Long Island, protecting vessels bound to and from New York.

The crew then embarked on a much longer journey. In February of 1863, the Sabine was sent to the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. It was rumored that the Alabama was in these waters. The ship sailed as far south as the Cape of Good Hope, searching in vain for Confederate raiders. After several months, the Sabine returned to America. In August, it was sent to patrol the waters off of New England, protecting and assisting commerce vessels.

Sometime after their return to the U.S., Topping was sent to the Pinkney Naval Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. He was honorably discharged from the Navy on December 25, 1863, because of an unnamed disability.


Crowded decks as sailors man their posts.

After the war, Albert returned to Long Island and married Annie Pierson at the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church. They had five children: Clifton, born in 1869; Albert, born in 1872; Bessie, born in 1874; William, born in 1882; and Grace, born in 1886.

Albert and Annie lived in Bridgehampton. He worked as a weaver, making rag carpets. Annie died on April 24, 1891. Albert Topping lived many years without her. He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 17, 1933, at the age of ninety.

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