- Born in North Carolina.
- Appointed from North Carolina.
- Formerly lieutenant, US Navy.
Born in North Carolina, Joseph W. Alexander was appointed commander of the CSS Raleigh in 1861. He served in the United States Navy prior to the Civil War, where he was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He commanded the CSS Raleigh in the battles of Roanoke Island (7-8 Feb 1862) and Hampton Roads (8 Mar 1862).
Alexander was serving on the CSS Atlanta when she was captured by the USS Weehawken on June 17, 1863. Escaping on August 19, 1863, Alexander was recaptured and returned to Fort Warren on September 7, 1863. He was paroled September 28, 1864, and exchanged October 18, 1864. Alexander commanded the CSS Virginia (No. 2) and CSS Beaufort in 1864-1865.