Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub
[graphic][merged small]

the blockade ships of the enemy off Charleston, the Huntress, with a cargo of cotton belonging to the Confederate government, was burned at sea by accident.

The Everglade, or Savannah, to which Lieut. Hall was ordered from the Huntress, was a small side-wheel steamer, purchased by the State of Georgia for $34,000. She was changed into a gunboat, for the purpose of cruising as a coast-guard at the mouth of the Savannah River. Her officers, as first appointed, were as follows: Commander. J. McIntosh Kell; Midshipmen, R. F. Armstrong, S. N. Hooper, J. A. Merriweather; Chief Engineer, Joshua Smith; Assistant Engineer, Norval Meeker; Clerk, William J. Bennett. The Everglade had her name changed to the Savannah. At the attack on Port Royal by the Union forces she figured as the flag-ship of Commodore Tatnall.

The steamer Nina, mounting one gun, was used along the coast of South Carolina as a gunboat. The brig Bonita, built in New York in 1853, was 276 tons burden, and a fast sailer. She was formerly engaged in the slave trade, but was captured on the coast of Africa, taken to Charleston, and afterwards to Savannah, where she was seized by order of Gov. Brown and converted into a privateer. The Lewis Cass was a clipper-built topsail schooner, of 100 tons burden, and was in the U. S. revenue service when she was seized at Savannah. She was converted into a privateer, armed with one long sixty-eight-pounder taken from the Pensacola navyyard. Her crew numbered forty men and officers.

The privateer schooner Judith was of 250 tons, and carried four broadside guns and one pivot gun amidships. She was destroyed at the Pensacola navy-yard by the Union forces, who boarded her, spiked her guns, and then fired her.

On the 4th of May, the Georgia privateer schooner Five Brothers, Capt. Wm. Barquedo, with a crew of eighteen men, in Cumberland Sound, seized the brig Elisha Doane, of Boston, loaded with lumber. The Doane was detained by a prizecrew for eight days, and then released by order of Gov. Brown.

Soon after the secession of Louisiana, Capt. Lawrence Rosseau, a true son of that State, who had entered the U. S. Navy on the 16th of January, 1809, and who had been in its service for many years, resigned his commission and accepted rank under his native State. Gov. Moore appointed him commander of the Louisiana navy, with headquarters at New Orleans. When the delegates at Montgomery formed a Provisional Government, Captain Rosseau was one of the first to report for duty under the new Confederacy. In February, Capts. Rosseau, Ingraham and Randolph, with other naval officers, were before the Naval Committee at the Confederate capital, and assisted in devising means for the establishment of a navy. Soon after the organization of the Navy Department, Capt. Rosseau was ordered to New Orleans, where he aided in sending out a number of privateers to cruise against the commerce of the enemy, ana had the high honor of equipping and sending to sea the first Confederate man-of-war—the Sumter. Early in March, 1861, he was ordered to purchase for the Confederate Government the steamship Habana. afterwards named the Sumter, in honor of the victory over Fort Sumter, and fit her out as a cruiser. On the 26th of the same month he entered the naval service of the Confederate States.

Immediately upon the receipt of the news in New Orleans that President Davis had invited privateers to prey upon the enemy's commerce, several stock companies were organized and several hundred thousand dollars were subscribed in a few hours for the purpose of fitting out vessels. About the 14th of May, the privateer steamer Calhoun, of 1,058 tons burden, under the command of Capt. J. Wilson, with a crew of 100 men and several pieces of cannon, hastened out of New Orleans to the Balize on her cruise in the Gulf. She soon captured the bark Ocean Eagle, from Portland. Me., with a cargo of 3,147 casks of lime, valued at $24,000. Having put a prizecrew on board, and towing the vessel into the Mississippi, the Calhoun resumed her voyage. The Calhoun also captured the ship Milan, with 1.500 bags of salt, valued at $20,000, and the schooner Ella, from Tampico, with a cargo of fruit, valued at $5,000.

The Calhoun was afterwards engaged in blockade-running, and while on her way from Havana to New Orleans with a large and valuable cargo of military stores, valued at $300,000. was chased by a Federal cruiser and abandoned. Capt. Wilson, who commanded the Calhoun, was formerly the captain of the brig Minnie Schiffer, the vessel that rescued the passengers of the ill-fated steamer Connaught.

The steamer Wm. H. Webb, immediately upon the breaking out of the war, was converted into a gunboat and privateer. She steamed out of New Orleans in May, and on the 24th captured, about ninety miles from the Passes, three Massachusetts whalers, the brig Panama, and schooners John Adams and Mermaid. The prizes reached New Orleans on the 27th, and had on board 215 barrels of whale and sperm oil.

The privateer steamer V. H. Tvey, of about 200 tons, armed with two thirty-two pound rifled guns, in May steamed out of New Orleans and captured the ship Marathon, from Marseilles, in ballast, valued at $35,000; ship Albino, from Boston, with a cargo of ice, valued at $25,000.

The privateer steamer Music captured during the same time a splendid new ship—the Marshall, from Havre, in ballast, valued at $50,000, and the ship John H. Jarvis, from Liverpool, in ballast, valued at $20,000. The schooner Vigilante, with a cargo of provisions, was captured on July 21st, in Jourdan River, by Lieuts. J.V. Touloneand J. Colly, with a detachment of the Shieldsboro' Rifles. All of these vessels were condemned and sold in New Orleans by C. B. Beverly, the Confederate States Marshal.l

On April 18th, 1863, Congress passed "an act to establish a volunteer navy" According to the provisions of this act, any person or persons who produced to President Davis satisfactory evidence as to character, competency and means, were to be, under certain regulations, commissioned by the Confederate government, as regular officers of the volunteer navy, to procure and fit out vessels of over 100 tons burden for cruising against the enemy. Such officers were to be "worthy to command," and such vessels were to be "fit for the service," and they were to be "received into the volunteer navy," "to serve during the war," and " subject to all the laws, rules and regulations of the regular navy, except as otherwise provided for." The grades of rank were fixed in the act from commander down, and pay was provided, which, however, was small, the compensation being prizes (ninety per cent, of which went to the captors, and ten per cent, to the wounded and widows and orphans of those slain), and a bonus of twentyfive per cent, for every armed vessel, or military and naval transport of the enemy, burnt, sunk or destroyed, and twentyfive dollars for every prisoner captured and brought in from such vessels.

The passage of this act, it was thought, would add considerably to the navy of the Confederacy, that was doing so much on the high seas for the South. Immediately after the passage of the Act of Congress, "the Virginia Volunteer Navy Company " was organized, and over a million and a half dollars was subscribed for stock. The subscribers were men of capital and influence, who saw in the measure a means of most seriously damaging the enemy, as well as handsomely rewarding those who embarked in it.

The company was chartered by the Legislature of Virginia on October 13th, 1863, with the following incorporators: Samuel J. Harrison, Baker and Baskerville, Dunlap, Moncure & Co., Joseph R. Anderson & Co., J. L. Apperson, R. H. Maury & Co., W. F. Watson, J. P. George, John Robin McDaniel, R. M. Crenshaw, Thomas Branch, D. B. Dugger, Thomas R. Price & Co., Matthew Bridges, William B. Jones & Co., William B. Isaacs, Boiling W. Haxall, and such other persons as were then or afterward associated with them. The capital of the company was not to be less than $1,000,000, nor more than $10,000,000. The officers were Samuel J. Harrison. President; Robert Archer, J. L. Apperson, Thomas W. McCance and J. R. McDaniel, Directors.

'The New York Herald of June 2d, 1861, Bays: Basks.

On the 2flth of last month there were under Name_ Master. Bail From

Chester Bearse Boston.

Ocean Eagle Luce Thomaston.

seizure, or as prizes in the port of New Orleans, the following Teasels:

SHIPS,

Name. Matter. flail From Bchoonkes.

Abs?llino 8mith Boston. E. B. Janes Townsend.. .

Ariel Delano Bath, Me. Henry Travers Wyatt Baltimore.

American Union. Lincoln Bath, Me. Ella Howes Philadelphia

C. A. Farwell Farwell Rockland.

Express Frost Portsmouth, N.H. "Of the above vessels some doubt attaches to

Enoch Train j Bur^n Boston "10 8eizure ot *n0 Enoch Train and Wilbur Fisk,

(probably) j" 'but the probabilities are that they have been

J. H. Jarvis Rich Boston.

confiscated. The seizures made by the Confed

&&::•/.:• £&■.:: SzSZL «•*■ «pto tte >-* -TMta TM* *• *»*

Milian Eustis Bath. Me. enumerated:

Robert Harding. Ingraham .. Boston. Off the different ports 12

State of Maine.. Humphrey.. Portland. In port 30

X;,ulo"> Upshur New York. Steamers captured on the Mississippi. 15

TSSSfirf} ■•Pousland...B<»ton. ^ "

Owing to the unfavorable turn of affairs in the South and the blockade of Southern ports, the company did not embark in privateering.

"The Old Dominion Trading Company" of the city of Richmond, which was chartered by the Legislature of Virginia on October 3d, 1803, with a capital of not less than S100.000, and not to exceed $2,000,000, in shares of $500 each, did a considerable business in blockade-running. The incorporators were: A. Morris, P. C. Williams, Wm. G. Payne, D. O. Hufford and E. D. Keeling.

The privateers of the Confederacy carried on their destruction of U. S. commerce for many months with considerable immunity. There was no limit to their boldness or scope to their operations. By August 1, 1801, three privateer steamers were reported in latitude 7 deg. 47 min. North, longitude 22 deg. 48 min. West. The British mail-steamer Tyne, on August 17th, reported seeing a privateer steamer between Rio Janeiro and Pernambuco. A letter from the Island of St. Thomas, dated Aug. 5th, said that several privateers had been seen in the neighborhood, and two of them, well armed and equipped, refitted and provisioned at St. John's, in the island of Porto Rico. The Liverpool underwriters, as early as June, had permitted the pith of President Davis' rules for privateers to be posted in their rooms, and an American ship—the first—on May 23d, hoisted the Confederate flag in the Prince's dock. The operations of the privateers upon commerce put up insurance premiums so high upon all freights taken in American vessels as to cause many U. S. merchants to turn their vessels over to English owners, who sailed them under the English flag.

Notwithstanding all the naval preparations made by the U. S. government from the beginning of the war to August, 1801, only two small privateers had been captured or destroyed, the Savannah and the Petrel; only two of their prizes had been retaken by government vessels, and two by the crews. The little privateers, on the other hand, had captured within the same length of time nearly sixty Federal vessels. How many had been captured of which we have no account, it is impossible to say. Several privateers, whose names are now

« ПредишнаНапред »