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Title: The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter
Author: Semmes, Raphael, 1809-1877
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter" ***

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[Illustration: RAPHAEL SEMMES.]



Two Volumes in One.



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1864, by


in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the
Southern District of New York.



The following account of the cruise of the two Confederate States
steamers--Sumter and Alabama--is taken from the private journals and
other papers of Captain Semmes. It has been found necessary occasionally
to adopt a narrative form, but the endeavour has been throughout to
adhere as closely as possible to that officer's own words.

Information has also been most kindly afforded by other officers of the
two vessels, and especially Lieutenant R.F. Armstrong, and Master's Mate
G. Townley Fullam, from whose private journals and other papers much
valuable assistance has been obtained.

A good deal of controversy has arisen respecting the legality of the
course pursued by the Alabama, in the case of certain vessels claiming
to carry a neutral cargo. In all these cases, however, great care was
taken by Captain Semmes to enter in his journal full particulars of the
claims, and of the grounds on which it was refused admission. These
cases will be found quoted in full in the following volumes.




_The Question at issue--An unexpected point of attack--Captain
Semmes--The President's instructions--Creating a navy--From the old to
the new--An important mission--Appointed to the Sumter--True character
of the Confederate "pirate."_

The President of the American States in Confederation was gathering an
army for the defence of Southern liberty. Where valour is a national
inheritance, and an enthusiastic unanimity prevails, this will not prove
a difficult task. It is otherwise with the formation of a navy. Soldiers
of Southern blood had thrown up their commissions in a body; but sailors
love their ships as well as their country, and appear to owe some
allegiance to them likewise. Nevertheless, if Mr. Davis had not a great
choice of officers, he had eminent men to serve him, as the young
history of the South has abundantly shown. To obtain experienced and
trusty seamen was easier to him in such a crisis than to give them a
command. The Atlantic and the ports of America were ruled at that time
absolutely by President Lincoln. The South had not a voice upon the sea.
The merchants of New York and Boston looked upon the war as something
which concerned them very little. Not a dream of any damage possibly to
be inflicted on them, disturbed the serenity of their votes for the
invasion of the South. Their fleets entered harbour proudly; their
marine swam the ocean unmolested. Though there was war imminent, the
insurance offices were content to maintain their terms upon a peace
standard. What, indeed, was to be feared? The South had not a single
vessel. Here and there a packet-steamer might be caught up and armed,
but what would they avail against such fleet and powerful ships as the
Brooklyn, the Powhattan, and dozens of others? There was, then, a
condition of perfect security, according to the ideas of all American
commercial men. The arrangement, as they understood it, was that they
were to strike the blow, and that no one was to give them the value in

It happened that Mr. Davis was of another mind. He perceived where a
blow could be struck, on his part, with terrible emphasis, and how. The
obstacles in his way were colossal; but we have learnt that obstacles do
not appal his indomitable genius. On the 14th February, 1861, Captain
Semmes, being then at his residence in the city of Washington, a
Commander in the Federal navy, received the following telegram from

   SIR,--On behalf of the Committee on Naval Affairs, I beg
   leave to request that you will repair to this place at your earliest

   Your obedient servant,

   C.M. CONRAD, _Chairman_.

The selection of Captain Semmes for the first hazardous service,
whatsoever it might be, was due to his reputation and patriotism, as
well as to the sagacity of the Confederate chief. He had already, in a
letter to the Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, expressed his willingness to
fight for the South: "his judgment, his inclinations, and his
affections," all hurrying him, as he says, to link his fate with the
first movement of the South. "My fate," he pursues, "is cast with the
South; but I should be unwilling, unless invited, to appear to thrust
myself upon the new Government _until my own State_ has moved." This was
at that time the feeling of many border statesmen. In another letter to
Mr. Curry he had exposed sound practical views of the situation of the
Confederates, as regards their marine, for defence and means of
inflicting damage on their opponents.

Captain Semmes at once replied that he would attend upon the committee
immediately. His next act was respectfully to resign his commission as
Commander in the Navy of the United States; which resignation was
accepted in the same terms. He ceased similarly to be a member of the
Lighthouse Board. These matters concluded, he telegraphed to the Hon.
J.L.M. Curry, in Montgomery, where the Confederate States' Congress was
sitting, that he was now a free man to serve his struggling country.
Forthwith he was deputed by President Davis to return to the Northern
States, and make large purchases and contracts "for machinery and
munitions, or for the manufacture of arms and munitions of war;" as also
to obtain "cannon and musket-powder, the former of the coarsest grain,"
and to engage with a certain proprietor of powder-mills for the
"establishment of a powder-mill at some point in the limits of our
territory." This letter gives a good idea of the business-like qualities
brought by Mr. Davis to his high office. "At the arsenal at Washington,"
he writes, "you will find an artificer named Wright, who has brought the
cap-making machine to its present state of efficiency, and who might
furnish a cap-machine, and accompany it, to explain its operations."
Throughout the letter, which is full of minute instructions and weighty
commissions, Mr. Davis shows the fullest confidence in the loyalty and
fitness of the man in whom he placed trust.

Captain Semmes was engaged in the performance of these immediate duties,
when a confidential communication from Mr. S.R. Mallory, of the Navy
department, gave him warning of two or more steamers, of a class desired
for present service, which might be purchased at or near New
York--"steamers of speed, light draught, and strength sufficient for at
least one heavy gun."

"The steamers are designed to navigate the waters and enter the bays and
inlets of the coast from Charleston to the St. Mary's, and from Key West
to the Rio Grande, for coast defences;" and Captain Semmes' judgment
will need no further guide when he is told that "their speed should be
sufficient to give them at all times the ability to engage or to evade
an engagement, and that an 8 or 10-inch gun, with, perhaps, two 32, or,
if not, two of smaller calibre, should constitute their battery."

The Captain's appointment as Commander in the Navy of the Confederate
States, and taking of the oaths, followed in April. On the 18th of that
month, Mr. Mallory detached him from the post he held, by appointment
from the President, of Chief of the Lighthouse Bureau, with orders that
he should proceed to New Orleans and take command of the steamer Sumter.
Captain Semmes saw clearly that war was coming. He perceived, at the
same time, the means by which he could serve his country best. He set
forth for New Orleans without delay.

Our readers will see, by-and-by, from the quotations we shall make from
the Captain's Log, that he is as little the hungry fire-eater which many
of his admirers suppose him to be, as he is the Black Pirate of the New
York press. Captain Semmes is a native of Charles county, in Maryland, a
State that has furnished numerous patriotic citizens to the South.
Before accepting his new service he had taken honourable farewell of his
old. The Federals had no charge to bring against him before the day when
he stepped on the deck of the then unknown and insignificant Sumter
steam-vessel. What they may have said later is of no particular
consequence; nor can it be thought to be greatly to the discredit of
Captain Semmes that they have cried out loudly, and as men in pain.


_The Sumter formerly the Savannah packet-ship--Captain Semmes joins and
assumes command--Altering the vessel--Vexatious delays--The war
begins--The river blockaded--Crew of the Sumter--Dropping down the
river--An attempt--No pilots--Vigorous action--Sumter still at her
anchors--Lamps removed from lighthouses--More enemy's ships--Orders on
board the Sumter--False hopes--The 30th of June--A courageous pilot--The
escape of the Sumter--The chase--The enemy baffled._

The little vessel which now constituted the whole strength of the
Confederate navy, was a merchant screw-steamer of 501 tons burthen. She
had been hitherto known as the Havannah, and had plied as a packet-ship
between the port of that name and New Orleans. She was now to be
extemporized into a man-of-war, and in her new guise was to achieve a
world-wide celebrity, and to play no unimportant part in the great
struggle between North and South.

Arrived in New Orleans, Captain Semmes at once proceeded, in company
with Lieutenant Chapman, to inspect his new command--of which he speaks
with evident satisfaction as a "staunch and well-built" vessel. In her
then condition, however, she was by no means fitted for her new duties;
and he accordingly devoted all his energies towards effecting the
alterations necessary for that purpose. The first step was to
disencumber her decks of the long range of upper cabins, thus materially
increasing her buoyancy as a sea-boat, and diminishing the area exposed
to the enemy's shot and shell. Then a berth-deck was laid for the
accommodation of officers and crew, and the main deck renewed and
strengthened to carry the heavy 8-inch shell-gun, mounted on a pivot
between the fore and mainmasts, and the four 24 pounder howitzers of 13
cwt. each, to be mounted as a broadside battery. Additional coal-bunkers
were also constructed, and a magazine and shell-room built in a suitable
position, and these and a few other less important changes effected, the
transformation was complete, and the little Sumter ready to proceed upon
her work of devastation.

It must not, however, be imagined that all this was done without many
and vexatious delays. The emergency had found the new Confederation
altogether unprepared, and trouble and confusion were the inevitable
result. Hitherto, everything had been done by the North. Up to the very
last moment it had been believed that the separation of the two sections
would be peaceably effected; and now the necessary works had to be
hastily carried out by civilian workmen, under the direction of a
department, itself as yet but provisionally and most imperfectly

Sorely tried by the delays consequent upon this condition of affairs,
Captain Semmes commences his Diary as follows:--

"_New Orleans, May 24th_.--A month has elapsed since I began the
preparation of the Sumter for sea, and yet we are not ready. Leeds
and Co. have not given us our tanks, and we only received the
carriage of the 8-inch gun to-day. The officers are all present,
and the crew has been shipped, and all are impatient to be off. The
river is not yet blockaded, but expected to be to-morrow. It must
be a close blockade, and by heavy vessels, that will keep us in.
Troops are being collected in large numbers in the enemy's States,
marchings and counter-marchings are going on; and the fleet seems
to be kept very busy, scouring hither and thither, but nothing
accomplished. Whilst penning the last paragraph, news reaches us
that the Lincoln Government has crossed the Potomac and invaded
Virginia! Thus commences a bloody and a bitter war. So be it; we
but accept the gauntlet which has been flung in our faces. The
future will tell a tale worthy of the South and of her noble

But the delays were not yet over. On the 27th May, the United States
steamer Brooklyn made her appearance, and commenced the blockade of the
river. The following day brought the powerful frigates Niagara and
Minnesota to her assistance; and when on the 1st of June Captain Semmes
began at length to look hopefully seawards, the Powhattan was discovered
carefully watching the only remaining exit from the river.

One by one, however, the difficulties were fairly overcome, and the
infant navy of the Confederate States was ready to take the sea. The
Sumter's crew consisted of Captain Semmes, commanding, four lieutenants,
a paymaster, a surgeon, a lieutenant of marines, four midshipmen, four
engineers, boatswain, gunner, sail-maker, carpenter, captain's and
purser's clerks, twelve marines, and seventy-two seamen. Thus manned and
equipped, she dropped down the river on the 18th June, and anchored off
the Barracks for the purpose of receiving on board her ammunition and
other similar stores. From thence she again proceeded on the same
evening still lower down the river to Forts Philip and Jackson, where
she brought up on the following day, to await a favourable opportunity
for running the blockade.

For three days she remained at her new anchorage, this period of
enforced inactivity being diligently employed in drilling and exercising
the crew, and bringing the vessel generally into somewhat better order
than her hurried equipment had as yet permitted her to assume. On the
21st June, however, intelligence was received that the Powhattan had
left her station in chase of two vessels, and that a boat from the
Brooklyn had passed into the river, and was making for the telegraph
station. Captain Semmes at once decided to avail himself of this
opportunity to escape to sea, and getting up steam, proceeded to Pass à
L'Outre, and despatched one of his boats to the lighthouse for a pilot.

Here, however, an unexpected difficulty occurred. The light-house-keeper
replied that he knew nothing of the pilots, and the Sumter was
accordingly compelled again to bring up, whilst the Confederate
privateer Ivy ran down, at Captain Semmes' request, to the South-west
Pass, to endeavour to procure a pilot for her there. This expedition,
however, met with no better success, and the Ivy returned with the
information that the pilots refused to take charge of the vessel. A
further despatch was addressed to Captain Semmes, from the Captain of
the House of Pilots, to the effect that "no pilots were now on duty."

It now became necessary to act with vigour, and the Ivy was accordingly
again despatched to the South-west Pass. This time, however, she carried
with her the first lieutenant of the Sumter, with the following
peremptory message to the Master of the Pilot Association to repair
immediately on board, and instructions, if any hesitation were evinced
in complying with this command, to arrest the entire body and bring them

   C.S. steamer Sumter, Head of the Passes
   June 22nd, 1861.

SIR,--This is to command you to repair on board this ship with three or
four of the most experienced pilots of the Bar. I am surprised to learn
that an unwillingness has been expressed by some of the pilots of your
Association to come on board the Sumter, and my purpose is to test the
fact of such disloyalty to the Confederate States. If any man disobey
this summons, I will not only have his Branch taken away from him, but I
will send an armed force and arrest and bring him on board. I have the
honour to be,

   Very respectfully,

   Your obedient Servant,

   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

This extreme measure, however, was not found necessary. The mere threat
was sufficient, and on the following day the master, with several of his
pilots, made their appearance on board the Sumter. After a brief
consultation with Captain Semmes, they one and all, with the exception
of the master, expressed their willingness to take the vessel to sea,
and thereupon the captain, selecting one of the number for this service,
permitted the remainder to depart.

Meanwhile, however, the golden opportunity had been lost; the Powhattan
had returned to her station, and the harbour was again hermetically
sealed. The Sumter, therefore, was again compelled to return to her
anchors, and eight more days passed wearily away without affording
another opportunity of evasion. The interval of expectation, however,
was again occupied in drilling and exercising the crew, which was now
beginning to get into good working order; measures being also taken for
extinguishing and removing the lamps from the lighthouses at Pass à
L'Outre and the South Pass, Captain Semmes addressing to the Navy
Department at Richmond the following letter upon the subject:--

   C.S. steamer Sumter, Head of the Passes,
   Miss. River, June 30th, 1861.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform the department that I am still at my
anchors at the "Head of the Passes," the enemy closely investing both of
the practicable outlets. At Pass à L'Outre there are three ships--the
Brooklyn and another propeller, and a large side-wheel steamer; and at
the South-west Pass there is the Powhattan, lying within half-a-mile of
the Bar, and not stirring an inch from her anchors night or day. I am
only surprised that the Brooklyn does not come up to this anchorage,
which she might easily do (as there is water enough, and no military
precautions whatever have been taken to hold it), and thus effectually
seal all the passes of the river by her presence alone, which would
enable the enemy to withdraw the remainder of his blockading force for
use elsewhere. With the assistance of the Jackson and McRae (neither of
which has yet dropped down), I could probably hold my position here
until an opportunity offered of my getting to sea. I shall watch
diligently for such an opportunity, and have no doubt that, sooner or
later, it will present itself. I found, upon dropping down to this
point, that the lights at Pass à L'Outre and South Pass had been
strangely overlooked, and that they were still burning. I caused them
both to be extinguished, so that if bad weather should set in, the
blockading vessel will have nothing "to hold on to," and will be obliged
to make an offing. At present the worst feature of the blockade is that
the Brooklyn has the speed of me, so that, even though I should run the
bar, I could not hope to escape her unless I surprised her, which, with
her close watch of the Bar, at anchor near to, both night and day, it
will be exceedingly difficult to do. I should be quite willing to try
speed with the Powhattan if I could hope to run the gauntlet of her guns
without being crippled; but unfortunately, with all the buoys and other
marks removed, there is a perfectly blind bar except by daylight. In the
meantime I am drilling my gun-crew to a proper use of the great guns and
small arms. With the exception of diarrhoea which is prevailing to some
extent, brought on by too free a use of the river water in the excessive
heats which prevail, the crew continue healthy.

       *       *       *       *       *
I have the honour to be, &c., &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Hon. G.E. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy, Richmond, Virginia.

The following orders were also issued:--

"_Orders to be Observed on Board the C.S. Steamer Sumter_."

"1. The deck will never be left without a lieutenant, except that in
port a midshipman may be assigned to keep the first lieutenant's watch."

"2. The quarter-deck will at all times be regarded as a place of parade,
and no sitting or lounging will be permitted thereon. For the purposes
of this order all the spar deck abaft the mainmast will be regarded as
the quarter-deck."

"3. Officers will wear their uniforms at all times when on board ship,
and when on shore on duty."

"4. No officer will remain out of the ship after ten P.M. without the
special permission of the commander."

"5. Each division of guns will be exercised at least three times a week;
and there will be an exercise at general quarters twice a week, viz., on
Tuesdays and Fridays."

"6. The crew will be mustered at quarters for inspection every morning
at nine o'clock (except Sundays), and every evening at sunset."

"7. On Sundays there will be a general muster for inspection at eleven
A.M., when the officers will appear in undress with epaulettes."

"8. The chief engineer is to keep the commander informed at all times
(through the first lieutenant) of the condition of his engines, boilers,
&c.; and he is to see that his assistants, &c., are punctual and
zealous in the performance of their duties, and report such as fail
therein to the first lieutenant."

"9. There will be an engineer at all times on watch in the engine-room
when the ship is under steam, and the engineer on watch will report
every two hours to the officer of the deck how the engines are working,

"10. The marine officer will drill his guard once every day when the
weather is suitable, and the duty of the ship does not interfere

"11. The firemen will be exercised once a week, when the pumps, hose,
&c., are to be adjusted, and used as in case of actual fire."

On the morning of the 29th of June hopes were again excited by a report
from the pilot that the Brooklyn had left her station; and steam being
got up with all speed on board the Sumter, she again dropped down to
Pass à l'Outre, but only to find that the report had been fallacious.
The Brooklyn was still at anchor, though a slight change of berth had
placed her behind the shelter of a mass of trees. Once more, therefore,
the Sumter was brought to an anchor; but on the day following, her
patient waiting was rewarded by the long-looked-for opportunity. On the
morning of the 30th of June the Brooklyn was again reported under way
and in chase of a vessel to leeward; and no sooner was the fact of her
departure fairly verified than steam was got up for the last time, and
the little Sumter dashed boldly across the bar, and stood out to sea.

Almost at the last moment, however, it seemed as though the attempt to
escape were again to be baffled by difficulties on the part of the
pilot. The man on board of the Sumter lost courage as the moment of
trial came, and professed his inability to take the vessel through the
pass thus left free by the departure of the Brooklyn, alleging as his
excuse that he had not passed through it for more than three months.
Happily the man's cowardice or treachery produced no ill effects; for,
as the Sumter dropped down the river on her way towards the open sea,
another pilot came gallantly off to her in his little boat, and
volunteered to carry her through the Pass.

The Sumter had not reached within six miles of the bar when her
movements were perceived from the Brooklyn, which at once relinquished
the far less valuable prize on which she had been hitherto intent; and,
changing her course, headed at top speed towards the bar, in hopes of
cutting the Sumter off before she could reach it. The narrow opening
through the bar, distant about six miles from either of the opposing
vessels, now became the goal of a sharp and exciting race. The Sumter
had the advantage of the stream: but the Brooklyn was her superior in
speed, and moreover, carried guns of heavier calibre and longer range.
At length the Pass is reached; and dashing gallantly across it, the
little Sumter starboards her helm and rounds the mud-banks to the
eastward! As she does so the Brooklyn rounds to for a moment and gives
her a shot from her pivot gun. But the bolt falls short; and now the
race begins in earnest!

The chase had not continued long, when a heavy squall of wind and rain
came up and hid the pursuing vessel from sight; but it soon passed away,
and the Brooklyn was again descried astern, under all sail and steam,
and evidently gaining upon her little quarry. On this the Sumter was
hauled two points higher up, thus bringing the wind so far forward that
the Brooklyn was no longer able to carry sail. And now the chase in her
turn began to gain upon her huge pursuer. But she was now in salt water,
and her boilers were beginning to "prime" furiously. It was necessary to
slacken speed for a time, and as she did so the Brooklyn again recovered
her advantage. Then gradually the foaming in the Sumter's boilers
ceased, and she was again put to her speed. The utmost pressure was put
on; the propeller began to move at the rate of sixty-five revolutions a
minute, and the Brooklyn once more dropped slowly but steadily astern.
At length she gave up the chase, and at four o'clock in the afternoon,
just four hours after crossing the bar, the crew of the Sumter gave
three hearty cheers as her baffled pursuer put up her helm, and,
relinquishing the chase, turned sullenly back to her station at the
mouth of the river.


_Beginning the cruise--The first prize the Golden Rocket--The capture
burnt--The Cuba and Machias--Cienfuegos--The Ben Dunning and Albert
Adams--Three at once: the West Wind, the Naiad, and the Louisa Kilham--A
fleet of prizes--Saluting the Confederate States' flag--At Cuba--Strict
neutrality--A prize agent--The Governor-General of Cuba--Recapture by
the United States--An accident to the commander--A gale--At Curaçao--The
Dutch Governor--An ex-president in difficulties--The Abby
Bradford--Venezuela--An inhospitable port--The Joseph Maxwell--Military
v. naval--Sagacious skipper--Gulf of Bahia_.

The Sumter had now fairly commenced her gallant career. The 1st July
dawned bright and fair with, a light breeze from the south-west, and
the little vessel sped through the water at an average speed of about
eight knots an hour. All that day not a sail appeared in sight. Night
settled down in all the calm splendour of the tropic seas, and nothing
disturbed its serenity save the monotonous beating of the Sumter's
propeller as she steered a south-easterly course down the Gulf of
Mexico. The following day brought her safely to Cape Antonio, which she
rounded under sail and steam, and striking the trade-winds, hoisted up
her propeller and stood away towards the west.

The afternoon of the 3rd July brought the Sumter her first prize. At
about 3 P.M. a sail was descried in shore, beating to windward, and
steering a course that would bring her almost into contact with the
Confederate vessel. To avoid suspicion, no notice was taken of the
stranger until the two vessels had approached within the distance of a
little more than a mile from each other, when a display of English
colours from the Confederate was answered by the stranger with the stars
and stripes of the United States. Down came the St. George's ensign from
the Sumter's peak, to be replaced almost before it had touched the deck
by the stars and bars, which at that time constituted the flag of the
Confederate States. A shot was fired across the bows of the astonished
Yankee, who at once hove-to, and a boat was sent on board to take
possession of the Sumter's first capture.

The prize proved to be the ship Golden Rocket, from the Yankee State of
Maine--a fine ship of 690 tons burthen, only three years old, and worth
from 30,000 to 40,000 dollars. She Was bound to Cienfuegos in Cuba, but
had no cargo on board, and Captain Semmes, being unwilling at that early
stage of his cruise to spare a prize crew, determined to destroy the
vessel, and after taking the captain and crew on board the Sumter set
the prize on fire and left her to her fate.[1]

[Footnote 1: "It was about ten o'clock at night when the first glare of
light burst from her cabin-hatch. Few, few on board can forget the
spectacle. A ship set fire to at sea! It would seem that man was almost
warring with his Maker. Her helpless condition, the red flames licking
the rigging as they climbed aloft, the sparks and pieces of burning rope
taken off by the wind and flying miles to leeward, the ghastly glare
thrown upon the dark sea as far as the eye could reach, and then the
death-like stillness of the scene--all these combined to place the
Golden Rocket on the tablet of our memories for ever. But,
notwithstanding the reluctance with which we did it, we would not have
missed the opportunity for anything on earth. We wanted no war--we
wanted peace; we had dear friends among those who were making war upon
us, and for their sakes, if not for the sake of humanity, we hoped to be
allowed to separate in peace; but it could not be; they forced the war
upon us--they endeavoured to destroy us. For this, and for this alone,
we burn their ships and destroy their commerce. We have no feeling of
enmity against them, and all we ask is to be let alone--to be allowed to
tread the path we have chosen for ourselves."--"_Cruise of the
Sumter_," from the "_Index_" May 1st, 1862.]

The following day saw two more prizes fall into the Sumter's hands.
These were the brigantines Cuba and Machias, both of Maine. The captures
were taken in tow and carried off in the direction of Cienfuegos. The
next day, however, the Cuba broke adrift from her hawser, and on being
recovered, a prize crew was sent on board the vessel, with directions to
carry her into Cienfuegos, for which port Captain Semmes was now shaping
his course.

Arrived off that harbour on the evening of the same day, it was found
too late to attempt to enter, and two more vessels being descried in the
offing, the Machias was cast off, with orders to lay-to until the
morning, and the Sumter started off in chase. On coming up with the two
vessels, at about half-past nine o'clock, they proved to be the United
States brigantines, Ben Dunning and Albert Adams. They were at once
taken possession of, and ordered to make the best of their way in charge
of a prize crew to Cienfuegos.

The night was passed in standing off and on outside the harbour, and
with the earliest dawn preparations were made for running in. The
weather was bright and clear, and the brief twilight of the tropics
flushed rapidly into the full glare of day, and showed to the watchful
eyes on board the Sumter the welcome spectacle of three more vessels
being towed out to sea by a steamer, the stars and stripes floating
gaily from their peaks. Warily and patiently the little Sumter lay in
wait, under the shelter of the land, until the steamer had cast off her
convoy, and the three unsuspecting vessels were fairly beyond the
maritime league from the neutral shore, within which the law of nations
forbids that captures should be made. Then suddenly her decks swarmed
with men, the black smoke poured from her funnel, the sails filled, and
out she came in pursuit. The chase was brief, and ere long the barque
West Wind, the brigantine Naiad, and the barque Louisa Kilham were in
charge of prize crews, and wending their way sadly back to the port they
had so recently left in full expectation of a prosperous voyage.

So, with her little fleet of prizes, six in all, before her, the Sumter
steered proudly into the harbour of Cienfuegos. As she passed the fort
which guards the entrance, a hail was heard from the shore, accompanied
by the almost simultaneous report of a couple of musket shots fired over
the vessel, for the purpose, apparently, of enforcing the order to bring
up and come to an anchor. The command having been obeyed, a boat was at
once despatched in charge of Lieutenant Evans to call on the Commandant
and ask an explanation of this inhospitable reception. The message was
brought back, that the flag of the new Confederacy had not been
understood by him, and that the vessel had consequently been brought up
in compliance with the standing order that no vessel, whether of war or
otherwise, should be permitted to pass until her nationality had been
ascertained. Explanations, of course, followed, and in the evening came
the Commandant, with the Governor's permission either to land or go to
sea, but accompanied by an intimation that the six prizes would be
detained until instructions could be received from headquarters
concerning them.

Lieutenant Chapman was now sent on shore with the following despatch for
the Governor, and also to make arrangements for coaling and for the
safety and ultimate disposition of the prizes:

   C.S. Sumter. Cienfuegos, Island of Cuba,
   July 6th, 1861.

Sir,--I have the honour to inform your Excellency of my arrival at the
Port of Cienfuegos with seven prizes of war. These vessels are the
brigantines Cuba, Machias, Ben Dunning, Albert Adams and Naiad; and
barques West Wind and Louisa Kilham, property of citizens of the United
States, which States, as your Excellency is aware, are waging an unjust
and aggressive war upon the Confederate States, which I have the honour,
with this ship under my command, to represent. I have sought a port of
Cuba with these prizes, with the expectation that Spain will extend to
cruisers of the Confederate States the same friendly reception that in
similar circumstances she would extend to the cruisers of the enemy; in
other words, that she will permit me to leave the captured vessels
within her jurisdiction until they can be adjudicated by a Court of
Admiralty of the Confederate States. As a people maintaining a
Government _de facto_, and not only holding the enemy in check, but
gaining advantages over him, we are entitled to all the rights of
belligerents, and I confidently rely upon the friendly disposition of
Spain, who is our near neighbour in the most important of her colonial
possessions, to receive us with equal and even-handed justice, if not
with the sympathy which our unity of interest and policy, with regard to
an important social and industrial institution, are so well calculated
to inspire. A rule which would exclude our prizes from her ports during
the war, although it should be applied in terms equally to the enemy,
would not, I respectfully suggest, be an equitable or just rule. The
basis of such a rule, as, indeed, of all the conduct of a neutral during
war, is equal and impartial justice to all the belligerents; and this
should be a substantial and practical justice, and not exist in delusive
or deceptive terms merely. Now, a little reflection will, I think, show
your Excellency that the rule in question cannot be applied in the
present war without operating with great injustice to the Confederate
States. It is well known to your Excellency that the United States being
a manufacturing and commercial people, whilst the Confederate States
have been thus far almost wholly an agricultural and planting people,
the former had within their limits and control almost the whole naval
force of the old Government, and that they have seized and appropriated
this force to themselves, regardless of the just claims of the
Confederates States to a portion, and a large portion of it, as
tax-payers out of whose contributions it was created. The United States
are thus enabled to blockade all the important ports of the Confederate
States. In this condition of things, observe the practical working of
the rule which I am discussing.

It must be admitted that we have equal belligerent rights with the

One of the most important of these rights in a war against a commercial
people, is that which I have just exercised, of capturing his property
upon the high seas. But how are the Confederate States to enjoy to its
full extent the benefit of this right, if their cruisers are not
permitted to enter neutral ports with their prizes, and retain them
there in safe custody until they can he condemned and disposed of?

They cannot send them to their own ports for the reasons already stated.
Except for the purpose of destruction, therefore, their right of capture
would be entirely defeated by the adoption of the rule in question,
whilst the enemy would suffer no inconvenience from it, as all his ports
are open to him. I take it for granted that Spain will not think of
acting upon so unjust and unequal a rule.

But another question arises, indeed has already arisen, in the cases of
some of the very captures which I have brought into port. The cargoes of
several of the vessels are claimed, as appears by certificates found
among the papers, as Spanish property.

This fact cannot of course be verified, except by a judicial proceeding
in the Prize Courts of the Confederate States.

But whilst this fact is being determined, what is to be done with the
property? I have the right to destroy the vessels, but not the cargoes,
in case the latter should prove to be, as claimed, Spanish property--but
how am I to destroy the former, and not the latter? I cannot before
sentence unlade the cargoes and deliver them to the claimants, for I do
not know that the claims will be sustained; and I cannot destroy them,
for I do not know that the claims will not be sustained.

Indeed, one of the motives which influenced me in seeking a Spanish
port, was the fact that these cargoes were claimed by Spanish subjects,
whom I was desirous of putting to as little inconvenience as possible in
the unlading and reception of their property, after sentence, should it
be restored to them.

It will be for your Excellency to consider and act upon these grave
questions, touching alike the interests of both our Governments.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.,


   His Excellency Don Jose de la Pozuela,
   Governor of the City of Cienfuegos, Island of Cuba.

At eight o'clock on the morning of the 7th July, Lieutenant Chapman
returned, bringing with him Don Isnaga and Don Mariano Dias, two Cuban
gentlemen, warm sympathizers with the Confederate cause. The latter of
these gentlemen was at once appointed prize agent, and after partaking
of the hospitality of the ship, they returned to shore, and the
remainder of the day was spent on board the Sumter in replenishing the
various stores that had begun to run low after her cruise. In the course
of the day about 100 tons of coal and 5000 gallons of water were
shipped, besides a quantity of fresh provisions for the crew; and at
about 10 P.M. an answer arrived from the Governor to the despatch sent
on shore the previous evening by Lieutenant Chapman.

It stated that the Captain-General of Cuba had given instructions as

1. No cruiser of either party can bring their prizes into Spanish ports.

2. If in any captures the territory of Cuba has been violated, the
Spanish courts will themselves judge of the matter.

3. Any prizes will be detained until instructions can be had from the

These points being ascertained, the prizes already at anchor were left
to the care of the prize agent, Don Dias, and at about midnight the
Sumter hove up her anchor and again proceeded to sea. Nothing had as yet
been seen of the prize brig Cuba, which had been left in charge of a
prize crew a day or two before, nor, indeed, did she ever arrive at the
rendezvous, being recaptured by the enemy, and carried off to the United

Shortly after leaving Cienfuegos, a sail was descried in the offing,
which, however, on being overhauled, proved to be only a Spanish brig,
and the Sumter accordingly kept on her course, between 9 and 10 P.M.
passing the Cayman Islets, which, Captain Semmes remarks in his journal,
are laid down some fifteen or sixteen miles to the westward of their
real position. Daylight of the 9th July found the little Sumter
struggling against a strong trade wind and heavy sea, off the western
end of Jamaica, the blue mountains of which picturesque island remained
in sight during the entire day.

At this period an accident occurred which for some time deprived the
Sumter of the active supervision of her commander. Always of delicate
constitution, and ill-fitted for the rough part he had now to play, he
had lately been still further weakened by illness; and on mounting the
companion-ladder, for the purpose of desiring that the vessel might not
be driven at so high a speed against the heavy head-sea, a sudden
giddiness came over him, and after leaning for a few moments with his
head upon his arm, altogether lost consciousness, and fell heavily
backwards down the companion to the cabin floor, where he lay for some
time in a state of insensibility. The result of this fall was some very
serious bruises, with a difficulty in breathing, which for some days
kept him confined to his hammock. At this time, however, the Sumter was
quite out of the ordinary track of commerce, and was labouring slowly
through a heavy sea against the steady and tenacious trade-wind at the
rate of little more than five knots an hour, making terrible inroads
upon the small supply of coal which was so precious to her.

The 13th July found the trade-wind increased to a regular gale, the
Sumter making literally no way at all against the heavy head-sea. In
this state of affairs it was found necessary to abandon the previous
intention of making for Barbados, as there was not sufficient coal on
board to last the distance. This project, therefore, was given up, the
vessel's head turned from the sea, the fires let down, the ship got
under sail, and a new course shaped for Curaçao. Here it was hoped that
a fresh supply of coal might be obtained, and the little Sumter
staggered along under a press of canvas towards her new destination, the
violent motion causing great distress to the captain, who was still
confined to his cabin, and almost entirely to his hammock.

On the 15th July, the weather moderated for a time, and a warm sunny
afternoon, with comparatively little sea, gave an interval of rest. The
next morning saw the wind again blowing freshly, but at 9 A.M. land was
seen on the starboard bow, and at four in the afternoon the Sumter
passed the north end of the island of Curaçao, running down the coast to
within about a mile of St. Anne's, where she arrived at a little after
seven o'clock. A gun was fired as a signal for a pilot, and soon after
one came off, promising to return again in the morning, and carry the
vessel into harbour.

Morning came, and, true to his word, the pilot once more made his
appearance upon deck. But the remainder of his promise he was unable to
fulfil. "The Governor regrets," he said, in reply to Captain Semmes'
inquiries, "that he cannot permit you to enter, he having received
express orders to that effect." A little diplomacy, however, soon
removed the difficulty, which had arisen from the urgent representations
of the United States consul on the previous evening, aided, no doubt, by
a defective description of the vessel from the pilot. Lieutenant Chapman
was sent on shore with the following letter to the Governor:--

   C.S. steamer Sumter, off St. Anne's,
   Curaçao, July 17th, 1861.


Sir,--I was surprised to receive by the pilot this morning a message
from your Excellency to the effect, that this ship could not be
permitted to enter the harbour unless she was in distress, as your
Excellency had received orders from your Government not to admit vessels
of war of the Confederate States of America to the hospitality of the
ports under your Excellency's command. I must respectfully suggest that
there must be some mistake here, and I have sent to you the bearer,
Lieut. Chapman, C.S. Navy, for the purpose of an explanation. Your
Excellency must be under some misapprehension as to the character of
this vessel. She is a ship of war, duly commissioned by the Government
of the Confederate States, which States have been recognised as
belligerents in the present war by all the leading Powers of
Europe--viz., Great Britain, France, Spain, &c., as your Excellency must
be aware. It is true that these Powers have prohibited both belligerents
from bringing prizes into their several jurisdictions, but no one of
them has made a distinction either between the prizes or the cruisers
themselves of the belligerents, the cruisers of both Governments being
admitted to the hospitalities of the ports of all these great Powers on
terms of perfect equality. Am I to understand from your Excellency that
Holland has adopted a different rule, and that she not only excludes the
prizes, but the ships of war themselves of the Confederate States, and
this at the same time that she admits the cruisers of the United States,
thus departing from her neutrality in this war, ignoring the
Confederate States as belligerents, and aiding and assisting their
enemy? If this he the position which Holland has assumed in this
contest, I pray your Excellency to be kind enough to say as much to me
in writing.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Governor Crol, St. Anne's, Curaçao.

This explanation removed all difficulties, and by 11 A.M. the requisite
permission had been obtained, and the Sumter was safely at anchor in the

Here she lay for some days, surrounded by bum-boats filled with
picturesque natives of all colours, chattering like parrots, and almost
as gaudy in their plumage. Meanwhile the crew were hard at work
replenishing the coal-bunkers, filling up wood and water, taking in
fresh provisions, and effecting the necessary repairs after the late
cruise. While thus employed, a visit was received from a Venezuelan, who
in very good English represented himself as a messenger or agent of
President Castro, now in exile at Curaçao with four of his cabinet
ministers. This emissary's object was to negotiate a passage in the
Sumter for Don Castro and some twenty of his officers, with arms,
ammunition, &c., to the mainland opposite. This proposition, however,
Captain Semmes politely but very promptly declined, on the grounds,
firstly, that he was not going in the direction indicated; and secondly,
that if he were, it would be an undue interference on the part of a
neutral with the revolutionary parties now contending for the control of

"It was remarked," he writes, "that Castro was the _de jure_ President;"
to which I replied, "that we did not look into these matters, the
opposite party being in _de facto_ possession of the government."

At Curaçao the Sumter remained until the 24th July, coaling, refitting,
provisioning, and allowing each of her crew in turn a short run on
shore, to recruit his spirits and get rid of his superfluous cash. At
noon on the 24th she was once more under way, leaving behind her,
however, one of her seamen, a worthless fellow of the name of John Orr,
who, enticed away, as was suspected, by a Yankee captain and the Yankee
keeper of a public-house, took the opportunity to make his escape from
the ship. The loss, however, was not of importance; and after one or two
slight attempts to trace him, the Sumter stood out of the harbour and
shaped her course towards Venezuela.

Daybreak of the 25th July again presented to the eager eyes on board of
the Sumter the welcome apparition of a sail. Chase was immediately
given, and at half-past six the Abby Bradford, from New York to Puerto
Caballo, was duly seized and taken in tow, her Captain proceeding with
her upon her original course towards Puerto Caballo. It was late before
that place was reached, and the night was spent standing off and on
outside the harbour. With the return of day, however, the Sumter ran
once more along the shore; and, without waiting for a pilot, steered
boldly past the group of small, bold-looking islands, and dropped her
anchor in the port.

No sooner was the anchor down than the following letter was despatched
to the Governor, asking permission to leave the prize until

   C.S. steamer Sumter. Puerto Caballo,
   July 26th, 1861.

Sir,--I have the honour to inform your Excellency of my arrival at this
port in this ship, under my command, and with the prize schooner Abby
Bradford, captured by me about seventy miles to the northward and
eastward. The Abby Bradford is the property of citizens of the United
States, with which States, as your Excellency is aware, the Confederate
States, which I have the honour to represent, are at war; and the cargo
would appear to belong also to citizens of the United States, who have
shipped it on consignment to a house in Puerto Caballo. Should any claim
be given, however, for the cargo, or any part of it, the question of
ownership can only be decided by the Prize Courts of the Confederate
States. In the meantime, I have the honour to request that your
Excellency will permit me to leave this prize vessel with her cargo in
the port of Puerto Caballo, until the question of prize can be
adjudicated by the proper tribunals of my country. This will be a
convenience to all parties, as well to any citizen of Venezuela who may
have an interest in the cargo, as to the captors, who have also valuable
interests to protect.

In making this request, I do not propose that the Venezuelan Government
shall depart from a strict neutrality between the belligerents; as the
same rule it applies to us, it can give the other party the benefit of,
also. In other words, with the most scrupulous regard for the
neutrality, she may admit both belligerents to bring their prizes into
her waters; and of this neither belligerent can complain, since whatever
favour is extended to its enemy is extended also to itself.

I have an additional and cogent reason for making this request, and that
is, that the rule of exclusion, although it might be applied in terms to
both belligerents, would not operate equally and justly upon them both.
It is well known to your Excellency that the Northern United States
(which are now making an aggressive and unjust war upon the Confederate
States, denying to the latter the right of self-government, which is
fundamental in all republics, and invading their territories for the
purpose of subjugation) are manufacturing and commercial states, whilst
the Confederate States have been thus far agricultural and planting
states; and that, as a consequence of this difference of pursuits, the
former States had in their possession at the commencement of this war
almost all the naval force of the old Government, which they have not
hesitated to seize and appropriate to their own use, although a large
proportion of it belonged of right to the Confederate States, which had
been taxed to create it.

By means of this naval force, dishonestly seized as aforesaid, the enemy
has been enabled to blockade all the important ports of the Confederate

This blockade necessarily shuts out the cruisers of the Confederate
States from their own ports, and if foreign Powers shut them out also,
they can make no other use of their prizes than to destroy them. Thus
your Excellency sees that, under the rule of exclusion, the enemy could
enjoy his right of capture to its full extent, his own ports being all
open to him, whilst the cruisers of the Confederate States could enjoy
it _sub modo_ only, that is, for the purpose of destruction. A rule
which would produce such effects as this is not an equal or a just rule
(although it might in terms be extended to both parties); and as
equality and justice are of the essence of neutrality, I take it for
granted that Venezuela will not adopt it.

On the other hand, the rule admitting both parties alike, with their
prizes, into your ports, until the Prize Courts of the respective
countries can have time to adjudicate the cases as they arrive, would
work equal and exact justice to both; and this is no more than the
Confederate States demand.

With reference to the present case, as the cargo consists chiefly of
provisions which are perishable, I would ask leave to sell them at
public auction for the benefit of "whom it may concern," depositing the
proceeds with a suitable prize agent until the decision of the court can
be known. With regard to the vessel, I request that she may remain in
the custody of the same agent until condemned and sold.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

   His Excellency the Governor and Military Commander
   of Puerto Caballo.

To this, however, that functionary could not be induced to assent, his
reply being that such a proposition was altogether beyond his province
to entertain, and that the Sumter must take her departure within
four-and-twenty hours. At daylight, therefore, on the 27th, a prize crew
was sent on board of the Abby Bradford, with orders to proceed to New
Orleans, and at six o'clock the Sumter was again outside of the
inhospitable port of Puerto Caballo.

The anchor was not fairly at the cathead when a sail was reported
seaward, which on capture proved to be the barque Joseph Maxwell, of
Philadelphia. The capture having taken place at about seven miles from
the port to which she was bound, and half of the cargo being the
property of a neutral owner, a boat was despatched with her master and
the paymaster of the Sumter to endeavour to effect negotiation. The
proposition was, that the owner of the neutral half of the cargo should
purchase at a small price the remaining half and the vessel herself,
which should then be delivered to him intact without delay. This little
arrangement, however, was somewhat summarily arrested by the action of
the Governor, who, much to Captain Semmes' astonishment, sent off orders
that the prize should at once be brought into port, there to remain in
his Excellency's custody, until a Venezuelan court should have decided
whether the capture had or had not been effected within the marine
league from the coast prescribed by international law!

This somewhat extraordinary demand did not receive the respect or
obedience on which its promulgator had doubtless relied. Beating to
quarters, and with his men standing to their guns in readiness for
instant action, the Sumter stood out once more towards her prize; sent
the master and his family ashore in one of his own boats, put a prize
crew on board the Maxwell, and despatched her to a port at the south
side of Cuba. It is believed that these unfriendly demonstrations on the
part of the Governor of Puerto Caballo were owing to a fear that the
Sumter was in truth employed upon some such enterprise as that on which
the agent of Don Castro at Curaçao had vainly endeavoured to engage her,
and was endeavouring to effect a landing for revolutionary troops.

The Sumter now again stood away upon her course towards the eastward,
and at five in the evening came across an hermaphrodite brig, from whose
peak floated the hated but welcome stars and stripes. This time,
however, it was able to wave in safe defiance before the eyes of the
dreaded foe, for the sagacious master had kept carefully "within jumping
distance" of the shore, and the sacred "marine league of neutrality"
protected the vessel from the fate that had befallen so many of her

The afternoon of the 28th July found the Sumter off the island of
Tortuga, and at eleven that evening the ship was hove to in thirty-two
fathoms of water off the eastern end of Margaritta. Two more days' run
along the Venezuelan coast, at times in so dense a fog that it was
necessary to run within a mile of the shore in order to "hold on" to the
land, and the Gulf of Bahia was reached. Following close on the track of
a vessel just arrived from Madeira, and acquainted with the harbour, the
Sumter held on her course through the Huero or Umbrella Passage, and
shortly after noon anchored off the town of Port of Spain, receiving as
she did so a salute from the ensign of an English brig passing out of
the harbour.


_Excitement--Taking the bull by the horns--official visits--H.M.S.
Cadmus--Captain Semmes' commission--At sea again--A dull time--Wind and
current hostile--Cayenne--French politeness--False hopes--At
Paramaribo--A hot pursuit--A loyal Yankee--Doubtful security--Not to be
beaten--To sea again--A parting arrow_.

The arrival of the Sumter at Port of Spain appeared to create no small
excitement among the inhabitants, official and non-official, of that
little colony. The Governor at once proceeded to take legal opinion as
to the propriety of permitting the suspicious stranger to coal, and a
long leading article in the colonial paper gave expression to the
editor's serious doubts whether the Sumter were really what she
represented herself to be, a regularly commissioned vessel of war, and
not, after all, a privateer. The legal advisers of the Governor seem to
have reported favourably on Captain Semmes' request, for permission was
given to take on board the requisite supplies, and the Sumter's coaling
proceeded, though not with much rapidity.

The morning of the 2nd August introduced on board a visitor of a new
description. Through the heavy tropical rain which had been pouring
almost incessantly since the arrival of the Sumter, covering the calm
water of the harbour with little dancing jets, and drumming on the
steamer's decks the most unmusical of tattoos, a little dingy was seen
approaching, and in due time brought alongside of the Confederate
man-of-war the master of a Baltimore brig, which, was lying at anchor
some little distance off. The worthy skipper had heard of the terrible
doings of his new neighbour, and in no little anxiety for his own fate
had determined to take the bull by the horns, and inquire on board the
Sumter herself whether he would be permitted to depart without
molestation. Great was the poor, man's delight when he was hailed as a
native of a sister State, and informed that Maryland, though compelled
by superior force to maintain an apparent allegiance to her enemy, was
still considered a friend by her natural allies of the South, and that
strict orders had therefore been given to Set her commerce pass
unharmed. With a lightened heart he returned on board his vessel, and
the Baltimore brig went on her way rejoicing.

The afternoon of the same day brought two more visitors in the persons
of two English officers in mufti; but the international courtesy did not
extend so far as returning the official visit made on Captain Semmes'
behalf by Lieutenant Chapman, and Government-house remained
unrepresented on board the Sumter. "His Excellency," it is to be feared,
had taken offence at the slight passed upon his official position by
Captain Semmes, in not having taken care to recover his health and
strength sufficiently early to be able to make the official visit in

The morning of the 4th August would have seen the Sumter again under way
but for some informality in the paymaster's vouchers, which had to be
rectified; and during the delay thus occasioned, H.M. ship Cadmus
entered the harbour, and the Sumter's departure was postponed with the
object of communicating with her. Accordingly, a lieutenant was sent on
board the new arrival, the visit being promptly returned by an officer
of similar rank from the Cadmus, who, after exchanging the usual
civilities, delivered himself of a polite message from Captain Hillyer,
to the effect, that as the Sumter was the first vessel he had as yet
fallen in with under the flag of the Confederate States, he would be
obliged if Captain Semmes would favor him with a sight of his
commission. To this, of course, the latter had no objection; and the
demands of courtesy having been satisfied by the previous production of
the English lieutenant's commission, that of Captain Semmes was duly
exhibited, and the ceremonial visitor departed.

The next morning brought Captain Hillyer himself on board, and a long
conversation ensued on the war and various kindred topics, the English
Captain leaving behind him a most agreeable impression. The visit over,
steam was once more got up on board the Sumter, and at 1 P.M. she
steamed out through the eastern or Mona Island passage, and running down
the picturesque coast, with its mountain sides uncultivated but covered
with numerous huts, passed at ten o'clock that evening between Trinidad
and Tobago, and entered once more upon the broad North Atlantic.

For some days the time now hung somewhat heavily upon the hands of the
little community. A solitary brigantine only was seen, and she so far to
windward, that with the short supply of coal afforded by the not
overscrupulous merchants of Port of Spain, it was not thought worth
while to incur the expense and delay of a chase. The Sumter was now
terribly in need of an excitement. Not a living thing was in sight, but
the glittering schools of flying fish which ever and anon darted into
view, and skimming rapidly over their surface sank again beneath the
waves, only to be once more driven for a brief refuge to the upper air
by their unseen but relentless enemies below. Drill and exercise were
now the order of the day during the hours of light, and as the sun set
and the tropic night came rushing swiftly up over the yet glowing sky,
chessboards and backgammon-boards were brought out, and discussions,
social, political, and literary, divided the long hours of inaction with
the yarn and the song, and other mild but not ineffectual distractions
of life at sea.

Still it was with feelings of no small satisfaction that "green water"
was again reached, and the Sumter found herself within about ninety
miles of the (Dutch) Guiana coast. Hopes were now entertained of soon
reaching Maranham, but the next day showed them to be fallacious. A
strong northerly current had set in, and, in addition to this drawback,
it was discovered that the defalcations of the Port of Spain coal
merchants were more serious than had been supposed, and there was not
sufficient fuel left for the run. Next day matters were worse rather
than better. The northerly current was running at the extraordinary rate
of sixty miles in the twenty-four hours, a speed equal to that of the
Gulf Stream in its narrowest part. Only three days' fuel remained, and
making allowance for the northerly set, there were fully 550 miles to be
accomplished before Maranham could be reached.

Still the Sumter held patiently on her course in hopes of a change; but
no change came. Wind and current were as hostile as ever, and the
observations of the 11th August giving lat. 2° 38' N., long. 47° 48' W.,
the question of the voyage to Maranham, or even to Para, appeared
definitely settled, and letting his fires go down, Captain Semmes put up
his helm, made all sail, and stood away on a N.W. course, hoping to find
a fresh supply of coal at some of the ports of Guiana under his lee.

The afternoon of that day saw the sky clear, the sea almost calm, and
the little Sumter, rolling along on the long, lazy swell, with all her
starboard studding-sails set, at about three or four knots an hour,
towards Cape Orange, from which point it was intended to make her way
into Cayenne.

Here she arrived on the 15th August, but her hopes were again doomed to
disappointment. On coming to anchor, officers were at once despatched
with the usual complimentary messages to the Governor, and a request to
be informed whether the vessel could be supplied with coal. These
officers, however, were not permitted to land, the reason given being,
that they were without a clean bill of health from their last port. It
was in vain to represent the perfect state of health of the crew, and
the length of time they had been at sea. The official mind was closed
against any argument but that of the _consigne_. Five days' quarantine
were ordered, and five days' quarantine must be undergone, before the
salubrious shores of Cayenne could be exposed to the danger of infection
from the new comers; and as the authorities accompanied this fiat with
the statement, that there was no coal to be had in the place even for
the supply of their own government vessels, our captain determined to
make no further trial upon the discussion, but to seek his supplies

The afternoon of the next day brought the Sumter to the coast of (Dutch)
Guiana; but there being no pilot to be found, she was compelled to come
to an anchor in about four fathoms of water. Here, as the sun set, the
dark smoke of a steamer was discovered against the glowing sky, and
suspicion was at once aroused that the new comer must be a Yankee
cruiser on the look-out for the Confederate "pirates." The drums beat to
quarters on board of the little Sumter; decks were cleared for action;
ports were triced up, guns run out, and every preparation made to give
the supposed enemy a warm reception. Darkness had closed in as the
suspected vessel approached; the thump, thump, thump of her screw
sounding plainly on the still night air. Silently she approached the
watchful cruiser, steering completely round her anchorage, as though
herself suspicious of the character of her new companion. No hostile
demonstration, however, followed; the night was too dark to distinguish
friend from foe; and the strange sail having come to anchor at some
little distance from the Sumter, and evincing no disposition to assume
the offensive, the guns were run in again, and the men were at length
dismissed to the hammocks.

Early next morning steam was again got up on board the Confederate
cruiser, which ran down under French colours for a closer examination of
the stranger, who was lying quietly at anchor about two miles in-shore
of her. As the Sumter approached she also mounted the tricolor, at the
sight of which the pretended nationality of the cruiser was laid aside,
and the stars and bars flew out gaily from her mizen-peak. The Frenchman
appeared much pleased at having thus fallen in with the celebrated
Sumter; and being, like her, bound into Paramaribo, and of considerably
lighter draught, invited her to follow him into the river, where a pilot
might be obtained.

Arrived in Paramaribo the Sumter received tidings of the United States
steamer Keystone State, which had been "in pursuit" of her for some
time. This vessel was not very much larger than the Sumter, and their
crews and armaments were very nearly equal, so there were great hopes on
board the Confederate of a brush with the enemy on something like equal
terms. These hopes, however, like so many others, were doomed to
disappointment. By some fatality the Keystone State could never manage
to come up with her quarry. While the latter had been coaling at
Trinidad, she was performing a similar operation at Barbados, arriving
thence at Trinidad after the Sumter had sailed. From this port she again
started "in pursuit," but her chances of overtaking her enemy may
perhaps have been somewhat affected by the fact, that on learning that
the Sumter had started eastward, she at once followed upon a westerly
track, which, doubtless to the great grief of her commander and crew,
somehow failed to bring her alongside of the vessel of which she was in

[Footnote 2: The writer of the Notes in the _Index_ remarks on this
curious proceeding:--"Rather a strange idea we thought. It put us in
mind of a sportsman in California who was very anxious to kill a grisly
bear. At length he found the trail, and after following it for some
hours gave it up and returned to camp. On being questioned why he did
not follow in pursuit, he quietly replied that the trail was getting
_too fresh_. It must have been so with the Keystone State--the trail was
getting too fresh."]

But if the United States war vessels were somewhat eccentric in their
notion of a hot pursuit, it must be admitted that the United States
consuls and other agents on shore were by no means equally scrupulous.
Every possible expedient to prevent the Sumter from obtaining the
necessary supplies of coal was tried by the consul at Paramaribo, but
with less success than his strenuous exertions deserved. His first idea
was to buy up all the coal in the port, and a handsome price was
offered--in bonds on the United States government--for that purpose. But
with singular blindness to their own interests the merchants of
Paramaribo declined to put their trust in these bonds, and the ready
money not being forthcoming the hopeful scheme was compelled to be
abandoned. Undismayed by this first failure, the gallant Yankee next
sought to charter all the lighters by which the coal could be conveyed
on board, and here he was very nearly successful. One or two of the
owners however declined to be bought up, and in the lighters supplied
by them the process of coaling commenced. Still the persevering consul
was not to be beaten. Failing the owners of the contumacious barges,
their crews were yet accessible to the gentle influences at his command,
and some forty tons of coal found their way to the bottom of the
harbour, instead of to the Sumter's bunkers for which they had been

At length, however, in spite of both active Yankee and dilatory
Dutchmen, the operation was completed, and the little Sumter once more
ready for sea. Even now, however, she was not to get away without a
parting arrow from her indefatigable enemy. On the morning of her
proposed departure the captain's negro servant went on shore as usual
for the day's marketing, when he was waylaid by the worthy Yankee and
persuaded indefinitely to postpone his return. Poor fellow! if his fate
was anything like that of thousands of others "set free" by their
so-called friends of the North, he must have long ere this most bitterly
repented his desertion.

There was no time, however, to spare for searching after the runaway, so
after a brief conference with the authorities, who were apparently not
over anxious for his arrest, the Sumter got up steam and once more
proceeded in the direction of Maranham.


_Leave Paramaribo--Across the equator--A day of misfortunes--On a
sandbank--A narrow escape--Maranham--A Yankee protest--Bold
assertions--A visit to the President--News--False alarms--Paying
bills--A patriot--Off again--A prize--The Joseph Park--News of Bull
Run--A sad birthday._

A whole month had thus been lost through the failure of the Sumter's
coal off the mouth of the Amazon. News, too, had been received at
Paramaribo that six or seven large fast steamers were in hot pursuit;
and as it was not likely that all of these--the larger, perhaps, more
especially--would adopt the tactics of the Keystone State, it was an
object with the solitary little object of their vengeance to make the
best of her way to some safer cruising ground.

On the 31st August, then, she took her final leave of Paramaribo, and
running some eight or nine miles off the coast in a northerly direction
as a blind, altered her course to east half-south, with the intention of
avoiding the current by which she had on the former occasion been so
baffled, by keeping along the coast in soundings where its strength
would be less felt.

The 4th September found her well past the mouth of the Amazon, bowling
along under all fore-and-aft sails, with bright, clear weather, and a
fresh trade-wind from about east by south. This was about her best point
of sailing, and there being no longer any current against her, her log
showed a run of 175 miles in the twenty-four hours. On the same day a
strange sail was seen, but time and coal were now too valuable to be
risked, and the temptation to chase was resisted. In the evening the
equator was crossed, and the little Sumter bade farewell to the North
Atlantic, and entered on a new sphere of operations.

The 5th September was a day of misfortunes. The weather was thick and
lowering; the wind rapidly increasing; to half a gale, and the little
vessel straining heavily at her anchor. In heaving up, a sudden jerk
broke it short off at the shank, the metal about the broken part proving
to have been very indifferent. She now ran very cautiously and anxiously
towards the light, and into the bay, no pilot being in sight. For some
time all went well, and the chief dangers appeared to be over, when
suddenly the vessel ran with a heavy shock upon a sandbank, knocking off
a large portion of her false keel, and for the moment occasioning
intense anxiety to all on board. Fortunately, however, the bank was but
a narrow ridge, and the next sea carried the little vessel safely across
it, and out of danger. Much speculation, however, was excited by this
unlooked-for mishap, but a careful examination of the ship's position on
the chart failed to elucidate the mystery: the part of the bay where the
Sumter had struck being marked as clear ground. It was fortunate, at all
events, that the vessel escaped clear, for within the next hour and a
half the tide fell five feet, which with so heavy a load as that on
board the Sumter could not but have occasioned a terrible strain had she
been lying on the top of the bank.

Finding the soundings still so irregular as to threaten further danger,
the Sumter now came to an anchor, and some fishing boats being perceived
on the shore at a little distance, a boat was despatched which speedily
returned with a fisherman, who piloted her safely to the town of
Maranham. She was visited by a Brazilian naval officer, who
congratulated her captain not a little on his fortunate escape, the
Brazilian men-of war never thinking of attempting the passage without a
coast pilot.

The day following that on which the Sumter arrived at Maranham was the
Brazilian Independence Day. The town put on its gayest appearance;
men-of-war and merchantmen tricked themselves out with flags from deck
to truck, while the guns of the former thundered a salute across the
ordinarily quiet bay. Amidst their universal demonstration the Sumter
alone remained unmoved. The nation whose flag she bore had not yet been
recognised by the Brazilian government, and it would therefore have been
the height of incongruity to sport the slightest bunting on such an
occasion. The more so as the good folks of Maranham, though to all
appearance personally well disposed towards the Confederates, were in
such dread of officially committing themselves, that they did not
venture to invite the officers of the newly-arrived vessel to the grand
ball given by the authorities in honour of the day.

On Monday, the 9th September, Captain Semmes took up his quarters on
shore, and proceeded to make a formal call on the President of the
Department. That functionary, however, pleaded indisposition, appointing
the hour of noon on the following day for the desired interview.
Meanwhile Captain Semmes had hardly returned to his comfortable quarters
at the Hotel do Porto, ere he, in his turn, received a visit from
Captain Pinto of the Brazilian navy, and the Chief of Police, a
confidential friend of the President--the object of these gentlemen
being to read to him a formal protest from the consul of the United
States to the government, against the Sumter's being permitted to
receive coal or other supplies in the port. Amongst other equally bold
statements this document asserted that the Confederate cruiser had not
been permitted to enter the ports of any other European power.
Assertions like these were of course easily disposed of, and it was
agreed that the question should be discussed at the morrow's interview.
The account of this discussion had, perhaps, better be given in Captain
Semmes' own words:--

_Tuesday, September 11th_.--Called upon the President at twelve, and was
admitted to an interview; the Chief of Police and Captain Pinto being
present. I exhibited to the President my commission, and read to him a
portion of my instructions, to show him that it was the desire of the
Confederate States to cultivate friendly relations with other powers,
and to pay particular respect to neutral property and rights; and the
better to satisfy him that he might supply me with coal without a
departure from neutrality, and to contradict the false sentiments of the
United States Consul, I exhibited to him a newspaper from Trinidad,
setting forth the fact that the question of the propriety of supplying
me with coal in that island, had been formally submitted to the law
officers of the Crown, and decided in my favour, &c.

The President then announced to me that I might purchase whatever
supplies I wanted, coal included, munitions of war only excepted. I then
stated to him that this war was in fact a war as much in behalf of
Brazil as of ourselves, and that if we were beaten in the contest,
Brazil would be the next one to be assailed by Yankee propagandists.
These remarks were favourably received, the three gentlemen evidently
sympathizing with us.

Captain Semmes continues his short diary as follows:--

Fresh wind and cloudy. Painting ship, and making preparations for the
reception of coal. We are looking anxiously for the arrival of the Rio
mail steamer, as we have a report brought by a Portuguese vessel from
Pernambuco that a great battle has been fought; that we have beaten the
enemy; and that we have marched upon Washington. God grant that our just
cause may thus have triumphed! The whole town is agog discussing our
affairs. Different parties take different views of them: the opposition
party in the legislature, which is in session, being disposed to censure
the government for its reception of us.

_Thursday, September 12th_.--Clear, with passing clouds; trade-wind
fresh, as usual at this season of the year. Indeed, these winds will
continue to increase in force until December, when they will gradually
give place to the rains. It has been a favourite project of mine from
the commencement of the cruise, to run off Cape St. Roque, and there
waylay the commerce of the enemy in its transit both ways; but the
strong gales and strong current which now prevail, will interfere for
the present with my plan, and I must postpone it for awhile. If the war
continues I shall hope to put it in execution at the proper time. It was
at one time reported to-day that there were two United States vessels of
war awaiting us outside, off Santa Anna; but the report proved to be the
offspring of the excited imaginations of the townspeople. Had a
conversation this evening with Senor Rodrigues, an intelligent lawyer
and the Speaker of the Deputies, on the subject of the war. I found him
pretty well informed, considering that he had received his information
through the polluted channels of the Northern newspapers.

He seemed to think that we had been _precipitate_ in breaking off our
connexion with the North; but I told him we had been the most patient,
long-suffering people in the world, and waited till the last moment
possible, in hope that the fanaticism which swayed the North would have
passed away; and that the responsibility of breaking up the once great
government of the North rested entirely upon the propagandists of that

_Friday, September 13th_.--Cloudy, with the wind very fresh from the
eastward. The town is still busy discussing our affairs. A deputy asked
me seriously yesterday if the President had not ordered me to haul my
flag down, as not being recognised. He said that the Assembly had called
upon him for an explanation of the course he had adopted towards us, but
that he had declined to respond.

It is reported, too, that there are two ships of war awaiting us outside
near the Santa Anna light.

_Saturday, September 14th._--Cloudy, with fresh trades. Having finished
coaling and receiving our other supplies, we are engaged to-day in
paying off our bills. I have been enabled to negotiate a draft for two
thousand dollars upon the Secretary of the Navy; Mr. T. Wetson, one of
our fellow-countrymen temporarily here, having been patriotic enough to
advance me this sum on the faith of his government. He not only thus
aided us, but was very anxious to come on board in person, if he could
have wound up his business in time. In the evening at 7 P.M. I removed
on board from the Hotel do Porto, preparatory to going to sea to-morrow.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Sunday, the 15th September, the Sumter was again under way, and
passed out of the harbour in charge of a pilot, Mr. Wetson accompanying
her until she was fairly outside. No Yankee vessels were found, as had
been reported, and the pilot being discharged, and a warm farewell
exchanged with Mr. Wetson, the Sumter stood away upon a north-east
course in the direction of her proposed cruising-ground in the calm belt
between the trades, the Cape San Roque project being for the present
abandoned. A dull time now commenced, great difficulty being experienced
in forcing the vessel towards her cruising-ground against the current,
which at times would carry her out of her course at the rate of more
than fifty miles a day. Whilst thus beating wearily and patiently
towards the station where it was hoped that more prizes might be
obtained, a curious phenomenon was observed, of which the following
account is given in the journal:--

_Monday, September 23d_.--Clear, with passing clouds. Wind right from
the south-east, veering and hauling two or three points. We have
experienced in the last two or three days a remarkable succession of
tide lips, coming on every twelve hours, and about an hour before the
passage of the moon over the meridian. We have observed five of these
lips, and with such regularity, that we attribute them to the lunar
influence attracting the water in an opposite direction from the
prevailing current, which is east, at the rate of some two miles per
hour. We had a small gull fly on board of us to-day at the distance of
five hundred miles from the nearest land. The tide lips came up from the
south and travelled north, approaching first with a heavy swell, which
caused us, being broadside on, to roll so violently that we kept the
ship off her course from two to three points to bring the roller more on
the quarter. These rollers would be followed by a confused tumultuous
sea, foaming and fretting in every direction, as if we were among
breakers. We were in fact among breakers, though fortunately with no
bottom near. No boat could have lived in such a cauldron as was produced
by this meeting of the waters. They generally passed us in about three
quarters of an hour, when everything became comparatively smooth again.
No observation to-day for latitude, but by computation we are in
latitude 5.25 N. and longitude (chronometer) 42.19 W. Current east by
north 58 miles. So curious were the phenomena of the lips that the
officers and men came on deck upon their approach to witness them.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was many a long week now since the sight of an enemy had gladdened
the eyes of the Sumter's little crew, when, on the 25th of September,
the welcome cry of "Sail, ho!" was once more heard from the masthead.
Steam was at once got up, and the United States colors displayed from
the Confederate cruiser. A short pause of expectation, an eager scrutiny
of the stranger, as the blue and red bunting fluttered for a few moments
upon his deck, while his men were busy with the signal halyards, and
then a joyous cheer greeted the well-known stars and stripes, as they
rose above her bulwarks, and mounted slowly to her mizen peak.

She was not a very valuable prize, being merely a small brigantine,
called the Joseph Park, of Boston, six days out from Pernambuco, in
ballast. But she was the first fruits of a fresh cruise, and right
joyously did the boat's crew pull on board her to haul down the enemy's
flag, and replace it with the saucy stars and bars.[3]

[Footnote 3: The author of the "Notes" in the _Index_ writes:--

"The officer who boarded the Joseph Park asked the captain if he had
cargo. 'No.'--'Have you any specie?' 'Not a dollar.'--'Then, captain,
you must get into the boat, and go with me on board the Sumter.' 'What
are you going to do with me when I get on board?' The officer told him
it would depend entirely upon circumstances; that if he behaved himself,
and did not try to conceal anything, he would receive kind treatment;
that it all depended upon himself 'Well,' said he, 'captain' (he called
the officer who had boarded him captain) 'I _have_ got a thousand
dollars down below, and I guess I had better give it to you.' So he went
below, and from out of some little hole took the bag containing the
gold. The officer asked him why he had hidden the money, as we had the
United States colours up. He said he thought it was the Sumter, and
wanted to be on the safe side. The whole scene between the officer and
the captain of the Joseph Park was ludicrous in the extreme. The answers
to questions with that Yankee nasal twang and Yankee cunning, the
officer seeing through it and enjoying it all the while, made many jokes
in our mess afterwards."]

This done, the crew were transferred to the captain's vessel, and a
prize crew passed on board of the Joseph Park, with instructions to keep
within sight of the Sumter, and signal her immediately on perceiving any
suspicious sail. So the two cruised for some days in company, the Joseph
Park keeping to windward during the day, and at night running down under
cover of the Sumter's guns. This capture was none the less welcome for
the news she brought in a file of recent papers from Pernambuco, of the
first victory of the South at Manassas, or Bull Run, as well as of the
successes achieved in Missouri over the troops of General Lyon. Poor
Joseph Park! she had little anticipated her fate, and not a little
amusement was created among her captors by an entry in her log of the
day after leaving Pernambuco:--"We have a tight, fast vessel, and we
don't care for Jeff. Davis!" "My unfortunate prisoner," remarks Captain
Semmes, "had holloa'd before he was out of the wood."

The journal continues:--

_Friday, September 27th._--This is my fifty-second birthday, and so the
years roll on, one by one, and I am getting to be an old man! Thank God,
that I am still able to render service to my country in her glorious
struggle for the right of self-government, and in defence of her
institutions, her property, and everything a people hold sacred. We have
thus far beaten the Vandal hordes that have invaded and desecrated our
soil; and we shall continue to beat them to the end. The just God of
Heaven, who looks down upon the quarrels of men, will avenge the right.
May we prove ourselves in this struggle worthy of Him and of our great
cause! My poor distressed family! How fondly my thoughts revert to them
to-day! My dear wife and daughters, instead of preparing the accustomed
"cake" to celebrate my birthday, are mourning my absence, and dreading
to hear of disaster. May our Heavenly Father console, cherish, and
protect them!


_A dull time--"Sail, oh-h-h!"--An exciting chase--No prize--A
gale--Jack's holiday--A new cruising-ground--Dead calm--An enlightened
Frenchman--A near thing--Patience!--The Daniel Trowbridge--A lucky
haul--In closer--Double Duns--The prize schooner's revenge--Good news
from home--An apology--In hopes of a fight--Disappointment--The West
India station--Another blank--Martinique_.

Another dull time now set in. On the 28th September the prize crew were
recalled from the Joseph Park, which, after doing duty for some hours
longer as a look-out ship, was finally at nightfall, set on fire, and
burned to the water's edge. And now day after day passed by, unrelieved
save by the little common incidents of a peaceful voyage.

One day it would be a flying-fish that had leaped on board, and paid the
penalty of its indiscretion by doing duty next morning on the captain's
breakfast-table; another day a small sword-fish performed a similar
exploit; while on a third a heavy rain provided the great unwashed of
the forecastle with the unaccustomed luxury of copious ablutions in
fresh water. But not a sail was to be seen. Once only a simultaneous cry
from half-a-dozen sailors of "Light on the starboard bow!" produced a
temporary excitement, and caused the engineers to "fire up" at their
utmost speed. But the alarm proved false. The red light that had been so
confidently reckoned on as the port lantern of some steamer moving
across the Sumter's bows, was at length set down as a mere meteor, or it
might be some star setting crimson through the dim haze of the distant
horizon. Luck seemed quite to have deserted the Confederate flag. They
were lying in the very track of vessels between San Roque and New York.
Allowing a space of seventy-five miles on either side of the Sumter's
station as the extent of this track, and calculating upon a radius of
observation from her masthead of fifteen miles, one-fifth of the whole
number passing should certainly have come within her ken. Yet in the
course of seventeen weary days one vessel only had been seen, and the
Sumter's stock of patience was beginning to run very low.

At length, at ten o'clock on the morning of the 5th October, the welcome
cry was again heard. "Sail, oh--h--h!" was shouted from the masthead
with a lengthened emphasis, as though the look-out would mark the
unusual fact with a special note of admiration. The stranger was dead to
windward, and miles away, probably some seventeen or eighteen at the
very least. But not a moment was lost in starting in pursuit. Steam was
got up, sails furled, the vessel's head brought round in the direction
of the chase, and in less than half an hour from the first announcement
of her appearance, the Sumter was dashing through the water at
top-speed in pursuit.

The chase was long and animated. At first starting the stranger had all
the advantage of a stiff, steady breeze, whilst the Sumter was compelled
to trust altogether to her powers of steaming; and the former, being a
fine, fast vessel, appeared, if anything, rather to gain upon her
pursuer. Gradually, however, as the two vessels changed their relative
bearings, the Sumter also was enabled to avail herself of her fore and
aft canvas, and now she began to gain rapidly upon the chase. Three
hours and a quarter passed in this exciting contest; but at length the
pursuer had come fairly within range, and the chase was over. Up went
the Stars and Stripes to the Sumter's peak, and the usual pause of
excited expectation ensued; when, after bungling awhile with his signal
halyards, as though playing with his pursuer's hopes and fears, the red
ensign of England rose defiantly from the deck, and there was to be no
prize after all.

Very indignant was the captain of the Spartan at being hove-to by a
Yankee, and great was the amusement of the boarding officer as he was
welcomed with the observation that "the Northerners were catching h----"

"How so?" inquired he.

"Why by getting themselves so badly whipped by the Southerners."

It was observed that the worthy speaker appeared somewhat surprised at
the perfect good-humour and satisfaction with which the intelligence was

The night now set in wet and wild. The wind increased to a moderate gale
with a remarkably heavy sea, and violent rain-squalls passing at
intervals over the vessel. The little Sumter rolled and pitched about as
though she, too, were weary of the long period of inaction, and
determined to effect some kind of diversion on her own account. Morning
broke heavy and threatening, with the barometer at 29-87; and by noon it
was blowing a whole gale, and the ship labouring so heavily that the
ceremony of mustering the hands and reading the Articles of War,
customary on the first Sunday of every month, was perforce dispensed
with, and "Jack"--as usual, when bad weather has fairly set in, and the
ship has been made snug--got his holiday.

Towards night the gale, which had hauled gradually round from E.N.E. to
S.E. and S.S.E. in the course of some eight or ten hours, began to
moderate. By the next morning it had altogether broken, and though the
clouds were still leaden, and the sea ran high after the blow of
yesterday, the Sumter was once more able to make sail; and shaking the
reefs out of her topsails, she stood away again towards the S.S.E.

The end of the week saw her well upon her way towards a new cruising
ground, the Western side of the crossing having been fairly given up as
a hopeless job, and Captain Semmes shaping his course for the Eastern
crossing. At noon on Saturday, the 12th October, the new station was
reached, the vessel's position on that day being in lat. 6.56 N., long.
44.41 W.; the weather calm, the sun shining dimly through a greyish veil
of mist, and the little steamer rolling from side to side upon the long,
heaving swells, her yards creaking and her sails flapping heavily
against the masts with that dull, hopeless sound, more trying to the
sailor than the fiercest gale.

Gales and calms--sunshine and rain-squalls--long rolling swell--heavy
sea, and not a break in the monotonous round. Thirty-eight days out, and
in all that time but two vessels spoken and one solitary prize!

_Thursday, October 24th_.--Cloudy, with the wind from the eastward. At
half-past six in the morning descried a sail in the north east. Got up
steam and gave chase. At nine came up with a brig, which proved to be a
Frenchman, La Mouche Noire, from Nantes to Martinique. Sent a boat on
board of him. He had no newspapers, and said he knew the United States
were at war--we had the United States colours flying--but with whom he
did not know. Enlightened Frenchman! Or this may teach us a lesson of
humility, as showing us how little is thought in Europe of the American
Revolution. The brig was a clumsy specimen of architecture, and was out
forty-two days. We detained her less than half-an-hour, and permitted
her to go on her course again. Our ill-luck seems to culminate; for two
out of the only three sail we have seen in thirty-nine days have proved
to be foreign.

_Friday, October 25th_.--Fresh breeze from the north, and trade-wind
weather. Morning, a few rain-squalls, clearing, but with passing clouds,
as the sun gained altitude. Afternoon heavy, overcast sky, with half a
gale of wind. At 2.50 P.M. descried a sail on the starboard-quarter,
bearing about S.E. Got up steam and gave chase, and at 5 P.M. came up
with her. Fired a blank cartridge and spoke a Prussian ship, which I
caused to heave-to for the purpose of sending a boat on board of him;
but, as in the meantime the wind freshened, and considerable sea had
arisen, and as I had no doubts of the character of the ship, I gave him
leave to fill away and proceed on his course (to some one of the
Windward Islands) without boarding him. As I was rounding the ship to,
near this vessel, we came so near a collision that my heart stood still
for a moment as the bows of the huge, heavy-laden ship passed our
quarter, almost near enough to graze it. If she had been thrown upon us
by one of the heavy seas that were running, we should probably have been
cut down to the water's edge and sunk in a few minutes. This will give
me a lesson as to the space my long ship requires to turn in when she
has a sea on the quarter or bow. We are forty days out to-day, have seen
four sails, and three of the four have proved to be foreign. I am not
discouraged, however, but I have had an excellent opportunity to
practise the Christian virtue of patience, which virtue I think I am a
little deficient in.

_Sunday, October 27th_.--A beautiful clear day, with a light breeze from
the E.N.E., and a few summer-like passing trade-clouds. Mustered the
crew. Two sail in one day! 8.30 A.M. A sail was descried in the S.E. We
immediately gave chase with all sail, and added steam to sails in about
an hour and a half. We came up with the chase about 3 P.M.; the vessel
proving very fast. We showed, as usual, the United States colours, the
chase showing the same. Fired a blank cartridge and ordered him to
heave-to. Sent a boat on board and captured him, hauling down the United
States and hoisting our own flag as our officer got on board. She proved
to be the schooner Daniel Trowbridge, of New Haven, Connecticut, from
New York to Demerara, with a cargo of provisions; cargo belonging to
same owner as vessel, D. Trowbridge, of Connecticut. Sent a prize crew
on board, and left in pursuit of another sail that had been descried in
the meantime, with which we came up at dark. She proved to be a
brigantine from Nova Scotia to Demerara (English). Permitted her to
proceed on her course. Banked fires, and put the ship under sail, with a
light at the peak, and the prize in company.

_Monday, October 28th_.--Fine clear weather, with a moderate sea and a
light breeze. Called the prize within hail; hoisted out the long-boat
and sent her alongside and commenced receiving provisions. I felt truly
thankful to a kind Providence for this windfall, for we were running
short of provisions--beef bad, and weevily bread. And here were more
than we needed, and of the best. Pork, beef, hams, flour, bread,
crackers (biscuits), &c.; this was truly a Yankee cargo, there being a
large number of pigs, sheep, and geese on board. A busy, bustling day,
with boats passing to and fro, and men busy on both ships with boxes,
barrels, &c. To get at the cargo we threw overboard the superincumbent
articles, and strewed the sea with Connecticut wooden ware and brooms.

_Tuesday, October 29th_.--Another favourable day for unloading the
prize. Wind light from the East, and not too much sea on. We are filling
up with five months' provisions. In the meantime we are enjoying the
luxury, far away out at sea and forty-three days from port, of fresh
meat; the sheep on board the prize being in excellent condition, and I
have them slaughtered in sufficient numbers for the crew. At noon the
sky becoming overcast; lat. 16.54 N., long. 57.33 W.

_Wednesday, October 30th_.--A beautiful serene day, with a light breeze
from the S.E. and a smooth sea. At 7 A.M., "Sail, ho!" from aloft.
Despatched a couple of boats to the prize schooner to bring away some of
the live stock, and sent orders to the prize master to set fire to the
prize and return on board. These orders being all executed and the boats
run up, at 8.30, steamed in pursuit of the strange sail. At eleven came
up with, and sent a boat on board of the Danish brig Una, from
Copenhagen to Santa Cruz, sixty-nine days out. Permitted her to proceed
on her course after a detention of about half-an-hour. We showed her the
United States colours. This evening, having directed the junior
lieutenant to send to the master of the prize schooner Daniel
Trowbridge, for the log slates of the schooner which he, the master, had
put among his private baggage, it was reported to me that the master in
delivering these articles to the messenger, the sergeant of marines,
used this insolent language--"D---- them. I hope they will do them no
good, and if they want a shirt I can lend them that too." I had the man
seized and put in double irons. Lat. 16.40 N., long. 58.16 W.

_Thursday, October 31st_.--Beautiful clear weather, with a light
breeze from the North and East. Got up and sunned the ball cartridges,
some of which had been damaged by the damp, and overhauled the pumps
which had gotten out of order. At 2 A.M. a light having been reported to
me, I ordered steam gotten up and made pursuit. As we came up with it,
we found it to be a burning fragment of the schooner which we had fired
eighteen hours before. Banked fires. We have been greatly interested
since our last capture in examining a lot of newspapers found on board.
They are as late as the 8th October, and give us most cheering accounts
of the war. We have gloriously whipped the enemy at all points, and have
brought Missouri and Kentucky out of the Union. The tone of the European
press is highly favourable to our cause, and indicates a prompt
recognition of our independence. And all this cheering information we
get from the enemy himself! Lat. 16.54 N., long. 57.59 W. The master of
the prize schooner Trowbridge, having made a very humble apology for his
conduct of yesterday, and asked to be released from confinement, I
directed him to be discharged from close custody and to have his irons
taken off.

The Daniel Trowbridge, however, was the last prize that fell to the
Sumter's lot on this cruise. She was now in the full track of vessels
crossing the Line, and scarcely a day passed without one or more being
overhauled; but the Stars and Stripes appeared to have vanished from the
seas. Vessel after vessel was brought-to, now English, now French, now
belonging to some one or other of the innumerable neutral nations, but
not a Yankee was to be seen, and the ship's company began almost to
weary of their profitless task.

One brief morning's excitement there was, as a large steamer was
descried in the offing, evidently a man-of-war. All was at once alive
and eager on board the little Sumter. The drums beat to quarters, decks
were cleared for action, and every preparation made for combat, as the
Confederate cruiser stood boldly out to meet her expected foe. But again
the eager crew were doomed to disappointment. They were no more to fight
than to capture prizes. As the stranger drew near, the white ensign of
St. George fluttered gracefully to her peak, and after the customary
interchange of civilities, the two vessels went on their respective
courses, and the little Sumter was once more alone on the wide ocean.

A change of cruising ground was now again resolved on, and a course
shaped for the West Indies. Still, however, without success, and at
length the supply of water beginning to fail, the cruise was abandoned,
and on the 9th November the Sumter steamed into Fort de France in
Martinique, having been fifty-seven days at sea.


_A French governor--At church--Visitors--On shore--Prisoners
released--Coaling difficulties--Sympathy for the South--A glass of
grog!--St. Pierre--Curiosity--The Iroquois--An attempt to
intimidate--L'Acheron--Yankee notion of neutrality--Masquerading
--Preparations for a fight--The marine league--The Trent outrage--On
the watch--Violation of rights--A bold attempt--Success_.

_Saturday, Nov. 9th_.--Weather fine during the morning. At daylight, got
up steam and stood in for the land northward of Fort St. Louis' Bay,
running down the coast as we approached. The coast, all the way into the
anchorage, is bold and clear. Ran within three hundred yards of Point
Negro, passing a passenger steamer bound to St. Pierre, and anchored in
six fathoms water, with the south end of the fort bearing E. 1/4 S.,
and the wharf about N. by E. A pilot soon after came on board, and we
got up anchor and went in to the anchorage E. of the fort, the health
officer visiting us in the meantime, and giving us _pratique_.

Sent a lieutenant to call on the Governor, and afterwards visited him
myself. I stated in this interview that I had come into Martinique to
refresh my crew, and obtain such supplies as I needed, coal included.
The Governor replied that he could not supply me with coal from the
Government stock, but I was free to go into the market and purchase what
I wanted, he, the Governor, _not knowing anything about it_; and that as
to my prisoners, if the United States consul at St. Pierre would become
responsible for their maintenance, I might land them. With his consent,
I sent the two masters up to St. Pierre in the packet to see this
consul, and arrange the matter. I despatched also the paymaster to look
after coal and clothing for the crew, giving leave to Lieutenant Chapman
to accompany him. The Governor at one time ordered me to shift my berth,
by returning to my first anchorage; but countermanded the order upon my
demanding an explanation of it. He seemed disposed, too, to restrict my
procuring supplies _at this place_, on the ground that it was merely the
seat of government and a military and naval station; but upon my
insisting upon my right, under the Imperial proclamation, to be treated
in all respects as a lawful belligerent, be abandoned his point. The
French colonies are governed by the minister of Marine, naval officers
being the governors and chief officials. The Governor of Martinique is a

_Sunday, Nov. 10th._--Rain in the early morning, clearing towards eight
o'clock. Went on shore and accompanied M. Guerin to the Governor's mass,
at 8 A.M. The interior of the church is very pleasing, with rare
valuable paintings. The congregation was small. A detachment (one
company from each regiment), entered the main aisle, and formed in
double lines, a few minutes before the commencement of the service. The
Governor and his staff entered punctually, and the service lasted about
three-quarters of an hour. Fine music from a band in the orchestra. The
blacks and whites occupy pews indiscriminately, though there is no
social mixture of the races. All colours have the same political rights,
notwithstanding which the jealousy and hatred of the whites by the
blacks is said to be very great. Was visited by M. Guerin. and a number
of gentlemen--members of the Colonial Legislature and others--to whom I
explained the true issue of the war--to wit, an abolition crusade
against our slave-property; our population, resources, victories,
&c.--to all of which they listened with much appearance of
gratification, and which they also expressed from time to time,
lamenting the blind policy of their Home Government. Mustered the crew,
and read Articles of War. Three of the prisoners have shipped. Let
another batch of liberty-men go on shore. Two of yesterday's batch did
not come off in time this morning. Since came on board. Visited the
Savannah to hear the music, which is given every Sunday evening. It was
a gay and beautiful scene: the moon, the shade, the trees, the statue of
Josephine, the throng of well-dressed men and women, the large band and
the fine music, the ripple of the sea; and last, though not least, the
Katy-dids, so fraught with memories of home, dear home! Visited M.
Guerin after the music, and made the acquaintance of his charming
family, consisting of wife, daughter-in-law, and niece, who gave some
music on the piano and a song. M. Guerin's mother died a nun in the city
of Baltimore, where M. Guerin was himself educated. He retains his early
impressions of Baltimore very vividly.

_Monday, November 11th_.--Weather clear and pleasant, with refreshing
trade-winds; watering ship. Visited the town, and went a-shopping in
company with M. Guerin. Found French manufactured clothing, &c.,
reasonably cheap. In the afternoon strolled on the heights in rear of
the town, and was charmed with the picturesque scenery on every hand.
The little valleys and nooks in which nestle the country houses are
perfect pictures, and the abrupt and broken country presents delightful
changes at every turn. I saw but few signs of diligent cultivation. The
negro race is here, as everywhere else, an idle and thriftless one; and
the purlieus of the town where they are congregated are dilapidated and
squalid. The statue of Josephine in the Savannah is a very fine specimen
of sculpture. It represents her in her customary dress, and she appears,
indeed, a charming woman. This is her native island. The United States
consul came down to-day from St. Pierre, and I landed the remainder of
the prisoners, twelve in number, putting them on parole. I had them all
assembled in the gangway, and questioned them as to their treatment on
board. They all expressed themselves satisfied with it. The officers
returned from St. Pierre, and reported that coal was to be had, but that
the Collector of Customs had prohibited the merchants from sending it to
us. Wrote to the Governor on the Subject:--

Confederate States' steamer Sumter, Port Royal, Nov. 12th, 1861.

SIR,--In the interview which I had the honour to hold with your
Excellency on Saturday last, the 9th inst. I understood your Excellency
to assent to the proposition that I might go into the market at St.
Pierre, and purchase such supplies as I might stand in need of, coal
included. The precise position assumed by your Excellency was, that you
would neither assent nor prohibit. On the faith of this understanding, I
despatched one of my lieutenants and my paymaster to St. Pierre, to make
the necessary purchases, and they have returned and reported to me that
they found an abundance of coal in the market, and at reasonable rates,
and that the owners of it are anxious to supply me with it, but that
your Collector of the Customs had _interposed_, and prohibited the
merchants from selling or delivering it to me. For the information of
your Excellency, I will here state that I have been permitted to coal in
all the ports I have heretofore visited, except only at the French port
of Cayenne, where I was informed that there was no coal in the market,
and where it was insisted that I should undergo a quarantine of five
days before communicating with the town. As it was not convenient for me
to undergo this quarantine, I sailed immediately. I have coaled at
Cienfuegos in the island of Cuba, at Curaçao, at Trinidad, at
Paramaribo, and at Maranham. It appears that Spain, Holland, England and
Brazil have each deemed it consistent with their neutrality in the
present war to permit me freely to supply myself with coal. Am I to
understand from the action of your officers at St. Pierre that you have
withdrawn the implied assent given me on Saturday last, and that France,
through your agency, adopts a different and less friendly, rule? Will
France drive a vessel of war of the Confederate States from one of her
islands to a British island to procure coal? And if she does this, on
what principle will she do it? It is a well-settled rule of
international law, that belligerent cruisers have the right to enter
freely into neutral ports for the purpose of replenishing their stores
of provisions, or replacing a lost mast or spar; and why should not they
be equally permitted to receive on board coal?

Coal is no more necessary to the locomotion of a steamer than is a mast
or spar to a sail-ship; it is no more necessary to a cruiser than
provisions. Without a mast or without provisions a sail-ship could not
continue her cruise against the enemy; and yet the neutral permitted her
to supply herself with these articles. Nor can such supplies as these be
placed on the ground of humanity. It would be inhuman, it is true, to
permit the crew of a belligerent cruiser to perish in your ports by
debarring from access to your markets, from day to day; but it does not
follow that it would be inhuman to prevent her from laying in a stock of
provisions to enable her to proceed to sea, and continue her cruise
against the enemy. It is not humanity to supply a vessel with a lost
mast or a spar, and yet no one doubts that this may be done. Humanity,
then, being out of the question, what possible distinction can your
Excellency draw between supplying a vessel with the articles above
mentioned, and supplying her with coal?

Without any one of them she would be unable to prosecute her cruise
against the enemy--why, then, will you supply her with a part, and not
with the whole?

Without troubling your Excellency further, however, with an argument of
the question, I will content myself with stating what I believe to be
the true rule of law, and it is this:--A belligerent ship of war _cannot
increase her armament or her crew in a neutral port, nor supply herself
with ammunition; but with these exceptions she may procure whatever
supply she needs_.

Although it would be an easy matter for me to run to one of the British,
or Danish, or Dutch Islands, I should regret to be obliged to do so, and
to have to inform my Government of the reason. I would not willingly
have France adopt a rule which would effectually shut us out of her
ports, whilst Holland, Great Britain, Spain, and Brazil admit us freely
into theirs. The rule, prohibiting us from bringing our prizes into
neutral ports, operates very harshly upon us, as the weaker naval power
of the belligerents, without adding to it one still more harsh, and
which has the sanction of neither law nor precedent. If, however, it be
the determination of your Excellency to insist upon my departure without
coal, I beg that you will have the goodness to say as much to me in
writing. Your Excellency is the best judge of your instructions, and of
what they require of you.

I have the honour to be,

With much consideration,

   Your obedient Servant,
   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   To his Excellency M. Maussion de Condé,
   l'Amiral et Gouverneur de la Martinique.

We have the gratifying intelligence that Captain Hollins, with some
armed steamers, had driven the enemy from the mouth of the Mississippi,
sinking the Preble, and driving the other vessels on the bar of the S.W.
Pass. Mr. Seward has issued a proclamation, desiring the Governors of
the Northern States to put their forts, &c., in condition, "as well on
the seaboard as on the lakes!" This, with Fremont's abolition
proclamation, will be of great service to us. _Quem Deus,_ &c. The
Governor consents to my coaling at St. Pierre.

_Friday, November 12th_.--Fine, pleasant weather. Watering ship. I did
not visit the shore to-day; some of the officers are on shore dining,
&c., with the French naval officers. There is evidently great sympathy
for us in the island. We have got on board all our "liberty-men," no one
of them having shown a disposition to desert. At 9 P.M., a drunken
fireman jumped overboard and swam ashore, in spite of the efforts of a
boat to catch him. He thus braved the discipline of the ship solely for
a glass of grog!--so strong upon him was the desire for drink. We sent
an officer for him and caught him in a grog-shop. It is reported to us,
as coming from the Captain of the Port, that there is a frigate cruising
off the Diamond Rock. The ship Siam arrived to-day, with 444 coolies!

_Translation of Reply received from the Governor, in Answer to the

Fort de France, 12th November, 1861.


I have the honour to send you the enclosed letter, which I ask you to
hand to the Collector of Customs at St. Pierre, in which I request him
to permit you to embark freely, as much coal as you wish to purchase in
the market.

I do not change at all from the position which I took with you on
Saturday last. I do not consider that I am empowered any more to give
you coal from the Government supply of this division, than I am to
interfere with the market to prevent its being sold to you there.

With the expression of my highest regard for the Captain,


_Wednesday, November 13th_.--Got up steam, and unmoored ship at
daylight; and at half-past six passed out of the harbour of Fort Royal,
or rather now Fort de France. The pilot repeated the intelligence that
there was a frigate off the Diamond Rock. As we passed the picturesque
country-seat of the Governor, perched upon a height overlooking the sea,
we hoisted the French flag at the fore. Passed the St. Pierre steamer on
her way down. At eight, came to, in the harbour of St. Pierre, at the
man-of-war anchorage south of the town. Several of the custom-house
officers visited us, saying that they had not come on board officially,
but merely out of civility, and from curiosity to see the ship. Sent a
lieutenant on shore to call on the commandant, and make arrangements
for the-purchase and reception of coal, despatching to the collector
the Government order to permit us to embark it. At 1 P.M., shifted our
berth nearer to the shore, for the convenience of coaling, mooring head
and stern with a hawser to the shore. Received on board thirty tons by 9
P.M.; sent down the foreyard for repairs. Quarantined the paymaster and
surgeon for being out of the ship after hours, but upon the explanations
of the former, released them both. The market-square near the water is
thronged with a dense crowd, eagerly gazing upon the ship; and the
newspaper of to-day gives a marvellous account of us, a column in
length. Among other amusing stories, they claim me to be a French
officer, formerly serving on board the Mereuse!

_Thursday, November 14th_.--Rain in the forenoon. Busy coaling, and
getting on board a few necessary stores. It is reported that the
Iroquois sailed from Trinidad on the 2nd November, and that there are
three ships of war of the enemy at St. Thomas', one sail vessel, and two
steamers; and that one of these was expected here last night. She has
not yet made her appearance. It will be difficult for her to prevent our
sailing. At 2.30 P.M. the steam-sloop Iroquois of the enemy made her
appearance, coming round the north end of the island. She had at first
Danish colours flying, but soon changed them for her own. She steamed
ahead of us very slowly, and, taking up a position some half to
three-quarters of a mile from us, stood off and on during the afternoon
and night. Finished receiving our coal and provisions (sugar and rum) at
about 9 P.M., when I permitted the crew to have their hammocks as usual.
Directed everything to be kept ready for action. Visited in the
afternoon by the mayor of the city and some gentlemen, who assured me of
the sympathy of the citizens, and of the colony generally. At 1.30 A.M.
I was called by the officer of the deck, and informed that the Iroquois
was standing in for us, and approaching us very close. Called all hands
to quarters, and made all preparations to receive the enemy in case he
should attempt to run us on board. He sheered off, however, when he came
within three or four hundred yards. He repeated this operation several
times during the mid-watch, imposing upon us as often the necessity of
calling the men to quarters; indeed, from about half-past two they slept
at their guns. Great excitement pervades the entire city. The
market-square, the quays, and the windows of the houses, are thronged by
an eager and curious multitude, expecting every moment to see a combat.
The enemy approached us at one time within a ship's length.

_Friday, November 15th_.--Fine, bright morning. At 7.30 a French steamer
of war, L'Acheron, Captain Duchaxel, came in from Fort de France, and
made fast to one of the buoys. The Iroquois about a mile from us. At
8.30 sent a boat on board the Frenchman to pay the usual ceremonial
visit. The throng in the town unabated, multitudes being gathered near
the water, looking out at the two ships. At 10 the French captain paid
me a visit. He came up, he said, with orders from the Governor, to
preserve the neutrality of the port between the two belligerents, and in
case the Iroquois came to an anchor, to demand of the captain a promise
that he would not proceed to sea for twenty-four hours after our own
departure. I wrote to the Governor, informing him of the violation of
the neutrality of the port by the Iroquois, and desiring him to apply
the proper remedy:--

C.S. steamer Sumter, St. Pierre, Island of Martinique, November 15th,

SIR,--I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I am closely
blockaded in this port by the enemy's steam sloop-of-war Iroquois, of
twice my force. This vessel, in defiance of the law of nations, and in
contempt of the neutrality of this island, has boldly entered the
harbour, and without coming to anchor is cruising backwards and forwards
in a menacing attitude, not only within the marine league of the shore,
but within less than a ship's length of this vessel, which is moored not
more than one hundred yards from the beach. During the past night she
several times approached me within fifty or a hundred yards. I deem it
my duty to acquaint your Excellency with these facts, and to invoke your
authority for the preservation of my just rights within your waters. I
take the following principles, applicable to the present case, to be
well settled by the law of nations:--Firstly, that no act of hostility,
proximate or remote, can be committed by any belligerent in neutral
waters; secondly, that when a cruiser of one belligerent takes refuge
within the waters of a neutral power, a cruiser of the opposite
belligerent cannot follow her into those waters for purposes of
hostility, proximate or remote. It is not only unlawful for her to
approach within the marine league, for the purpose of watch and menace,
but it is equally unlawful for her to hover about the coast of the
neutral, at any distance within plain view, for the same purposes. All
these are remote or prospective acts of war, and as such, offensive to
the neutral power. Thirdly, that when opposite belligerents meet by
accident in a neutral port, if one of them departs therefrom, the other
is bound to wait twenty-four hours before departing. For the opposite
belligerent to depart immediately in pursuit, is to avail herself of the
neutral territory for the purpose of war. She commits, by the very fact
of sailing, a remote act of hostility which is offensive to the neutral

In view of the foregoing facts and principles, I respectfully request
that your Excellency will cause the Iroquois to cease hovering about the
coast of the island for the purpose of watching my movements; in other
words, to withdraw herself out of plain sight. Or if she prefers to come
in, to anchor, to direct either that she shall depart twenty-four hours
before me, or wait twenty-four hours after my departure, whichever she
may prefer. I shall be ready for sea in four or five days, as soon as my
engineers make some necessary repairs to my machinery.

In conclusion, it is quite possible that the captain of the Iroquois may
arrange some signals for giving him intelligence of my movements, with
the United States consul at this port, and I have therefore to request
that some officer may be charged with the prevention of any such act of

I have the honour to be, &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

   To His Excellency M. Maussion de Condé,
   Admiral and Governor of Martinique,

During this night the Iroquois did not approach us so near as on the
past night. Closed in the gun-deck ports, got the swinging booms
alongside, and directed the crew, in case of being called to quarters
during the night, to repair to the spar-deck as boarders, boarding being
the mode in which the enemy would attack us, if at all.[4]

[Footnote 4: On the 14th, at 4 P.M. when we had nearly finished coaling
and other arrangements for sea, a steamer was seen rounding the north
point of the island. She was under Danish colours, and had made, it was
evident, some ludicrous attempts at disguising herself--such, for
instance, as a studied disarrangement of her yards, and some alteration
of her head-booms. I was under the impression at the time that we were
very old birds to be caught with such chaff. She came up slowly at
first, evidently not seeing us as we lay concealed in the shadow of the
hills; but when within about two miles, we could see, with the aid of
our glasses, the water curling from her bows, and we knew that the
Yankee had scented his prey; or, to employ the expressive phrase of our
rough old signal quartermaster, "she had got a bone in her mouth." All
the good citizens of St. Pierre came down to the beach to witness the
scene, and a great many indulged their aquatic instincts by swimming out
to us to await the _dénouement_. The Iroquois was now close on to us,
and when about a hundred yards distant, hauled down the Danish colours,
and set the stars and stripes in their place. Thus we were once more in
the presence of our hated foe.

The Iroquois is one of the new class of gunboats, powerfully armed with
nine and eleven-inch guns, and is about 1000 tons burden. Her crew
consists of about 200 men; and we knew it was useless for the Sumter to
think of fighting her, our only hope of escape being by strategy. The
enemy stood in close to the land, and sent a boat on shore to
communicate with the U.S. Consul and the French authorities, being,
however, very careful not to drop anchor. Captain Palmer informed his
Excellency the Governor that there was a pirate at anchor in the port of
St. Pierre, and requested permission to destroy her; but this was
refused emphatically, and the irate commander furnished with the
proclamation of his Imperial Majesty Napoleon III., according
belligerent rights to the Confederate States, and decreeing strict
neutrality on the part of France. He was informed that it was necessary
for the Iroquois either to cast anchor, or leave the waters of the isle,
and if accepting the former alternative, that an interval of twenty-four
hours must elapse between the departure of either belligerent; also
that, in case of any breach of neutrality occurring, the forts would
open on the offending party. After remaining stationary for some two
hours, her boat returned. The Iroquois stood out of the harbour, taking
a position a short distance ahead of us, and commenced backing and
filling across our bows. Meanwhile the crew of "the pirate" were not
idle; every preparation was made to repel boarders, and to defend our
ship to the last extremity. The crew were inspected, and every man seen
to be properly armed and equipped for action. We fully expected an
attack that night, and remembered the threats and loud pretensions of
not respecting any neutrality which prevented them from destroying the
Sumter, as made by the commander of the Niagara, and the redoubtable
Porter of the Powhattan,--this latter gentleman having actually followed
us as far as Maranham, only to find the people Sumter-mad on his
arrival. Very few on board the Sumter that night felt any inclination
for slumber; the men were sitting about in groups, commenting in low
tones on the contest which now seemed to be imminent; while those
officers who were at leisure were gathered on the quarter-deck, engaged
in the same interesting discussion.

At 2 A.M. the word was passed by the look-outs forward that the Yankee
was bearing down close upon us; and the order passed, almost in a
whisper, "to go to quarters." I never saw men obey an order with more
alacrity. In a few minutes the boarders, pikemen, and small-arm men were
ranged in three lines close to our low rail, to await his attack, all
preserving a perfect silence that seemed death-like. When about twenty
feet distant from us, we heard the deep tones of her bell in the
engine-room, as it rang the order to back; but not before we had
discovered her men at quarters, and, in fact, presenting every
appearance of a ship intending to board an enemy. A single stray
pistol-shot would have brought on the engagement, and to judge from the
lights and signals glancing along the fortifications, the Frenchmen
would have taken a hand, too. The appearance of our decks next morning
was amusing. The men were strewn about promiscuously fully armed and
accoutred for battle, endeavouring to obtain some rest; a stranger might
easily have imagined us to be a buccaneer. Captain Palmer stated next
day that he was afraid we would board him in boats, when asked the
meaning of his threatening manoeuvres; but it was difficult to believe
that the commander of a ship of war would make such a flimsy excuse; and
let us hope for his own credit that he did not really believe his own
statement. The demeanour of the crew was most satisfactory. No noise or
bustle could be noticed; but a quiet, firm determination was expressed
in the countenance of each man to defend our noble little ship to the
bitter end, and never strike our flag to the foe. These flagrant
violations of neutrality greatly irritated the inhabitants, and the
better portion of them threw off their thin mask of indifference, and
openly expressed sympathy for us. Some were so excited as to volunteer
to go with us; but their kind offers were not accepted. The negroes,
however, did not seem to recognise us for what we really are, their best
friends, but were somewhat opposed to the Sumter; and their allegiance
to our enemy was made the subject of one of Captain Palmer's voluminous
despatches to Mr. Gideon Welles.--_Index._]

_Saturday, November 10th._--The Iroquois ahead of us, about a mile
distant. At 10 A.M., I returned the visit of the French commander. I
pointed out to him the insolent manner in which the Iroquois was
violating the neutrality of the port. No additional order had been
received from the Governor. Scraping and painting ship, and repairing
the engine to put it in thorough condition for service. At meridian the
Iroquois came to anchor about half a mile from us, at the man-of-war
anchorage. The captain of the Acheron visited me, to say the Governor
had directed him to inform me that if I preferred it, he would be glad
to have me visit Fort de France with my ship, where he could afford me
more ample protection, and whither, he presumed, the Iroquois would not
follow me; and if she did, that he would compel her to depart from
French waters.

I replied that before deciding upon this invitation, I would wait and
see whether the Iroquois accepted the condition of remaining twenty-four
hours after my departure, or departing twenty-four hours before me. The
Iroquois got under way again immediately after anchoring, and in the
evening the captain of the Acheron sent a lieutenant on board of me, to
say that the commander of the Iroquois refused to accept the condition,
and that he had been directed to withdraw himself beyond the marine
league in consequence. She remained a few hours to supply herself with
refreshments, and as night fell took her station; but not at the
distance of a marine league _during the night_.

We have thus taught this ignoramus Yankee captain some knowledge of, and
some respect for, the laws of neutrality. In the afternoon I took a
delightful stroll along the beach northward.

_Sunday, November 17th._--Morning fine. Visited the church opposite the
ship, and heard mass. The congregation was very large, composed chiefly
of blacks--women. We were politely shown into the trustees' pew. A short
sermon, chiefly addressed to some young persons who had just made their
first communion, was delivered by a good-looking young priest, who had
fair command of language, and was easy and graceful in his manner.

A sort of police officer or fugleman officiated here, as at Fort
Royal--a feature which I did not like. The Iroquois preserves her
distance by daylight.

_Monday, November 18th._--The enemy cruising off the harbour as usual.
Daring the morning a French man-of-war schooner arrived from Fort de
France, with the Governor on board (who visits St. Pierre to distribute
premiums to the schools), and about one hundred troops to reinforce the
fort. Repairing our machinery and painting ship. Some boatmen have been
imprisoned by the authorities for going out to the enemy. At nightfall
the Director of the Customs came off to see me, and said that the
Governor had told him he expected to see the Captain of the Sumter at
his (the Director's) house; adding, that he said this of his own
accord--the Governor not having authorized him to say as much to me. I
took the hint, and went on shore at 8 P.M., accompanied by my clerk, to
call on his Excellency. He did not seem to have anything in particular
to say, except to renew his invitation for me to go to Fort de France in
my ship, which I declined, on the ground that this would be a more
convenient port from which to escape, and one affording more facilities
for the repairs of my engine. He told me that the Captain of the
Iroquois pleaded ignorance as to his violation of the neutrality of the
port; but added, he knew better. An American (enemy) schooner got under
way at dusk, and stood out to the Iroquois, where she remained about an
hour before proceeding on her cruise to the northward and westward.

_Tuesday, November 19th._--Some surf observable this morning, increasing
until about 4 P.M.; the wind variable, settling for a short time in the
south-east. I became anxious on account of my berth, which was
represented to me as insecure, in case of a blow from seaward. I sent
and got a pilot on board, but when he came he said he thought we should
not have bad weather; and as by this time the sea had gone down, I was
of his opinion, and concluded to remain at my anchors for the present,
especially as the repairs to our machinery would be finished by
to-morrow evening. Heavy rain in the evening. The Iroquois within the
marine league. Visited by the commander of the French schooner of war,
whom we called on yesterday. About 10 P.M. the British mail steamer
arrived from St. Thomas. Sent a boat on board of her, and got English
papers to the 1st November. She brings intelligence of the enemy's
steamer St. Jacinto, having boarded an English steam-packet, and taken
out of her Messrs. Slidell and Mason, who had been carried to the
Havannah by the Nashville. The English people will regard this as an
insult to their flag, and in this way it may do us good. Night clear;
moon rising a little before eight. Not quite darkness enough for our
purpose yet.

_Wednesday, November 20th._--Morning clear; wind variable. The Iroquois
never loses sight of us, violating the neutrality of the port by night
by coming within the marine league to observe us. Sent the engineer on
shore to hurry the repair of his pumps. Loosed sails. Furled at
meridian, and ordered the fires to be lighted at 1 P.M.; the weather
looking unsettled, heeled the ship and scraped the grass off her port
side near the water-line. The Iroquois crawled in again last night
within about a mile and a half. As it was cloudy we lost sight of her in
the early part of the night for the first time.

_Thursday, November 21st._--Cloudy, with slight showers of rain. Drew
the charges from the battery and reloaded it; and examined and put in
order for action the small arms. Got up some barrels of salt provisions
and arranged them on each side of the quarter-deck to trim ship. She lay
an inch or two too much by the head. A boat employed filling up our
water. Changed our fasts to the shores in readiness for a move. Hurrying
the engineer with his work. I fear every moment to see another enemy's
ship arrive. During the morning the Governor returned in the Acheron to
Fort de France. In the afternoon the Acheron came back. Wrote a note to
the latter complaining of the continued violation of the neutrality of
the port by the enemy's ship. Engineer not ready, so we are obliged to
lie over another day.

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, St Pierre,
   Nov. 21st, 1861.

SIR,--It becomes my duty to complain of the continued violation of the
neutrality of this port, and of my right of asylum, by the enemy's steam
sloop of war the Iroquois.

This vessel, in shameful disregard of the warnings she has received from
his Excellency the Governor, comes every night, under cover of the
darkness, within a mile and a-half, or less, of the anchorage. Last
night, at nine o'clock, she was seen from my deck with the naked eye,
assisted by an occasional flash of lightning; and as the night was
comparatively obscure, no vessel, not being under sail, could have been
seen at a greater distance than from a mile to a mile and a quarter.

I have besides to inform you, that two small boats communicated with the
enemy in broad daylight yesterday, one of them pulling, upon leaving
her, to the north point, and the other to the south point, of the

I have, &c., &c., (Signed) R. SEMMES.

To M. Duchaxel, Commander of His French Majesty's steamer, L'Acheron.

_Friday, November 22nd._--The enemy about two and a half miles distant.
The engineer will be ready to-day, and, God willing, we will get out
to-night. Wrote to the captain of the Acheron, in reply to the position
assumed by the governor:--

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, St. Pierre,
   Nov. 22nd, 1861.

SIR,--I have had the honour to receive your letter of yesterday, in
which you communicate to me the views of the Governor of Martinique
relative to the protection of my right of asylum in the waters of this
island; and I regret to say that those views do not appear to me to come
up to the requirements of the international code. The Governor says,
"that it does not enter into his intentions to exercise towards the
Iroquois, either by night or by day, so active a surveillance as you
desire." And you tell me that "we ought to have confidence in the strict
execution of a promise made by a commander in the military marine of the
American Union, so long as he has not shown to us evidence that this
engagement has not been scrupulously fulfilled." It would appear from
these expressions that the only protection I am to receive against the
blockade of the enemy is a simple promise exacted from that enemy, that
he will keep himself without the marine league of the land; the Governor
in the meantime exercising no watch by night or by day to see whether
this promise is complied with. In addition to the facts related by me
yesterday, I have this morning to report that one of my officers, being
on shore in the northern environs of the town last night, between eight
and nine o'clock, saw two boats, each pulling eight oars, the men
dressed in dark clothing, with the caps usually worn by seamen of the
Northern States, pulling quietly in towards the beach. He distinctly
heard a conversation between them in English, one of them
saying--"Harry, there she is; I see her"--in allusion, doubtless, to the
presence of my vessel. These boats, no doubt, have orders to make signal
to the Iroquois the moment they discover me under way. Now, with all due
deference to his Excellency the Governor, I cannot see the difference
between the violation of the neutrality of these waters by the enemy's
boats, and by his ship. And if no strict surveillance is to be
"exercised either by night or by day," I am receiving very much such
protection as the wolf would accord to the lamb. Is it an act of love
for the enemy to approach me with his boats for the purpose of
reconnaissance, and especially during the night? and I have the same
right to demand that he keep his boats beyond the marine league as that
he keep his ship at that distance. Nor am I willing to rely upon his
promise, that he will not infringe my rights in this particular. It
appears to me further, especially after the knowledge of the facts which
I have brought to your notice, that it is the duty of France to exercise
surveillance over her own water, "both by night and by day," when an
enemy's cruiser is blockading a friendly belligerent, who has sought
the asylum in those waters accorded to him by the law of nations. I
have, therefore, respectfully to request that you will keep a-watch by
means of guard boats, at both points of this harbour, to prevent the
repetition of the hostile act which was committed against me last night;
or, if you will not do this yourself, that you will permit me to arm
boats and capture the enemy when so approaching me. It would seem quite
plain, either that I should be protected, or be permitted to protect
myself. Further, it is in plain violation of neutrality for the enemy to
be in daily communication with the shore, whether by means of his own
boats, or boats from the shore. If he needs supplies, it is his duty to
come in for them; and if he comes in, he must anchor; and if he anchor,
he must accept the condition of remaining twenty-four hours after my
departure. It is a mere subterfuge for him to remain in the offing, and
supply himself with all he needs, besides reconnoitreing me closely by
means of boats. I protest against this act also. I trust you will excuse
me for having occupied so much of your time by so lengthy a
communication, but I deem it my duty to place myself right upon the
record in this matter. I shall seize an early opportunity to sail from
these waters; and if I should be brought to a bloody conflict with an
enemy, of twice my force, by means of signals given him in the waters of
France, either by his own boats or others', I wish my government to know
that I protested against the unfriendly ground assumed by the Governor,
that "it does not enter into his intentions to exercise towards the
Iroquois either by night or by day, so active a surveillance as you [I]

   I have the honour to be, &c., &c.,
   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   M. Duchaxel,
   Commander of H.I.M. Steamer, L'Acheron.

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, St. Pierre,
   Nov. 23, 1861.

SIR,--I have the honor to inform you that the pilot of the enemy's
steamer Iroquois habitually spends his time on shore in this port; and
that last night he slept on board the enemy's topsail schooner moored
near the beach, in the vicinity of the English barque Barracouta. I have
ample evidence outside of my ship to establish these facts. Now, it must
be obvious to you that the enemy has sent this man into French waters to
act as a spy upon my movements; and he has, no doubt, in his possession
rockets or other signals, with which to communicate my departure to his
ship. This man, though only a pilot, and temporarily employed on board
the Iroquois, is in law as much an officer of that ship, for the time
being, as any one of her lieutenants.

The case, then, may be stated thus:--A lieutenant of the Iroquois not
only spends his time _habitually_ on shore, but sleeps at night on board
another vessel of the enemy, instead of sleeping at a hotel, the better
to enable him to observe my movements, and communicate them to his ship.
And yet all this is permitted by the authorities!

I most respectfully but earnestly protest against this violation of my
rights. As I stated in my letter of yesterday, an act of reconnaissance
(and still more an act of reconnaissance for the purpose of giving
information by signal) is an act of war; and will France permit an act
of war to be committed against me in her own waters, and under the eye
of her authorities, civil and military?

In conclusion, I request that you will issue an order, requiring this
spy to depart to his ship, and that you will also take the proper steps
to prevent the schooner in which he stays from making any signals to the

   I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   M. Duchaxel,
   Commander of H.I.M. Steamer, L'Acheron.

NOTE.--The Sumter went to sea from the port of St. Pierre on the evening
(8 o'clock) of the date of the preceding letter, and, as was predicted,
the light was burned on board the American schooner to signal her
departure to the Iroquois.


       *       *       *       *       *

Muffled the windlass. Getting on board some water. Last night, between
eight and nine o'clock, the engineer being on shore, near the north end
of the town, saw two of the Iroquois' touts, and heard one of them say
to the other, "Harry, that's she--I see her:" in allusion, doubtless, to
the presence of this vessel. We were all very anxious as the night
approached as to the state of the weather; and lo! for the first time in
five or six days, we had a beautiful star-light night, without a speck
of cloud anywhere to be seen. The enemy continued plain in sight, and
our black smoke, as it issued from the stack, would have betrayed us at
a distance of five miles. We were therefore reluctantly compelled to
give up the attempt.

_Saturday, November 23rd._--Beautiful clear morning, with every
appearance of settled weather. Fine starlit nights and clear settled
days, though very pleasant to the lover of nature, are not quite such
weather as we require for running a blockade by a ship which keeps
herself in plain sight of us, and which has the heels of us. But we must
have patience, and bide our time. Several sail have come in and departed
during the last twenty-four hours. The enemy in the offing as usual.
Towards noon it began to cloud up, and we had some rain, and I had
strong hopes that we should have a cloudy, dark night. The moon would
not rise until seven minutes past eleven, and if we could be aided by a
few clouds we should have sufficient darkness; for be it known that in
these tropical climates, where almost every star is a moon, there is no
such thing as darkness when the firmament is clear. But my hopes began
to fade, with the day, for one cloud disappeared after another, as the
sun went down, until the night promised to be as serene and bright as
the last. Venus, too, looked double her usual size, and being three
hours bright at sunset, poured forth a flood of light, little less than
that of the moon in a northern latitude. Notwithstanding all these
discouragements, however, I resolved to attempt the run, and having made
all the necessary preparations silently, so as not to awaken the
suspicions of the townspeople, who were always on the alert, at about
five minutes before eight o'clock gun-fire, I directed the chain to be
slipped, and the fasts to the shore cut, and put her under steam. The
enemy being on my starboard bow, and apparently standing towards the
north point of the roadstead, I headed her for the south point, giving
her full steam. So much on the _qui vive_ were the townspeople, that we
had scarcely moved twenty yards when a shout rent the air, and there was
a confused murmur of voices, as if Babel had been let loose. As we
neared the French steamer of war, Acheron, signals were made to the
enemy by means of blue lights from one of the Yankee schooners in port:
perceiving which, and knowing that the signals were so arranged as to
designate our direction, after moving a few hundred yards further, I
doubled, and came back under cover of the land, while I stopped once or
twice to assure myself that the enemy was continuing his course in the
opposite direction, in obedience to his signals; when, as soon as the
engineer could do so (for he had to cool his bearings, and this was
truly an anxious moment for me), I gave her all steam, and stood for the
north end of the island. As we approached it, the Fates, which had
before seemed unpropitious to us, began to smile, and the rain-squall,
which had come up quite unexpectedly, began to envelope us in its
friendly folds, shutting in our dense clouds of black smoke, which were
really the worst tell-tales we had to dread. The first half-hour's run
was a very anxious one for us; but as we began to lose sight of the
lights of the town and to draw away from the land, we knew that the
enemy had been caught in his own trap, and that we had successfully
eluded him. I had warned the French authorities that their neutrality
would be disregarded, and that these signals would be made. The
commander of the Iroquois had been guilty of a shameful violation of
good faith towards the French naval officer, to whom he made a promise
that he would respect the neutrality of the port, by sending his pilot
on shore, and arranging these signals with the Yankee skippers. Yankee
faith and Punic faith seem to be on a par. Our ship made good speed,
though she was very deep, and by half-past eleven we made up with the
south end of Dominica. Here the wind fell, and we ran along the coast of
the island in a smooth sea, not more than four or five miles from the
land. The moon by this time being up, the bold and picturesque outlines
of this island, softened by the rains and wreathed in fleecy clouds,
presented a beautiful night-scene.

The sleeping town of Rousseau barely showed us the glimmer of a light,
and we passed but one coasting schooner. At 2 A.M., we were off the
north end of the island, but now heavy rain-squalls came up, and
rendered it so thick, that we were obliged to slow down, and even stop
the engine, it being too thick to run. The squall lighting up a little,
we endeavoured to feel our way in the dark; mistook the south for the
north end of Prince Rupert's Bay, and only discovered our mistake when
we had gotten fearfully near the shore, and had whitened our water!
Hauled her broad out, and again put her under very slow steam. The
weather now lighting up more, we put her under headway again, doubled
the island, and shaped our course E. by N. It was now 4:30 A.M., and I
went below and turned in. _Deo gratias._ Poor D., the quartermaster, I
had to depose him from his high office of night look-out this night. He
had been remarked for his keen vision by night; but on this occasion he
was so perturbed, that he saw a steamer bearing down upon him from every
direction--even magnifying small sloops into frigates. The evening of
this day was lovely, and I think I have never seen a more beautiful,
sedative, poetic, love-in-a-cottage landscape, than the valleys and
hills presented in which lies the town of St. Pierre. All these charms
were heightened by the presence of grim-visaged war. Our run took every
one by surprise--several of the officers had breakfast and dinner,
appointments for several days ahead. My crew seem to be highly delighted
at our success in "doing the Yankee;" but I am not sure that an old
boatswain's-mate, and a hard, weather-beaten quartermaster, who had
shaved their heads for a close fight, were not disappointed that it did
not come off.


_Again at sea--Two captures--The Montmorency--The Arcade--Eastward,
ho!--The Vigilant taken--News from home--Dirty weather--The
whale--Ebenezer Dodge--In irons--A cyclone--The gale rages
--Fire!--Christmas day--No luck--The clank of the pumps--Cadiz_.

Once more afloat on the open sea; and at 4 P.M. of Monday November 25th,
a promising commencement was made in the capture of the fine ship
Montmorency, of 1183 tons, laden with Welsh coal for the English Mail
Packet service. And, fortunately so for her, or she would have shared
the fate of the Golden Balance, the Daniel Trowbridge, and other "burnt
offerings" of the little Sumter. As it was, she paid a light toll in the
shape of small supplies of paint, cordage, &c., and entering into a
ransom bond for 20,000 dollars, to be paid to the Confederate States
Government at the end of the war, her captain and crew were paroled, and
she herself permitted to proceed on her voyage.

At 1.30 P.M., on the 26th November--writes Captain Semmes--showed first
the United States and then our own colours to an English schooner,
probably from the Bahamas to the Windward Islands, and at three captured
the United States schooner Arcade from Portland, Maine, to Port au
Prince, Guadaloupe, loaded with stores. The master and half-owner of the
schooner was Master of the barque Saxony at the time of the loss of the
Central America, and was instrumental in saving lives on that occasion,
for which a handsome telescope had been presented to him. I had the
pleasure of returning the glass to him, captured among the other effects
of his vessel.

Took the master and crew on board (a rough sea running), and set fire to
her. At 4.40 stood on our course. The blaze of the burning vessel still
in sight at 8 P.M. During the night the wind lulled and became variable.
Hauled down the fore and aft sails, and steered N.E. The prize had no
newspapers on board, but we learned from the master that the great naval
expedition which the enemy had been some time preparing had struck at
Beaufort, South Carolina, on Fort Royal Sound. No result known.

       *       *       *       *       *

After five days of hard fighting with the strong N.E. trade, blowing for
the most part half a gale of wind, and with thick and dirty weather, the
enemy is at length overcome, the sky clears, and the Sumter's head is
turned towards Europe. And now for a time Yankee commerce was to have a
respite, its relentless little enemy directing its attention exclusively
towards maturing her voyage across the Atlantic. She had at this time
but sixty days' water for her own crew, in addition to whom there were
now the six prisoners taken from the schooner. The passage, too, would
have to be made for the most part under canvas, and would probably not
occupy less than fifty days. Of course, she had now but six or seven
days' supply of coal--a small reserve in case of emergency, and hardly
sufficient to enable her to cruise a few days on the other side, and, if
possible, not go quite "empty-handed" into port.

Still the days were not altogether uneventful, and before the week was
out, a fine prize ran, as it were, into her very arms. Of this capture
the journal gives the following account:--

_Tuesday, December 3rd_.--At 6.30 A.M. Sail, ho! a point on the
starboard bow. At 7.30 the sail, which was standing in nearly the
opposite direction from ourselves, approached us within a couple of
miles. We hoisted French colours, when she showed United States'. Took
in all the studding sails, hauled by the wind, tacked, and fired a
shotted gun. The stranger immediately hove to. Lowered a boat, and sent
a lieutenant on board of him. Stood on and tacked, and having brought
the stranger under my guns, I began to feel sure of him (our smoke stack
was down, and we could not have raised steam in less than two hours and
a half). He proved to be the ship Vigilant, of Bath, Maine, bound from
New York to the guano island of Sombrero, in ballast. Captured him. Took
from on board chronometer, charts, &c., and a nine pounder rifled gun,
with ammunition, &c. Set him on fire, and at 3 P.M. made sail. This was
a fine new ship, being only two years old, and worth about 40,000

Lat. 29.10 N., Long. 57.2-2 W. Steering E. by N. We received a large
supply of New York papers to the 21st November. We learned from these
papers that the San Jacinto was in search of us when she took Messrs.
Mason and Slidell from on board the Trent. The enemy has thus done us
the honour to send in pursuit of us the Powhattan, the Niagara, the
Iroquois, the Keystone State, and the San Jacinto.

       *       *       *       *       *

Dirty weather now for several days, the little vessel rolling and
straining, and withal beginning to leak to an extent which caused no
small anxiety to those in command. Still, however, she was quite up to
mischief, and on the 8th December, the Ebenezer Dodge, twelve days from
New Bedford, bound to the Pacific on a whaling voyage, was added to the
fatal list. Forty-three prisoners were now on board, cooped up with the
crew in the narrow berth deck, when the weather forbade their appearance
on deck, and the little Sumter was beginning to feel herself

It became necessary to adopt precautions, and one-half the prisoners
were now kept constantly in single irons, taking it turn and turn about
to submit to the necessary but disagreeable infliction. The wind, too,
hung perseveringly in the east, and things were getting uncomfortable.
They were destined, as the following extracts will show, to be yet more

_Wednesday, December 11th._--As ugly-looking a morning as one could well
conceive. Thick, dark, gloomy weather, with the wind blowing fresh from
the east, and threatening a gale (bar. 29.70 and falling) and a steady
but moderate rain falling. Put the ship under short sail. Our large
number of prisoners renders the crew very uncomfortable during this bad
weather. At meridian, gale blowing, with thick, driving rain. Lat.
32° 48' N., Long. 49° 32' W.D.R. At 2 P.M., dense clouds hanging very low
all around the horizon in every direction. Wind about E.S.E., inclined
to haul to the southward. Bar. 29.59. The pall of clouds is not so dense
as at noon, and the rain comes only occasionally in squalls. The clouds
are rifted, and appear to be on the point of rapid motion. Wore ship to
the northward and eastward. The wind soon after backed to the northward
and eastward, and we had to run the ship off N.W. for a while. Towards
night, however, the wind went back to E., and blew very fiercely,
raising very heavy and irregular sea-squalls of rain. The lightning was
very vivid. It blew very heavily until about 1 A.M., when it abated for
more than two hours, blowing only in puffs, and then not very hard. Near
the centre of the cyclone, lowest barometer. A little past midnight a
quartermaster entered with the report that the starboard-bow port had
been stove in! It was then blowing furiously. I immediately despatched
the first lieutenant to barricade the port and stop out the water as
effectually as possible, in which he succeeded pretty well. This report
gave me considerable anxiety, as the ports in the gun-deck and the
uppermost works of the ship are her weak points at which the gale would
assault her with most effect. In the meantime the barometer has been
gradually settling, settling, settling--sometimes remaining stationary
for several hours and then going down as before. At 8 P.M. it was 29.53.
We had an awful night--no one able to sleep.

_Thursday, December 12th_.--Thick, gloomy weather, with the gale raging
as fiercely as ever. It blew very heavily all the morning. The barometer
continued to sink until it reached 29.32--at 6 A.M. its lowest point.
The wind has hauled to the south. We are evidently in a cyclone, having
taken it in its northern quarter, the gale travelling north. On the
starboard tack, its centre has passed to the west of us. Ordered the
donkey engine to be got ready for use last night, in case the ship
should make more water than the small bilge pumps could throw out.
Carried away the flying jibboom at 7.30 A.M.--saved the sail. As the
gale progressed the wind hauled to the south and west; and at 4 P.M.,
judging that the strength of the gale had passed us, I kept the ship on
her course, E. by S., which gave a quartering wind and sea; and although
the sea was heavy, and the wind yet blowing a gale, she made beautiful
weather of it, scudding as well as she had lain to. The wind blew fresh
all night, with a slowly rising barometer.

Escaped the "cyclone," a fresh danger threatened, and from the element
more feared by the sailor than either wind or water in their wildest
moods. It was about midnight of December the 14th that the watch on deck
were startled by the smell of fire, soon followed by the appearance of
smoke pouring out of the ventilator leading up from the berth deck. The
alarm was immediately given; hands turned up and sent to quarters, and a
strict investigation made. Fortunately no damage was done except to a
mattress and pea-jacket which were partly consumed; but the escape was a
narrow one, and the sentries on duty below no doubt considered
themselves well off, to escape with no other punishment for their
carelessness than a week's stoppage of their grog.

On went the Sumter with varying fortune, now running pleasant races with
some huge whale, that left a track upon the water almost as broad as her
own; now rolling and tumbling in a gale, with ports barricaded to keep
the water out, and donkey engine ringed to keep it under. And at last
the continued bad weather and consequent confinement to the crowded
lower deck, began to tell upon the health of the crew, and no less than
twelve were at one time upon the sick list. The little vessel herself,
too, was getting rapidly invalided. The leak increased terribly, and
fully half the day was taken up at the pumps. The Christmas-tide entries
in the Journal are as follows:--

_Tuesday, December 24th_.--An unpropitious Christmas-eve; the gale of
last night continuing, with rain and a densely overcast sky. The
barometer is rising, however, which is a portent that the gale will not
last long. I have abandoned the idea of attempting to run into Fayal.
These Azores seem to be so guarded by the Furies of the storm, that it
would appear to be a matter of great difficulty to reach them in the
winter season. We have thirty-eight days of water on board, allowing a
gallon to a man; but still I have put the officers and crew on the
allowance of three quarts per day. I will run for the Straits of
Gibraltar, which will carry me in the vicinity of Madeira, should I have
occasion to make a port sooner.

Weather breaking somewhat at noon, but still thickly overcast. No
observation. Lat. 37° 31' N., Long. 31° 71' W. by computation. It
freshened up from the N. at 2 P.M., and blew a gale of wind all night
from N.N.E. to N.N.W. Running off with the wind a little abaft the beam
very comfortably; but the two small pumps were kept going _nearly all
night_. They do little more than keep her free.

_Wednesday, December 25th_.--Christmas-day! Bringing with it, away here
in mid-ocean, all the kindly recollections of the season and home, and
church and friends. Alas! how great the contrast between these things
and our present condition. A leaky ship filled with prisoners of war,
striving to make a port through the almost constantly recurring gales of
the North Atlantic in mid-winter! Sick list--ten of the crew, and four
prisoners. Wind fresh from the N.W. We are making a good run these
twenty-four hours. Lat. 36'08 N., Long. 28-42 W. Weather cloudy, and
looking squally and ugly, with a falling barometer, it being at noon
29.70; 29.80 is the highest it has been since the last gale. A series of
gales commenced on the 19th inst. Altered our course from S.E. by E. to
S.E. to avoid the St. Mary's bank; a Captain Livingstone having
reported, about forty years ago, that he saw white waters hereabouts,
and no nation having thought it worth while to verify the report.
Thermometer 63°. Heavy rain-squalls. The weather during the night was
dirty and squally, with lightning all around the horizon by turns, and
heavy rain.. Spliced the main-brace.

The 26th December brought the Sumter off Cape Flyaway, and once more she
was rapidly approaching the ordinary track of commerce.

_Monday, December 30th_.--Sail, ho! at daylight, and Sail, ho! in
succession during the whole day, until as many as thirty-five were
reported. There were as many as nine or ten in sight at one time, all
standing on the same course for the tide and wind. Got up steam and
began chasing at 8 A.M., and chased until 4 P.M. The first vessel we
overhauled was a Dutch barque, clipper-looking, on board which we sent a
boat; and we afterwards overhauled, and caused to show their papers,
fifteen others of the fleet, every one of which was European!--Viz.
Dutch (ships), 4; English (2 barques and 5 brigs), 7; French (1 ship and
1 brig), 2; Swedish (brig), 1; Prussian (barque), 1; Hamburg (brig), 1.
One of the results of the war is, that in this whole fleet, as far as we
could ascertain, there was not a single Yankee! So many ships at the
same time so far out at sea, is a sight not often seen. The weather was
very thick and rainy, and from the S. to E., a real dirty day; and in
such a state of weather, with so many ships running down our track, we
had serious apprehensions of collisions as the night set in. To guard
against which we set out masthead as well as side lights. At 4.30 P.M.,
let the steam go down and made sail. No observations. Lat. 35° 39';
Long. 17° 33' D.R.

We first showed the United States colours to all these vessels, and the
only one which saluted it was the Prussian. We afterwards showed our own
flag to a number of them, and they all, with one or two exceptions,
saluted it. The stream of vessels still continued after nightfall--two
having passed us showing lights, one ahead and the other astern. At 6.15
P.M., or about one hour after dark, the wind was blowing fresh from the
E., and they came down upon us with fearful rapidity.

_Friday, January 3rd_, 1862.--Ugly looking morning, with a falling
barometer. Several sail were reported from the masthead during the
morning watch. We shortened sail to permit one of them, which was
steering the same course with ourselves, to come up with us. She proved
to be a Spaniard. We then gave chase to another ahead of us, running
before the wind for the Strait of Gibraltar. We chased her some two
hours, when it began to blow a fierce gale from the west, which obliged
us to give over the chase and to haul up to prevent running to leeward
of our port, and to put the ship under short sail and steam. It blew
very fiercely until near sunset, and raised a heavy, short, abrupt sea,
in which the ship rolled more heavily than I had ever seen her before.
This shook our propeller so as to cause the ship to increase her
quantity of water considerably--so much so that the engineer reported
that under short steam he was just keeping her free with his
bilge-pumps, and that if anything happened to these, he feared the other
pumps would not be sufficient. Under these circumstances, I ran in for
the land, cutting short my cruise by a day or two, as Iliad still two or
three days' coal on board. We made the Cadiz Light in the mid-watch--(my
fine chronometers!)--a beautiful red flash, and soon after got
soundings. Ran in for the light under low steam, and at 7 A.M. we were
within four or five miles of it. The morning was wet and gloomy. Fired a
gun, and hoisted the jack for a pilot; and soon after, having received
one on board, we ran into the harbour and anchored. As we approached,
the scene was most beautiful, in spite of the day. The city of Cadiz is
a perfect picture as you approach it, with domes, and towers, and
minarets, and Moorish-looking houses, of a beautiful white stone. The
harbour was crowded with shipping--_very thinly_ sprinkled with Yankees,
who could get no freights--and a number of villages lay around the
margin of the bay, and were picturesquely half hidden in the slopes of
the surrounding mountains, all speaking of regenerate old Spain, and of
the populousness and thrift of her most famous province of Andalusia.
Visited by the health-officer, who informed us that unless we were
specially exempted, we should be quarantined for three days, for not
having a certificate of health from the Spanish Consul at Martinique. A
number of merchant ships hoisted their flags in honour of our arrival,
and one Yankee showed his in defiance.


_Cadiz harbour--Notice to quit--Local authorities--Wisdom--The Queen of
Spain--Docked--Under repair--Deserters--The honour of the flag--The
Neapolitan--The Investigator--Gibraltar--Official visits--Up the rock--A
legend--Neutrality again--Consular diplomacy--Blockaded--The
Tusoarora--Seven in pursuit._

During the stay of the Sumter at Cadiz, and her subsequent arrival at
Gibraltar, Captain Semmes made the entries in his Journal which will be
found in this chapter.

_Saturday, January 4th_.--Harbour of Cadiz--ancient Gades--with its
Moorish houses and feluccas, or latteen vessels. Some fine oranges
alongside--the product of this latitude, 36° 32' N., about the same
parallel with Norfolk, Virginia. It is one hundred and eighty-eight days
to-day since we ran the blockade at New Orleans, and of this time we
have been one hundred and thirty-six days at sea. We are informed this
evening that the question of our being admitted to _pratique_ (and I
presume also the landing of our prisoners) has been referred to Madrid
by telegram.

_Sunday, January 5th_.--Sky partially overcast, with a cool north wind.
Thermometer 56°. Early this morning the health officer came alongside,
and brought me the order from the Government to depart within
twenty-four hours, and a tender of such supplies as I might need in the
meantime. I replied as under:--

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz,
    January 5, 1862.

   SIR,--I have had the honour to receive, through the health officer of
   the port, an order from the Government of Spain, directing me to proceed
   to sea within twenty-four hours. I am greatly surprised at this
   unfriendly order. Although my Government has not yet been favourably
   recognised by Spain, it has been declared to be possessed of the rights
   of belligerents in the war in which it is engaged; and it is the
   practice of all civilized nations to extend the hospitality of their
   ports to the belligerents of both parties alike--whether the
   belligerents be _de facto_ or _de jure_. I am aware of the rules adopted
   by Spain, in common with the other great powers, prohibiting belligerent
   cruisers from bringing their prizes into her ports; but this rule I have
   not violated. I have entered the harbour of Cadiz with my single ship,
   and I demand only the hospitality to which I am entitled by the law of
   nations--the Confederate States being one of the _de facto_ nations of
   the earth, by Spain's own acknowledgment, as before stated. I am sorry
   to be obliged to add, too, that my ship is in a crippled condition. She
   is damaged in her hull, is leaking badly, is unseaworthy, and will
   require to be docked and repaired before it will be possible for her to
   proceed to sea. I am therefore constrained, by the force of
   circumstances, most respectfully to decline obedience to the order which
   I have received, until the necessary repairs can be made. Further, I
   have on board forty-three prisoners, confined within a small space,
   greatly to their discomfort, and simple humanity would seem to dictate,
   that I should be permitted to hand them over to the care of their consul
   on shore without unnecessary delay.

   I have, &c. (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   To his Excellency The Military Governor of the Port of Cadiz, Spain.

   At 11.30, a boat with the Spanish flag anchored a short distance from
   me, evidently a guard upon my movements. The Yankees have been at work,
   no doubt, to bring all this about. The military governor is telegraphing
   my reply back, and we shall see what the answer will be.

   I was mistaken in the above. The order to proceed to sea was begotten in
   the wise brains of the local authorities. My reply to it having been
   telegraphed to Madrid, the authorities were overruled; and the Queen
   despatched an order to permit me to land my prisoners, and to make such
   repairs as I needed. So this business, which has troubled us a couple of
   days, is at an end. This evening, just before dark, a Spanish
   steam-frigate came down from the Navy Yard, and anchored near us.

   _Monday, January 6th._--Last night I was aroused at 2.30 A.M., by a boat
   from the shore, with a note from the military governor, requesting me to
   delay proceeding to sea, that the _benevolent_ intentions of her
   Majesty's Government in regard to me might be carried out. The "muddy
   heads" on shore had received a despatch from Madrid, in reply to my
   letter to them. Weather clear and bracing. Wind from the North.
   Thermometer at noon 59.° The steam-frigate disappeared somehow during
   the night. Protested, as under, against the presence of a health

   C.S. Steamer "Sumter,"
   Cadiz, January 6th, 1862.

   SIR,--I have had the honour to receive your Excellency's note
   of to-day, in which you inform me that the proceedings of the
   local authorities of Cadiz, commanding me to proceed to sea
   within twenty-four hours, have been overruled by the Government
   at Madrid, and that the Queen had graciously permitted me
   to land my prisoners, and to remain to put the necessary repairs
   upon my ship. Do me the favour to communicate to her Majesty
   my thanks for her prompt and friendly action in the premises.

   In the meantime, allow me most respectfully to protest against
   the presence of the guard-boat which has been placed in surveillance
   upon my movements, as though I were an ordinary ship
   of commerce. Compliance with the laws of quarantine should
   be left with me as a matter of honour, and the presence of this
   boat implies the suspicion that a ship of war of a friendly Power
   could so far forget herself as to infringe the regulations of the
   port--a suspicion as unworthy the health authorities of the port
   of Cadiz as it is offensive to me.

   I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   Señor Ignacio Mendez de Vigo,
   Military Governor of the Port of Cadiz.

   _Tuesday, January 7th_.--To-day I received a note from Senor
   de Vigo, the military Governor, informing me that the Queen's
   Government had consented to permit me to land my prisoners,
   and to remain for repairs. He puts my remaining, however, on
   the ground of necessity arising out of my crippled condition. Received
   also a reply from the Yankee Consul to my note about the
   prisoners: declined to receive it on account of its being improperly
   addressed.[5] Landed all the prisoners. Received another
   note from the Governor, requesting me to hurry my repairs, &c.
   Sent to the Captain of the port on the subject. Referred by
   him to Captain-General.

   [Footnote 5:


C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz,
January 7, 1862.

Sir,--Your note of this morning having been sent off to me by a common
boatman, I could not learn the name of the writer without breaking
the envelope. Having done so, and ascertained it to be from yourself,
I decline to receive it, as being improperly addressed. My address
is as follows:--


Confederate States Navy,
Commanding C.S. Steamer Sumter.
E.S. Eggleston, U.S. Consul.]

_Wednesday, January 8th_.--Complained to the Civil Governor of the
Paymaster and Surgeon having been called alongside the guard-boat
(whilst coming on board in a shore boat). Despatched a Lieutenant to San
Fernando to see the Captain-General about docking the ship. He returned
at nightfall, with word that the Captain-General would reply in the

_Thursday, January 9th_.--Visited by Engineer of docks at San
Fernando, to learn the extent of the repairs which we shall require, and
to take the dimensions of the ship, to ascertain whether she can enter
the only dock that is empty. A fine, clear day, with a pleasant wind
from the N. Bar. 30'34., the highest that I have ever seen. No answer
from the Captain-General yet (noon), as to our being docked. Besides the
six ships which Mr. Welles says have been in pursuit of me--viz., the
Powhattan, the Niagara, the San Jacinto, the Iroquois, the Keystone
State, and the Richmond--the Ino and the Dacotah are also employed in
this fruitless business. We are fairly in the hands of the
circumlocution office. I suppose they are telegraphing Madrid. The
greatest excitement prevails all over Europe to learn the result of the
English demand for the Commissioners. The general impression is, that
the Yankees will give them up, and that there will be no war. The packet
from New York is expected in England to-day. In the meantime, Great
Britain is calling home her ships of war; the Mediterranean fleet
arrived at Gibraltar on January 2nd, and threw the commercial community
into the greatest consternation. Received final permission this evening
from the Captain-General to enter dock.

_Saturday, January 11th_.--Visited the shore. Cadiz full of life and
bustle. Met Mr. Oliver; he is from the East. He says Russia is laying
deep schemes for uniting the whole Sclavonic race under her rule; and
that the _cotton_ pressure is felt at Constantinople, up the Danube,
and, in short, all over Eastern Europe. Received permission from the
Governor to land the marine who was sentenced by court-martial to be
discharged. News of the great fire in Charleston. Rumour that the
Yankees have given up the Commissioners. Can scarcely credit it as yet.
Yankee-dom can hardly have fallen so low.

_Sunday, January 12th_.--Landed the discharged marine. The news that
Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been given up appears to be confirmed.
The subtle diplomacy, notifying the Yankee Government _unofficially_,
that the ultimatum would be withheld a short time, to allow them time to
give up the prisoners _voluntarily_, was resorted to! The Yankee Consul
here gave a dinner on the occasion! The Cadiz papers comment very
unfavourably upon this back-down, and insist that notwithstanding, it is
the duty of the great Powers to interpose and put an end to the war. In
the afternoon we got under way, and passing through the fleet of
shipping, went up to the dock at Caracca, some eight miles east of the
city. The harbor is perfect, the water deep, and the buildings
extensive. The pilot who took me up, says he is the man to run me out by
the enemy, when I am ready--that he was in New Orleans sixty years ago,
and remained a year in Louisiana, where he learned to speak the
language, which he has not yet entirely forgotten.

_Monday, January 13th_.--At about 10 o'clock the dockyard people came on
board of us, and at 10.30 we were safely docked, and at noon the dock
pumped dry. We suffered very little damage from running ashore at
Maranham. We indented a small place under the forefoot, and knocked off
only a small portion of our false keel instead of the whole of it, as we
supposed. We are now knocking away bulk-heads, and removing magazine and
shell room to get at the shaft. At 1 P.M. called officially upon the
Naval-Commandant, and returned him my thanks for the handsome manner in
which he had docked my ship. I spoke of the back-down of the Yankees,
which he asserted would make them lose caste in Europe. The great fire
at Charleston was alluded to by him, whereupon I remarked that Europe
could see from this incident--(the work of incendiarism prompted and
paid for, no doubt, by the enemy)--the barbarous nature of the war waged
upon us, and told him we were in fact fighting the battles of Spain as
well as our own; for if the barbarians of the North succeeded in
overcoming the South (which, however, I pronounced an impossibility),
and destroying our slave property, in their wild fanaticism and
increasing madness, they would next make war on Cuba and Porto Rico. He
replied that this war could not continue much longer; there were people
and territory enough in North America to make two great governments, and
Europe would, no doubt united, soon interpose. I was treated with great
civility and kindness.

_Tuesday, January 14th_.--* * * Had an interview to-day with the
Naval-Commandant, who explained to me the orders he had received from
the Government in relation to my ship, which were to put upon her only
the _indispensable_ repairs, without essential alterations. I expressed
myself satisfied with this; told him I knew the solicitude of his
Government to avoid complication; and, that so far as depended upon me,
he might rely upon it that I would permit nothing to be done which might
involve it in any way. Proceeding with the necessary repairs. Some
thousand workmen, many of them convicts, are employed in this yard. They
have in dock, receiving her copper, a heavy steam frigate constructed
here, and another still larger on the stocks. Immense quantities of
timber are in the docks, and though the water is salt it is not attacked
by the worm, the ebb and flow of the tide preventing it. Timber which
has been forty years in these docks is perfectly sound. Five of my
seamen deserted yesterday--all foreigners, I am glad to say. The
Commandant has promised to put the police on the scent, but I have no
expectation I shall get them.

_Wednesday, January 15th_.--Having had the plank replaced in the bilge,
and re-coppered and overhauled the propeller, we were let out of dock at
1 P.M. These repairs were done with a very bad grace by the Spanish
officials, who seemed in a great hurry to get rid of us, lest the affair
of our being docked should compromise them! This I suppose was due to
official timidity, not to any want of good feeling, as the Commandant of
the yard expressed to me his regret at not being able to put me in
complete repair; personally offering to render me any service in his
power. Our engine not being ready for use, the Captain-General sent a
small steamer to tow me to Cadiz, where we anchored at about 4 P.M.
Whilst lying in the dock, a stampede took place amongst my crew, nine of
them having deserted. Two were brought back; the rest escaped. Some of
these men had behaved themselves very well, but none of them, of course,
had any attachment to the flag, not being natives, or, indeed, citizens
at all, and, sailor-like, they had got tired, and wanted a change. Some,
no doubt, shrank from the arduous and perilous duties of the service in
which they had engaged. They took refuge with the Yankee Consul, and it
was useless to ask to have them given up. The enemy is certainly good
at burning cities by means of negro incendiaries, and at enticing away
our seamen. Another lad ran away from a boat this evening. Have directed
no boat should leave the ship without an officer, and that the officer
be armed, and ordered to shoot any men who attempt to desert.

_Thursday, January 16th_.--Called my crew aft and had a talk with them
about the bad conduct of their shipmates who had deserted. Told them I
did not believe I had another man on board capable of so base an act;
that men who could run under such circumstances would run from their
guns; and that I did not want such, &c., &c.; and ended by telling them
that when funds arrived they should be permitted to go on liberty. * * *
At 9 P.M., the aide-de-camp of the Military Governor came on board,
bringing a pilot with him, with a peremptory order for me to go to sea.
I replied as under:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz, Jan. 16, 1862.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform you that whilst my ship was in the
dock at Caracca eight of my seamen deserted, and I am informed that they
are sheltered and protected by the United States Consul. I respectfully
request that you will cause these men to be delivered to me, and to
disembarrass this demand of any difficulty that may seem to attend it,
permit me to make the following observations:--[6]

       *       *       *       *       *

3. It has been, and is, the uniform custom of all nations to arrest and
hand over to their proper officers, deserters from ships of war; and
this without stopping to inquire as to the nationality of the deserter.

[Footnote 6: The paragraphs omitted, contain merely a recapitulation of
the claim of the Confederate States to full belligerent rights.]

4. If this is the practice in peace, how much more necessary does such a
practice become in war; since, otherwise, the operations of war--remote,
it is true--but still the operations of war, would be tolerated in a
neutral territory.

5. Without a violation of neutrality, an enemy's consul in a neutral
territory, cannot be permitted to entice any seamen from a ship of the
opposite belligerents, or to shelter or protect the same; for, if he is
permitted to do this, then his domicile becomes an enemy's camp in a
neutral territory.

6. With reference to the question in hand, I respectfully submit that
the only facts which your Excellency can take cognizance of, are, that
these deserters entered the waters of Spain under my flag, and that they
formed a part of my crew. The inquiry cannot pass a step beyond, and
Spain cannot undertake to inquire, as between the United States Consul
and myself, to which of us the deserters in question more properly
belong. Such a course would be tantamount to an interposition between
two belligerents, and it would be destructive of the essential rights of
ships of war in foreign ports, as well in peace as in war.

7. I am inclined to admit that if a Spanish subject serving under my
flag should escape to the shore, and should satisfy the authorities that
he was held by me by force, and either without contract, or in violation
of contract, that he might be set at liberty, but such is not the
present case. The nationality of the deserters not being Spanish, Spain
cannot, as I said before, inquire into it. To conclude, the case which I
present is simply this:--Several of my crew, serving on board my ship
under voluntary contracts, have deserted, and taken refuge in the
consulate of the United States. To deprive me of the power, with the
assistance of the police, to recapture these men, would convert the
consulate into a camp, and the consul would be permitted to exercise the
right of a belligerent on neutral territories.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

   Exmo. Sr. Don J. Mendez de Vigo,
   Military Governor, Cadiz.

_Friday, January 17th._--Before I had turned out this morning the
Governor's aid again came on board, stating the order was made
peremptory, that I should go to sea in six hours, or I should be forced.
I called in person on the Governor, a not over bright official, and
endeavoured to make him understand how I was situated, but it seemed
impossible. He promised, however, to send a despatch to Madrid, to the
effect that I had no coals, and was awaiting funds to procure the same;
but, he added, if he received no despatch in the six hours he should
require me to depart. I returned on board, and gave the necessary orders
to get ready for sea. At 4 P.M., whilst I was weighing my anchor, the
General's aide came alongside, and said to me that the Madrid Government
had consented to let me remain twenty-four hours, that a despatch was
being written to me on the subject, to which the Governor desired that I
would reply in writing. I told the officer that, if his Government had
politely acceded to my request, permitting me to remain until my funds
arrived, I could have appreciated it; but that being restricted to
forty-eight hours, I declined to avail myself of the privilege, and
should go to sea; and that the General need not trouble himself to read
me the written despatch, as I had no other reply to make. I got under
way in a few minutes afterwards, and as I was passing out a boat was
seen pulling in great haste towards me, one of the crew holding up a
letter in his hand. I did not stop to receive it; I felt too indignant
at the manner in which I had been treated to be very civil. We passed
outside of the harbour a little before sunset, and held on to the light
until midnight, when we steamed for the Strait of Gibraltar.

_Saturday, January 18th._--* * * * We entered the Strait of Gibraltar at
about 5 A.M., passing the Tarifa Light, and with the bold shores of both
Africa and Europe in plain sight, in the bright moonlight--bright,
notwithstanding the passing clouds. We made the Gibraltar light about
daybreak, and saw at the same time a number of sail. We gave chase to
two that _looked_ American, which they proved to be, and which we
captured. The first was the barque Neapolitan, of Kingston,
Massachusetts, from Messina to Boston, laden with fruit and fifty tons
of _sulphur_. The whole cargo was stated by the master, in his
depositions, to belong to the Baring Bros., consigned to their agents in
Boston--a falsehood, no doubt. Without stopping to look into the _bona
fides_ of this claim of neutral ownership, it was enough that the
sulphur was contraband, and that the fruit belonged to the same owner; I
destroyed both ship and cargo. No papers as to the latter were produced.
The second vessel was also a barque, the Investigator, of Searsport,
Maine. She being laden with iron ore, the property of neutrals
(Englishmen), I released her on a ransom bond; she was bound to Newport,
Wales. One fourth of the vessel was owned in South Carolina, and the
share of the South Carolina owner was omitted from the ransom
bond--amount of bond being less one-fourth fifteen thousand dollars.
Having burned the Neapolitan, I steamed in for Gibraltar at 2.30 P.M.
Passed under Europa point at about dusk, and stood in, and anchored in
the bay at about 7.30 P.M. Boarded in a few minutes by a boat from an
English frigate, with an offer of service. Sent a boat alongside the
health ship.

_Sunday, January 19th_.--We found early this morning we had _pratique_.
A number of English officers and citizens came on board. At 10 I called
on board the frigate that had sent the boat on board of us last night,
but was informed that the Captain (who was absent) was not the
commanding officer present, and that the latter lived on shore. At 2
P.M. I landed at the arsenal and called upon the commanding naval
officer, who received me very politely. I asked the loan of an anchor,
having but one, and the Captain promised to supply me with one if there
should be no objection on the part of the law officers of the Crown!
Walked from the Captain's little oasis--scooped out as it were from the
surface of the Rock, with a nice garden-plot and trees, shrubbery,
&c.--down into the town, and called on Lieutenant-General Sir W.J.
Codrington, K.C.B., the Governor, an agreeable type of an English
gentleman of about fifty to fifty-five years of age. The Governor
tendered me the facilities of the market, &c., and in the course of
conversation said he should object to my making Gibraltar a _station_,
at which to be at anchor for the purpose of sallying out into the Strait
and seizing my prey. I told him that this had been settled as contrary
to law by his own distinguished judge, Sir William Scott, sixty years
ago, and that he might rely upon my taking no step whatever violative of
the neutrality of England, so long as I remained in her ports, &c. The
garrison is about seven thousand strong, and it being Sunday, the
parade-ground and streets were thronged with gay uniforms. Spain, with
her hereditary jealousy and imperiousness of character, is very formal
and strict about intercourse with the Rock. The Duke of Beaufort visited
us to-day.

_Monday, January 20th_.--Very fresh, threatening a gale. Ship reported
as having dragged her anchor. Ordered steam to be got up and the berth
shifted. Ran in nearer to the eastern shore into four fathom water and
where it was smoother.

_Tuesday, January 21st_.--The westerly wind is bringing a fleet of ships
into the bay. To-day Colonel Freemantle came on board to return my visit
on the part of the Governor, and to read to me, by the latter's
direction, a memorandum of the conversation which had passed between us
on Sunday. The points noted were--first, that we had agreed that I
should receive all necessary facilities for the repair (from private
sources) and supply of my ship, contraband of war excepted; and,
secondly, that I would not make Gibraltar a station at which to lie at
anchor, and sally out upon my enemy. I assented to the correctness of
the Governor's memorandum. The first Lieutenant and Paymaster ashore
making arrangements for the purchase of an anchor and chain. The house
of Peacock and Co. refused to supply us, because it would offend their
Yankee customers. They made arrangements with another party. The town of
Gibraltar, from the fact that the houses are built on the side of the
Rock, and stand one above the other, presents the beautiful spectacle
every night of a city illuminated. Colonel Freemantle politely requested
me to visit the various batteries, &c.

_Wednesday, January 22nd_,--Wind still from westward. Received on board
an anchor and chain. Received a letter from Captain Warden, on a point
of international law, to which I assented--to wit, that vessels should
have twenty-four hours' start.

_Thursday, January 23rd_.--Visited by Captain Warden, the Senior Naval
Officer. Received a letter from Hon. Mr. Yancey, who does not believe
that the blockade will be raised for three months. Ordered a survey upon
the ship.

_Friday, January 24th_.--Invited to dine with the 100th, a Canadian
regiment. Some of the officers went. Captain Palmer has been relieved by
De Camp.

_Saturday, January 25th_.--We hear a rumour that the Nashville has been
sold. Ships constantly arriving and departing.

_Sunday, January 26th_.--A charming, balmy day, resembling April in
Alabama. At 10, went on shore to the Catholic church; arrived as the
military Mass ended: many Catholics in the army. Small church, with
groined arches--remnant of Spanish times. After church took a delightful
stroll into the country, just above the Alameda. It is a labyrinth of
agave and flowers and shrubbery, among which the path zigzags up the
mountain-side; geraniums, and jonquils, and mignonette, and lilies are
wild. One is only surprised, after looking at the apparently barren face
of the rock, to find so much sweetness of Mother Earth. I clambered up a
couple of hundred feet, and from that height the bay, the coasts of
Spain, and sleeping Africa, robed in the azure hue of distance, and the
numerous sail, some under way, and others lying like so many cock-boats,
as seen from the height, at their anchors--the latteen craft speaking of
the far East, &c. Statue of General Elliot. A number of fine-looking
Moors in the streets, picturesque in their loose dresses and snowy
turbans. Gibraltar is, indeed, a city of the world, where one sees every
variety of costume, and hears all tongues. Spanish is the predominant
language among the commercial classes. Major-General Sir John Inglis
(the hero of Lucknow), of the English army, Governor of Corfu, having
arrived on his way to the Ionian Islands, visited us to-day to see our
ship, which he was kind enough to say had become "quite distinguished."

_Monday, January 27th_.--A general exodus of the shipping this morning
out of the Straits, within which they had been detained some ten days by
a head wind. The English mail steamer from Southampton arrived. Received
from her a _Times_ of the 20th, from which we learn that England had
protested against the barbarity of blocking up the harbour of
Charleston, by sinking a stone fleet. We feel some anxiety for the
safety of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, they having embarked on board the
English gunboat Rinaldo, at Princetown, on the 2nd instant, and not
having been heard of on the 10th, although bound to Halifax. A heavy
gale blew on the eve of their embarkation.

_Tuesday, January 28th._--Preparing the ship for sea, surveying
machinery, and impatiently awaiting news from London.

_Wednesday, January 29th._--Visited the shore, and went to the Military
Library and Reading Room, where I found the principal London journals.
Reported that the English Government will consult Parliament about
recognising us. Took a long stroll to the east end of the
Rock--exceedingly broken and picturesque. Came upon a Moorish
burying-ground, looking out upon Africa. Some of the marble slabs had
become almost disintegrated by the weather, so old were they. What a
history of human affections, hopes, aspirations, tribulations, and
disappointments lay buried here! New works, adding additional strength
to this renowned fortress, are still going on. * * * *

_Thursday, January 30th._--* * * * Visited, in company with Colonel
Freemantle, the famous fortifications, passing through the
galleries--three tiers, one above the other--in the north end of the
Rock. These are huge tunnels, extending from a third to half a mile,
with embrasures from space to space for cannon--the solid Rock forming
the casemates. From these galleries we emerged out on a narrow footway
cut in the rock, and stood perpendicularly over the sea breaking at our
feet, and had a fine view of the N.E. face of the Rock rising in a
magnificent mass some 1500 feet. From this point a tower, called the
Queen of Spain's Chair, was pointed out to me--on the height opposite,
to the northward. The legend connected with which is, that during one of
the sieges of 1752, the Queen of Spain came to this eminence to witness
the assault and capture of the place, and vowed she would not descend
therefrom until the flag of Spain should wave from the Rock. The assault
failed, and the Queen in performance of her vow refused to descend,
until the Governor of Gibraltar, hearing of the determination of her
Majesty, sent her word that he would at a given hour hoist the Spanish
ensign that she might descend. This was done, and the Queen was rescued
from her predicament without breaking her word.

Having finished our inspection of the Rock, we went through the town,
and passed out on to the neutral ground, from which I returned after a
four hours' ride completely broken down. On the south end, under a
perpendicular wall of rock, that in summer breaks the sun from an early
hour in the afternoon, is the Governor's summer residence, to which he
resorts for protection against the heat. We met his Excellency and lady,
who had come out to look at their summer home, &c. Colonel Freemantle
told me that the Spanish Consul, whom he pointed out as we passed the
Alameda, had stated that I was a Spaniard, or at least that my father
was--a native of Catalonia--that I spoke Catalan as well as English, and
that my name was a common one in that province.

_Saturday, February 1st._--Witnessed a review of about five thousand
troops in the Alameda. Drums draped with black, and the ornaments of the
officers covered with black crape in respect to the memory of the Prince

_Sunday, February 2nd._--Received letters from N----, informing me, that
as my ship was unseaworthy, Mr. Yancey had determined to send me the new
one built at Liverpool, if I desired it.

_Wednesday, February 5th._--A United States merchant ship came in and
anchored. Ready for sea. Mr. Joyce came on board, and went afterwards
with the Engineer on shore to look at some coal. Mr. Joyce sent word
that he could not purchase any, there being a combination against us.
Sent the First Lieutenant to the Governor to represent the facts to him,
and to ask for a supply from the public stores. He replied he had no
coal under his control, that it belonged to the naval officer, but that
he did not think it could be supplied. Expressed his astonishment at the
combination of the merchants. Sent a number of men on shore on liberty.

_Friday, February 7th._--Liberty-men staying over their time. Two of
them have deserted and gone over to the U.S. Consul. One of them has
been badly beaten by the rest of the men. Eleven of them came on board
later. Visited by a Spanish Lieutenant, who had been directed by the
Spanish Naval Commander at Algeciras to see me and state that the U.S.
Consul had complained to the Spanish government that I had violated the
neutrality of Spain by capturing the barque Neapolitan within a mile and
a half of Ceutra, on the Morocco coast, and that the Government had
given the Admiral orders to see that both belligerents in the war should
respect Spanish neutrality. I stated to him in reply that any question
which the capture might present was a matter between our two
Governments, and that I did not recognise the right of the Spanish
Admiral to inquire into the matter. To this the Lieutenant assented. I
then said that I would take the pleasure of showing him, however, for
the information of the Admiral, that the truth had not been represented
to his Government by the United States Consul. I then called my clerk,
and showed him the deposition of the Master of the captured vessel, in
which it was stated that the capture was made within five miles of
Gibraltar! The officer seemed equally astonished and pleased, and
expressed his satisfaction.

_Saturday, February 8th_.--Early this morning the British frigate
Warrior came in, and anchored near us. Sent a Lieutenant on board to
make the usual complimentary call. Awaiting the arrival of a vessel with
coal, consigned to Mr. Joyce, who promises to supply us. My coxswain ran
off to-day, and I was pulled off by a drunken crew.

_Sunday, February 9th._--Did not go to church, but remained on board to
be present at muster. Eleven of my vagabonds still on shore. Some of
these, we learn, have gone to the United States Consul, and claimed his
protection. This official has been seducing them off by an emissary.
Wrote to the Governor charging this on the Consul, and wrote also to
Captain Warden, asking to be supplied with coal from the Government

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
   Feb. 10, 1862.

Sir,--I have the honour to state for the information of his Excellency
the Governor of Gibraltar, that I am informed and believe that the
United States Consul, at this place, has, by means of his emissaries,
tampered with, and seduced from their allegiance, several of the crew of
my ship who have visited the shore on liberty. The impropriety and
illegality of such conduct is so manifest that I take it for granted his
Excellency will interpose his authority for my protection. Great
Britain, having proclaimed a strict neutrality in the war now pending
between the United States and Confederate States, is under the
obligation, I respectfully suggest, not only to abstain herself, from
any un-neutral conduct, but to see that all persons whatsoever within
her dominions so abstain. No act of war, proximate or remote, should be
tolerated in her waters by the one belligerent against the other, or by
any citizen or resident against either belligerent. His Excellency will
doubtless concur with me in the justice and propriety of the rule thus
stated. To apply this rule to the present case. Being prompted by
motives of humanity to send my crew on shore, in small detachments, for
exercise and recreation, after a long confinement on shipboard, my
enemy, the United States Consul, sends his agents among them, and by
specious pretences persuades them to desert their ship, and take refuge
under his Consular flag. This Has been done in the case of the following
seamen:--Everett Salmon, John G. Jenkins, Thomas F. Kenny, and perhaps
others. Here is an act of war perpetrated against me in neutral
territory, and the consular residence, or office, has become _quoad hoc_
a hostile camp. And this conduct is the more objectionable in that the
nationality of most of these men is not American. His Excellency, as a
soldier, knows that no crime is regarded with greater detestation in the
present civilized age of the world, than the one here described. As
between contending armies in the field, an offender caught in the
perpetration of such an act, would be subjected to instant death; and
this, not only because the act is an act of war, but because it is a
dishonourable act of war. And can an enemy make use of neutral territory
to do that, which would subject him to an ignominious death, if he were
without such territory, and within reach of the opposite belligerent?
When my men come within his Excellency's jurisdiction I lose all control
over them, and must rely upon his comity to regain possession of them.
If they leave me of their own freewill, in the absence of the
recognition of my Government, and of treaty stipulation, perhaps I have
no remedy. But when I permit them to go on shore, and enter the
jurisdiction of a neutral and friendly power, I do so with the just
expectation that they will receive the shelter and protection of the
neutral flag; and that they will not be permitted to be run off by my
enemy; and to wheedle and entice a sailor from his ship, and that too
when, perhaps, he is half drunk, is little better than kidnapping him.
In the present case, the violation of the neutral jurisdiction is as
complete as if the Consul had seized my men by force; for he has
accomplished the same object; to wit, weakening his enemy by
stratagem--a stratagem practised by one belligerent against another. If
this act had been committed by a military or naval officer of the enemy,
transiently within the limits of Gibraltar, every one would have been
surprised at it, and would have exclaimed against it as a flagrant
violation of the law of nations. And is the offence of less magnitude
when committed by a Consul, who is peculiarly favored by the law of
nations, as an officer of peace, and one whose pursuits lie wholly in
the walks of commerce? Mr. Sprague, the United States consul, is a
gentleman whom I have heard favourably spoken of, and it is barely
possible I may do him injustice in imputing to him the conduct
described, but the evidence came to me in a very satisfactory shape, and
I shall be ready to produce it if the allegation be denied. Should the
proof be made out to his Excellency's satisfaction, I shall deem it my
duty to request that the Consul be suspended from his functions, and
that the question of withdrawing his Exequatur be referred to the
British Government.

   I have, &c., &c.,
   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   To Capt. J. Freeling, Col. Sec.

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar.
   Feb. 10th.

Sir,--I have the honour to inform you that I have made every effort to
procure a supply of coal, without success. The British and other
merchants of Gibraltar, instigated I learn by the United States Consul,
have entered into the un-neutral combination of declining to furnish the
Sumter with coal on any terms. Under these circumstances, I trust the
Government of her Majesty will find no difficulty in supplying me. By
the recent letter of Earl Russell (31st January, 1862), it is not
inconsistent with neutrality for a belligerent to supply himself with
coal in a British port. In other words, this article has been
pronounced, like provisions, innoxious; and this being the case, it can
make no difference whether it be supplied by the Government or an
individual (the Government being reimbursed the expense), and this even
though the market were open to me. Much more, then, may the Government
supply me with an innocent article, the market not being open to me.
Suppose I had come into port destitute of provisions, and the same
illegal combination had shut me out from the market, would the British
Government permit my crew to starve? Or, suppose I had been a sail ship,
and had come in dismasted, and the dockyard was the only place where I
could be refitted, would you have denied me a mast? and if you would not
deny me a mast, on what principle will you deny me coal, both articles
being declared by your Government innoxious? The true criterion is, not
whether the Government, or an individual may supply the article, but
whether the article itself be noxious or innoxious. The Government may
not supply me with powder--why? Not because I may have recourse to the
market, but because the article is noxious. A case in point occurred
when I was in Cadiz recently. My ship was admitted into a Government
dock, and there repaired; firstly, because the repairs were innocent,
and, secondly, because there were no private docks in Cadiz. So here,
the article is innocent, and there is none in the market (accessible to
me); why then may not the Government supply me?

In conclusion, I respectfully request that you will supply me with 150
tons of coal, for which I will pay the cash; or if you prefer it, I will
deposit the money with an agent, who can have no difficulty, I suppose,
in purchasing the same amount of the material from some one of the
hulks, and returning it to her Majesty's dockyard.

I have, &c.,

   (Signed) R. SEMMES.

   Captain E. Warden, Senior Naval Officer,

   _Monday, February 10th_.--* * * * Received a visit
   from Captain Cochrane, of the Warrior, son of the late Earl
   of Dundonald, notorious in the war of 1812, and distinguished
   in the South American service. Wrote the following

   C.S. Steamer Sumter,
   Bay of Gibraltar, Feb. 10, 1862.

   SIR,--I have the honour to inform you that I have this day
   caused to be paid to the Spanish Consul at this port the amount
   of the bill contracted by this ship under my command while in
   the dock at Caracca.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

To the Captain of the Port, Cadiz.

_Tuesday, February 11th._--* * * * Five men in confinement! The
d----seems to have got into my crew. I shall have to tighten the reins a

_Wednesday, February 12th_.--* * * * Called on the Governor to have a
talk with him on the subject of my deserters. He took the ground that in
the absence of treaty stipulations he could not deliver a fugitive
unwilling to be returned. Whilst I was with him the Tuscarora was
announced by the telegraph. This ship came in and anchored near us about
12 noon, disguised with her mainyards down, so as to resemble a merchant
steamer. I saw Captain Warden on shore also. He informed me that the
question of my being coaled by the dockyards had been referred by
telegraph to London.

_Thursday, February 13th._--Blowing a levanter. In the morning a barque
dragged foul of the Tuscarora, and carried away her (the barque's)
foreyards. Later in the day the Tuscarora shifted her berth over to the
Spanish shore, near San Roque. Several vessels took shelter in the
harbour from the gale. Among them a French line-of-battle ship, and a
Spanish side-wheel man-of-war. Shut up in my little cabin by the wet
weather, I have time to brood gloomily over home and the war, and the
prospects of our dear South.

_Friday, February 14th._ * * *--At noon the Tuscarora got under way, and
stood over to Algeciras.

_Saturday, February 15th_.--Anniversary of the day of my resignation
from the navy of the United States; and what an eventful year it has
been! The Northern States have been making a frantic and barbarous war
upon thirteen states and nine millions of people; in face, too, of
Madison's words: "If there be a principle that ought not to be
questioned in the United States, it is that every nation has the right
to abolish an old Government and establish a new one. This principle is
not only recorded in every public archive, written in every American
heart, and sealed with the blood of a host of American martyrs, but it
is _the only lawful tenure_ by which the United States hold their
existence as a nation." And then what flood-gates of private misery have
been raised by this war--overwhelming families without number in utter
ruin and desolation.

Reduced my worthless sergeant to the ranks, and promoted a corporal in
his stead. The British Parliament met on the 6th, and we have in the
papers to-day the address to the Queen, and the speeches of the Earl of
Derby and Lord Palmerston. From the general tone of all these papers we
shall not be acknowledged at present. They say the quarrel is no
business of theirs, and we must fight it out. Astute Great Britain! she
sees that we are able to fight it out, and thus her darling object will
be accomplished without the expenditure of blood or money.

_Sunday, February 16th_.--* * * * Visited by the Captain of the Scylla

_Monday, February 17th._--* * * * Visited the Warrior. The Governor
and suite and a number of naval and other officers, civilians, and
ladies visited her by appointment at the same time. The Warrior is a
marvel of modern naval architecture, and for a first experiment may be
pronounced a success. She is a monstrous, impregnable floating fortress,
and will work a revolution in shipbuilding. Wooden ships, as
battle-ships, must go out of use. With this single ship I could destroy
the entire Yankee fleet blockading our coast, and this is the best
illustration I can give for the necessity of this revolution in
shipbuilding. The British Government has declined to supply me with coal
from the dockyard, and I must make arrangements to get it from Cadiz.
The London, ship-of-the-line steamer, arrived.

_Tuesday, February 18th_.--* * * * The Southampton mail steamer arrived,
bringing news from London to the 12th. The news of the defeat and death
of General Zollicoffer is confirmed.

_Wednesday, February 19th._--Called on Captain Warden, and had a
conversation with him on the subject of our blockade by the Tuscarora.
Called his attention to the prevention of signals, the Tuscarora
communicating with Gibraltar by boats. Gave notice if the Tuscarora came
in I should claim precedence of departure, &c. The Warrior went to sea.
Judging from the tone of the English journals there is no prospect of
our immediate recognition. Sent to Cadiz-for coal.

_Thursday, February 21st._--* * * * The newspapers state that there are
seven Yankee ships in pursuit of us--four steamers and three sail-ships.
Three of the steamers were at Teneriffe on the 11th of January. A report
has reached us that our Paymaster and ex-Consul Tunstall are prisoners
in Tangier! Received a letter from Captain Warden, informing me that the
Governor had prohibited all vessels in the harbour from making signals,
and had prohibited the Tuscarora from communicating with the harbour by
boats so long as she remained in Spanish waters, &c.

_Saturday, February 22nd_.--The report is confirmed of the illegal
imprisonment in Tangier of Paymaster Myers and Mr. Tunstall.


_The Tangier difficulty--Loyalty of United States Consuls--A daring
act--Imprisonment of the two Confederates--Captain Semmes' appeal--No
results--An armed force from the Ino--Threatened rescue--Neutrality
again--Foreign Office intelligence--The Harvest Home--Garnered._

The imprisonment of the two gentlemen alluded to at the conclusion of
the last chapter, is an episode in the history of the Sumter which
demands something more than mere passing notice. When the news of the
occurrence reached England it excited a considerable amount of
attention, as not only did the case exhibit some curious phases of the
working of the law of "strict neutrality," but it also afforded a very
excellent idea of the marvellous loyalty of one of the United States
Consuls. Reference has been previously made to the zealous conduct of
the consular officials of the North.

It has been shown that at Maranham, Cayenne, Paramaribo, Cadiz, and
Gibraltar, the respective Yankee Consuls acted upon the broad principle
that every Confederate was the natural enemy of the United States, and a
rebel to boot. Not content with simply holding this opinion, the task
these gentlemen set themselves was, to indoctrinate the Governments of
the several countries in which they were located with the same views of
the case. In some cases they succeeded so far as to cause considerable
vexation to Captain Semmes; and if they failed to convince the
authorities, that the Sumter was a piratical craft, they at least
succeeded in occasionally entailing needless delays in obtaining those
necessary supplies, which as an officer in the service of a country
recognised as a belligerent, the commander of the Sumter had a right to

The Tangier Consul, however, went far beyond his brethren, for he not
only demanded, but succeeded in effecting the arrest and imprisonment of
an officer and a citizen of the Confederate States. These gentlemen, Mr.
Myers, the Paymaster of the Sumter, and Mr. Tunstall, a private Southern
gentleman, had been despatched by Captain Semmes from Gibraltar to
Cadiz, in search of coal. The vessel in which they embarked touched at
Tangier, and the two Americans landed for the purpose of inspecting the
curious old Moorish city. No sooner were they on shore than the United
States Consul hastened to the authorities, denounced his enemies, and
demanded their arrest, alleging that it was authorized by treaty
stipulation with the United States. After vainly imploring advice from
the representatives of the Christian Powers, the sorely perplexed
authorities complied with this demand, and the two Confederates were
seized, heavily ironed, and kept prisoners in the Consul's house. At the
very first opportunity they communicated with Captain Semmes, and he
with his usual promptitude at once despatched the following letter to
the Governor of Gibraltar:--

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
   February 22nd, 1862.

Sir,--I have the honour to ask the good offices of His Excellency the
Governor of Gibraltar in a matter purely my own. On Wednesday last, I
despatched from this port, in a French passage-steamer for Cadiz, on
business connected with this ship, my Paymaster, Mr. Henry Myers, and
Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a citizen of the Confederate States, and ex-United
States Consul at Cadiz. The steamer having stopped on her way at
Tangier, and these gentlemen having gone on shore for a walk during her
temporary delay there, they were seized by the authorities, at the
instigation of the United States Consul, and imprisoned. A note from
Paymaster Myers informs me they are both heavily ironed, and otherwise
treated in a barbarous manner.

I learn further that the pretence upon which the unlawful proceeding
was had, is, that it is authorized by treaty stipulation with the United
States. Unfortunately I have not a copy of this treaty in my possession;
but I presume it provides in the usual form, for the extradition of
criminals, and nothing more. I need not say to his Excellency that
treaties of this description are never applied to political
offenders--which I presume is the only category in which the United
States Consul pretends to place these two gentlemen. An occurrence of
this kind could not have happened, of course, in a civilized community.
The political ignorance of the Moorish Government has been shamefully
practised upon by the unscrupulous Consul. I understand that the British
Government has a diplomatic agent resident at Tangier, and a word from
that gentleman would no doubt set the matter right, and insure the
release of the unfortunate prisoners. And it is to interest this
gentleman in this humane task that I address myself to his Excellency.
May I not ask the favour of his Excellency, under the peculiar
circumstances of the case, to address Mr. Hay a note on the subject,
explaining to him the facts, and requesting his interposition? If any
official scruples present themselves, the thing might be done in his
character as a private gentleman. The Moorish Government would not
hesitate a moment, if it understood correctly the facts and principles
of the case; to wit, that the principal powers of Europe have recognised
the Confederate States as belligerents, in their war against the United
States, and that, consequently, the act of making war against these
States by the citizens of the Confederate States, is not an offence,
political or otherwise, of which a neutral can take cognizance; and even
if it were the former, no extradition treaty is ever meant to apply to
such a case.

I have the honour, &c. &c.

   (Signed) R. SEMMES.
   Capt. S. Freeling, Col. Sec.

This letter was unattended with success, the maintenance of strict
neutrality being a barrier in the way of any interference on the part of
the British authorities at Gibraltar. Accordingly, Captain Semmes penned
the subjoined formal protest, and despatched it to the Governor of

   C.S. Steamer of war Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
   February 23rd, 1862.

His Excellency the Governor of Tangier, Morocco:

I have the honour to inform your Excellency that intelligence has
reached me of the imprisonment by the Moorish Government at Tangier, of
Mr. Henry Myers, the Paymaster of this ship, and Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a
citizen of the Confederate States, and late United States Consul at
Cadiz. I learn further, that these gentlemen are heavily ironed, and
otherwise treated with inhumanity. I am utterly at a loss to conceive on
what ground this illegal imprisonment can have taken place; though I
learn that the United States Consul demanded it, under some claim of
extradition treaty stipulation. A word or two will suffice to set this
matter right. It must, of course, be known to your Excellency, that the
Confederate States have been acknowledged by the principal powers of
Europe, as belligerents in the war in which they are engaged with the
United States; and that, consequently, the Paymaster of this ship, in
any act of war in which he may have participated, can have been guilty
of no offence, political or otherwise, of which any neutral power can
take cognizance. Indeed, as before stated, the neutral powers of Europe
have expressly recognised the right of the Confederate States to make
war against the United States. No extradition treaty therefore can apply
to Paymaster Myers. Mr. Tunstall not being in the military or naval
service of the Confederate States, can no more be brought within the
terms of any such treaty than Paymaster Myers. I have, therefore,
respectfully to demand, in the name of my Government, and in accordance
with the laws and practice of nations, that these two citizens of the
Confederate States be set at liberty.

I have the honour, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. Semmes.

Determined to leave no stone unturned, the Commander of the Sumter
sought to interest the British Charge d'Affaires in the fate of the two
prisoners, as will be seen by the annexed letter:--

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
   February 23rd, 1864.

Sir,--May I ask of you the favour to act unofficially for me in a matter
of humanity, by handing to the proper officer the enclosed
communication, demanding the release from imprisonment in Tangier of the
Paymaster of this ship, and of Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a citizen of the
Confederate States. The Moorish authorities have evidently been imposed
upon by false representations as to the character and status of these
gentlemen. I hear that the United States Consul demanded their
imprisonment under some extradition treaty. The absurdity of such a
claim will of course be apparent to you. We are recognised belligerents;
our acts of war are legal therefore, so far as all neutrals are
concerned, and it cannot be pretended that any officer of this ship can
have committed any offence in any act of war in which he may have
participated against the United States, which Morocco can take
cognizance of, or bring under the terms of any extradition treaty.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. Semmes.

   John Hay Drummond Hay, C.B.,
   H.M. Charge d'Affaires, Tangier, Marocco.

On the 24th Mr. Hay replied, and the following extract from his
communication will best explain the grounds he assumed:--"You," he
writes, "must be aware that Her Britannic Majesty's Government have
decided on observing a strict neutrality in the present conflict between
the Northern and Southern States; it is therefore incumbent on Her
Majesty's officers to avoid anything like undue interference in any
questions affecting the interests of either party which do not concern
the British government; and though I do not refuse to accede to your
request to deliver the letter to the Moorish authorities, I think it my
duty to signify distinctly to the latter my intention to abstain from
expressing an opinion regarding the course to be pursued by Morocco on
the subject matter of your letter."

To this despatch Captain Semmes forthwith replied, and his letter is
remarkable for the able manner in which the question of neutrality is
dealt with. After thoroughly reviewing the transaction, he sums up as

"Upon further inquiry I learn that my first supposition that the two
gentlemen in question had been arrested under some claim of extradition
(unfortunately I have not a copy of the treaty between Morocco and the
United States) was not exactly correct. It seems that they were arrested
by Moorish soldiers upon the requisition of the United States Consul,
who claimed to exercise jurisdiction over them as citizens of the United
States, under a provision of a treaty common between what are called the
non-civilized and the civilized nations. This state of facts does not
alter in any degree the reasoning applicable to the case. If Morocco
adopts the _status_ given the Confederate States by Europe, she must
remain neutral between the two belligerents, not undertaking to judge of
the nationality of the citizens of either of the belligerents, or to
decide any other question growing out of the war which does not concern
her own interests. She has no right, therefore, to adjudge a citizen of
the Confederate States to be a citizen of the United States, and not
having this right herself she cannot transfer it by treaty to the United
States Consul."

The communication, however, produced no effect; and, meanwhile, another
step was taken at Tangier. The United States frigate Ino no sooner
learnt the news of the capture made by the Consul than it ran over to
Tangier, sent a boat on shore with armed men, and carried off the
prisoners. This proceeding was not, however, allowed to be performed
quite so quietly as the Yankees could have wished. The Christian
population, exasperated at the arrest, turned out in force, and fears
were entertained that even the forty men from the Ino would not be able
to secure the safety of their prize. But here the neutral powers were of
assistance: their representatives, with Mr. Drummond Hay at their head,
came to the aid of the captors, calmed the mob, and thus averting the
threatened rescue, enabled the United States to carry off the two
Confederates on board the Ino.

Captain Semmes, finding he could do nothing with the authorities at
Tangier, communicated with Mr. Mason, the Confederate commissioner in
London, and that gentleman made strong representations at the Foreign
Office, with what results the following statements of facts will show.

It was on the 28th of February that the captives were finally carried
off from neutral territory, by an armed force from an enemy's ship. On
the 8th of March, Mr. Mason was informed by the Under-Secretary, that
the British Government was under the impression that they had been
released from confinement. On the 6th of March, just two days before Mr.
Mason received this intelligence, the Ino, which had run back to Cadiz,
transferred the two unfortunate prisoners to the Yankee merchant ship,
Harvest Home, which carried them away to a prison in the United States.

Such was the history of the Tangier difficulty--a question which, at the
time, created considerable stir in Europe, and which is likely to leave
a lasting impression upon the Southern mind.


"_The poor old Sumter"--The vessel laid up--What the Sumter
did--Official report--A narrow escape--Movements of Captain
Semmes--Useful missions--Appointment to the Alabama_.

Meanwhile the search for coal had been continued by the Sumter and at
length a promise of a supply had been obtained. It so happened, however,
that this supply, so long sought and so hardly won, would after all
never be required.

The little Sumter's days as a cruiser were numbered. By no means a new
boat when first converted by Captain Semmes into a vessel of war, the
hard work and rough usage she had experienced in her seven months at
sea, had been too much for her already enfeebled constitution, and she
was now little better than a wreck. At last she fairly broke down
altogether, was surveyed by a board of her officers, pronounced
unseaworthy, and on the 24th of February Captain Semmes makes the
following entry in his journal:--

"And so the poor old Sumter is to be laid up. Well! we have done the
country some service, having cost the United States at least a million
of dollars, one way or another!"

And so she unquestionably bad. Eighteen vessels captured; seven burned,
with all their cargo on board; and two released on heavy ransom bonds,
represent in themselves no inconsiderable amount of damage. Add to this
the amount really expended in pursuit of her; the enormously increased
rates of insurance; the heavy losses from reluctance to entrust goods in
United States bottoms, or to send ships themselves to sea under the
United States colours, and we have an aggregate of loss that a million
of dollars can hardly cover.

Her career was now over; but she was ere long to find a successor under
the same command, beside whose exploits her own were to sink almost into
insignificance. The events of the few months that elapsed between the
final abandonment of the Sumter and the Alabama's start on her
adventurous career, may best be gathered from Captain Semmes' own
official report to the Secretary of the Navy at Richmond.

Nassau, New Providence, June 15 to 20, 1862.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform you of my arrival at this place, on
the 8th instant, in twenty days, from London. I found here Lieutenants
Maffit and Sinclair, and received from the former your letter of May
29th, enclosing a copy of your despatch to me of May 2d. As you might
conclude from the fact of my being here, the original of the latter
communication had not reached me; nor, indeed, had any communication
whatever from the department. As you anticipated, it became necessary
for me to abandon the Sumter, in consequence of my being hemmed in by
the enemy in a place where it was impossible to put the necessary
repairs upon her-to make her fit to take the sea. For some days after my
arrival at Gibraltar, I had hopes of being able to reach another English
or a French port, where I might find the requisite facilities for
repair, and I patched my boilers, and otherwise prepared my ship for
departure. In consequence of a combination of the coal merchants against
me, however, I was prevented from coaling; and, in the meantime, the
enemy's steamers, Tuscarora and Kearsarge, and the sailing sloop Ino,
too, arrived and blockaded me. Notwithstanding the arrival of these
vessels, I should have made an effort to go to sea, but for the timely
discovery of further defects in my boilers, which took place under the
following circumstances:--An English steamer, having arrived from
Liverpool with an extra quantity of coal on board, offered to supply me.
I got steam up to go alongside of her for the purpose, when, with a very
low pressure, my boilers gave way in so serious a manner as to
extinguish the fires in one of the furnaces. I was obliged, of course,
to "blow off;" and upon a re-examination of the boilers, by a board of
survey, it was ascertained that they had been destroyed to such an
extent as to render them entirely untrustworthy. It was found, indeed,
to be necessary either to supply the ship with new boilers or to lift
the old ones out of her, and renew entirely the arches and other
important parts of them, which could only be done in a machinist's shop,
and with facilities not to be found at Gibraltar. In this state of
things, it became necessary, in my judgment, either to lay the ship up,
or to sell her. Of course, the remaining by her of myself, my officers
and crew, in her disabled and useless condition, was not to be thought
of. Still, I felt that the responsibility was a grave one; and deeming
it more respectful to the department that it should be assumed by some
one higher in authority than myself, I reported the facts to the Hon.
James M. Mason, our commissioner in London, and requested him to assume
the power.[7]

[Footnote 7: The following is the letter here referred to:--

   C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
   March 3rd, 1862.

SIR,--I had the honour to address you a note a day or two ago,
requesting you to assume the responsibility of giving me an order to lay
the Sumter up, that my officers and myself may return to the Confederate
States, to take a more active part in the war. I now enclose you a copy
of a letter addressed to me by the wardroom officers of this ship on the
same subject, by which you will perceive that there is no difference of
opinion between us as to the policy and propriety of the step indicated.
Each succeeding mail is bringing us intelligence that the enemy is
pressing us on all sides, and it would seem that we shall have occasion
for every arm and all our energies and resources to defend ourselves.
The most that we could hope to accomplish by remaining where we are
would be, perhaps, to occupy the attention of an additional steamer of
the enemy. One steamer will always remain to watch the ship, in whatever
condition she may be; and probably no more than two would continue the
blockade if the officers remained by her. The enemy, having some 300
armed ships afloat, one ship would seem to make no appreciable
difference in his offensive force. I would not press this matter upon
you so earnestly if there was any certainty of my hearing from the
Secretary of the Navy in any reasonable time; but my despatches are
liable to capture, as are his despatches to me, and many months may
therefore elapse before I can receive his orders. I can readily
understand how, under ordinary circumstances, you might hesitate about
giving me this order, but there are frequent occasions in which
responsibility must be assumed, and I respectfully suggest that this is
one of them. To lay the Sumter up without an order from the naval
department involves responsibility either in you or in me; and, as I
stated to you in my last note, it appears to me that the responsibility
may be assumed by you with more propriety than by myself, as you are a
high functionary of the Government, while I am a mere subordinate of a
department. The question of expense, too, is to be considered--the
expenses of the ship, with the utmost economy, being, in round numbers,
1000 dollars per month. Should you decide upon giving me the order, do
me the favour to telegraph me as follows, viz.:--"Your request is
granted--act accordingly." Address me also by mail, as it will take some
days to wind up affairs, and I shall have ample time to receive your
letter before leaving for London.

     Respectfully, &c. &c. (Signed) R. SEMMES

     Hon. Jas. Mason, Com., &c., London.]

This he did very promptly, and in a few days afterwards I discharged and
paid off in full all the crew, except ten men, and detached all the
officers, except Midshipman Armstrong and a Master's Mate. I placed Mr.
Armstrong in charge of the ship, supplied him with money and provisions
sufficient for himself and his diminished crew for ten months, and
departed myself for London, whither most of the officers also repaired
on their way to the Confederate States. Upon my arrival in London, I
found that the Oreto (Florida) had been despatched some weeks before to
this place; and Commander Bullock having informed me that be had your
orders to Command the second ship he was building, himself, I had no
alternative but to return to the Confederate States for orders. It is
due to Commander Bullock to say, that he offered to place himself
entirely under my orders, and even to relinquish to me the command of
the ship he was building; but I did not feel at liberty to interfere
with your orders. Whilst in London, I ascertained that a number of
steamers were being prepared to run the blockade with arms, &c., and
instead of despatching my officers at once for the Confederate States, I
left men to take charge of these ships, as they should be gotten ready,
and run them in, deeming this the best service they could render the
Government under the circumstances. I came hither myself (accompanied by
my First-Lieutenant and Surgeon), a passenger in the British steamer
Melita, laden with arms, &c., with the same intention. It is fortunate
that I made this arrangement, as many of my officers still remain in
London, and I shall be able to detain them there, to take them with me
in the execution of your order of the 2nd of May, assigning me to the
command of the Alabama. In obedience to this order I shall return by the
first conveyance to England, when the joint energies of Commander
Bullock and myself will be dedicated to the preparation of this ship
for sea. I will take with me Lieut. Kell, Surgeon Galt, and Lieutenant
of Marines, Howell--Mr. Howell and Lieut. Stribling having reached this
port a few days before me, in the British steamer Bahama, from Hamburgh,
laden with arms, &c., for the Confederacy. At the earnest entreaty of
Lieut. Commanding Maffit, I have consented to permit Lieut. Stribling to
remain with him as his First Lieut., on board the Florida; and the
Florida's officers not yet having arrived, Mr. Stribling's place on
board the Alabama will be filled by Midshipman Armstrong, promoted.

It will, doubtless, be a matter of some delicacy and management to get
the Alabama safely out of British waters without suspicion, as Mr.
Adams, the Northern envoy, and his numerous satellites are exceedingly
vigilant in their espionage. We cannot, of course, think of arming her
in a British port. This must be done at some concerted rendezvous, to
which her battery (and the most of her crew) must be sent in a merchant

The Alabama will be a fine ship, quite equal to encounter any of the
enemy's sloops of the class of the Dacotah, Iroquois, Tuscarora, &c.;
and I shall feel much more independent in her upon the high seas than I
did in the little Sumter. I think well of your suggestion of the East
Indies as a cruising-ground, and hope to be in the track of the enemy's
commerce in those seas as early as October or November next, when I
shall doubtless be able to make other rich "burnt-offerings" upon the
altar of our country's liberties.

Lieutenant Sinclair having informed me that you said, in a conversation
with him, that I might dispose of the Sumter either by laying her up or
selling her, as my judgment might approve, I will, unless I receive
contrary orders from you, dispose of her by sale upon my arrival in
Europe. As the war is likely to continue for two or three years yet, it
would be an useless expense to keep a vessel so comparatively worthless
so long at her anchors. I will cause to be sent to the Alabama her
chronometers, charts, &c., and I will transfer to the vessel her
remaining officers and crew.

In conclusion, permit me to thank you very sincerely for this new proof
of your confidence, and for your kind intention to nominate me as one of
the "Captains" under the new Navy Bill.

I trust I shall prove myself worthy of these marks of your approbation.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Hon. S. Mallory, Sec. of the Navy.


_The new vessel--Aide toi et Dieu t'aidera--Accommodation on
board--Cost--Laws of neutrality--Necessary caution--The 29th of July--A
breakfast party--The scene changed--Off--The pursuit--Too late._

The vessel to which Captain Semmes was now appointed had been built
expressly for the Confederate navy, by Messrs. Laird and Sons, of
Birkenhead. She was a small fast screw steam-sloop, of 1040 tons
register, not iron-clad, as was at one time erroneously supposed, but
built entirely of wood, and of a scantling and general construction, in
which strength had been less consulted than speed. Her length over all
was about 220 feet, length of keel, 210 feet; breadth of beam, 32 feet,
and 18 feet from deck to keel. She carried two magnificent engines, on
the horizontal principle, constructed by the same firm, and each of the
power of 300 horses; while her coal-bunkers were calculated to
accommodate about 350 tons of coal.

The Alabama, or as she should as yet be called, "No. 290," was
barque-rigged, her standing gear being formed throughout of wire rope;
thus combining strength with lightness to the utmost possible extent.
Her ordinary suit of sails consisted of the usual square sails in the
foremast, fore topmast staysail and jib, large fore and main topsails,
maintop sail, topgallant sail and royal, and on the mizen-mast spanker
and gaff topsail. Occasionally, this rig would be varied, as was the
case in entering Cherbourg, just before the close of her eventful
career, when a crossjack yard was got up across the mizen-mast, with
mizen topsail and topgallant yards to match; and the Alabama assumed for
a time the appearance of a full-rigged ship. This, however, was only a
temporary _ruse_, and her ordinary cruising sails were similar to those
commonly in use with vessels of her class.

A little forward of the mizen-mast was placed the steering apparatus, a
large double wheel, inscribed with the significant words: _Aide toi et
Dieu t'aidera_; a motto which, in the case of the Alabama, has been
better acted up to than such legends usually are. Just before the
funnel, and near the centre of the vessel, was the bridge, at either
side of which hung the two principal boats, cutter and launch; a gig,
and whale-boat, being suspended from the davits on either side of the
quarter-deck, and a small dingy over the stern. On the main deck she was
pierced for twelve guns, with two heavy pivot guns amidships. Her lines
were beautifully fine, with sharp flaring bows, billet head, and
elliptic stern. The cabin accommodation was perhaps somewhat scanty, but
this, in so small a vessel, built altogether for speed, not comfort, was
scarcely to be avoided. The semicircular stern-cabin was, of course,
appropriated to the captain, with a small state-room opening out from it
in the starboard side. Forward of this came the companion ladder, and
forward of this again the wardroom, or senior officers' mess, with small
cabins on either side for the lieutenants, surgeon, and other officers.
Passing through the wardroom, the visitor entered the gunroom, or
"steerage," allotted on the starboard side to the midshipmen, and on the
port to the engineers. Next came the engine-room, occupying an unusual
space for a vessel of the Alabama's size; the coal bunkers, &c.; and
finally, the berth-deck, or forecastle, with accommodation for 120 men.
The lower portion of the vessel was divided into three compartments, of
about equal dimensions. In the aftermost were store-rooms, shell-rooms,
&c.; the midship section contained the furnaces and fire-rooms; whilst
the forward compartment was occupied by the hold, the magazines, and the
boatswain's and carpenter's stores.

Such was the Alabama, or, as she was long called, "No. 290;" and
considering the peculiar circumstances under which she was built, the
numerous requirements to be satisfied, and the perfection of the
workmanship throughout the vessel, the cost of her construction and
armament cannot but be considered marvellously small. The builder's
charge for hull, spars, sails, boats, cable, and all equipment, except
armament, was £47,500. To this must be added the cost of her batteries,
£2500; magazine tanks, £616; ordnance stores, £500; and small arms,
£600, making a-total cost of £51,716, or in American money, of
250,305.44 dollars.

It must not be supposed, however, that in leaving the building-yard of
Messrs. Laird, the Alabama's equipment was by any means complete. The
strictest injunctions had been given both to Captain Bullock and Captain
Semmes, to avoid doing anything that would by any possibility be
construed into an infringement of either the municipal law, or the
anxiously-guarded neutrality of England; and as the Foreign Enlistment
Act clearly forbade the _equipment_ of ships of war for belligerent
uses, it was necessary that the new cruiser should leave England
unarmed, and take her chance of capture, until some safe place could be
found for taking her armament on board.

This was, of course, a delicate operation, and one requiring the
preservation of strict secresy, that the cruisers of the United States
might at least not be enabled to pounce upon their new enemy, until she
had been placed to some extent in a condition for self-defence. Nor was
this the only ground on which caution had to be observed. The career of
the Sumter had given Captain Semmes a clearer idea than he had probably
before possessed of the precise meaning of the word neutrality, as
applied to the present war, and there was too much at stake to run the
risk of detention from any such views of its obligations as had been put
forward in the case of his captive officer at Tangier. The law of the
case might be--he certainly thought it was--clear enough; but there was
no use in throwing temptation in the way of those by whom it was to be
interpreted. The recent cases of the Alexandria, the El Tousson, and the
El Monassir, have shown with sufficient clearness that this calculation
was tolerably correct.

Accordingly, the reticence which has so distinctively marked the men of
the South throughout the struggle, was most religiously observed in the
case of the Alabama. It was impossible, of course, altogether to conceal
from the diligent researches of Mr. Adams' spies the fact of her
destination. But beyond having a strong suspicion that the vessel so
rapidly approaching completion in Messrs. Laird's yard was intended for
the Confederate States, these astute gentlemen were altogether at fault.
This, however, was enough, and on the application of Mr. Adams an order
was despatched to the Customs' authorities at Liverpool to seize the
ship, and prevent her from going to sea.

Fortunately for the Confederate vessel her friends were equally on the
watch, and tidings of the projected seizure were promptly conveyed to
Birkenhead. It was necessary now to act with promptitude, and the final
preparations were pushed on with the utmost speed. At length, at a
quarter past nine on the morning of the 29th July, 1862, the anchor was
got up for the first time since she had been afloat, and the "No. 290"
dropped slowly down the Mersey, anchoring that afternoon in Moelfra Bay.

Even this, however, could not be carried out without considerable
precaution, and it was necessary, as a blind to the suspicious eyes so
constantly employed in watching every movement of the sorely suspected
vessel, to announce that she was merely proceeding for a short trial
trip. To give colour to this pretence, to which her even then unfinished
condition lent a _prima facie_ sanction, a gay party was assembled on
board. A number of ladies, friends and acquaintances of the builders,
enlivened the narrow, and as yet rough and unfinished deck with their
bright costumes, and seemed to afford a sufficient guarantee for the
return of the vessel to port. Luncheon was spread in the cabin, flags
decorated the seats hastily improvised on the sacred quarter-deck, and
all seemed bent upon making holiday.

Suddenly, however, the scene changed. At a signal from the Alabama a
small steam tug came puffing alongside, and to the visitors' great
astonishment they were politely requested to step on board. Relieved of
her gay cargo, the transformation of the Alabama proceeded with
rapidity. The luncheon had been already cleared away, and now seats and
flags, and all the rest of the holiday paraphernalia began speedily to
disappear. Late that evening and all the next day the bustle of
preparation continued, and at two o'clock in the morning of the 31st
July the anchor was once more weighed, and with a strong breeze from the
S.W. the "No. 290" started off, ostensibly on a voyage to Nassau in the

Just in time. That morning the seizure was to have been made. At the
very moment that "No. 290" was heaving up her anchor, a huge despatch
"On Her Majesty's Service" was travelling down to Liverpool, at the top
speed of the north-western mail,[4] commanding the Customs' authorities
to lay an embargo on the ship. The morning was still but very slightly
advanced when through the driving south-westerly squalls came the
gold-laced officials in search of their prize, only to return in outward
appearance considerably crestfallen, inwardly perhaps not altogether so
deeply grieved as a good neutral should have been at the ill success of
their uncomfortable trip.

Two days more and another actor appeared upon the scene. Like her
colleague at Tangier, the United States frigate Tuscarora had got scent
of a valuable prey, and hurried round to the Mersey at full speed of
sail and steam to secure it. But by the time she arrived at Moelfra Bay,
the "No. 290" was already a couple of days upon her outward voyage. The
game was up, and the only resource of the baffled Yankee now lay in
scolding poor Earl Russell, who certainly had been no willing agent in
the escape of the daring little Confederate cruiser.


_"No. 290" at sea--The rendezvous--Small mishaps--Good qualities of the
new ship--Nearly discovered--The captain--Terceira--Anxiety about the
crew--Coaling and arming--Getting to rights--Ready for the cruise_.

"No. 290" ran rapidly before the S.W. gale up the Irish Channel, and
past the Isle of Man and Ailsa Crag, till as the columns of the Giant's
Causeway began to loom dimly through the driving rain she rounded to,
laid her maintopsail to the mast, and sent a boat on shore with the
pilot and Captain Bullock, who up to this time had been in command of
the vessel. She was now transferred to the charge of Captain J. Butcher,
late of the Cunard service, her other temporary officers being--Chief
Lieutenant, J. Law, of Savannah, Georgia; second, Mr. G. Townley Fullam,
of Hull, England; Surgeon, D.H. Llewellyn, of Easton, Wilts; Paymaster,
C.R. Yonge, of Savannah, Georgia; and Chief Engineer, J. McNair, an
Englishman. The crew, the greater number of whom had been taken on board
in Moelfra Bay, numbered about seventy men and boys, and were shipped
for a feigned voyage, the Confederate captain trusting to the English
love of adventure, to induce them to re-ship when the true destination
of the vessel came to be declared.

Bidding adieu to the Irish coast she now shaped her course for Terceira,
one of the Western Islands, where she was to meet her consort, and
receive on board the guns and other warlike stores, she had been
restrained by respect for English law, from shipping in Liverpool.
Throughout this run, which occupied nine days, the wind still continued
blowing a strong gale from the southward and westward, with a heavy sea
running, through which "No. 290" dashed along sometimes at a speed of
upwards of thirteen knots an hour. It was not, however, without a
certain amount of risk that this pace was maintained. Amongst other less
serious damages the bow port was stove in by a heavy sea, and altogether
the vessel showed manifest symptoms of the speed at which she had been
driven. But accidents of this kind were of minor importance compared
with the supreme value of time. Once fairly off, and the news of the
escape must spread rapidly through the kingdom. The first whisper of it
would bring the enemy's ships in pursuit, and a single hour's delay in
reaching her destination and placing herself in a condition for
self-defence, might bring one of them alongside, and the career of the
new cruiser be cut short before it had fairly begun. So "No. 290"
"crashed on" at top speed, and on the 10th of August "Land, ho!" was
called from the foremasthead, and she brought up at Porto Praya in

During this trying voyage the new vessel had given full promise of those
splendid qualities as a sea-boat, on which depended so much of the
extraordinary success of her after career. She was, of course, by no
means in the best trim for sailing, whilst everything about her being
bran new was in the worst possible condition, short of being quite worn
out, in which to enter on so severe a trial. She came through it however
most triumphantly, exhibiting a speed and ease of motion rarely to be
found in combination. All hands arrived at Terceira in the best spirits,
and highly delighted with their new ship.

The bay of Porto Praya, in which "No. 290" was anchored is of no very
great extent, but presents excellent holding ground for vessels, and is
sheltered from all but easterly winds. Three or four small forts occupy
positions on the shore, but appear never to have been armed, and are at
present falling rapidly into decay. The bay itself is secluded, and not
particularly well supplied with the means of sustenance, fruit and
vegetables being tolerably plentiful, but water very scarce, and beef a
luxury only to be obtained by importing it from Angra, on the other side
of the island. The officers however were kindly and hospitably received
by the inhabitants, and the best the place afforded placed at their

As yet the expected consort of the Confederate vessel had not arrived,
and some anxiety was felt by Captain Butcher and his brother officers,
as day after day passed by, and no signs of her appeared. On the 13th
August, expectations were aroused by the cry of "Sail, ho!" but the new
comer proved to be only a Yankee whaling schooner, from Provincetown;
and additional anxiety was occasioned on her arrival by the indiscretion
of one of the ship's company, by whom the real character and design of
"No. 290" was betrayed to the United States schooner, the speedy
departure of which, after learning the news, seemed ominous of trouble.

At last, on the 18th, a large barque was observed steering for the brig,
and on a nearer approach proved to be the long-looked-for ship. She was
the Agrippina, of London, Captain McQueen, with a cargo of ammunition,
coal, stores of various descriptions, and six thirty-two pounders. Once
lashed alongside the sloop, and all haste was made to transfer her
cargo, and the crews of the two vessels were busily engaged in this
operation when, on the 20th of August, the smoke of another steamer was
seen on the horizon, and after a brief interval of suspense, lest the
new comer should prove to be a United States vessel of war, in search of
the escaped Confederate, the Bahama, Captain Tessier, made her number,
and three hearty cheers from the crew of "No. 290" gave welcome to
Captain Semmes, and the other officers late of the Sumter.

Captain Semmes embarked on board the Bahama at Liverpool, on the morning
of Wednesday, 13th August, joining the ship in a steam-tug, the Bahama
having dropped down towards the mouth of the Mersey a few hours
previously. Captain Bullock, who, as it has been said, had seen the new
ship safely off upon her voyage before leaving her at the Giant's
Causeway, and had reported the happy commencement of the adventure,
accompanied him on board the Bahama, in which were also a number of
seamen, shipped, like those on board "No. 290," for a feigned voyage, in
the hope of inducing them to join when the ship was fairly in

       *       *       *       *       *

As the tug left us to return to the city--writes Captain Semmes--the
crew gave us three hearty cheers, to which we responded. After a passage
of seven days, we made the island of Terceira, and soon afterwards the
port of Praya, at the eastern end of the island, our appointed
rendezvous. As we approached the port we looked with eager eyes for "No.
290," and her consort, the Agrippina, which had been despatched to her
from London with the armament. Greatly to our satisfaction we soon
discovered the spars, and then the hulls of both vessels lying snugly in
the bay, and apparently in contact, and indicating the transhipment of
the battery, &c.

At about 11.30 A.M. we steamed into the harbour, and were immediately
boarded by Captain Butcher, who reported that he had already gotten on
board all the heavy guns, and many of the paymaster's stores, &c. As the
harbour is open to the east, and as the wind was blowing from the N.E.,
driving a considerable swell in, which caused the two vessels to lie
very uneasily alongside of each other, I gave orders that they should
both follow me to the bay of Angra, where we all anchored about 4 P.M.
Hauled the two steamers alongside, and commenced discharging the two
additional guns.

After having shown the new vessel to the seamen I had on board the
Bahama (numbering thirty-seven), I addressed them, telling them that
they were released from the contract they had entered into at Liverpool,
and were now perfectly free to dispose of themselves, and that I invited
them to enter with me on board my ship. I spoke of the war, explained to
them the object of my contemplated cruise, and the inducements held out
to them of prize-money, &c. This afternoon about one-half the number
shipped; the others hung back, perhaps, for better terms. There are,
perhaps, some sea-lawyers among them influencing their determination. I
moved my baggage on board, and slept my first night on board my new
ship. Warned by the authorities that West Angra was not a port of
entry, and that we must move to East Angra.

_Thursday, August 21st_.--Clear fine weather. I am charmed with the
appearance of Terceira. Every square foot of the island seems to be
under the most elaborate cultivation; the little fields divided by
hedgerows of what appeared to be sugar-cane. The white one-storied
houses are dotted thickly among all this cultivation, giving evidence of
great populousness in this primitive paradise--so far removed away from
the world, and so little resorted to by commerce. Wind inclined to haul
to the S.E., which will open us to the sea again, and I am, of course,
quite anxious. Received a letter (or rather Captain Butcher, who is
still the nominal commander of the ship, did) from the English Consul,
informing us that the authorities still insisted upon our going round to
East Angra. Replied that we had come in to receive coal from the barque
in our company, &c., and that as the day seemed fine, and we should
probably have a good lee for the purpose, I would go to sea without the
marine league for the purpose. I knew they suspected me of arming as
well as coaling, and hence I resorted to this step to quiet their
apprehensions of my infringing their neutrality.

Stood along the island--the Bahama in company and the barque
alongside--and hoisted out the gun-carriages, and mounted as many of the
guns as we could. Returned during the afternoon, and after nightfall
anchored in East Angra, with the barque still alongside. We were hailed
very vociferously as we passed in very bad English or Portuguese, we
could not make out which, and a shot was fired at us. The Bahama, which
was following, hauled off and stood off and on during the night; we
continued our course, and anchored about 8.30 P.M. Near midnight I was
aroused from a deep sleep into which I had fallen after the fatigue and
exertions of the day, and informed by the officer of the deck very
coolly that the man-of-war schooner was firing into us. As I knew they
did not dare to fire _into_ me but were only firing at me, perhaps to
alarm me into going out of the harbour, I directed the officer to take
no notice of the proceeding. In the morning we learned that this had
been a false alarm, and that the firing had been from the mail steamer
to bring on board her passengers.

Had a talk with the old boatswain's-mate, who consented to go with me,
and to use his best exertion to bring over to me all the good men over
whom he could exercise influence.

_Friday, August 22nd_.--Wind from the S.W., promising us a smooth day
for our work. Called all hands at 6 A.M., and commenced coaling. At 7
A.M. a number of Custom House officers and the English Consul came on
board. Our coaling was suspended until the two ships could be entered at
the Custom House. We lost a couple of hours by this visit, but I was
gratified to learn as the result of it that we might remain quietly and
continue our coaling, &c.

We got the remaining guns into position; got up and loaded some of the
rifles; opened a barrel of cartridges, and made sundry other hasty
preparations for defense, in case any attempt should be made to seize
the ship. At 11.30 A.M. signalled the Bahama, and brought her in to her
anchors. Towards night the weather became rainy, and considerable sea
setting in to the harbour, we shoved the barque off to an anchor. During
the night she dragged her anchor, and we were obliged to send a party on
board her to let go another, to prevent her from dragging on shore.
There was quite a row this evening on board the barque, ending in a
general fight, the sailors by some means or other having managed to get

_Saturday, August 23rd._--Morning cloudy and rainy. We were unable to
get the barque alongside, so as to continue coaling before 9 A.M. Still
we are hurrying the operation, and hope to be able to get through by
night. We have all sorts of characters on board, but the crew is working
quite willingly; now and then a drunken or lazy vagabond turning up. The
sharp fellows thinking I am dependent upon them for a crew are holding
back and trying to drive a hard bargain with me.

Getting the battery to rights, and caulking the screw-well, which leaks
badly when she is under way. Made some acting appointments to fill up my
officers. Received on board a fine supply of fresh provisions and
vegetables for the crew. In this beautiful island all the fruits of the
temperate and many of the torrid zone are produced. Pine-apples, pears,
plums, and melons were brought off to us.

We finished coaling, except seven or eight tons, by working until 9
P.M., when the men were fairly fagged out. Hauled the barque off, and
resolved to go out with what coal I had on board, as to finish entirely
would involve a delay of Sunday.


_Sunday, 24th August--Fairly afloat--Taking command--The white
ensign--Mission of the Alabama--The Modern Tar--At the pumps--Blowing
hard--A fruitless chase--Short-handed--The Ocmulgee_.

Sunday seemed destined from the very first to be a notable day in the
annals of the new Confederate cruiser.

The morning of Sunday, the 24th August, found her afloat ready for sea;
the delicate operation of transhipping stores in an open roadstead
safely accomplished, a supply of coal on board sufficient for some weeks
of average steaming, and six of her guns mounted and ready to cast loose
for action at a moment's notice. The early hours of the morning were
occupied in washing down the decks which were covered thickly with coal,
and making matters above board as shipshape as under the circumstances
could be managed. By noon this was finished, and all was ready for sea.
A brief space was then devoted to the no less necessary operation of
dining, and at noon steam was got up, the anchor weighed, and "No. 290"
stood out to sea, the Bahama still keeping her company.

For about four or five miles the two vessels kept silently upon their
course, until well beyond all possibility of dispute as to the too
well-remembered maritime league of neutrality. Then as four bells
sounded from the forecastle the crew were summoned aft, all heads were
bared, and stepping in full uniform on to the quarter-deck, Captain
Semmes proceeded in a voice clear and firm, but not altogether free from
emotion, to read aloud to the assembled ships his commission from the
President as Commander of the Confederate States Steam Sloop, ALABAMA.

As he proceeded, the English flag which had been carried by the vessel
during her days of incognito, was slowly lowered to the deck, and three
little black balls might be seen wriggling their way swiftly but
cautiously to the mastheads and mizen peak of the Alabama. Boom! goes
the starboard forecastle gun as the reading is ended. The three black
balls are "broken out," the long pendant uncurls itself at the main, the
red cross of St. George flutters at the fore, and the pure white ensign
of the Confederacy, with its starry blue cross upon the red ground of
the corner, floats gracefully from the peak, as the little band breaks
into the dashing strains of "Dixie," and three ringing cheers peal out
over the sparkling sea.

So far all had gone well and hopefully, and the enthusiasm of the moment
had brought a flush to the cheek and a dimness to the eye of many a
weather-beaten tar among the little crew. But enthusiasm is fleeting in
these practical days, and the sound of the last cheer had scarcely died
away upon the summer breeze ere the scene changed, and the true
nineteenth century spirit resumed its sway. The ceremony of hoisting the
flag and taking command completed, Captain Semmes called all hands aft
upon the quarter-deck, and addressed them as he had previously
addressed the crew of the Bahama, inviting them to ship with him in the
Alabama for the cruise.

The address is described by those who listened to it as most spirited
and effective. It frankly avowed that the principal object of the
Alabama was to cripple the commerce of the enemy. But this would not be
her only aim. Prudence was essential, and he was not to fight a
fifty-gun ship, but when the opportunity offered of engaging on anything
like equal terms, the Alabama would be prompt enough to accept the
combat. "Let me once see you," he said, in conclusion, "proficient in
the use of your weapons, and trust me for very soon giving you an
opportunity to show the world of what metal you are made."

The address was greeted with an unanimous burst of cheers, and then came
the anxious moment. "It may be supposed," writes Captain Semmes, in
recording the events of that memorable day, "that I was very nervous
about the success of this operation, as the management of the ship at
sea absolutely depended upon it." And of this fact the men were at least
as fully aware as himself. Nor had they any scruples as to availing
themselves most fully of the advantages of their situation. "The modern
sailor," continues Captain Semmes, "has greatly changed in character. He
now stickles for pay like a sharper, and seems to have lost his
recklessness and love of adventure." However this latter proposition may
be, the truth of the former was most amply proved on the day in
question. Jack niggled and haggled, and insisted pertinaciously on the
terms he felt his would-be Captain's necessity enabled him to command;
and in the end Captain Semmes was fain to consent to the exorbitant
rates of £4 10s. a month for seamen, £5 and £6 for petty officers, and
£7 for firemen! "I was glad," he writes, "to get them even upon these
terms, as I was afraid a large bounty in addition would be demanded of

Very curious was the contrast afforded by this scene with the enthusiasm
that had preceded, and the gallant, dashing, reckless career that
followed it. These men who thus stood out for the last sixpence they
could hope to wring from their employer's necessity, were the same who
subsequently dashed blindfold into the action with the Hatteras, and
later yet, steamed quietly out of a safe harbour with a disabled ship,
to meet an enemy in perfect trim and of superior force, and as their
shattered vessel sank beneath their feet, crowded round the very captain
with whom the hard bargain had been driven, imploring him not to yield.

Finally, the bargaining resulted in the shipping of a crew, all told, of
eighty men; a larger number, perhaps, than Captain Semmes had himself
anticipated, but still not so many by at least twenty-five as were
required for properly manning and fighting the vessel. With these,
however, the Captain was fain to be content, trusting to volunteers from
future prizes to complete his complement. A hard evening's work followed
in preparing allotments of pay to be sent home to the sailors' wives,
and also in paying their advance wages, and sending small drafts for
them to agents in Liverpool. It was not till 11 P.M. that this task was
completed, and then Captains Bullock and Butcher took a final farewell
of the ship, and returned on board the Bahama, which with the remainder
of the two crews steamed away for Liverpool, and the Confederate cruiser
was left alone upon the wide ocean, and had fairly started on her
adventurous career.

No sooner had the two steamers parted company than sail was made on
board the Alabama. The fires were let down, fore and main topsails were
set, the ship's head turned to the N.E., and by midnight Captain Semmes
was able to leave the deck, and thoroughly worn out with the day's
excitement and exertions, turn in to an uneasy berth in search of a few
hours' repose.

Of this, however, there was not much to be obtained. The Alabama was no
sooner under way than the wind began to freshen, and soon increased to a
moderate gale. This was accompanied by one of those ugly seaways so
common in the North Atlantic, and the vessel rolled and tumbled in a
manner sufficiently trying, without the addition of the manifold
discomforts inseparably attendant on a first start. These, too, were, as
may well be supposed, not a little aggravated by the hurried manner in
which the transhipment of stores from the Agrippina and Bahama had
perforce been conducted. Everything, in fact, was in the wildest
confusion. The ship herself was dirty and unsettled, and her decks below
lumbered in all directions with all manner of incongruous articles. No
one was berthed or messed, nothing arranged or secured. Spare
shot-boxes, sea-chests, and heavy articles of baggage or cabin furniture
were fetching away to the destruction of crockery and other brittle
ware, and the no small danger of limbs. While to crown all, the upper
works of the vessel which had been caulked in the damp atmosphere of an
English winter, had opened out under the hot sun of the Azores through
every seam, and the eternal clank, clank of the pumps, which it was
fondly hoped had been heard for the last time when the poor, worn-out
little Sumter had been laid up, played throughout the long night a
dismal accompaniment to the creaking of the labouring vessel, and the
wild howling of an Atlantic gale.

So passed the Alabama's first night at sea. The next day the gale still
continued, and hindered not a little the energetic exertions of the
First Lieutenant, who, whilst Captain Semmes endeavoured, by snatching a
few hours' sleep, to quiet his worn-out nerves, took his turn in the
endeavour to bring something of order out of the apparently hopeless
chaos, and gradually reduce the vessel to the trim and orderly condition
proper to a well-commanded man-of-war. On the Tuesday the gale abated,
though there were still the remains of a heavy sea. Topsails and
gallantsails were set, and the propeller, which had hitherto been merely
disconnected, and left to revolve, was hoisted up out of the water.

Several days now passed in setting matters to rights, passing spare shot
below, laying the racers for the pivot guns; overhauling and stowing the
magazines; securing furniture, baggage, and other loose articles that
had hitherto pretty well "taken charge" of the deck below; and otherwise
making things somewhat snug and shipshape, and preparing the vessel for
self-defence in case of need.

By Friday, August 29th, these preparations were nearly completed, and in
the early morning of that day the cry of "Sail, ho!" was heard for the
first time from the look-out at the fore-topgallant crosstrees of the
Alabama. The ship was at once kept away towards her, and after a long
chase, approached at near nightfall to within five or six miles of the
strange sail. The vessel proved to be a brig, and on nearing her Spanish
colours were shown by the Alabama. The brig made no response, and the
cruiser proceeded to fire a blank cartridge, as an intimation of her
character. Still the stranger kept doggedly upon her way, without
response, and it became a question whether ulterior measures should be
taken. After careful examination, however, of all those various
indications by which a sailor can judge of the nationality of a vessel,
almost as effectively as from a sight of her colours, it was decided
that she was, at all events, not an American; and Captain Semmes,
being-anxious to haul by the wind, and make his way with all speed to
the westward, the chase was abandoned, and the Alabama proceeded again
upon her course.

The next day, Saturday, August 30th, saw the preparations for the
battery complete, and the pivot guns finally mounted, and ready for
action. The men were now allotted to the various stations, and mustered
at quarters, when it was found, that by telling off half a dozen of the
junior officers to complete the crew of the rifled gun, there were just
hands enough to fight the ship. This was satisfactory; and altogether
the five hard days' work since quitting Terceira had resulted in
something more like success in the way of order, comfort, and
efficiency, than it had at first sight appeared possible to anticipate.

Sunday, August 31st, was a welcome day of rest to all on board; the only
break being a brief run off after a brig to leeward, which on being
challenged with French colours, proved to be a Portuguese. During the
day the Alabama made good running to the westward, under topsails, with
a fresh breeze well on her starboard quarter; and at midnight made all
snug, and brought by the wind on the port tack. The next day was passed
for the most part in quietly lying to under topsails, with her head to
the southward and eastward, whilst the crew were employed in finishing
the fittings of the battery, and scraping the deck and bulwarks clear of
some of the accumulated dirt, till 3 P.M., when she filled away again,
and started upon a N.W. course.

By Tuesday, Sept. 5th, the Alabama had run into the thirty-eighth
parallel, and the temperature was sensibly altering. Up to this period
no prize had been captured, the few vessels overhauled having all been
under a neutral flag. On this day, however, whilst in chase of a brig,
whose extraordinary swiftness enabled her fairly to show the Alabama a
clean pair of heels, a vessel was descried in the offing, and the
Confederate bore up and made towards her. On approaching she was found
to be lying-to, with her foretopsail laid to the mast, and on a somewhat
nearer inspection, proved evidently to be a whaler.

English colours were hoisted on board the Alabama, and a cheer was with
difficulty suppressed as the Stars and Stripes rose in answer to the
stranger's deck. Arrived within boarding distance, a boat was at once
sent on board the prize, the Alabama's red ensign giving place to the
Confederate flag as the boarding officer gained her deck. She proved to
be the Ocmulgee, of Edgartown, her captain, by name Abraham Osborn,
being a thorough specimen of the genuine Yankee. She was, of course,
taken possession of, her crew brought on board the Alabama and placed in
irons, and a quantity of rigging, of which the latter was much in need,
together with some beef, pork, and other small stores, transferred to
the captor. A light was then hoisted at her peak; her helm lashed hard
a-lee; the prize crew re-transferred to their own ship, and the Ocmulgee
left to her own devices, the Alabama lying by her during the night.

The next morning another sail hove in sight, so the prize was fired, and
the Alabama again started off in chase, having taken from the prize
thirty-six prisoners besides the stores, rigging, &c., before alluded
to. The new chase proved to be a Frenchman, bound to Marseilles; and
this fact having been ascertained, the Alabama was kept away N. 1/2 W.,
and in two hours afterwards was in sight of the island of Flores.


_A muster--Prisoners landed--The Starlight--Santa Cruz--Novel night
procession--The Alert--Three sacrifices in a day--Weather Gauge
captured--The Altamaha--A signal--The Benjamin Tucker--Burnt!--The
Courser--Target practice--The Virginia--The Elisha Dunbar_.

From the 7th to the 18th of September was a busy time on board the
Alabama. Prize after prize was taken, and Captain Semmes' journal, as
will be seen, is chiefly taken up with records of successful chases.

_Sunday, September 7th._--Running in for the island of Flores. At 11
A.M. mustered the crew for the first time, and caused to be read the
Articles of War, to which they listened with great attention. At 3.30
P.M., having approached sufficiently near the town of Lagens, on the
south side of the island, we sent all the prisoners on shore, having
first paroled them in the three whale-boats belonging to the prize,
Ocmulgee. At 4 P.M. filled away upon the starboard tack to head off a
schooner that appeared to be running in for the island. Having
approached her within a mile, we hoisted the English colours. The chase
not showing her colours in return, fired the lee bow gun. Still paying
no attention to us, but endeavouring to pass us, fired a shot athwart
her bows. Not yet heaving-to, or showing colours, fired a second shot
between her fore and mainmast; she then hoisted the United States
colours and rounded-to. Sent a boat on board and took possession. The
captain coming on board with his papers, she proved to be the Starlight,
of Boston, from Fayal to Boston _viá_ Flores. She had a number of
passengers; among others, some ladies. Put a prize crew on board of her.
Brought on board all the United States seamen, seven in number,
including the captain, and confined them in irons, and ordered the prize
to remain close to us during the night. Some dark clouds hanging over
the island, but the wind light and the sea smooth.

Among the papers captured were a couple of despatches to the Sewards,
father and son, informing them of our operations at Terceira. This
small craft left Boston only six days before we left Liverpool in the
Bahama. How strangely parties meet upon the high seas! The master was
the cleverest specimen of a Yankee skipper I have met, about
twenty-seven or twenty-eight. He avowed his intention of trying to run
the gauntlet of my shot, deprecated the war, &c., &c.

_Monday, September 8th_.--* * * * Again stood in to the town of Santa
Cruz, in company with the prize; lowered the cutter, and sent the
prisoners on shore, with a note addressed to the Governor. In the
meantime the Governor himself with several citizens came on board us.
The Governor offered us the hospitalities of the island, and in return I
expressed to him the hope that his fellow-citizens who were passengers,
had suffered no inconvenience from her capture.

In the afternoon, gave chase and showed English colours to a Portuguese
brigantine. We then wore ship, and chased a barque in the north-west,
with which we came up about sunset. She proved to be the whaling barque
Ocean Rover, from Massachusetts, forty months out, with a cargo of 1100
barrels of oil. Laid her to for the night, and permitted the captain and
his crew to pull in to the shore (Flores) in his six whale boats. The
sea being smooth, the wind light off shore, and the moon near her full,
this was a novel night procession!

_Tuesday, September 7th_.--* * * * I was aroused in the mid-watch,
having had about only three hours' sleep, after a day of fatigue and
excitement, by the announcement that a large barque was close aboard of
us. We were lying to at the time in company with our two prizes. Wore
ship very quietly, and gave chase. The chase rather got the wind of us,
though we head-reached upon her, and at daylight we hoisted the English
flag. The barque not responding, fired a blank cartridge. She still not
responding, fired a shot astern of her, she being about two miles
distant. This brought her to with the United States colours at her peak;
put a boat on board, and took possession of her. She proved to be the
Alert, from New London, sixteen days from port; bound, _via_ the Azores,
Cape de Verde, &c., to the Indian Ocean. Supplied ourselves from her
with some underclothing for the men, of which we stood in need.

About 9 A.M. fired the Starlight; at 11 fired the Ocean Rover; and at 4
P.M. fired the Alert. Boarded a Portuguese whaling-brig, the master of
which I brought on board with his papers. These proving to be regular, I
dismissed him within a few minutes. Sent the captain and crew of the
Alert on shore, to the village on the north end of Flores, in their own
boats, four in number.

Sail, ho! at 5 P.M. Filled away, and gave chase to a schooner in the
N.E. She was standing for us at first, but tacked on our approach, and
endeavoured to run. We had shown her the United States colors, and she
also had hoisted them, but she distrusted us. A blank cartridge brought
her round again, and hove her to. Sent a boat on board, and took
possession of the schooner Weather Gauge, of Provincetown, six weeks
out. The last two captures supplied us with large numbers of Northern
newspapers as late as August 18th. * * *

_Saturday, September 13th_.--Gave chase to a sail reported on the
weather bow, and upon coming up with her, and heaving her to with a
blank cartridge, she proved to be the hermaphrodite whaling brig
Altamaha, from New Bedford, five months out. Little or no success.
Captured her, put a prize crew on board, and made sail in chase of a
barque to windward.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, September 14th_.--* * * Last night at a quarter past eleven I
was aroused by the report that a large ship was close on board of us.
Hurried on deck, wore ship, and gave-chase; the strange sail being about
two to two and a half miles from us, partially to windward. Made all
sail, held our wind, and gradually eat him out of the wind, as well as
head-reached on him. Fired a blank cartridge, which he disregarded.
Continued to overhaul him, and when we had gotten on his weather-beam,
distant about half a mile from him, fired a second gun, which speedily
brought him to the wind with his maintopsail to the mast. Sent a boat on
board, with an order to the officer to show me a light if she should
prove to be an American; and in a few minutes after the officer got on
board a light was shown at the peak. Lay by him until daylight, when the
captain was brought on board. The ship proved to be the United States
whaler Benjamin Tucker, from New Bedford, eight months out, with about
340 barrels of oil. Crew thirty. Brought everybody on board, received
some soap and tobacco, and fired the ship. Made sail to the S.E.

_Monday, September 15th_.--* * * Caulking the decks, which are already
quite open. Made the island of Flores from the masthead late in the
afternoon. Exercised the crew at quarters. Shipped one of the prisoners
from last prize--a Hollander.

_Tuesday, September 16th_.--* * * * At daylight made a schooner on the
starboard bow. Gave chase, and at 7.30 hove her to with a blank
cartridge, and sent a boat on board, she showing United States colours.
She proved to be the whaling schooner Courser, of Provincetown,
Massachusetts. Took possession of her as a prize. Stood in towards
Flores, within four or five miles, and sent all the prisoners from the
last three prizes on shore in their own whale boats, eight in number.
Number of prisoners sixty-eight. About 5 P.M., having taken the prize
some eight or ten miles distant from the land, hove her to, called all
hands to quarters, and made a target of her, firing three rounds from
each gun. The practice was pretty fair for green hands for the first
time. We hulled the target once, and made a number of good line shots.
At dark fired the prize, and made sail to the westward.

_Wednesday, September 17th_.--* * * At 7.30 A.M. gave chase to a sail on
the starboard bow, and at meridian came up with and took possession of,
the United States whaling barque Virginia, twenty-one days from New
Bedford. Received papers as late as the 28th August. Got on board from
the prize a large supply of soap, candles, &c.; and after bringing the
prisoners on board, fired her; filled away, and made sail to the N.W.

_Thursday, September 18th_.--* * * Gave chase to a barque, which,
discovering our purpose, made all sail and tried to escape. Came up with
her at 2 P.M., after a chase of about three hours. Hoisted the English
ensign, to which she refused to respond. Fired the starboard bow gun,
and ran up our own flag, when she shortened sail and hove-to. Sent a
prize crew on board, she showing the United States ensign. Brought the
master on board. She proved to be the whaling barque Elisha Dunbar, of
New Bedford, twenty-four days out. As it was blowing fresh and
threatening a gale of wind, we got all the prisoners on board in the
course of about a couple of hours, and set fire to the barque. Reefed
topsails, set the fore trysail with the bonnet off, and stood on a wind
on the starboard tack to the S. and E.


_Successive gales--Uncomfortable quarters--Weather moderates--Blowing
again--The Emily Farnum and the Brilliant--Neutral cargo--Ransomed--In
flames--The Wave Crest--The Dunkirk--Religious smuggling--A deserter
caught--A court martial--The Tonawanda--Precautions--The Manchester
burnt--Hope--Parting company--The Lamplighter--A hurricane--Great
danger--A cyclone--Safely passed_.

After this burst of good fortune in the way of prizes, during which the
Alabama had destroyed upwards of 230,000 dollars' worth of United States
property--or an amount very nearly equal to her own entire cost--in
eleven days, a lull was experienced. A succession of gales from various
points of the compass now prevailed with more or less violence for seven
or eight days, during a great portion of which the Alabama was lying to,
in a heavy sea under close-reefed maintopsail and reefed trysails.

These were hard times for the prisoners; huddled together on deck, with
no shelter but an extemporized tarpaulin tent between them and the
pelting of the pitiless storm, which drenched the decks alternately with
salt water and fresh, as the heavy rain-squalls came down, or the sea,
glittering with phosphoric light, came dashing over the weather
bulwarks. There was, however, no alternative. The berth-deck was already
fully occupied by the Alabama's own crew, and the unlucky prisoners were
compelled to make the best of their uncomfortable position, and console
themselves with the hope that some vessel with a neutral cargo might
fall on the same ill-fortune with themselves, and afford them a chance
of being paroled and sent ashore.

As the sun crossed the line the weather moderated, and by the 25th of
September all was again calm and fair, and the crew busy caulking the
decks, which had leaked terribly during the gales. They were followed by
a succession of calms and light baffling winds, the delay occasioned by
which was turned to advantage in practising the crew at the battery, and
with small arms.

With the commencement of another month the rough weather returned. The
2nd October was a real ugly-looking day, with dense black clouds and a
Newfoundland north-easter blowing freshly. No observation was to be had,
the thick clouds altogether shutting out the sun, and the ship being in
the current of the Gulf Stream, the most she could do was to guess at
her position within some thirty or forty miles.

On the 3rd the weather moderated, and fortune again smiled upon the
Alabama. The morning watch was not yet over when two sails were
descried, the one ahead, the other on the lee bow, each of which in its
turn was overhauled and captured; the one proving to be the Emily
Farnum, from New York for Liverpool; the other, the Brilliant, from the
same port for London, with a valuable cargo of grain and flour.

The cargo of the Emily Farnum being neutral property, the vessel was
released as a cartel, the prisoners from the Brilliant being transferred
to her, as also those already on board from the other prizes, a change,
as may well be imagined, sufficiently acceptable to those unfortunate
beings who had now been exposed for nearly three weeks to all the
vicissitudes of an autumn in the North Atlantic. This done, the Emily
Farnum was permitted to proceed upon her way. The Brilliant was then
stripped of everything that could be of use to her captors, set on fire,
and left to her fate.[8] From the papers taken on board of this vessel
the crew of the Alabama learned the good news of the Confederate
victories in Virginia, and also of the successful run of the
screw-steamer Florida into a Confederate port. The two vessels also
brought to the Alabama a prize, in the persons of four new recruits,
which, in the short-handed condition of the ship, was of more real value
to her than the vessels themselves.

[Footnote 8: One of the Alabama's officers writes in his private

"It seemed a fearful thing to burn such a cargo as the Brilliant had,
when I thought how the Lancashire operatives would have danced for joy
had they it shared amongst them. I never saw a vessel burn with such
brilliancy, the flames completely enveloping the masts, hull, and
rigging in a few minutes, making a sight as grand as it was appalling."]

The barque Wave Crest, of and from New York, for Cardiff, with a cargo
of grain, was the Alabama's next victim. She was chased and captured on
the 7th of October, and having no evidence of the neutral ownership of
her cargo, was condemned and set on fire, after serving for some time as
a target, at which her captors might practise their firing. She was
still blazing merrily, when another vessel was descried from the
masthead, and at 9.30 P.M. of a beautiful moonlight night, a blank shot
from the Alabama brought up the smart little brigantine Dunkirk, from
New York, for Lisbon, also loaded with grain. A boat was sent on board
of her, and her papers handed over to one of the Alabama's officers. No
evidence of neutrality, however, was to be found, and before midnight
she too was a blazing wreck, and her captain and crew prisoners on board
the Confederate steamer.

The Dunkirk proved noteworthy in two ways. On searching through her
papers, it appeared that besides her ostensible cargo she was also
employed in what may be termed a kind of religious smuggling. Some
Portuguese copies of the New Testament were discovered, together with a
number of tracts in the same language, tied up in large bundles, on the
back of one of which was the endorsement:--"Portuguese Tracts; from the
'American Tract Society,' for distribution among Portuguese passengers,
and to give upon the coast to visitors from the shore, &c. When in port,
please keep conspicuously on the cabin table for all comers to read;
but be very careful not to take any ashore, as the laws do not allow

It appeared, however, that the conscience of the society had pricked
them for this concession to the majesty of the law, and a pen had been
carefully run through the last sentence. A little lower down, upon the
same packet, was written, "As may be convenient, please report (by
letter, if necessary) anything of interest which may occur in connexion
with the distribution; also take any orders for Bibles, and forward them
to John S. Peerin, Marine Agent, New York Bible Society, No. 7 Beekman

The other noteworthy fact in connexion with the Dunkirk was the capture
on board of her of one of the seven sailors who had deserted from the
Sumter whilst lying at Cadiz ten months before. This man, whose name was
George Forrest, was at once recognised, and on the day but one after his
capture on board the enemy's vessel, a court-martial, consisting of the
first lieutenant (president); senior second lieutenant; master, chief
engineer, and lieutenant of marines, with the captain's clerk as
judge-advocate, was assembled in the wardroom to try the prisoner for
the crime of desertion. The evidence was, of course, simple enough, and
the man was found guilty, and sentenced to lose all pay, prize money,
etc., already due to him, and to fulfil his original term of service,
forfeiting all pay and allowances, except such as should be sufficient
to provide necessary clothing and liberty money.

That same afternoon another sail was descried and chased, and just
before sunset the Alabama came up with and brought to, the fine packet
ship Tonawanda, of Philadelphia, belonging to Cope's Liverpool line, and
bound from Philadelphia to Liverpool with a full cargo of grain, and
some seventy-five passengers. Here was a serious matter of
embarrassment; of the seventy-five passengers, some thirty or more were
women, and what to do with such a prize it was hard to know. It was, of
course, impossible to take the prisoners on board; yet Captain Semmes
was, not unnaturally, reluctant to release so fine a vessel if he could
by any possibility so arrange matters as to be able to destroy her. It
was therefore determined to place a prize crew on board, and keep the
ship in company for a time, in hopes that ere long some other vessel of
less value to the enemy, or guarded from destruction by a neutral cargo
might, by good luck, be captured, and thus afford an opportunity of
sending the prisoners away upon cartel.

Accordingly, a bond was taken of the captain for eighty thousand
dollars, as a measure of precaution, in case it should be found
necessary to let the ship go without further parley, and a prize master
having been put on board the Tonawanda, was ordered to keep company, and
her captor started off on a chase after a brig, which on being
overhauled proved to be English. One transfer, however, was made from
the prize, being nothing less than a well-grown and intelligent negro
lad, named David White, the slave of one of the passengers, who was
transferred to the Alabama as waiter to the wardroom mess, where he
remained until the closing scene off Cherbourg, by no means disposed, so
far as his own word may be taken for it, to regret the change of

The following day, as an additional security, the master of the
Tonawanda was brought as a hostage on board the Confederate steamer, the
prisoners from the last two ships burned being at the same time
transferred to the prize. In this manner the two vessels cruised in
company for two or three days--an anxious time enough for the crew and
passengers of the unlucky Tonawanda, who spent most of their time in
eagerly scanning the horizon, in the hope that some armed vessel of
their own nation might appear in sight, and rescue them from their
unpleasant predicament. No such luck, however, was to be theirs; but on
the 11th October, a fresh addition was made to their numbers in the crew
of the Manchester, a fine United States ship from New York to Liverpool,
the glare of which as she, like so many others, was committed to the
flames, by no means alleviated their anxiety, as they thought how soon a
similar fate might befall their own vessel, should fortune not interpose
to arrest the disaster.

At length, on the 13th October, excitement prevailed on board of both
vessels, and the hopes of the anxious passengers on board the Tonawanda
rose to fever pitch, as a large vessel was seen bearing down under
topsails only, her easy-going style of sailing seeming to prove
conclusively to a sailor's eye, that she must be either a whaler or a
man-of-war. On board the Alabama the former was the favorite
supposition, and hopes ran high of another glorious bonfire fed by tons
of brightly burning sperm oil. The aspirations of the Tonawanda were
naturally in favor of the man-of-war, and it was with difficulty that
considerations of prudence restrained the open exhibition of their
delight as the stranger drew near, and the long pendant floating proudly
from her masthead seemed to assure them that their hopes were to be

But disappointment was equally in store for all. The big easy-going ship
proved to be nothing more or less than an ordinary Spanish merchantman,
who, with more regard for personal appearance than maritime etiquette,
had quietly appropriated to herself the distinguishing ornament of a
man-of-war. So the guns of the Alabama, which had been cast loose and
loaded, were again secured, and the crew dismissed from quarters; while
the disconsolate Tonawandas, balked of their fondly anticipated rescue,
shook their fists at the deceptive Spaniard, and went below to digest as
best they might their grievous disappointment.

At last, however, this time of suspense was over, and kind fortune came
to their assistance in the shape of a threatening gale of so ugly an
appearance that the captain determined not to run the risk of parting
company, and thus altogether losing his awkward, but not the less
valuable prize. Accordingly, having accepted from the master a ransom
bond for eighty thousand dollars, he dismissed him to his ship, and amid
the wildest demonstrations of delight from the closely-packed prisoners
on board, the Tonawanda filled away, and was seen no more.

The wind now freshened to a tolerably fresh gale. Not sufficient,
however, for the next two days to prevent the Alabama from chasing and
capturing, on the 15th October, the United States barque Lamplighter, of
Boston, from New York to Gibraltar, with a cargo of tobacco, which,
however, as it proved, was never destined to soothe the _ennui_ of the
British soldier at that not very lively station. The sea was running
high, and the boats had a rough time of it in boarding the barque, and
returning with prisoners, &c. However, it was managed at last; the
unlucky vessel was fired, and after burning fiercely for some time, went
headforemost to the bottom, leaving behind her a savoury cloud that
almost tempted her destroyers to regret their work.

And now it proved indeed fortunate for the prisoners who had so lately
been discharged, that they were not doomed to weather out on the
Alabama's deck the gale that came upon her. The 17th of October saw the
culminating of the bad weather that had prevailed during the last four
or five days, and for some hours the Alabama was exposed to a perfect
hurricane. The storm did not last long, but for about four hours it blew
furiously. It was not yet at its height, and the ship was still carrying
her close reefed maintopsail with reefed main trysail and fore topmast
staysail, when a sharper lurch than usual threw a sudden strain upon the
bumpkin to which the weather main brace was led, and in a moment it had
snapped in two. The mainyard no longer supported by the brace, and
pressed by the whole power of the straining topsail, flew forward and
upward till it was bent nearly double, when with a loud crash it parted
in the slings, splintering the topsail into ribands with a noise like

The ship was now in the greatest peril, for there was no longer
sufficient after canvas to keep her head to the wind against the
powerful pressure of the foretopmast staysail, and in another moment she
must have fallen into the trough of the sea, and probably been at the
least dismasted, if not altogether swamped. But the quick eye of the
captain of the foretop saw the danger, and springing to the staysail
halyards he cut the sail away, and the ship relieved of pressure
forward, again came up to the wind.

The main trysail was now lowered, though not without splitting the sail,
and a small three-cornered storm trysail hoisted in its place. Even
under this minimum of canvas the tremendous pressure of the gale upon
her spars forced her down in the water several streaks, and the idlers
and boys were lashed for safety under the weather bulwarks, life-lines
being stretched before them to prevent them from falling to leeward.

So far as it was possible under the circumstances to estimate the
probable extent of this cyclone, its greatest diameter would appear to
have been from about one hundred and sixty to two hundred miles, whilst
the diameter of the vortex, through a considerable portion of which, if
not actually through the centre, the Alabama appears to have passed,
would probably be from about thirty to five-and-thirty or perhaps forty

The Alabama took the gale at S.W., the wind hauling afterwards to S.,
and the vessel passing completely through the vortex. During that time
it lulled for about half or three-quarters of an hour, then hauled in a
few minutes to about N.N.W., which was the severest portion of the gale,
commencing with the squall by which the mainyard was carried away. The
barometer sank as low as 28.64. At 2 P.M. it had risen to 29.70, but
fell again a little, and then rose gradually. The rise and fall of the
barometer were both very rapid.

During the violence of the gale, the birds flew very low, and with great
rapidity, and some rain fell, though not a great deal. The surface of
the sea was one sheet of foam and spray, the latter completely blinding
all on deck. A curious result of the gale was a huge knot into which a
strip of the maintopsail, the clew line, and chain sheet had twisted
themselves in a hundred involutions, defying any attempt at extrication
except by aid of the knife.

During this tremendous storm the Alabama behaved splendidly, proving
herself as fine a sea-boat as ever swam.

By the evening the storm had lulled, but the sea was still running
fearfully high, and it was not until the next day that it was possible
to set about repairing the damage suffered in this by far the severest
trial through which the Alabama had as yet passed.


_Out of luck--Tempest-tossed--Rotatory storms--A prize--The case of the
Lafayette--A long chase--The Crenshaw--Neutral or not?--Rough again--The
Lauretta--Condemned!--The Baron de Custine--Released on bond._

The Alabama was again out of luck. For the second time since her
departure from Terceira, nearly a fortnight passed without bringing a
single prize. It was, indeed, hardly to be expected that the splendid
success which had attended the first three weeks of her cruise could be
maintained. From the 1st to the 18th of September, she had captured and
destroyed no less than ten vessels, of an aggregate value of nearly two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Then had followed an interval of a
fortnight, during which one vessel only was overhauled, and proving to
be French, permitted to proceed. This dull period over, the 3rd October
had seen the commencement of another run of good fortune, extending over
nearly a fortnight, during which she succeeded in capturing five more
vessels, all of considerable size, and for the most part with valuable
cargoes. In this fortnight alone damage was inflicted upon United States
property to the amount of more than half-a-million of dollars; and it
was but natural that, after so splendid a gift, fortune should for a
time hold her hand.

Accordingly, for the next ten or twelve days the Alabama lay helplessly
on the ocean, tossed and beaten about by a succession of gales from
every point of the compass, culminating, as we have seen, in the
hurricane of the 16th October. The season was, indeed, most unusually
severe, this month of October being commonly one of calm and fine
weather. A gale at this time is a most unusual occurrence; but for more
than a week a succession of storms was experienced of the most violent
description, while for fully three weeks the weather continued dark,
rough, and gloomy, with strong shifting winds and heavy rain, the thick
clouds rarely separating sufficiently to afford the chance of an

Occasionally a break in the murky canopy would give promise of a change
for the better; but a very few hours served to dissipate the rising
hope. The sky would be again overcast, the wind breeze up from a fresh
quarter, and another night of discomfort set in. In addition to this
adverse weather, a still further difficulty was experienced in the
strong current that appeared to set continuously from the westward,
drifting the vessel bodily out of her course at the rate of sixty or
seventy miles a day. During this period, the barometer ranged from
28.64 to 29.70. It was remarkable that the winds appeared to succeed
each other with perfect regularity, rotating, as nearly as possible,
once in every two days, or at the utmost, in two days and a half. The
course taken by these rotatory storms was always the same, and it was a
rare occurrence for the wind to remain stationary in one quarter during
eight or ten successive hours.

On the 23rd October the gale at last finally broke, and with the return
of better weather the Alabama's luck seemed also about to revive. At
noon a brief break in the clouds just gave time for an observation for
latitude, and this was barely worked out, when "Sail, ho!" was heard
from the masthead; and a fine brig was discovered hull down on the lee
bow. Running down to her under close-reefed topsails, she proved to be
English; but though not destined herself to become a prize, the
deviation in the Alabama's course, occasioned by the chase, proved most
fortunate for her. She had scarcely luffed up again, after ascertaining
the brig's nationality, when again the welcome cry was heard, and the
helm shifted in pursuit. Soon the new chase became clearly discernible
from the quarter-deck, when she proved to be a large ship running to the
northward and eastward under a press of canvas. So determinedly was she
"cracking on" as to have everything set, even to her main-royal,
notwithstanding that the wind was still blowing very nearly half a gale.

The course of the stranger being diagonal to that of the Alabama, the
speed at which she was travelling soon brought her within speaking
distance, and, as usual, a feint was made for the purpose of extorting a
confession of her nationality. The flag chosen this time was the English
blue ensign, and it was speedily answered by the Stars and Stripes,
which fluttered gaily from the merchantman's peak as she dashed along
under her towering mass of canvas before the breeze, right across the
Alabama's path.

Another moment and the scene was changed. The Yankee ensign had hardly
reached her peak, when down came the beguiling signal from the Alabama's
flagstaff, and the white folds of the Confederate ensign unfurled
themselves in its stead. A flash, a spurt of white smoke, curling for a
moment from the cruiser's lee-bow, and vanishing in snowy wreaths upon
the wind, and the loud report of a gun from the Alabama, summoned the
luckless Yankee to heave to. In a moment all was in confusion on board
the merchantman. Sheets and halyards were let go by the run, and the
huge cloud of canvas seemed to shrink and shrivel up as the vessel was
rounded to with folded wings like a crippled bird, and with her
foretopsail to the mast, lay submissively awaiting the commands of her

She proved to be the ship Lafayette, of Boston, bound to Belfast, with a
full cargo of grain, &c. Of her own nationality there was, of course, no
doubt; but a question now arose about the ownership of the cargo, and
some hours of patient investigation were necessary before Captain Semmes
could determine upon the course to pursue. Finally it was determined
that the claim of neutral ownership was a mere blind to insure against
capture; and at 10 P.M., the ship having been formally condemned, the
crew were transferred to the Alabama, and the prize fired and left to
her fate.

The following is Captain Semmes' memorandum of the


Ship and cargo condemned. The cargo of this ship was condemned by me as
enemy's property, notwithstanding there were depositions of the shippers
that it had been purchased by them on neutral account. These _ex-parte_
statements are precisely such as every unscrupulous merchant would
prepare, to deceive his enemy and save his property from capture. There
are two shipping houses in this case; that of Craig and Nicoll, and that
of Montgomery Bros.: Messrs. Craig and Nicoll say that the grain
supplied by them belongs to Messrs. Shaw and Finlay, and to Messrs.
Hamilton, Megault, and Thompson, all of Belfast, to which port the ship
is bound, but the grain is not consigned to them, and they could not
demand possession of it under the bill of lading, it being consigned to
_order_, thus leaving the control in the hands of the shippers. The
shippers, farther, instead of sending their grain as freight in a
general ship, consigned to the owners, they paying the freight, charter
the whole ship, and stipulate themselves for the payment of the freight.
If this property had been _bonâ fide_ the property of the parties in
Belfast named in the depositions, it would undoubtedly have been
consigned to them, under a bill of lading authorizing them to demand
possession of it, &c., &c.; the agreement with the ship would have been
that the consignees and owners should pay the freight upon delivery.
Even if this property were purchased, as pretended, by Messrs. Craig and
Nicoll, for the parties named, still their not consigning it to them and
delivering to them the proper bill of lading passing the possession,
left the property under the dominion of Craig and Nicoll, and as such,
liable to capture. The property attempted to be covered by the Messrs.
Montgomery, is shipped by Montgomery Bros. of New York, and consigned to
Montgomery Bros., in Belfast; and the title to the property, so far as
appears in the bill of lading, is in the latter house, or in the branch
house in New York. Further, the mere formal papers of a ship and cargo
prove nothing, unless properly verified, and in this case the master of
the ship, although a part owner of the ship, whose duty it was upon
taking in a cargo in time of war, to be informed of all the
circumstances attending it, and connected with the ownership, knew
nothing, except what he learned from the face of the papers. These
certificates, therefore, were pronounced a fraud, and the cargo as well
as the ship, condemned. 3d Phillimore 610-12 to the effect, that if the
goods are going for account of the shipper, _or subject to his order or
control_ (as in this case), the property is not divested _in transitu_.
The goods shipped by Craig and Nicoll, were consigned to their _order_,
as has been seen.

As to the Montgomery's, see 3rd Phillimore 605, to the effect that if a
person be a partner in a house of trade in an enemy's country, he is, as
to the concerns and trade of that house, deemed an enemy, and his share
is liable to confiscation as such, notwithstanding his own residence is
in a neutral country. Further, the property consigned to Montgomery
Bros., even admitting the Belfast house not to be a partner in the New
York house, is liable to the same objection, as in the case of Craig and
Nicoll; since, although the property is described as belonging to a
party in Sligo, there is no bill of lading among the papers authorizing
that party to demand the possession. The property is not divested,
therefore, _in transitu_.

3rd Phillimore, 599, to the effect, that "further proof" is always
necessary when the master cannot swear to the ownership of the property
(as in this case). And as I cannot send my prizes in for adjudication, I
must of necessity condemn in all cases where "further proof" is
necessary, since the granting of "further proof" proceeds on the
presumption that the neutrality of the cargo is not sufficiently
established; and where the neutrality of the property does not fully
appear from the ship's papers and the master's deposition, I had the
right to act upon the presumption of enemy's property.

By midnight the Lafayette showed only a dim glare on the distant
horizon, but the event formed a topic of discussion for the next two
days, more especially as from the newspapers found on board it was
ascertained that news of the captures on the banks of Newfoundland had
already made its way to the United States, and that the Yankee cruisers
were, therefore, probably by that time in full pursuit.

The 26th October, however, provided the crew of the Alabama with a
fresh excitement. The weather had cleared beautifully, the wind was
light from the eastward, and the vessel was gliding smoothly and
swiftly, with studding-sails set alow and aloft, over the long, easy
swell, which alone remained to tell of the heavy gales of the past
fortnight. Every one was enjoying the change, and even the strict
discipline of the man-of-war was, for the moment, in some measure
relaxed, as officers and men gave themselves up to the full pleasure of
a period of sunshine and tranquillity, after the long spell of gloom and
storm. The look-out-man alone, high up on the fore topgallant
crosstrees, still swept the horizon as eagerly as ever in search of a
prize. At about noon his vigilance was rewarded by the sight of a sail
on the port-quarter, and in a moment all was again bustle and excitement
on board. Quick as the word could be given, the "flying kites" were
furled, yards braced in, and the ship hauled up on a taut bowline in

But the stranger was now well to windward, and fully four or five miles
distant. The Alabama flew through the water with the freshening breeze,
flinging the spray over her sharp bows, and stretching to her task as
though she herself were conscious of the work before her, and eager in
chase. But the strange sail was almost, if not quite, as fast as
herself, and her position so far to windward gave her an immense
advantage. The day, too, was wearing on, and the sky beginning to cloud
over, giving every token of a dark if not a stormy night. If the chase
could only hold on her course till dusk she was safe, and already the
hopes of another prize were beginning to fade, and the anxious
speculators on the forecastle were expecting the order to up helm and
relinquish the chase.

On the quarter-deck, too, the idea was gaining ground that the affair
was hopeless, and that it was not worth while to keep the ship longer
from her course. But the Alabama was not given to letting a chance slip,
and before finally abandoning the pursuit it was determined to try the
effect of a shot or two upon the nerves of the stranger. A slight cheer,
quickly checked by the voice of authority, rose from the eager crowd on
the forecastle, as the weather bow gun was cast loose and loaded, and in
another minute the bright flash, with its accompanying jet of white
smoke, leaped from the cruiser's bow, as the loud report of a 32 pounder
rang out the command to heave to.

A moment of breathless suspense, and another cheer rose from the
delighted throng of sailors, as the stranger's sails were seen for a
moment to shiver in the wind, and the frightened chase luffed to the
wind, and then lay motionless with the Stars and Stripes at her
mizenpeak. Another sharp hour's beating and the Alabama was alongside,
and had taken possession of the United States schooner Crenshaw, from
New York to Glasgow, three days out.

And now began another investigation into the character of the cargo, and
notes were once more carefully compared, lest any _bonâ fide_ neutral
property should become involved in the fate that would otherwise befall
the captured enemy. Finally, however, the case was decided against ship
and cargo, and both were accordingly committed to the flames, the
following entry being made by Captain Semmes of the grounds of his


This vessel was captured under the North American flag, and had on board
a North American register--there is, therefore, no question as to the
ship. There has been an attempt to cover the cargo, but without success.
The shippers are Francis Macdonald and Co., of the city of New York; and
Mr. James Hutchison, also of New York, deposed before the British
consul, that "the goods specified in the annexed bills of lading were
shipped on board the schooner Crenshaw, for, and on account of, subjects
of Her Britannic Majesty, and that the said goods are wholly and _bonâ
fide_ the property of British subjects." No British subject is named in
the deposition, and no person is therefore entitled to claim under it.
Further: even admitting the goods to have been purchased on British
account, the shipper has not divested himself of the possession by a
proper consignment, under a proper bill of lading. The property is
consigned to the _order of the shipper_, which leaves it entirely under
his control; and it having left the port of New York as his property,
the title cannot be changed while the property is _in transitu_.

As to the first point--to wit, the failure to point out some particular
British owner of the property--see 3d Phillimore 596, to the following
effect:--"If in the ship's papers, property, in a voyage from an enemy's
port, be described 'for neutral account,' this is such a general mode as
points to no designation whatever; and under such a description no
person can say that the cargo belongs to him, or can entitle himself to
the possession of it as his property," &c.

And as to the second point--to wit, the failure on the part of the
shipper to divest himself of the title and control of the property by a
proper bill of lading--see 3rd Phillimore 610-12, as follows, viz.: "In
ordinary shipments of goods, unaffected by the foregoing principles, the
question of proprietary interest often turns on minute circumstances
and distinctions, the general principle being, that if they are going
for account of the shipper, or subject _to his order or control_, the
property is not divested _in transitu"_ &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, October 27th._--Another gale of wind! In the mid-watch last
night the barometer commenced falling, and by 3 this afternoon it had
gone down to 29.33, where it remained stationary for a time, and then
began to rise slowly, being at 29.45 at 8 P.M. The wind began to blow
freshly from the south, and hauled gradually to the westward, the
barometer commencing to rise when the wind was about W.S.W. In the early
part of the gale we had the weather very thick, with heavy squalls of
rain, clearing about nightfall, with the wind from the W.S.W.

In the midst of a heavy squall of wind and rain, and with a heavy sea
on, we discovered a brig close aboard of us, on our weather quarter; but
as we were on opposite tacks we soon increased our distance from each
other. Wore ship, and hove to, under close-reefed topsails on the
starboard tack. Being about a degree to the southward of St. George's
Bank, got a cast of the lead at 7 P.M., with no bottom at eighty-five
fathoms. Lat. 39.47 N., Long. 68.06 W., a little over two hundred miles
from New York.

_Tuesday, October 28th_.--Weather cloudy; wind light from the north,
hauling to the eastward. The heavy sea, from the effects of the gale
yesterday, continued all day rolling and tumbling us about, and keeping
the deck flooded with water. In the morning watch descried a brig
running off to the southward. She being some distance off, and running
in the wrong direction, we did not chase. Soon afterwards another sail
was reported to the westward, standing in our direction; shaped a course
to head her off, and at 11 A.M., having approached her within half a
mile, hoisted the English blue. The stranger showing United States
colours, we hoisted our own, and hove him to with a gun. Brought the
master on board with his papers, and finding the cargo condemnable, got
the crew on board, fired the ship, and filled away.

The prize proved to be the barque Lauretta, of Boston, from New York,
for Madeira and the Mediterranean. Received papers as late as the 24th.
The intelligence of our captures (as late as the Brilliant) seems to
have created great alarm for the safety of commerce in New York.


This ship being under American colours, with an American (U.S.)
register, no question arises as to the ship. There are two shippers of
the cargo, Messrs. Chamberlain, Phelps, and Co., and Mr. H.J. Burden,
both houses of New York city. Chamberlain, Phelps, and Co. ship 1424
barrels of flour, and a lot of pipe staves, to be delivered at Gibraltar
or Messina, to their own order; and 225 kegs of nails to be delivered at
Messina, to Mariano Castarelli. The bill of lading for the flour and
staves has the following indorsement, sworn to before a notary: "State,
city and county of New York: Louis Contenein being duly sworn, says,
that he is a clerk with Chamberlain, Phelps, and Co., and that part of
the maize in the within bill of lading, is the property of subjects of
the King of Italy." This certificate is of no force or effect for its
generality; it points to no one as the owner of the merchandise, and no
person could claim it under the certificate. See 3rd Phillimore, 596.
Farther: the property is consigned to the _order_ of the shipper. The
title, therefore, remains in him, and cannot be divested _in transitu_.
See 3rd Phillimore, 610-12. The contingent destination of this property,
too, shows that it was property for a market. It was to be delivered
either at Gibraltar or Messina, as the shipper might determine--probably
on advices by steamer, before the ship should reach her destination. She
was to stop, as we have seen, at Madeira, which would give ample time
for the decision.

The bill of lading for the 225 kegs of nails has a similar indorsement,
except that it is asserted that the whole of the property belongs to
subjects of the King of Italy. It is not sworn that the property belongs
to Castarelli, the consignee, and for aught that appears, Castarelli is
the agent of the shipper to receive this consignment on his, the
shipper's account. The presumption being, that notwithstanding a
consignment in due form by an enemy shipper to a neutral, the property
is enemy's property, until the contrary be shown. The consignment alone
does not show the property to be vested in Castarelli, and the
certificate does not indicate him as the owner. Although Castarelli
could demand possession of the goods, under this consignment, he could
not claim to hold them as his property under the certificate. There is,
therefore, no evidence to show that he is not the mere agent of the
shipper. What renders this consideration still more clear is, that if
the goods had really belonged to Castarelli, it would have been so
stated in the certificate. Why say that the goods belonged to "subjects
of the King of Italy," when the consignee was the real owner?

The property shipped by H. Jas. Burden consists of 998 barrels of flour
and 290 boxes of herrings, and is consigned to Charles B. Blandly, Esq.,
at Funchal, Madeira. The shipper, H.J. Burden, makes the following
affidavit before the British consul in New York, to wit: "That all and
singular the goods specified in the annexed bill of lading, were shipped
by _H.J. Burden_, in the barque Lauretta, for and on account of _H.J.
Burden_, subject of Her Britannic Majesty." Now, Burden may be a very
good subject of Her Britannic Majesty, but he describes himself as of 42
Beaver Street, New York, and seems to lose sight of the fact, that his
domicile, for the purposes of trade, in the enemy's country, makes him
an enemy, _quoad_ all his transactions in that country. Further: if the
H.J. Burden, the shipper, is not one and the same person with the H.J.
Burden for whom the property is claimed, then there is nothing in the
papers to show that property is vested in the latter, since it is not
consigned to him, nor is it shown that the consignee, Charles B.
Blandly, Esq., is his agent. The presumption, in the absence of proof,
is, that the consignee is the agent of the shipper.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, October 29th._--* * * * At 10 A.M. hove to; let down the
propeller, and put the ship under steam. Chased and overhauled a Dutch
barque, and towards nightfall came up with the United States brigantine,
Baron de Custine, from Bangor, with lumber for Cardenas. The vessel
being old, and of little value, I released her on ransom bond, and
converted her into a cartel, sending some forty-five prisoners on board
of her, the crews of the last three ships burned.


_Disappointment--Out of the track--The Levi Starbuck--Fresh vegetables
--News--The other side of the case--Kindness repaid--The T.B. Wales--A
family--Volunteers--In man-of-war trim_.

The month of October went out as it came in with severe and blustering
weather. The Alabama was still upwards of two hundred miles from New
York, and it seemed as though a change would become necessary in her
plans. Ever since starting upon his adventurous cruise, it had been a
favorite scheme with Captain Semmes to make his appearance off this the
very chief of the enemy's ports, and, if not strong enough actually to
threaten the place itself, at all events to make a few captures within
sight of the capital city of the North. It had been, therefore, a
special disappointment to find himself baffled by a continued succession
of hostile winds and contrary currents; and even the brilliant success
that had thus far attended him in the capture of twenty-one vessels and
the destruction of property to very nearly a million of dollars, seemed
hardly to compensate for the failure of his pet project.

It was fast becoming evident, however, that the scheme for putting in an
appearance off New York must be abandoned, at all events for the
present; and on the 30th October the chief engineer was consulted as to
the amount of coal remaining in the bunkers. The report was unfavorable.
Four days' fuel only was left; and it was clear that even had the vessel
been nearer than she was to her intended cruising ground, this would
have been rather a short supply with which to venture on so dangerous an
experiment. Reluctantly, therefore, the scheme was relinquished, the
fires let down, propeller hoisted up again, and sail made to the
southward and eastward _en route_ for the coal depôt.

The ship was now out of the track of commerce, and for some time
scarcely a vessel was seen. The 2d November, however, brought a prize in
the shape of the ship Levi Starbuck, five days out from New Bedford, on
a whaling voyage of thirty months to the Pacific Ocean. Like all
whalers, she carried a stronger crew than is common with other vessels
of similar tonnage, and twenty-nine prisoners were transferred from her
to the Alabama. Being bound, too, on so long a cruise, she was well
furnished with all necessaries, and the captor was enabled to supply
himself from her with various articles of which, by this time, and after
the rough weather he had experienced, he had begun to stand somewhat
sorely in need.

Not the least highly-prized among the spoils of the Levi Starbuck was a
noble collection of cabbages and turnips, fresh from their native soil!
These were, indeed, invaluable. The Alabama had now been upwards of
seventy days at sea, and during nearly the whole of that period her crew
had subsisted entirely on salted provisions. Happily, as yet, no ill
effects had appeared; but the fresh vegetables came most opportunely to
ward off any danger of that scourge of the sailor's existence, scurvy,
to which a longer confinement to salt diet must inevitably have exposed

Indeed, but for the consciousness of how vitally necessary a change of
diet is to the health of a ship's crew, there would have been something
almost ludicrous in the delight with which the men, who for the last six
months had been almost daily destroying thousands of pounds' worth of
the most valuable property of every description, now hailed the
acquisition of a sack or two of turnips and a few strings of humble
cabbages. But abstinence is a wonderful quickener of apprehension; and
for teaching the true value of the good things of this life, there are
few recipes more effectual than a voyage in the forecastle of a cruising

Besides the cabbages and turnips, which were so welcome forward, the
Levi Starbuck contributed not a little to the comfort of the after-part
of the vessel by her contribution of newspapers, which passed eagerly
from hand to hand, through wardroom and steerage, affording a pleasant
change from the worn-out topics of discussion that had now grown
threadbare through the wear-and-tear of many a dull day and stormy
night. The Starbuck's papers brought news from Yankeeland as late as the
28th of October, and not the least important item was that which told of
the excitement occasioned among the enemy by the little craft whose
officers were now jesting merrily over the consternation she had raised,
and the measures that were being taken for her destruction.

It was certainly not a little amusing to read in the angry columns of
Yankee newspapers, the magnificently-exaggerated accounts of the
depredations of the dreaded Confederate "pirate." It was difficult
sometimes to recognise the events referred to under the gorgeous
embellishments with which they were invested. Occasionally, too, an
exclamation of disgust would be heard from some officer, more excited or
less philosophic than his comrades, as with his head half-buried in some
broad, ill-printed, vilely-smelling sheet, he would declaim from its
columns, for the edification of the mess, paragraph after paragraph of
abuse of the vessel and her officers, and withering denunciations of the
barbarity with which their unfortunate prisoners were treated while on
board. Among those who thus revealed their true nature by abusing and
vilifying the men, who, though enemies, had endeavoured while they had
them in their power to alleviate in every possible way the inevitable
hardships of captivity, the master of the ship Brilliant obtained for
himself an unenviable pre-eminence, by the grossness of the falsehoods
with which he retaliated upon his captors for their mistaken kindness;
and many a vow was registered in the wardroom and gun-room of the
Alabama, that should this gentleman ever again fall into their hands,
they would be wiser than to waste courtesy on one who could so little
appreciate it.

The Levi Starbuck having been disposed of in the usual manner, sail was
again made upon the Alabama, and on the 5th November, Bermuda, "the
still vexed," was passed, though at too great a distance to sight the

_Saturday, November 8th._--... In the mid-watch a sail was reported--a
schooner, standing south. Wore ship (1.30 A.M.) and gave chase. Soon
after daylight, the chase being some five miles dead to windward of us,
a ship was discerned standing to the northward and westward.
Discontinued the chase of the schooner, and gave chase to the ship. At
10 A.M., the latter having approached to within a mile of us (we having
United States colours flying), hove her to with a gun, and a change of
flags. Sent a boat, and brought the master on board. She, proved to be
the ship T.B. Wales, of Boston, from Calcutta for Boston. There being no
claim of neutral property among the papers, and the master having no
knowledge on the subject, except that the linseed belonged to the owner
of the ship, condemned both ship and cargo. A large portion of this
cargo was consigned to Baring Brothers, Boston, including 1704 bags of
saltpetre--contraband of war--which would have condemned all the
property of the Barings, even if proof of ownership had been found on
board, which was not the case.

We are to be embarrassed with two females and some children, the master
having his wife with him, and there being also a passenger and his wife.
I shall bestow them upon the wardroom, having a couple of state rooms
vacated for them. Poor women! They are suffering for the sins of their
wicked countrymen who are waging this murderous war upon us.

       *       *       *       *       *

About nightfall another sail was descried from aloft, and a light was
seen after dark; but we did not get hold of the sail. Just at dark,
having taken all the prisoners on board from the prize, and got her
mainyard on board to replace ours, carried away in, the storm of the
16th ultimo, we set fire to her, and filled away on our course. Nine of
the crew of this ship volunteered, and were shipped as part of our own
crew--an acquisition more valuable than the prize herself.

_Sunday, November 9th._--... My _ménage_ has become quite home-like
with the presence of women and the merry voices of children. We have had
a quiet Sabbath-day, there being nothing in sight.

       *       *       *       *       *

For some time from this date quiet days preponderated. The Alabama was
now in the region of the trade winds, but it was some time before they
were fairly taken. From the 9th November, in Lat. 27.52 N., Long. 58.24
W., to the 15th November, in Lat. 21 N., Long. 57.49 W., the wind
continued light and variable, sometimes even for a few hours blowing
directly from the southward. On the 15th November the N.E. trade
appeared to have fairly set in, and from this time fine weather and
favouring breezes became the order of the day.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Sunday, November 16th_.--Beautiful clear weather, with a moderate trade
from about east by south. Woollen clothes becoming uncomfortable. At 11
A.M. mustered the crew, and inspected the ship. A quiet Sabbath-day,
with nothing in sight. Our ship begins to look quite like a ship of
war--with her battery in fine order, her decks clean, freshly-painted
outside, masts scraped, &c., &c., and the crew well disciplined. Thus
far I have never seen a better disposed or more orderly crew. They have
come very kindly into the traces.

_Monday, November 17th_.--... Running before the wind, with
studding-sails set on both sides. At 2 P.M. made the island of Dominica,
half a point on the starboard bow.


_Martinique--News from home--Friendly greetings--Mutiny!--Order
restored--The San Jacinto--Neutrality of the port invaded--Prompt
measures--Expectation--Ready for action--Success--Locking an empty
stable--Temptation--The Clara L. Sparks--Refitting--A court-martial

The 18th November saw Captain Semmes again off Martinique, which he had
visited in the Sumter just twelve months before. Making the north end of
the island at about 4 A.M., the propeller was lowered and steam got up,
the day breaking just as the Alabama's screw began to revolve. At 10
A.M., having run past St. Pierre, she anchored in the harbour of Fort de

Here she found her faithful consort, the Agrippina, from whom she had
parted at Terceira on the 24th of August. On her departure from that
port, she had returned with all speed to Cardiff, from which she had
again sailed for the rendezvous at Martinique, and was now ready with a
fresh supply of coal for the Alabama, and had been waiting her arrival
just eight days. In addition to the much needed supply of coal, the
Agrippina brought a small mail for the Alabama's officers, who thus
received news from friends at home for the first time for more than
three months.

No sooner was the anchor down than a lieutenant was sent ashore to pay
the usual visit of ceremony to the Governor, carrying with him a note,
informing his Excellency of the arrival of the Confederate steamer
Alabama in French waters. A few hours brought a courteous reply,
extending to the Alabama the hospitality of the port; and the health
officers having visited the ship, arrangements were made for laying in a
stock of provisions, and such other articles as were required after the
cruise. Nor were the amenities of the Alabama's reception confined to
the authorities alone. An enthusiastic greeting awaited her from almost
every one; the clubs were placed at their disposal, and invitations _à
discretion_ poured in from every side.

It would, perhaps, have been better for the discipline of the Alabama
had the welcome extended to her crew been somewhat less cordial. Weary
of their long confinement, and bent, as the sailor always seems to be on
first putting into port, on a "good spree," a considerable number of her
men fairly succumbed to the hospitality of the worthy islanders, a
result that was not a little aggravated by the exertions of the
deserter, Forrest. This man appears to have entertained a deliberate
purpose of exciting a mutiny on board of the vessel, and with this
object in view, managed to slip overboard unobserved, swam to a boat,
and returned on board with a quantity of spirits, which he distributed
through the forecastle. The result was a disturbance, which at one time
wore a serious aspect, and which, but for the energy and promptitude of
the means taken to subdue it, might have had very awkward results.

The Captain of the Alabama, however, was not a man to be intimidated or
taken off his guard. No sooner was the disturbance reported than the
drums beat to quarters, and the sober portion of the crew were at once
directed to seize the rioters. Placed in double irons, and effectually
drenched with buckets of cold water by their laughing comrades, the
unlucky mutineers soon came to their senses, and order was restored. The
ringleader, Forrest, was then triced up in the mizen-rigging, "two hours
on and two off," to await the punishment of his crimes.

The next day brought a fresh vision of the Stars and Stripes, but this
time from the mizen-peak of a heavily-armed steamer, which appeared
early in the morning, standing in towards the harbour. The Alabama was
at once cleared for action, and, as a precautionary measure, her funds
were despatched on shore for deposit in the event of the engagement
which appeared likely to ensue. This, however, was not to be. The
merchants, thinking evidently that Captain Semmes was in their power,
and must pay their price for taking charge of his treasure, refused to
have anything to do with it at a lower rate than five per cent. To this
the officer in charge would not agree, and the money was again carried
on board. Fortunately, as it turned out, for when the true character of
the stranger came to be ascertained, he proved to be the United States
steamer San Jacinto, of fourteen guns--viz., twelve 68 pounders, and two
eleven-inch shell-guns, and therefore much too heavy for the Alabama to
venture on an attack. This point was but just settled when the merchants
appeared alongside with an abatement in their charges for taking care of
the Confederate treasure; but the chance was gone, and they were
compelled to return as empty-handed as they had come.

Meanwhile, the authorities ashore had been bestirring themselves to
prevent any violation of the neutrality of their port. A boat was
despatched to the San Jacinto with orders either to come to an anchor,
in which case she must remain in the harbour full twenty-four hours
after the departure of the Alabama, or else to proceed again to sea, and
cruise beyond the limits of the maritime league from the harbour. The
latter alternative being preferred by the United States Captain, the San
Jacinto put her helm aport, and came slowly round, returning to the
prescribed distance from the shore, where she proceeded to steam slowly
backwards and forwards, in the hope of intercepting her little enemy,
should the latter venture to leave her anchorage.

Pending this submission on the part of the United States cruiser to the
orders of the Governor, the French gunboat Fata received instructions to
get up steam, and shifting her berth, took up her position close
alongside of the Alabama, fully prepared to offer her own contribution
to any controversy that might arise between the two rival vessels. Her
Captain and officers were very friendly, offering every assistance, and
pointing out on the chart the best means of eluding the enemy, the
superiority of whose size and weight put an end to all idea of a
deliberate attack, though there were still some among the crew of the
Alabama who could not relinquish the hope that in making their way out
of the harbour an engagement might be forced upon them.

All the vigilance of the authorities, however, though extending to the
prohibition of any intercourse whatever between the San Jacinto and the
shore, was unable to prevent the Yankee from establishing a code of
signals by which he might at once be put in possession of any movement
on the part of the Confederate steamer, which he now, no doubt, fully
looked on as his prize. Two of his boats were, as was afterwards
discovered, on the look-out during the night, and an understanding had
been come to with the master of the Yankee vessel lying in the harbour
to signal the Alabama's departure.

By dusk, Captain Semmes' preparations were completed; the funds, which
the Martinique merchants had allowed to slip through their
too-widely-opened fingers, were safely despatched on their way to
Liverpool; the necessary supplies were on board; and, with decks cleared
for action, all lights carefully extinguished, and all hands at
quarters, the Alabama stole quietly from her anchorage, and steamed
cautiously across the harbour on her way to the open sea.

It was a period of intense anxiety as the Alabama slipped silently
through the tranquil water of the harbour, each moment bringing her
nearer to the powerful enemy, who, when dusk had shut him from their
view, had been planted in the very centre of the entrance, eagerly
looking out for the expected prize. Presently it was found that her
movements were, at all events, known to the spies of the enemy, and a
succession of signals from the Yankee vessel they had left at anchor
were evidently intended to warn the San Jacinto of the attempted escape.
Momentarily now was expected the flash of the enemy's gun, and the
hoarse roar of his shot, and each crew stood by its loaded gun ready
with a prompt reply. Not a word was uttered on the crowded deck, and so
deep was the silence, that the low throbbing of the Alabama's propeller,
as it revolved slowly in the water, seemed to strike on the ear with a
noise like thunder. But the minutes passed by and the expected broadside
never came. The straining eyes of the look-outs could see no sign of the
San Jacinto. Either she had misunderstood the signals of her accomplice
on shore, or by some strange fatality they had altogether escaped her;
and the Alabama held on her course unmolested, until, at twenty minutes
past eight, less than an hour after the start, she was considered fairly
out of danger of interception.

The guns were now run in and secured, the word passed to the engineers
to fire up and give her a full head of steam; the men were piped below,
and the Alabama, throwing off the silence in which for the last hour she
had been wrapped fore and aft, darted off merrily over the rippling
waves, in the direction of the island of Blanquilla, at the rate of
fourteen knots an hour. It subsequently transpired that, notwithstanding
all her vigilance and all her pre-arranged signals, the San Jacinto had
been totally unaware of the escape of her agile foe, and actually
remained for four days and four nights carefully keeping guard over the
stable from which the steed had cleverly stolen away.

The morning of the 21st of November found the Alabama off the Hermanas,
and by 1.30 PM. she was in sight of the island of Blanquilla, the
appointed rendezvous of the Agrippina, who had already, about nine
o'clock that morning, been descried on the port bow making all speed
towards her destined anchorage. Here both vessels arrived in the course
of the afternoon; the Alabama, which was a far swifter sailer than her
merchant tender, being the first to drop anchor, and the Agrippina
following her in.

As the two vessels neared the shore, a schooner was discovered at anchor
in the little bay, and on the approach of the strangers she hoisted the
Stars and Stripes. On being overhauled by a boat, despatched for that
purpose from the Alabama, she proved to be the United States whaling
schooner, Clara L. Sparks, of Provincetown; and great was the grief and
astonishment of the unlucky master when the white flag of the
Confederacy was discovered floating at the new comer's peak.

The temptation was great to seize her, and devote her to the flames, but
Captain Semmes was anxious for nothing so much as to avoid all possible
ground of complaint with regard to any infringement of neutrality. It
happened, fortunately for the Clara Sparks, that a few herdsmen from
Venezuela were supporting a miserable existence in the barren island off
which she was anchored, and to make prize of the vessel under these
circumstances, might possibly be construed into a breach of neutral
privilege. In the end, therefore, it was determined not to molest the
whaler; and her master was informed, much to his relief and delight,
that so soon as the Alabama's arrangements were completed, he would be
free to continue his course. Meanwhile, however, it was peremptorily
necessary that he should not be permitted to escape, and reward the
forbearance of his captors by giving her enemy information as to her
whereabout. Orders were therefore given that the master and mate of the
schooner should repair every evening on board the cruiser, remaining
with her till the morning, when they were permitted to return on board,
and resume their avocations.

At 8 A.M. of Saturday, the 27th November, the operation of coaling
commenced, the men working in groups, which were relieved every two
hours, and by nightfall about seventy tons had been got on board. The
wind was fresh enough to raise a slight sea, causing the two vessels to
chafe considerably as they lay closely locked together for the purpose
of transhipping the coal. But notwithstanding the breeze, the day was so
hot as to deter Captain Semmes from visiting the shore, despite the
inevitable longing, after a confinement on board of more than three
months, to find the foot once more planted on solid ground. Some of the
other officers, however, explored the island, which they found a barren
place enough; the three herdsmen, who constitute the entire population
of the country, maintaining themselves after a fashion, by rearing a few
goats. They must, indeed, lead a life of privation, the island producing
scarcely anything; and even the water supply being extremely scanty, and
so brackish as to be hardly fit for human use.

Although to-day is the Sabbath--writes Captain Semmes, in his journal of
the following day--I did not consider it any violation of Christian duty
to continue coaling, as we are liable to be surprised at any moment, and
to have our purpose defeated.

So, too, thought the Alabama's crew, who worked cheerfully on throughout
the day, completing their task by half-past eleven on the Monday
morning. The Alabama had now on board about 285 tons, nearly 200 tons
having been received from the Agrippina. Estimating her consumption at
sixteen tons a day, which would give a moderate rate of steaming, she
had, therefore, in her bunkers fuel for about eighteen days.

This important matter arranged, the next thing to be done was to send
down the mainyard, which had been carried away in the cyclone, and
roughly fished together, and to supply its place with the second new
spar taken from the ship T.B. Wales. This occupied the greater portion
of the 25th, and Captain Semmes then proceeded to "break out" the hold,
for the purpose of taking stock of his provisions, no opportunity having
yet offered, since the hurried shipment of stores off Terceira, to
ascertain the precise amount in hand of salted provisions, and other
necessaries. Batches of liberty-men were also sent on shore to recruit
themselves with a run upon _terra firma_--an amusement in which such of
the officers as could be spared were but too glad to join.

Wednesday, the 26th November, saw all these arrangements completed, and
the last batch of liberty-men safely on board again after their run. The
Alabama was now ready for a fresh cruise, but before taking leave of
Blanquilla, there was an act of justice to be done. Accordingly, that
afternoon a court-martial was summoned for the trial of George Forrest,
the seaman who had originally deserted from the Sumter, and who, on his
recapture, had been sentenced to serve out his time, forfeiting all pay,
prize-money, &c. His present offence was that of endeavouring to incite
the crew to mutiny, and of procuring with that object the liquor with
which the rioters of the 18th November had been made intoxicated.

The case was clearly proved, and after some consultation judgment was
passed, sentencing him to lose all prize-money, and to be dismissed the
ship in disgrace. At a quarter past seven in the evening, all hands were
mustered aft to hear the sentence read; and after a short but effective
address from Captain Semmes, the prisoner was informed that he was now
dismissed the Confederate service with the stain of infamy upon him, and
bundled over the side into the boat that was to convey him to the shore.

This ceremony over, and the ship rid of the incorrigible scoundrel who
had so long disgraced her, the men were dismissed, and preparations made
for the Alabama's departure. She had been already preceded by the
Agrippina, three of whose hands had volunteered in exchange for three
from the steamer, and on the return of the boat no time was lost in
getting her under way. The captain and mate of the Yankee schooner were
released, and the Alabama stood out to sea under easy sail.


_At sea again--Moulded into shape--House-cleaning--Rates of pay--A
timely capture--The Parker Cook--A fix--A good night's rest--Sangfroid
--Amid jessamine bowers--Looking out for a rich prize--The Mina--"In
consequence of the Alabama."_

The Alabama was now on the look-out for a Californian steamer, and it
was quite possible that in so doing she might run into a fight. However,
should that be the case, there would be no disposition to shirk it. The
vessel was already three months in commission; and though some of her
crew had no doubt been originally a rough lot--the boys especially
picked up in the streets of Liverpool, being designated by Captain
Semmes as most incorrigible young rascals--three months of steady,
strong-handed discipline had done wonders in reducing these rough
elements to order, and making out of a set of merchant sailors, gathered
here and there at random by the prospect of high pay and stirring
adventure, as orderly and well-trained a crew as could be found on board
many a man-of-war of twice her length of service.

All hands, then, were ready and eager for a brush with the enemy. It was
necessary, of course, that the relative strength of the two ships should
not be too disproportionate; but the approach of an United States ship
of anything like their own force would have been hailed with delight by
all on board.

Considerable excitement was occasioned when, on the second day after
leaving Blanquilla, a prospect of an encounter seemed to present itself.
It was still early morning when a sail was reported on the lee bow, and
soon the stranger was made out to be a large side-wheel steamer,
barque-rigged, and standing towards the Alabama. She was of considerably
superior size, but it was determined at least to see what she was made
of; and the Alabama was luffed to the wind, while preparations were made
for lowering her propeller and getting her under steam. It was soon
perceived, however, that the stranger was keeping quietly on her course,
without paying the slightest attention to these manoeuvres; and as it
was pretty certain that no enemy's ship, so greatly superior in size,
would lose so tempting an opportunity, it was at once clear that she
must needs be a neutral, probably some French war-steamer bound for
Martinique. So the propeller was left where it was, and the Alabama
slipt away again upon her course.

At nine o'clock the same morning, the coast of Porto Rico was in sight,
and a few hours afterwards the Alabama entered the Mona Passage,
shortening sail as she did so to permit a barque to run up with her for
the purpose of ascertaining her nationality. The barque, which proved to
be English, dipped her ensign as she passed to the Stars and Stripes
which were flying from the peak of the Alabama; but the compliment not
being really intended for the Confederate vessel, but for her enemies,
was, of course, not returned.

The Mona Passage being the regular track of United States commerce, it
was looked upon as almost a certainty that at least one cruiser would be
stationed for its protection. A bright look-out, therefore, was kept,
and hopes again ran high of a speedy brush with the Yankees. Nothing,
however, appeared; and the attention of the Alabama was for the most
part devoted throughout the day to strictly domestic affairs.

To-day--says Captain Semmes, in his journal--has been a great
"house-cleaning" day with the first lieutenant, who, regardless of Mona
Passages, strange sails, &c., is busy with his holy-stones and sand. * *

Gave an order to the paymaster to-day, authorising him to pay the
increased rates agreed upon with the crew off Terceira, viz.

                                               £  s.     Dollars.
Master-at-arms               per month         6  0  --  29.04
Yeoman                           "             6  0  --  29.04
Ship's steward                   "             6  0  --  29.04
Ship's corporal                  "             6  0  --  26.62
Armorer                          "             6  0  --  29.04

                                               £  s.     Dollars.
Ship's cook                   per month        5 10  --  26.62
Chief boatswain's mate            "            6  0  --  29.04
Second  ditto                     "            5 10  --  26.62
Gunner's mate                     "            6  0  --  29.04
Carpenter's mate                  "            6  0  --  29.04
Sailmaker's mate                  "            5 10  --  26.62
Quartermaster                     "            5 10  --  26.62
Quarter gunners                   "            5 10  --  26.62
Cockswains                        "            5 10  --  26.62
Capt. of forecastle               "            5 10  --  26.62
Capt. of top                      "            5  0  --  24.20
Capt. of aftguard                 "            5  0  --  24.20
Capt. of hold                     "            5  0  --  24.20
Cabin steward                     "            5  0  --  24.20
Ward-room steward                 "            5  0  --  24.20
Seamen                            "            4 10  --  21.78
O. seamen                         "            4  0  --  19.36
Landsmen                          "            3 10  --  14.94
Boys                              "            2  0  --   9.68
Firemen                           "            7  0  --  33.38
Trimmers                          "            5  0  --  24.20

_Sunday, November 30th._--Mustered and inspected the crew.
At 9 A.M., sent a boat on board of a Spanish schooner twenty
days from Boston, bound to the port of San Domingo. Received
some newspapers by her as late as to the 13th inst. Soon afterwards
another sail was discovered to leeward, beating up the coast.
Ran down for her, and when within proper distance hoisted United
States colours. The stranger responded with the same; whereupon,
in accordance with our usual practice, we hoisted our own
colours and fired a blank cartridge. This hove her to, when we
sent a boat on board of her. She proved to be the barque Parker
Cook, of and from Boston, bound to Cayes. This was a very
timely capture, as we were running very short of provisions, and
the prize was provision-laden. Got on board from her a quantity
of pork, cheese, crackers, &c.; and at 10 P.M. illuminated the
shores of San Domingo with a flambeau furnished by wicked men
who would gladly see another San Domingo revolution in our
unhappy country.

In the afternoon the weather became angry, and the wind blew
fresh, raising a considerable sea. As we were in the bight of Samana,
I felt a little uneasy about drifting too near the shore.
These are some of the anxieties of a commander that his officers
scarcely ever know anything about. Our prize was burned off
Cape Raphael. I did not turn in until near midnight; was called
two hours afterwards, upon having run a prescribed distance;
turned in again, and had just fallen comfortably asleep, when the
officer of the deck came down in great haste to inform me that a
large ship was standing down directly for us. We were hove to,
and as the moon had gone down, and the night was dark, I knew
she must be close aboard of us. I immediately ordered the maintopsail
to be filled, and hurrying on a few clothes, sprang on deck.
At a glance I saw that the danger was passed, as the intruder was
abaft the beam, running to leeward. Wore round and followed him.

_Monday, December 1st._--A stiff trade, with squall clouds. A
whirlwind passed near us. We had just time to take in the port
studding sails, which had been set in chase of the unwelcome disturber
of my rest last night. The chase proved to be a Spanish
hermaphrodite brig. * * * * Land in sight on the port
beam, and at noon the cape just ahead.

_Tuesday, December 2nd._ * * * * Running down the land.
Off the Grange at noon. Last night, at ten o'clock, a sail was reported
on the port quarter, nearly astern, running down before the
wind like ourselves. Having lights up, and looming up large, I
called all hands to quarters and cleared the ship for action, pivoting
on the port side, and loading the guns. As the stranger
ranged up nearly abeam of us, distant about eight hundred yards,
we discovered him to be a heavy steamer, under steam, and with
all studding sails set on both sides. Here was a fix! We had no
steam ourselves, and our propeller was triced up!

A few minutes, however, decided our suspense. From the quiet
movement of the steamer on her course, without shortening sail, or
otherwise, so far as we could see, making preparation for battle, it
was quite evident that he was not an enemy. He was a ship of
war--probably a Spaniard, bound from San Domingo to Cuba.
My first intention was to range up alongside and speak him, and
for this purpose I set the foresail and topgallant sails. But we
were soon left far astern, and the stranger was out of sight long
before we could have got up steam and lowered the propeller in

About 3 P.M. made the island of Tortuga. A sail reported on
the starboard bow, standing across our bows on the _port_ tack.
Through the stupidity of the look-outs the next thing we knew
was that she was off on the starboard quarter, and to windward
of us, she having been on the _starboard_ tack all the while! I
turned in to-night, hoping to get some rest, as I had been up the
greater part of last night. But after undressing, and before getting
into my cot (10 P.M.), the officer of the deck came below in a
great hurry to say there was a large vessel running down on us--we
were hove to--which appeared to be a steamer. Immediately
ordered the officer to fill away; went on deck, and at a glance
perceived that the sail was a brig running clear of us, and some
distance astern.

Went below again, and this time succeeded in actually getting
into bed, when I was again aroused by the announcement that a
vessel, with very white canvas, was running down upon us, a little
forward of our weather beam. Went on deck, filled away again,
and ran on under easy sail to assist the stranger's approach. The
night squally, with showers of rain, and the wind fresh. At 1.30
A.M. the stranger approached, and we spoke him. He was a small
schooner--white, as almost all the West Indian schooners are--Spanish,
&c. Turned in at two o'clock, and at daybreak down came intelligence
again that there were two sail in sight, and at 7 A.M., one of them
being within signal distance, I had again to turn out. This night will
serve as a specimen of a great many spent by me in my cruises.

_Wednesday, December 3rd._--We are cruising to-day, with the
weather very fine and clear, in the passage between San Domingo
and Cuba. Caused two neutral vessels to show their colours, and
at noon squared away for the east end of Cuba. Where can all
the enemy's cruisers be, that the important passages we have lately
passed through are all left unguarded? They are off, I suppose, in
chase of the Alabama!

At 10 P.M. a barque, having come quite near us in the bright
moonlight, we fired a blank cartridge to heave him to, and wore
ship. As he disregarded our signal, I directed a round shot to be
fired at him above his hull. This had the desired effect, our shot
passing--as we learned from him afterwards--between his fore-stay
and foremast. He proved to be the French barque, Feu Sacré,
from Port au Prince to Falmouth.[9] When asked why he did
not heave to at the first shot, he replied that he was a Frenchman,
and was not at war with anybody! * * * At midnight made the light on
Cape Maise.

[Footnote 9: From the boarding officer's memoranda it appears that
the master of this vessel protested vehemently against being annoyed
by United States vessels--the Alabama passing in this case as the U.S.
ship Wyoming.]

_Thursday, December 4th._--* * * * Standing off and on
Cape Maise, waiting for our Californian friend, who should have
left Aspinwall on the 1st, and should pass this point to-day or to-night.
Fires banked, so as to give us steam at a short notice. Several
sail passing during the day. Exercised the crew at the battery
at sunset. A beautiful bright night, with the wind somewhat too
fresh from the N.E. Lying to off Cape Maise. Everybody on the
tiptoe of excitement, and a good many volunteer look-outs. As for
myself, having put the ship in the right position, I turned in at 10
P.M., giving orders not to call me for a sail-ship, and got a good
night's rest, of which I stood very much in need.

_Friday, December 5th._--A very fine morning, with highly-transparent
atmosphere. The west side of Haiti visible, though distant
ninety miles. On this fine balmy morning I enjoyed exceedingly
the cheerful notes of our canary. This is a little prisoner made on
board one of the whalers; and sometimes at early morning I fancy
myself amid "jessamine bowers," inhaling the fragrance of flowers
and listening to the notes of the wild songsters so common in our
dear Southern land. May God speedily clear it of the wicked,
fanatical hordes that are now desolating it under pretence of liberty
and free government!

If the Californian steamers still take this route, the steamer of
the 1st must have been delayed, otherwise she should have passed
us last night. Several sail in sight, but I cannot yet leave my station
to overhaul them, lest my principal object should be defeated.
At noon, a schooner would insist on stumbling right into my path,
without the necessity of a chase. I brought her to, and she proved
to be United States property. She was the Mina, of and from
Baltimore, for Port Maria, on the north side of Jamaica. Her
cargo being English, I released her on a ransom bond for 15,000
dollars. She was of ninety tons, and thirteen years old. Kept her
by me until sunset, and then permitted her to depart, having
sent on board her the prisoners from the barque Parker Cook.

Our hopes of capturing a Californian steamer were considerably
damped by the intelligence given us by the mate of this schooner,
that these steamers no longer ran this route, but that the outward
bound took the Mona Passage (?), and the homeward bound the
Florida gulf passage. Still, I will wait a day or two longer to
make sure that I have not been deceived.

_Saturday, December 6th._--... At 9 A.M. hoisted
the propeller, and made sail to the northward and eastward. The
outward-bound Californian steamer is due off the Cape to-day, if
she takes this route at all; I will therefore keep the Cape in sight
all day. I glean the following paragraph from a New York letter,
published in a file of the _Baltimore Sun, _received from the
schooner Mina:--

"The shipments of grain from this port during the past week
have been almost entirely in foreign bottoms, the American flag
being for the moment in disfavour in consequence of the raid of
the rebel steamer Alabama!"


_The Alabamans lucky day--A trial of speed--Brought to--The Ariel--Buying
an elephant--Prisoners of war--Prize-money--Still on the look-out
--Broken down--A dilemma--Yellow fever--Release of the Ariel
--Under repair_.

Sunday again! The Alabama's lucky day; and this time, at
least, destined to be especially marked with white chalk in the
annals of the ship. The morning passed calmly enough; the ship
in her quiet Sabbath trim; and nothing giving token of what was
about to follow, save here and there a group anxiously scanning
the horizon, or eagerly discussing the chances of a rich capture
before nightfall.

The forenoon wore slowly away, and five bells had just sounded,
when the cry of "Sail, ho!" from the masthead put every one on
the _qui vive, _the excitement growing rapidly more and more intense
as bit by bit the description of the stranger became more
accurate and minute. She is a steamer--and a large one! That
sounded well, and the hopes of the sanguine rose higher and
higher. Brigantine rigged--and a side-wheel steamer!--so far so
good. This answers exactly to the description of the Californian
steamers. A few minutes will decide it now; the Alabama's
canvas has some time since been snugly furled, the fires spread and
well supplied with fresh fuel, the propeller lowered, and the ship's
head turned in a direction to intercept the approaching vessel.
Rapidly the chase looms larger and larger, as the two swift steamers
approach each other at almost top speed. And now the huge
walking-beam can be plainly distinguished, see-sawing up and
down between the lofty paddle-boxes, and the decks appear crowded
with hundreds of passengers, conspicuous among whom are to
be seen the gay dresses of numerous ladies; and--yes, surely that
is the glimmer of bayonets, and that military-looking array drawn
up on the hurricane-deck is a strong detachment of United States

Swiftly, and in grim silence, the Alabama approached her huge
but defenceless prey. From her open ports grinned the black
muzzles of her six 32 pounders, each with its crew standing round,
eager for the word. High above them towered the huge, black
pivot-gun, while from the mizzen-peak floated the delusive Stars
and Stripes, the sight of which was to tempt the stranger into a
confession of his own nationality.

The _ruse_ was, as usual, successful, and as the two vessels crossed,
the Alabama passing a short distance astern of the stranger, the
latter also hoisted United States colours, and expectation gave way
to certainty among the delighted crew of the Confederate steamer.
Down came the Yankee colours from her gaff, and in its stead the
white ensign of the Confederacy fluttered gaily in the breeze,
while a blank shot from the Alabama's lee bow-chaser summoned
the chase to surrender. Surrendering, however, seemed to be the
last thing in the chase's thoughts. Already she was ahead of the
Confederate cruiser, and trusting to her own well-known speed,
appeared determined to make at least one effort to escape. She
held steadily on her course, at top speed, without noticing the
pursuer's summons; the black smoke that poured in volumes from
her funnel, showing no less plainly than the rapid revolutions of
her paddles the strenuous exertions she was making to escape.

This state of things, however, could not last long. For a few
minutes the chase was permitted to try her speed against that of
her pursuer; but the latter soon found that with the highest pressure
of steam she had been able to raise during the short period
that had elapsed since the enemy first hove in sight, she was by no
means overhauling the chase as rapidly as could be desired. So
the friendly warning having been disregarded, the adoption of
more peremptory measures was decided on, and a shotted gun was
ordered to be fired over her.

Boom! went the Alabama's bow-chaser, as she yawed for a
moment to permit the gunner to take aim--and boom! at almost
the same instant went one of her broadside guns, the enthusiastic
captain of which could not contain himself until the order to fire
was given, but must needs bring down upon himself a reprimand
from the authorities of the quarter-deck for his precipitation.
Fortunately, however, this irregular shot did no harm--not improbably,
perhaps, from the very fact of its having been launched
so totally without consideration. The first, however, did its
errand most effectively, and the shower of white splinters that flew
from the chase's foremast as the shell, after grazing the funnel,
struck full against it, afforded most satisfactory evidence of the
accuracy of the line. Happily, the shell contented itself with cutting
the foremast very nearly in two, and did not explode until it
had passed safely overboard, otherwise the havoc created by it on
the crowded deck of the steamer must have been fearful.

The hint, however, was sufficient. The paddles of the chase
ceased to revolve, the huge walking-beam remained poised in midair,
and the steamer rounding to, submitted herself to her captors.
A boat was now lowered and, sent on board of the prize, which
proved to be, as anticipated, the mail steamer Ariel, from New
York to Aspinwall, having on board one hundred and forty marines
on their way to join the enemy's Pacific squadron; several
military and naval officers, among the latter of whom was Commander
Sartori, on his way to take command of the St. Mary's; and about five
hundred other passengers, a large proportion of whom were women and children.

The Alabama had "bought an elephant," and now the question
arose--what was to be done with her valuable but most unwieldy
acquisition? The first step, of course, was to send a prize
crew on board. The second to transfer to the Alabama sundry
important matters, such as the ship's papers, three large boxes of
specie, a 24 pounder rifled gun, 125 new rifles, 16 swords, and
about 1,000 rounds of ammunition. The marines and officers
were then put on parole, the former being disarmed, and all
pledged not to fight again against the Confederate States until
they should be regularly exchanged.

But this done, Captain Semmes' task was not half accomplished.
There was still the ship herself to be disposed of, and with her the
remaining five hundred and odd passengers, including among their
number a large proportion of women and children. What was to
be done? It was clear he could not fire the ship until all these
were safely out of her. It was at least equally clear that, squeeze
and contrive how he would, he could not possibly transfer such a
host of prisoners to his own already sufficiently crowded decks.
His only choice, then, was either to release the captured vessel at
once, upon a ransom bond, or to keep her by him for a time in
the hope that something might turn up to obviate the necessity of
so unsatisfactory a step. Captain Semmes decided upon the latter
course, and detaining the captain of the Ariel on board his own
ship, sent a prize crew to take charge of the Ariel, with orders to
keep company with the Alabama through the night.

This done, the Alabama returned under easy sail to her station
off the Cape, still anxiously looking out for the homeward-bound
steamer, which would of course prove a very far richer prize than
the one home-bound vessel he had captured. The following afternoon
the precaution was taken of disabling the captured vessel,
by removing from her engines the "bonnet of the steam chest
and a steam valve," which were sent into safe custody on board
the Alabama; care being also taken to prevent the Ariel from
availing herself of her sails as a means of escape should-the
Alabama have to start off in pursuit of her homeward-bound

No homeward-bound steamer, however, appeared, and it was
now determined to convey the Ariel into Kingston, Jamaica,
where it was proposed to land the passengers, and after providing
the Alabama, from the prize, with coal, provisions, and other
matters of which she stood in need, to take her out again to sea
and burn her. With this view the portions of the machinery
which had been removed during the night were restored to their
places, and the two vessels made sail towards Jamaica, on or about
the line which it was supposed would be taken by the Californian

The next morning was fine, and, with the prize in company, the
island of Navaza was made at about 9.30 A.M., on the port bow;
and five hours afterwards the two steamers were in sight of the
east end of Jamaica. By half-past seven that evening, the Alabama
was within about nine miles of Point Morant Light, and checked her
speed to enable the prize to come up with her.

And now a catastrophe occurred which, but for the most careful
and excellent management, might have had most serious results.
At about eight o'clock in the evening chase was given to
an hermaphrodite brig, on coming up with which a blank cartridge
was fired, and a boat despatched to board her and examine her
papers. At this moment, up came the engineer to report that the
engine had suddenly become entirely useless from the giving way
of some of the valve castings, and that twenty-four hours, at least,
would be required before the damage could be repaired. At this
untoward intelligence, the captain's first thought was of the chase,
and, casting a rapid glance in that direction, to his equal amazement
and disgust, he perceived that she had not obeyed the signal
to heave to, but was still standing quietly upon her course!

Here was, indeed, a pleasant predicament. Not a step could
he stir in pursuit, nor did he dare fire a shot after the departing
vessel, for fear, in the darkness of the night, of sending to the
bottom his own boat, which was now in full pursuit of her.
What if the boat should be led away too far in the ardour of the
chase, and of course taking for granted that as soon as the brigantine's
contumacy was discovered, the Alabama herself would at
once be after her? What, too, if the Ariel should get scent of
her captor's predicament, and take this favourable opportunity of
showing her a clean pair of heels, carrying off the unlucky prize
crew as a running horse might carry off the unskilful rider who
had imprudently bestridden it?

The moment was an anxious one, and great was the relief to
the minds of all who were in the secret, when the welcome sound
of oars working regularly backwards and forwards in their rowlocks
was again heard, and the boat returned, having managed to
overhaul the stranger; the wind having fortunately fallen too
light for her to escape.

The chase proved to hail from one of the German States, and
was just out of Kingston. According to her statement, this latter
port was now suffering from a severe visitation of yellow-fever.
This intelligence caused an entire change in the Alabama's plans.
It had been Captain Semmes' intention to run into Kingston, and
endeavour, at all events, to obtain permission to discharge his
numerous prisoners; this being, apparently, the only way in
which he could hope to disencumber himself of them, except by
releasing the ship at the same time. To turn some seven hundred
prisoners, however, many of them delicate women and children,
adrift in a place known to be suffering from the fearful scourge of
yellow-fever, would have been an act of inhumanity of which the
Confederate captain was quite incapable. Sorely to his disappointment,
therefore, he felt himself compelled to abandon the Kingston
scheme, and forego the pleasure of making a bonfire of the
splendid steamer that had fallen into his hands. It is an ill wind
that blows nobody any good, and to the yellow-fever were the passengers
by the Ariel indebted for an uninterrupted voyage, and her
owners for the preservation of their valuable vessel.

The question once decided in favour of the Ariel's release, it was,
of course, under existing circumstances, an object of no small importance
to get the matter concluded as speedily as possible. Had
she only known her captor's crippled condition she would have
had nothing to do but just to have steamed quietly away, taking
the prize-crew with her as compensation for the inconvenience to
which she had been put by her detention. And any moment
might reveal the all-important secret; so without delay, a boat
was again sent on board for the master, who was evidently not
a little relieved on being told that the vessel was to be released.

Some little discussion now arose as to the amount of ransom to
be exacted, but both parties were equally, though not as openly,
anxious to conclude the transaction; and the amount was finally
fixed at 261,000 dollars--a handsome sum, indeed, but one by
no means exorbitant, when the value of the vessel to be ransomed
is taken into consideration.

The bond duly signed, and safely deposited among the other
securities of the kind, Captain Semmes breathed more freely, and a
feeling of satisfaction at having steered safely through a situation
of such difficulty, offered some slight compensation for the disappointment
arising from the enforced release of the prize. The two vessels now parted
company; all parties, both civil, naval, and military, on board of the
Ariel, uniting their testimony in eulogy of the quiet, orderly, and
respectful conduct of their unwelcome guests. So with mutual amenities
the two courteous enemies parted, the Ariel steering a course to the S.S.W.,
the Alabama still hard at work in the repairs of her machinery, standing off
and on within easy distance of the Jamaica coast, and keeping as far
as possible from the track of vessels until the untoward disaster
should be repaired.


_Again ready--Gloomy weather--A Norther--The Arcas--The
second Christmas at sea--The war--Plymouth rock leaven--On
the lonely island--"Splicing the main-brace"--Searching for shells--Tired
of hard service--In irons--Well disciplined--A phenomenon--The
new year--In memoriam--To sea again_.

The exciting episode of the Ariel was followed by a period altogether
devoid of incident, though by no means destitute either
of interest or anxiety for those on board the Alabama. From
daybreak to dusk the click of the hammer, and the shrill screaming
of the file, arose incessantly from the engine room, as the
engineer and his staff laboured without a pause to repair the
damage to the machinery. The task proved even longer than
had been anticipated, and it was not until the afternoon of the
third day that the mischief had been finally remedied, and the
Alabama was pronounced in a condition to resume with safety her
destructive career.

Meanwhile, a brighter look-out than ever was kept from her mastheads.
There was still a possibility--though but a slight one--of
falling in with the homeward-bound Californian, for which they
had been waiting so long and so anxiously; whilst it was more
than ever necessary to care against surprise from any of the
enemy's cruisers, who might fairly be expected to be in considerable
force somewhere in the neighbourhood.

The northern shores of Jamaica, however, off which the Alabama
was now lying, standing along the coast, under easy sail
during the day, and at night laying her maintopsail to the mast,
appeared to be but little frequented by vessels of any kind, and
the cruiser was permitted to carry on her repairs without a single
interruption in the way of either a chase, or a call to quarters.
And it was perhaps as well that such an interval of rest should
have been afforded after the severe strain of the previous few
days. For Captain Semmes, at all events, it was a great boon,
for on that officer's never very robust constitution, the continued
anxiety and constant night-calls on deck, in wind and rain, had
had a very serious effect, and he was fairly laid up with cold and

The evening of Friday, December the 12th, saw the repairs of
the machinery of the vessel completed, the Alabama being at,
nightfall about opposite to the little town of St. Anne's. That
evening the crew were exercised at quarters; and the next day,
after a thorough cleaning of the decks, &c., the vessel ran away
to the westward of the Island of Jamaica, _en route_ for another
point of rendezvous, at which to take in fresh coal, and other
needful supplies.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Saturday, December 13th._--... Nothing in sight, and
I intend to see nothing--unless it be a homeward-bound Californian
steamer--at present, as it is important I should make the
run I contemplate without being traced. I should have much
liked to touch at the Caymans for fruit and vegetables for the
crew, but forbear on this account.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, December 15th.--_Fresh trade, ship rolling along under
topsails. This running down, down, the ever-constant trade
wind--to run _up_ against it, by and by, under steam--is not very
pleasant. Still, God willing, I hope to strike a blow of some importance,
and make my way safely out of the Gulf.

_Wednesday, December 17th._--The wind blew quite fresh during
the night from about N.E. by N. To-day it is blowing a moderate
gale from about N.N.E. This is probably a _norther_ from the
American coast, modified by its contact with the N.E. trade wind.
The clouds look hard and wintry. Close-reefed at nightfall....
The gale has continued all day, with a rough sea, in
which the ship is rolling and tumbling about. Weather cloudy
and gloomy-looking, and the wind moaning and whistling through
the rigging--enough to give one the blues. These are some of
the comforts of sea-going, and we have had our share of them in
the Alabama.

_Thursday, December 18th._--The gale continues, with dense
clouds in every direction obscuring the heavens so that we get no
meridian altitude. I got a glimpse of the sun at about nine minutes
past noon. When one's ship is in a doubtful position, how
eagerly and nervously one watches the shifting clouds near noon,
and how remorsely they sometimes close up their dense masses
just at the critical moment, shutting out from us the narrowly-watched
face of the sun! One is foolish enough sometimes almost
to feel a momentary resentment against inanimate nature--weak
mortals that we are!

The gale has drifted us so far to leeward that the wind from its
present quarter will no longer permit us to "lay through" the
Yucatan passage, so at 2 P.M. we tacked to the southward and
eastward. Weather still thick in the afternoon, with light rain at
intervals. We had a very ugly sea lashing us this morning--the
ship rolling so heavily as to awaken me frequently, though I sleep
in a swinging cot; and the water swashing over the decks, and
rushing by bucketsful down the companion-way, which we are
obliged to keep open to avoid being smothered.

_Friday, December 19th._--The gale continues with the tenacity
of a norther, this being the third day. This is but a foretaste of
the weather we may expect in the Gulf of Mexico. Being now in
the Gulf of Honduras, there is but a small strip of land between us
and it.

_Saturday, December 20th._--As ugly a day as one often sees,
with a great variety of wind and weather. In the morning the
wind was fresh from the N.E., with flying clouds, and a bright
sun, now and then obscured. At about 9 A.M. a cloud bank in
the north began to rise, and by 11.30 we had a densely overcast
sky, with heavy rain-squalls. I was running for Cape Catoche,
and was greatly disappointed at not getting a meridian altitude,
especially after the promise of the morning. At about 11.30
made the land--two islands, as described by the man at the masthead.
At 4 P.M. sounded in twenty-eight fathoms. Weather threatening a gale.
At six, double-reefed the topsails, and sounded in twenty-five fathoms.
I shall endeavour to feel my way around the Cape, and gradually bear up
for the westward. The bank is apparently clean and safe, but still
groping one's way in the dark in strange waters is a somewhat nervous operation.

_Sunday, December 21st_.--We doubled Cape Catoche very successfully
last night, hauling around it gradually in from twenty-five
to thirty fathoms, and ran along in the latter depth all night,
course W. and W. by S., sounding every hour. The wind blew
half a gale, and the weather looked threatening. This morning
the wind hauled more to the eastward, and moderated somewhat.
The sky still looks wintry, and the sun sheds a lurid light through
a semi-transparent stratum of dull grey clouds. At 11 A.M. mustered
the crews and at meridian passed a large steamer (hull down)
steering to the eastward, probably a French ship of war from Vera

_Monday, December 22nd._--Ran on during the night in a very
regular line of soundings of twenty fathoms, on a W.S.W. course.
At 9 P.M., having run within about twenty miles of the Areas,
anchored for the night in twenty fathoms.

_Tuesday, December 23rd._--At 9 A.M. called all hands up anchor;
and at ten we were under way, steering W.S.W.; at meridian
observed six miles to the northward of the Areas, and altered
course to S.W. At 1.30 P.M. made the Areas half a point on the
starboard-bow, distant about twelve miles; and at sunset came
to anchor in eleven fathoms of water, with the south Area bearing
N.W. by N. In the course of the afternoon our coal-ship,
which I had ordered to rendezvous here, hove in sight, and joined
us at the anchorage a few minutes after we came to.

_Wednesday, December 24th._--In the forenoon went out of the
harbour, and examined the entrances and anchorage. The dangers
are all visible, and it is only necessary to give a berth to the
reefs that make off from the points. There is an inner reef making
off to the westward from the northern island; but it, like the
other, is visible, and there is no danger whatever in approaching
it. The Areas are three low keys, lying in a triangle; the northern
key being the largest. We found a hut on this latter key, a
boat hauled up on the island, a net inside the hut, a boiler or two
for trying out oil, and other evidences of the inhabitancy of fishermen
or turtlers; but this not being the season for these pursuits,
everything had apparently been abandoned for some time.
Numerous birds of the gull species were the only living things
found in the island, and of these there were varieties of old birds
and their fledglings, and some of the former were still laying and
sitting. They seemed to have no fear of our men, and suffered
themselves to be caught by the hand, and knocked on the head
with sticks. The vegetation found was on the larger island, and
on that it consisted of a dense carpeting of sea-kale--not a shrub
of any kind. In the transparent waters on the inner reef, a great
variety of the living coral was found in all its beauty, imitating
the growth of the forest on a small scale. At P.M. we got
under way, and stood in and anchored under the south side of the
larger island in nine fathoms, and moored ship with an open
hawse to the north.

We entered by the S.E. passage between the south and the
north islands. The barque followed us, coming in by the S.W.
passage between the south and the west islands, and anchored a
little to the S.E. of us. Our anchorage is open to the S.E., but at
this season it does not blow from that quarter, and probably
would not bring in much sea if it did. We feel very comfortable
to-night in snug berth.

_Thursday, December 25th_.--Christmas-day!--the second Christmas
since we left our homes in the Sumter. Last year we were
buffeting the storms of the North Atlantic, near the Azores; now
we are snugly anchored, in the Arcas: and how many eventful
periods have passed in the interval! Our poor people have been
terribly pressed in this wicked and ruthless war, and they have
borne privations and sufferings which nothing but an intense patriotism
could have sustained. They will live in history as a people
worthy to be free; and future generations will be astonished at
the folly and fanaticism, wickedness and want of principle, developed
by this war among the Puritan population of the North. And in this class
may nine-tenths of the native population of the Northern States be placed,
to such an extent has the "Plymouth Rock" leaven "leavened the whole lump."
A people so devoid of Christian charity, and wanting in so many of the
essentials of honesty, cannot but be abandoned to their own folly by a just and
benevolent God.

Our crew is keeping Christmas by a run on shore, which they
all seem to enjoy exceedingly. It is, indeed, very grateful to the
senses to ramble about over even so confined a space as the Arcas,
after tossing about at sea in a continued state of excitement for
months. Yesterday was the first time I touched the shore since I
left Liverpool on the 18th August last, and I was only one week
in Liverpool after a voyage of three weeks from the Bahamas; so
that I have in fact been but one week on shore in five months.
My thoughts naturally turn on this quiet Christmas-day, in this
lonely island, to my dear family. I can only hope, and trust them
to the protection of a merciful Providence. The only sign of a
holiday on board to-night is the usual "splicing of the
main-brace"--_Anglicè_, giving Jack an extra allowance of grog.

_Friday, December 26th._--* * * Weather fine, but the barometer
has gone down the tenth of an inch to day, and is now (7 P.M.)
29.96. I shall begin to look for a norther in about twenty-four
hours. We commenced caulking our leaky decks to-day, and
despatched the launch to assist in ballasting the barque. I strolled
on the islands to-day, and amused myself searching for shells along
the beach. There are some very pretty diminutive shells to be
found, similar to those on the Florida coast; but none of a larger
size than the common "conch," of which there are a few. We
have made free with the turtle nets of the fishermen found in the
huts, and have set them. As yet, we have only caught two or three
small turtle. I landed on the south island to-day, where they are
getting off ballast. This islet is occupied exclusively by the black
man-of-war bird; whilst the north islet seems to be divided between
the white gannet (with the lower edges of its wings black)
and the black warrior; the colonies being quite distinct. The
birds are still laying and incubating.

_Saturday, December 27th_.--The barometer has risen again, and
the weather still continues fine. Ballasting the barque, and overhauling
and setting up our topmast and lower rigging, and caulking
decks. Took a stroll in the north island towards sunset. It is
dull recreation after the novelty has worn off, with the somewhat
tough walking through the sand, and the smell and filth of the
clouds of gannet.

_Sunday, December 28th_.--Weather cloudy, with the wind from
the N.E. At 8.30 descried a schooner from aloft in the N.W., the
first sail we have seen, and quite an unexpected sight at this season
of the year. After we had armed and manned the cutter, to
board the sail when it should heave in sight from the deck, it was
ascertained that the look out had been deceived, and that the supposed
sail was probably a cloud in the horizon, it having suddenly

At 11 A.M. mustered the crew and inspected the ship. A quiet
Sabbath. Strolled on the island towards sunset, with the gannets
for companions, the surf for music, and the heavy sand for a promenade.
The weather cleared at nightfall, with the breeze fresh
from the N.N.E. Some of the men are getting tired of their hard
service; the chief boatswain's-mate having applied to return to
England in the barque. Refused him permission, of course. Constant
cruising, vigilance against being surprised by the enemy,
salt provisions, and a deprivation of the pleasures of port, so
dear to the heart of a seaman, are probably what most of them
did not expect. A tight rein and plenty of work will cure the

_Monday, December 29th_.--Weather clear and fine. At daylight
hauled the barque alongside, and commenced coaling. Another
seaman got drunk to-day, and seized his bag to go on board
the barque to return to England. Confined him in double irons.
Many of my fellows no doubt thought they were shipping in a
sort of privateer, where they would have a jolly good time and
plenty of license. They have been wofully disappointed, for I
have jerked them down with a strong hand, and now have a well-disciplined
ship of war, punishment _invariably_ follows immediately
on the heels of the offence. It has taken me three or four months
to accomplish this, but when it is considered that my little kingdom
consisted of one hundred and ten of the most reckless from
the groggeries of Liverpool, this is not much.

_Tuesday, December 30th_.--The weather still continues remarkably
fine, with a moderate breeze from the E.S.E. We finished coaling to-day,
and hauled the barque off in the afternoon. Getting ready generally for
our dash at the enemy's coasts; or rather, at the enemy on our own coasts,
of which he is in possession. A brig hove in sight to-day to the S. and E.,
approaching the islands on the starboard tack, until she became
visible from the bridge, and then tacking--probably a Frenchman,
making way from Vera Cruz to the eastward on the banks.
Took my usual afternoon stroll on shore. About nightfall, the
sky assumes a peculiarly lurid aspect, becoming dark overhead,
whilst the western horizon is lighted up with the rays of the setting
sun, although there is not a cloud visible. One witnessing
such a scene elsewhere would fancy himself on the eve of a storm;
I attribute it to the reflection from the green waters of the bank.
We have cleared away all the old eggs from the gannets' nests,
and these prolific layers are now supplying us with fresh. Of fish
we can catch none, except by trolling. We have no better success
with our turtle nets.

_Wednesday, December 31st_.--The weather has been good all
day, though we have had a heavy surf on all the reefs, indicating
that there is a gale somewhere in our vicinity--probably a norther,
along the Mexican coast to the west of us. The wind is at N.N.E.
and moderate, and the barometer has been rising all day, though
it has not been a tenth below 30.21; it is now (4 P.M.) 30.15, so
we shall probably not feel the gale here.

_Thursday, January 1st_.--The first day of the new year.
What will it bring forth? The Almighty for a wise purpose hides
future events from the eyes of mortals, and all we can do is to perform
well our parts, and trust the rest to His guidance. Success,
as a general rule, attends him who is vigilant and active. It is
useful to look back on the first day of the new year and see how
we have spent the past; what errors we have committed, and of
what faults we have been guilty, that we may in the future avoid
the one and reform the other.

Although the wind blew pretty fresh during the past night, we
did not feel the gale in any force; and to-day it has moderated,
and the weather become fine again. Still caulking and painting.
The former seems to be an interminable job with our small gang
of caulkers. In the afternoon a brig approached the island, near
enough to be seen, hull up, from the deck. She was beating up
the bank to the eastward probably from Vera Cruz.

_Friday, January 2nd_.--The wind has been fresh all day from
the eastward, bringing in some sea, and as we have been riding
across the tide, the ship has had some motion. Caulking and
painting, tarring down and squaring ratlines, &c. Commenced
condensing water to supply the barque for her return voyage to
England. I must get to sea on Tuesday, though I fear we shall
not have finished caulking; but Banks' expedition must be assembling
off Galveston, and time is of importance to us if we would
strike a blow at it before it is all landed. My men will rebel a little
yet. I was obliged to-day to trice one of them up for a little insolent

_Saturday, January 3d_.--A gale opened after all from the S.E.,
which I had hoped to escape, so rare is it to have blows from this
quarter at this season of the year. We have veered to forty-five
fathoms on each chain, and are in six fathoms water astern (there
being nine where the anchors are), and are tailing directly on the
surf, with a few hundred feet only between us and it, which of
course makes me feel a little solicitude. We are open to the S.E.
winds, though these blow over the bank from landwards. Still
the water is deep and the land distant, and a considerable sea comes
in. I have ordered the fires to be lighted under another boiler to
guard against accidents. The Arcas are a dirty little anchorage
for large ships, being but an open roadstead, affording good shelter
only from the north. There is a very small basin between the two
reefs, running off from the northern island, fit for very small vessels,
where they could be made secure against northerly and southerly
winds; but everywhere they would be exposed more or less
to wind from the westward.

_Sunday, January 4th_.--Weather clear, with the wind fresh
from the S.E., dying away in the afternoon. Having determined
to get to sea this evening, we commenced getting our coal-bags on
board from the barque, omitting the usual Sunday muster. Busy
with the seamen, as usual on such occasions, sending home their
allotments, &c. The weather begins to portend a norther, so I
have directed the engineer to hold on with his steam for the present.

_Monday, January 5th_.--It did not blow last night as I expected.
This morning the wind has gone round again. I cannot wait
longer for the norther,[10] so I must get under way. At 11 A.M.
got under way, and stood out from the anchorage under steam.
Let the steam go down, hoisted the propeller, and put the ship
under sail.

[Footnote 10: One of the officers of the Alabama enters in his journal
that on this day, in anticipation of news being received of Lincoln's
proclamation, a tombstone, consisting of a board about four feet in
length and two in breadth, was sent on shore and placed in the most
prominent position the largest island afforded. Inscribed on the tombstone,
in black letters on a white ground, was the following:--"In memory of
Abraham Lincoln, President of the late United States, who died of nigger
on the brain, 1st January, 1863."--"No. 290." Upon a piece of paper,
protected from the weather, was written in Spanish--"Will the finder
kindly favour me by forwarding this tablet to the United States Consul,
at the first point he touches at?" This affair originated with, and was
executed by, the steerage officers.]


_Another mission--General Banks' expedition--To Galveston--Sunday
the 11th of January--A small mistake--Preparing for action
--The Hatteras--A fight in the dark--Sharp and decisive--Surrender
--Rescue of the crew--Sunk!--Casualties--Out of the hornet's nest._

Contrary to her usual aspirations, the principal wish of the Alabama,
as she started on this fresh cruise, was to reach her destination
without having seen a single vessel. She was now in fact on
a service of a kind altogether different from that which had yet
occupied her. In his address to the crew, upon taking command
off Terceira, Captain Semmes had promised that the first moment
they were in a condition of training and discipline, to enable them
to encounter the enemy, they should have an opportunity of doing
so. That time had come, and laying aside for a short period her
more especial _rôle_ of annihilating as rapidly as possible the enemy's
commerce, the Alabama set steadily out in search of a fight.

The grand expedition of General Banks, which had been the
subject of so much speculation in the United States, and of which
their newspapers had long before duly informed the Confederate
cruiser, seemed to offer the most favourable opportunity possible
for such an enterprise. The expedition would, of course, be accompanied
by one or more armed vessels, but the principal portion
of it would be composed of troop-ships, crowded with the enemy's
soldiers; and should the Alabama but prove victorious in
the fight, these transports would be a prize of more practical importance
than all the grain and all the oil ever carried in a merchantman's

It was a daring adventure certainly. To steer, with a solitary
light-armed sloop, close upon a coast, blockaded from north to
south, by hundreds of armed vessels, in deliberate quest of a
squadron, not improbably four or five times stronger than herself,
was an act of almost reckless hardihood, fully in keeping with the
rest of the Alabama's career. The event indeed proved the full
danger of the adventure; whilst, at the same time, nothing could
have more clearly showed how utterly groundless were the dastardly
imputations upon the courage and prowess of her crew, poured out daily
from the foul-mouthed organs of the Northern press. There could be no
question of the fighting qualities, or disposition, of the Confederate
cruiser, after such a test as this.

For five days the Alabama kept steadily on her course for Galveston,
where she expected to find the fleet of which she was in
search. At length, on Sunday, the 11th January--her "lucky
day"--the moment so anxiously looked for came.

       *       *       *       *       *

Our position at noon--writes Captain Semmes--put us just
within thirty miles of Galveston, and I stood on, intending either
just to sight the shipping at a great distance, without being seen
myself, or else to anchor just out of sight until the moon should
rise the following night, which would be about half-past eleven,
and then run in, and attack, as I hoped, "Banks' expedition."
Owing, however, to a little carelessness in the look-out at "masthead,"
we were permitted to approach the ships anchored off the
bar in such plain sight, before they were announced, that we were
discovered, although we tacked immediately and stood off, in the
hopes of eluding the vigilance of the enemy.

There were three ships found lying off the bar--one heavily-sparred
ship, which our look-out took for a sail frigate, but which
afterwards proved to be the Brooklyn steamer, our old friend that
chased us in the Sumter, and two steamers supposed to be propellers.
Very soon one of the steamers was seen to be getting up
steam, and in about an hour and a half afterwards she was reported
to be under weigh, standing out for us.

I lowered the propeller, and directed steam to be got in readiness,
and awaited the approach of the stranger, who overhauled us
very slowly, and seemed to reconnoitre us, as he came along, with
great caution.

All this time we were standing on under topsails away from the
bar, and the stranger was approaching us stern on. I gave my
ship a little motion with the engine occasionally, both to draw the
enemy--for I, of course, supposed him to be such--away from his
consorts, so that in case of a conflict the latter might not hear our
guns, and to prolong the time until dark to enable me to take in
my topsails, and close with him in so short a time that the movement
should not be noticed by him until too late to escape, which
I feared he might attempt, if he saw me turn upon him with the
intention of pursuing him.

Accordingly, soon after dark--the enemy in the meantime
having approached us so near as not to endanger our losing sight
of him--I clewed up, and furled the topsails, beat to quarters, and
doubled suddenly upon the stranger. He came in quite boldly,
and when within hailing distance of us, hailed us, and inquired--

"What ship is that?"

"Her Majesty's ship Petrel. What ship's that?"

To this inquiry there was no reply, and although we repeated
it several times there was no rejoinder.

During the colloquy, I endeavoured to place myself in a raking
position astern of him, which he as carefully avoided by keeping
his broadside to me. From this manoeuvre I knew him pretty
certainly to be an enemy, and having approached to within about
two hundred yards, I directed my First Lieutenant to repeat the
question. "What ship's that?" was accordingly again shouted,
and this time there was a reply.

We distinctly heard that he was an United States something or
other, but the name we could not make out. I then directed the
First Lieutenant to tell him that this was the Confederate States
steamer Alabama, and to open fire on him immediately, which we
did from our starboard battery. He returned our fire in a minute
or two, and the action was thus commenced.

We continued to run side by side at a distance ranging from
two to five hundred yards, both of us keeping up a rapid fire of
both artillery and rifles, when, after the lapse of thirteen minutes,
the enemy fired two guns from his off, or starboard side, and
showed a light above his deck in token of his being whipped.

At once we ceased firing, and approaching him still nearer,
asked him if he surrendered and needed assistance. To both of
these questions he replied in the affirmative, and we immediately
despatched our quarter boats to him; these, with his own four
boats, were busily employed in transporting the crew on board,
which had only been accomplished when the ship went down.[11]

[Footnote 11: United States Consulate, Kingston,

Jamaica, Jan., 21, 1868.

SIR,--It is my painful duty to inform the Department of the destruction
of the United States steamer Hatteras, recently under my command, by
the rebel steamer Alabama, on the night of the 11th instant, off the coast
of Texas. The circumstances of the disaster are as follows:--

Upon the afternoon of the 11th inst., at 2.30 P.M., while at anchor in
company with the fleet under Commodore Bell, off Galveston, Texas, I
was ordered by signal from the United States flag-ship Brooklyn to chase
a sail to the southward and eastward. I got under weigh immediately,
and steamed with all speed in the direction indicated. After some time,
the strange sail could be seen from the Hatteras, and was ascertained to
be a steamer, which fact I communicated to the flag-ship by signal. I
continued the chase, and rapidly gained upon the suspicious vessel.
Knowing the slow rate of speed of the Hatteras, I at once suspected that
deception was being practised, and hence ordered the ship to be cleared
for action, with everything in readiness for a determined attack and a
vigorous defence.

When within about four miles of the vessel, I observed that she had
ceased to steam, and was lying broadside and awaiting us. It was nearly
seven o'clock, and quite dark; but notwithstanding the obscurity of the
night, I felt assured, from the general character of the vessel and her
manoeuvres, that I should soon encounter the rebel steamer Alabama.
Being able to work but four guns on the side of the Hatteras--two short
32 pounders, one 30 pounder rifled Parrot gun, and one 20 pounder rifled
gun,--I concluded to close with her that my guns might be effective, if

I came within easy speaking range--about seventy-five yards--and
upon asking "What steamer is that?" received the answer, "Her Britannic
Majesty's ship Petrel." I replied that I would send a boat aboard,
and immediately gave the order. In the meantime the vessels were
changing positions, the stranger endeavouring to gain a desirable position
for a raking fire. Almost simultaneously with the piping away of the
boat the strange craft again replied, "We are the Confederate steamer
Alabama," which was accompanied with a broadside. I at the same
moment returned the fire. Being well aware of the many vulnerable
points of the Hatteras, I hoped, by closing with the Alabama, to be able
to board her, and thus rid the seas of the piratical craft. I steamed
directly for the Alabama, but she was enabled by her great speed and the
foulness of the bottom of the Hatteras, and consequently her diminished
speed, to thwart my attempt when I had gained a distance of but thirty
yards from her. At this range musket and pistol shots were exchanged.
The firing continued with great vigour on both sides. At length a shell
entered amidships in the hold, setting fire to it, and at the same instant
--as I can hardly divide the time--a shell passed through the sick bay,
exploding in an adjoining compartment, also producing fire. Another
entered the cylinder, filling the engine-room and deck with steam, and
depriving me of my power to manoeuvre the vessel, or to work the pumps,
upon which the reduction of the fire depended.

With the vessel on fire in two places, and beyond human power, a
hopeless wreck upon the waters, with her walking-beam shot away, and
her engine rendered useless, I still maintained an active five, with the
double hope of disabling the Alabama and attracting the attention of the
fleet off Galveston, which was only twenty-eight miles distant.

It was soon reported to me that the shells had entered the Hatteras at
the water-line, tearing off entire sheets of iron, and that the water was
rushing in, utterly defying every attempt to remedy the evil, and that
she was rapidly sinking. Learning the melancholy truth, and observing
that the Alabama was on my port bow, entirely beyond the range of my
guns, doubtless preparing for a raking fire of the deck, I felt I had no
light to sacrifice uselessly, and without any desirable result, the lives
of all under my command.

To prevent the blowing up of the Hatteras from the fire, which was
making much progress, I ordered the magazine to be flooded, and afterwards
a lee gun was fired. The Alabama then asked if assistance was desired,
to which an affirmative answer was given.

The Hatteras was then going down, and in order to save the lives of my
officers and men, I caused the armament on the port side to be thrown
overboard. Had I not done so, I am confident the vessel would have
gone down with many brave hearts and valuable lives. After considerable
delay, caused by the report that a steamer was seen coming from
Galveston, the Alabama sent us assistance; and I have the pleasure of
informing the Department that every living being was conveyed safely
from the Hatteras to the Alabama.

Two minutes after leaving the Hatteras, she went down, bow first,
with her pennant at the masthead, with all her muskets and stores of
every description, the enemy not being able, owing to her rapid sinking,
to obtain a single weapon.

The battery upon the Alabama brought into action against the Hatteras
numbered nine guns, consisting of six long 32 pounders, one
100 pounder, one 68 pounder, and one 24 pounder rifled gun. The great
superiority of the Alabama, with her powerful battery, and her machinery
under the water-line, must be at once recognized by the Department, who
are familiar with the construction of the Hatteras, and her total unfitness
for a conflict with a regular built vessel of war.

The distance between the Hatteras and the Alabama during the action
varied from twenty-five to one hundred yards. Nearly fifty shots were
fired from the Hatteras, and I presume a greater number from the Alabama.

I desire to refer to the efficient and active manner in which
Acting-master Porter, executive officer, performed his duty. The conduct
of the Assistant-surgeon, Edward S. Matthews, both during the action
and afterwards, in attending to the wounded, demands my unqualified
commendation. I would also bring to the favourable notice of the Department
Acting-master's mate McGrath, temporarily performing duty as gunner.
Owing to the darkness of the night and the peculiar construction of the
Hatteras, I am only able to refer to the conduct of those officers who came
under my especial attention; but from the character of the contest, and
the amount of damage done to the Alabama, I have personally no reason
to believe that any officer failed in his duty.

To the men of the Hatteras I cannot give too much praise. Their
enthusiasm and bravery were of the highest order.

I enclose the report of Assistant-surgeon E.S. Matthews, by which you
will observe that five men were wounded and two killed. The missing, it
is hoped, reached the fleet at Galveston.

I shall communicate to the Department, in a separate report, the movements
of myself and my command from the time of our transfer to the
Alabama until the departure of the earliest mail from this place to the
United States.

I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

   H.C. BLAKE,
   Lieutenant Commanding.

Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington.

For a further account of this action from the journal of one of the
junior officers, see Appendix.]

The prize proved to be the United States gunboat Hatteras,
Lieut.-Commanding H.C. Blake, which officer came on board after his crew
had been transported, and delivered up his sword. I said to him:--

"I am glad to see you on board the Alabama, and we will endeavour to
make your time as comfortable as possible."

The Hatteras had the following armament, viz.:--32 pounders of 27 cwt.,
4; 30 pounders, rifled, 2; 20 pounders, rifled, 1; 12 pounders,
howitzer, 1: total, 8.

The armament of the Alabama was:--32 pounders of 52 cwt., 6; 100
pounders, rifled, 1; 24 pounders, rifled, 1; 8-inch shell gun, 1: total,

A great disparity in weight of metal in our power; but we equalized this
to a considerable extent by the fair fight which we showed the enemy in
approaching him so very close as to render his small guns almost as
efficient as larger ones.

The tonnage of the Hatteras was eleven hundred tons; material, iron,
with watertight compartments; age, eighteen months. Her crew numbered a
hundred and eight men, and eighteen officers; our own numbering a
hundred and eleven men, and twenty-six officers.

The casualties on both sides were slight. On board the enemy two were
missing (firemen), supposed to have been killed in the fire-room, and
three wounded, one of them severely, and two slightly. On board
ourselves, only two slightly wounded.

After the action had been over an hour or more, and whilst I was
steaming off on my course, it was reported to me that a boat of the
enemy, containing an acting master and five men, which had been lowered
before we opened fire upon him, to board "Her Majesty's steamer Petrel,"
had escaped. As the sea was smooth and the wind blowing gently towards
the shore, distant only about nineteen miles, this boat probably reached
the shore in safety in five or six hours. The night was clear and
starlit, and it would have no difficulty in shaping its course. But for
these circumstances, I should have turned back to look for it, hopeless
as this task must have proved in the dark. The weather continued
moderate all night, and the wind to blow on shore.

It was ascertained that Galveston had been retaken by us, and that the
Brooklyn and four of the enemy's steam-sloops were off the port,
awaiting a reinforcement of three other ships from New Orleans to
cannonade the place. So there was no "Banks' expedition," with its
transports, heavily laden with troops, &c., to be attacked, and but for
the bad look-out of our man at the masthead, we should have got instead
into a hornet's nest.


_Crowded with prisoners--Chasing a friend--At Jamaica--Enthusiastic
reception--Rest on shore--Speech making--Up anchor!--A prize--Case of
the Golden Rule--Reinstating the discipline--Capture of the
Chastelain--San Domingo--The Palmetto--Men of the day in the United

The Alabama's little fighting holiday was over, and she returned to her
appointed task of annoying the enemy's commerce. Her course lay towards
Jamaica, the captain being anxious to relieve himself as soon as
possible of the nest of prisoners that crowded his decks, and were
necessarily the occasion of considerable inconvenience to both men and
officers. The latter especially were most uncomfortably crowded, the
captain setting the example of self-sacrifice, by giving up his
state-room for the benefit of Lieutenant Blake, Commander of the sunken

It may be supposed that, under these circumstances, the Alabama was not
very anxious to increase the number of her involuntary passengers. Still
duty was duty, and when, on the day following the engagement, a sail was
reported from aloft, chase was at once given, and expectation again on
tiptoe at the thought of a prize. No prize, however, was to be taken
that day. At about half-past two, the Alabama came within
signal-distance of the chase, and was already busy exchanging the usual
information, when the "stranger" barque was discovered to be no other
than their old friend and faithful tender the Agrippina; and the Alabama
continued her course, not a little amused at her own blunder in thus
chasing her most particular friend.

Another week passed by with no event of interest, the Alabama working
her way towards Jamaica, through a succession of more or less heavy
gales, which, in the crowded state of the ship, were anything but
comfortable. On the 20th January, she sighted land a little before
daybreak, passing Portland at about 3 P.M., and arriving off the
lighthouse on Plum Point at half-past four. Here French colours were
displayed in case of accident, and a gun fired for a pilot. At about
halt-past six, that important individual made his appearance, and in
about three-quarters of an hour more the Alabama was safely at anchor in
Port Royal harbour.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, January 21st_.--Found here several English men-of-war--the
Jason, the Challenger, the Greyhound, &c., the Commanders of all of
which called on us. I saw the Commodore (Dunlop) this morning, and
requested of the Governor through him permission to land my prisoners,
&c., which was readily granted. Made arrangements for coaling and
provisioning the ship, and for repairing damages; and in the afternoon
ran up to Kingston, and thence proceeded to the mountains with Mr. Fyfe.

_Thursday, January 22nd_.--Had a delightful ride over a fine, natural
McAdamized road, for about ten miles, and thence by horse and
bridle-path through the most picturesque of mountainous regions, with
its lovely valleys, abrupt precipices, streams of water, luxuriant
foliage, &c., to Flamstead, the residence of the Rev. Mr. Fyfe, who soon
returned from town and received me most hospitably.[12] Spent a
delightful, quiet day, riding to Flamstead, and walking in the afternoon
along the winding mountain paths. Jamaica--that is, the south side--is a
wilderness, and the town of Kingston a ruin. The negro population idle,
thriftless, and greatly subject to diseases of an inflammatory kind. No
morals--gross superstition, &c.

[Footnote 12: As soon as our arrival became known the most intense
excitement prevailed. It is impossible to describe the hospitable
welcome we received, every one placing their houses at our disposal. Up
to 9 P.M. visitors were constantly received, all expressing a most
hearty, encouraging sympathy for our cause, and speaking hopefully for
our prospects. Still the same enthusiasm prevails: visitors of each sex
and every class coming on board, officers and men going on shore, and
receiving the most flattering attentions.]

_Friday, January 23rd_.--Rode over to, and spent a day and night at,
Blocksburgh, visiting _en route_ the English-looking cottage of Captain
Kent, now absent in England. Had some lady-visitors at Blocksburgh in
the evening.

_Saturday, January 24th_.--Returned to town to-day by the way of Mr.
Mais' fairy little cottage, kept in the nicest of order, and in a
perfect picture of a country. Upon my arrival in town I found that my
friends had _kindly_ put a notice in the papers, informing the good
people that I would be at the Exchange at noon, &c. &c. Was obliged to
go, and made a speech to the people, which was well received. Returned
on board in the evening.

_Sunday, January 25th_.--Workmen still engaged trying to get the ship
ready for sea to-night. Returned my visits to the English Captains, all
of whom I found very agreeable. Settling the ship's bills, and getting
the drunken portion of my crew on board by aid of the police. Three of
them in broad daylight jumped into a shore boat and tried to escape; but
we pursued and captured them. Work all done, and fires lighted at 5
P.M., and at half-past eight we steamed out of the harbour.

_Monday, January 26th_.--At 10.30 A.M. descried a sail, which we came up
with at 1.20 P.M. She proved to be the Golden Rule, from New York for
Aspinwall. Captured and burned her, there being no certificate on board
of the neutrality of the cargo. This vessel had on board masts, spars,
and a complete set of rigging, for the United States brig Bainbridge,
lately obliged to cut away her masts in a gale at Aspinwall. Nine
prisoners. At about 6 P.M., the prize being well on fire, steamed on
our course.

       *       *       *       *       *


No certificate of the neutral ownership of any portion of the cargo. The
only bills of lading found on board are the following:--

Marcial and Co. to Gregorio Miro and Co., 2069.28 dollars; insured
against war risk.

Keeler and Vonhiss to John Wilson, 724.20 dollars. Consigned to _order_,
and for account and risk of "whom it may concern."

Woolsey, consigned to _order_. Amount not stated, and no letter of

Berner to Field. Amount not stated, and no letter of advice.

Herques and Maseras to Juan Melendez, 41.58 dollars.

F. Hernias to Gillas. Amount not stated, and no letter.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Golden Rule furnished a supply of papers containing an abundance of
welcome news. From them the Alabama learned of the safe escape of her
sister cruiser, the Florida, from Mobile, as well as of the foundering
of the United States gunboat Monitor in a gale, during her passage down
the coast. The good news was also received of the entire failure of an
attack on Vicksburg.

The time was now pretty much taken up in reinstating the discipline
which had been somewhat shaken by the brief stay at Port Royal, and in
awarding due punishment for the various offences there committed. On the
whole, however, considering the hard service the men had undergone, and
the length of the confinement they had sustained without a single
"spell" on shore, the offences could not be considered very numerous. A
few of the petty officers were disrated, and various minor penalties
inflicted, and on the 31st of January the court-martial, which had been
employed on this unpleasant but necessary service, terminated its
sittings and was dissolved.

Meanwhile another prize had fallen into the Alabama's hands, in the
shape of the United States brig Chastelain, of Boston, from Martinique
and Guadaloupe for Cienfuegos; and the following day, after duly
committing her prize to the flames, the Alabama arrived at San Domingo,
dropping anchor off the town at 6 P.M.

In the harbour were two other vessels: one a New York brig, under
English colours. The anchor had not been long down when a visit was
received from the Captain of the Port, who proved to be an old
acquaintance of Captain Semmes, he having piloted the brig Porpoise
about the island at the time when the latter officer was First
Lieutenant of that vessel. He seemed much pleased to renew the
acquaintance, and volunteered to take on shore, to the Governor, Captain
Semmes' request for permission to land his prisoners.

Soon he returned, bringing with him a commander of the Spanish navy with
the required permission. The prisoners were accordingly sent on shore,
from whence they shortly returned, somewhat crestfallen, with the
intelligence that no one was allowed to land after dark. The Captain,
however, being anxious to depart, application was made to the
authorities, who courteously permitted the prisoners to be sent for the
night to the government vessel, undertaking to send them on shore in the

This matter was settled, the Alabama again stood out, having thus
displayed for the first time, in San Domingo, the flag of the young

The only excitement of the next few days was an alarm of fire, which, on
the 2nd of February, occasioned for a short time very considerable
anxiety. It came from the carelessness of the captain of the hold, who,
in direct violation of the written rules of the ship, took a naked light
into the spirit-room to pump off liquor by. The moment he commenced
operations, the fumes of the spirit took fire, placing the ship for a
few minutes in imminent peril. The danger, however, was brief, for the
captain happened to be on deck at the time, and at once gave the order
to beat to quarters; before it could be obeyed the fire was
extinguished, and the ship's company _quitte pour la peur_. Not so,
however, the delinquent captain of the hold, who was at once sent to
expiate his fault in the durance vile of a suit of double irons.

The 3rd February brought a small prize in the United States schooner
Palmetto, from New York for St. John's, Porto Rico, with a mixed cargo
of provisions. She, too, laid claim to immunity on the ground of
neutrality of cargo; but inquiry soon led to condemnation, and after
taking from her a large quantity of biscuit, cheese, &c., the crew were
removed on board the Alabama, and the schooner burned.

       *       *       *       *       *


The schooner was U.S., per register and flag. The cargo was shipped by
Herques and Maseras, of New York, to Vincente Brothers, in San Juan,
Porto Rico. There was no affidavit or certificate of neutral property on
board, and the cargo would have been condemnable on this ground alone.
It being in an enemy's ship, it is presumed to be enemy's property until
the contrary be shown by proper evidence under oath. The Master, upon
examination, testified that he had no knowledge of the ownership of the
cargo; and this, though he was the agent and charterer of the ship, as
well as Master. The correspondence found on board--that is to say, a
letter from the shippers to the consignee--states that the cargo is
shipped, two thirds on account of the consignee, and one third on
account of the shippers--the parties being the joint owners of the
_undivided_ cargo in these proportions. Therefore, whatever may be the
general business-relations of the parties, they are, _quoad_ this
shipment, partners; and the house in the enemy's country having shipped
the goods, the other partner's share is condemnable, notwithstanding his
residence in a neutral country. See 3rd Phillimore, 605; and the
Vigilantia, 1 Rob., pp. 1-14, 19; the Susa, ib., p. 255.

       *       *       *       *       *

Several days now passed without adventure of any kind, the monotony of
alternate gales and calms being only varied by the receipt of a few old
newspapers from the schooner Hero, of Yarmouth, N.S., giving news of the
angry "resolutions" passed by the New York Chamber of Commerce with
reference to the Alabama; and also--which was of considerably more
importance--the information that the Vanderbilt and Sacramento were both
to sail towards the end of January, in pursuit of the Confederate

Sunday, the 15th February, dawned dark and gloomy, the wind blowing
nearly a whole gale from the north, and the Alabama dashing along, with
the wind well abeam, under reefed topsails.

This boisterous Sabbath, writes Captain Semmes, is the second
anniversary of my resignation from the United States navy, and of course
it has called up many reminiscences. I have more and more reason, as
time rolls on, to be gratified at my prompt determination to quit the
service of a corrupt and fanatical majority, which even then had
overridden the constitution, and shown itself in so aggressive and
unscrupulous a form as to give us just cause of alarm.

But what shall we say of its course since? If the historian perform his
duty faithfully, posterity will be amazed at the wickedness and
corruption of the Northern and Western peoples, and will wonder by what
process such a depth of infamy was reached in so short a time.

The secret lies here. The politicians had become political
stock-jobbers, and the seekers of wealth had become usurers and
swindlers; and into these two classes may be divided nearly the whole
Yankee population. Such is "Plymouth Rock" in our day, with its Beechers
in the pulpit, and its Lincoln in the chair of Washington! With its
Sumners and its Lovejoys in Congress, and its Simmonses _et id genus
omne_ in the contract market!


_Not easily baffled--Two prizes--The Olive Jane--The Golden Eagle--The
white ensign saluted--In trepidation--Obstinacy--The Washington--The
William Edward--Patience Rewarded--Case of the John S. Parks._

More than a week passed without the occurrence of any event worthy of
record. Saturday, the 21st February, however, brought an exciting chase.
By 8 A.M. four vessels had been reported in sight. The first seen proved
too far ahead and to windward, to be worth chasing, and sail was then
made in the direction of two others, which were observed to be
exchanging signals with considerable diligence. Their conversation
ended, they parted company and sailed off in different directions,
evidently with the object of distracting the attention of the Alabama
which was now in full chase.

But the Alabama was not so easily to be baffled. Devoting her attention
first to the vessel which appeared by her slower rate of sailing to
offer the promise of an easier capture, she got up steam as she went
along, and the black smoke was already poured from her funnel and the
propeller beginning to revolve as she came within hail of the chase. A
blank cartridge was fired as usual; but the stranger kept doggedly upon
his way, evidently determined, if he could not escape himself, at all
events to do his best to increase the chances of his consort.

Even this chivalrous determination, however, was of no avail. A second
gun from the pursuer quickly followed upon the first, and this time the
command was pointed by the emphatic accompaniment of a round shot which
went whizzing through the rigging of the chase. Finding his enemy in
earnest, the ship now gave up the game, and hove to with the United
States colours at her peak. Putting a prize crew on board, the Alabama
wore round, and started at full speed in the direction of the second
vessel, which was making the best of her way off, and was by this time
some fifteen miles distant. The Alabama was now, however, under a full
head of steam, flying through the water at the rate of three to one of
the chase, and by the end of a couple of hours, she also was brought to,
with the Stars and Stripes flying, and her maintopsail to the mast.

A rapid investigation of papers resulted in the decision that the claim
of neutral ownership of the cargo was totally unsustained by evidence,
and the crew of the Olive Jane[13] were transferred to the Alabama, and
the barque set on fire, whilst her captor again came round and ran down
to meet his other prize. On communicating with the prize-master in
charge she proved to be the United States ship Golden Eagle, from
Howland's Island in the Pacific Ocean to Cork for orders.

[Footnote 13: Of Boston, from Bordeaux to New York, with a partial cargo
of French wines and "knickknackeries."]

The following particulars relating to these two vessels, are given in
Captain Semmes' journal:--


Under United States colours and register--from Bordeaux for New
York--cargo consigned generally to houses in New York, with the
exception of five of the shipments which are consigned to _order_; but
there is no claim among the papers of French property, even in these
latter shipments, and _non constat_ but that the property is American,
and that the consignment on the face of the papers was made in this
manner to give a semblance of French ownership, until the property
should reach its destination, when the real owner would claim it under a
duly-indorsed bill of lading, forwarded to him by steamer. At all
events, the presumption of law is, that all property found on board an
enemy is enemy's property, until the contrary be shown by proper
evidence; and no evidence has been presented in this case at all. The
master, though quarter owner of the barque, and who, consequently,
should be well informed as to her cargo, &c., knows nothing, except that
one of the shippers--a Frenchman--told him that forty casks of wine,
worth, perhaps, twenty dollars per cask, belonged to him. Vessel and
cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *


Ship under United States colours and register. From San Francisco, _via_
Howland's Island, for Cork, laden with guano by the American Guano
Company. Cargo consigned to "orders." There is no question, therefore,
of property. Ship and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the morning of the 23rd February four vessels were in sight; but on
overhauling them they one and all proved to be under the protection of
neutral flags. One of them, however--a Frenchman from Buenos Ayres to
Havre--relieved the Alabama of two French prisoners, an artist and his
son, captured on board one of the late prizes. One of the other
vessels--the Prince of Wales, from Melbourne to England--dipped her
ensign to the Yankee colours displayed from the Alabama, on which the
latter, unwilling to appropriate a compliment intended for another,
lowered the Stars and Stripes and hoisted her own ensign. Hardly had the
change been effected when a bustle was observed on board the English
vessel, and passengers and crew crowded on deck to have a look at the
renowned Confederate. The formal compliment accorded to the flag first
displayed was renewed with hearty good-will, and this time accompanied
by the most enthusiastic demonstrations from all on board, the men
cheering and the ladies waving their handkerchiefs in honour of the
gallant little cruiser of which they had heard so much.

The next day, the Alabama being in the vicinity of the crossing of the
30th parallel by the San Roque and India-bound United States ships, sail
was shortened, and a bright look-out kept, but until nearly sunset
nothing was seen; and when, at length, "Sail, ho!" was cried, and the
Confederate cruiser on nearing the stranger showed the Yankee colours,
it was replied to by the tricolour of France. Again, at 9.30 P.M., when
another vessel was descried, there was still no prize, although it
required two cartridges, a chase of three-quarters of an hour, and
vociferous demands in both English and French to compel the vessel to
heave to. When, at last, the Master obeyed the command, it was
discovered that the brig was a Portuguese, bound from Pernambuco to
Lisbon. The officer despatched to overhaul the chase found, on stepping
on board, everything in the wildest confusion, and everybody so alarmed,
that neither skipper, mates, nor seamen seemed to know what they were
about. So great, indeed, was their trepidation, that upon an explanation
being asked of their strange conduct, the excuse given was that they
were too frightened to heave to!

The 25th February was a blank, only two sail being seen; the one a
Dutchman, the other English. The master of the latter coolly asked the
Alabama to take to England a discharged British seaman, and on the
following morning another master of an English ship made a similar
request--both being met with a refusal. On the 26th, no less than
thirteen sail were sighted by the Alabama, but not one of them displayed
the Yankee flag. The only excitement of the day was an obstinate
Hamburgh barque, which refused to show colours until the Confederate
cruiser was nearly upon her, and even then a blank cartridge was
required to bring her to.

After the large number of neutrals that the Alabama had overhauled, came
a prize. On the morning of the 27th February, the United States ship
Washington was captured. The vessel was the property of the enemy, but
as she carried a cargo of guano from the Chincha Islands, on account of
the Peruvian government, consigned to their agents at Antwerp, the
Washington was released on giving a ransom bond for 50,000 dollars. The
prisoners on board the Alabama having been transferred to the capture,
the two vessels parted company; the United States ship going on its
course, rejoicing that the neutral cargo she carried had saved her from
a fiery end. Two days after, another prize was taken. On the 1st March,
the Bethia Thayer, of Rockland, Maine, was overhauled, and like the
Washington, having on board guano the property of the Peruvian
government, was released on a bond of 50,000 dollars.

Shortly after, a suspicious barque, with the English flag at the peak,
hove in sight. Immediately the Alabama set every stitch of canvas, the
stranger did the same, and away the two dashed before the fresh
south-wester that was blowing. The chase was most exciting, and lasted
seven hours; but gradually the Alabama overhauled the suspicious craft,
and at 4.30 P.M. was enabled to signal it. The Confederate hoisted the
United States flag, and announced herself by an assumed name. The barque
replied that she was the William Edward, from Bahia, for Liverpool.
After some further communication, which convinced the Alabama that the
barque was English, the cruiser announced her real name, and permitted
the William Edward to proceed on her course. At nightfall another ship
was chased, which, upon being brought to, also proved to be English, the
Nile, bound from Akyab to London. The master of this vessel informed the
boarding-officer that a United States man-of-war, supposed to be the
Ino, was in the South Atlantic, in eager search of the Alabama!

At daybreak, on the 2d March, a sail was made out through the hazy
atmosphere, slowly steering towards the cruiser. Patiently the
Confederate waited, as the light wind from the south bore the stranger
towards them; their patience, too, was rewarded, for at 6 A.M., a
boarding-officer stepped on board the ship John S. Parks, of Hallowall,
Maine. The skipper, his wife, and crew, were transferred to the cruiser,
together with sundry stores and provisions; and then, after Captain
Semmes had carefully examined the papers of the capture, the prize was
set fire to, making number thirty-five on the list of the Alabama's
successes. With respect to the cargo of the Parks, there was a plea of
neutrality set up, to which, as the following extracts will show,
Captain Semmes gave the fullest consideration:--


Ship under U.S. colours and register. Cargo, white pine lumber, laden on
board at the port of New York. The cargo was shipped by Edward F.
Davidson, who appears, from the statement of the master, to be a large
lumber dealer, and is consigned to Messrs. Zimmerman, Faris, and Co., at
Monte Video, or Buenos Ayres. Annexed to the bill of lading is what
purports to be an affidavit sworn to before "Pierrepont Edwards," who
signs himself as "vice-consul." Above his name are the words, "by the
consul," from which it appears he professes to act for the consul, and
not for himself as "vice-consul."[14] The affiant is Joseph H. Snyder,
who describes himself as of "128, Pearl Street, New York." He states
that the cargo was shipped by Edward F. Davidson, "for and on account of
John Fair and Co., of London, &c." First, as to the _form_ of this
affidavit. A vice-consul is one who acts in place of a consul when the
latter is absent from his post; and when this is the case, he signs
himself as vice-consul, and his acts take effect _proprio vigore_, and
not as the acts of the consul--which this act purports to do. Further,
the Master was unable to verify this document, which, to give it
validity, he should have been able to do--he declaring that he could not
say whether it was a forgery or not. "Although, as has been said, the
ship's papers found on board are proper evidence, yet they are so only
when properly verified; for papers by themselves prove nothing, and are
a mere dead letter if they are not supported by the oaths of persons in
a situation to give them validity." 3rd Phillimore, 394. Further, "Valin
sur l'Ordonnance" says, "Il y a plus, et parceque les pièces en forme
trouvées abord, peuvent encore avoir été concertées en fraude, il a été
ordonné par arrêt de conseil du 26 Octobre, 1692, que les dépositions
contraires des gens de l'équipage prís, prévaudrojent à ces pièces." The
latter authority is express to the point, that papers found on board a
ship are not to be credited, if contradicted by the oath of any of the
crew, and I take it that an inability to verify amounts to the same
thing. For if this had been a _bona fide_ transaction, it was the duty
of the party interested to take the master before the consul to witness
the taking of the deposition, so that he might verify "the paper," if
captured. But why should Mr. Snyder be the party to make this
affidavit? He was not the shipper, but Davidson, a lumber dealer; and
Davidson, who, if he sold the lumber at all, must have known to whom he
sold it, was the proper person to testify to the fact. Further: the
master says that Snyder bought the lumber from Davidson, as he was
informed by his (the master's) brother, who was the owner of the ship.
If so, then Snyder being the owner of the lumber (whether on his own or
foreign account, it matters not) was the real shipper, and not Davidson,
and the proper person to consign it to the consignees, either in his own
name, or in the name of his principal, if he were an agent. But the bill
of lading, and Davidson's letter to the consignees, show that Davidson
was both the shipper and the consignor. The ship was also chartered by
Davidson, and 13,000,000 dollars freight-money paid in advance, for
which Davidson required the owner of the ship to secure him by a policy
of insurance against both marine and _war_ risk--the policy made payable
to him (Davidson) in case of loss. Two questions arise upon that policy:
1st--why, if the property were _bonâ fide_ neutral (the cargo itself was
also insured in London) the war clause should be inserted? and, 2nd--why
Davidson should make the policy payable to himself? If he advanced this
freight money on the credit of the London house, he had no insurable
interest in it; and if the lumber really belonged to the London house,
and was going to their partners or agents at the port of delivery, why
should Davidson pay the freight in advance at all? And if Snyder
purchased the lumber of Davidson, why should Snyder not have made the
advance for his principal instead of Davidson? The conclusion would seem
to be, that Davidson was shipping this lumber on his own account to
agents, in whose hands he had no funds or credit, and as the lumber
might not be sold readily, the ship could not be paid her freight unless
it were paid in advance? Further: the ship had a contingent destination.
She was either to go to Monte Video or Buenos Ayres, as the consignees
might find most advantageous. This looks very much like hunting for a
market. But further still. Although Davidson prepared a formal letter of
consignment to Zimmerman, Faris, and Co., to accompany the consular
certificate, he at the same time writes another letter, in which he
says, "The cargo of John S. Parks I shall have certified to by the
British Consul as the property of British subjects. You will find it a
very good cargo, and should command the highest prices." How is Davidson
interested in the price which this cargo will bring, if it belongs, as
pretended, to the house in London? And if Davidson sold to Snyder, and
Snyder was the agent of the house in London, Davidson should have still
less concern with it. In that same letter in which a general account of
recent lumber shipments is given, the following remarks occur:--"Messrs.
Harbeck and Co. have a new barque, Anne Sherwood, in Portland, for
which they have picked up in small lots a cargo of lumber costing 20,000
dollars. I have tried to make an arrangement for it to go to you (on
account of John Fair and Co., of London?); but they as yet only propose
to do so, you taking half-interest at twenty-five dollars, and freight
at eighteen dollars, payable at yours (port?), which is too much. If I
can arrange it on any fair terms, I will do so for the sake of keeping
up your correspondence with H. and Co."

[Footnote 14: Extract from a letter, captured on the barque Amazonian,
from Mr. Edward F. Davidson to Messrs. Zimmerman, Faris, and Co., of
Monte Video:--

"You will learn from London of the loss of the ship John S. Parks, and
collection there of insurance on her cargo: the freight is insured here,
at the Great Western Company. They have thirty days, after receipt of
the captain's protest, to pay the loss in. Captain Cooper has arrived in
Portland, and gone to his home at Hallowall; and the company require a
copy of the protest made in London, certified by the Consul, which I
have sent for. In the meantime, I have requested the captain to come to
this, and trust not to have to wait receipt of the document from

This letter would seem to show that Zimmerman, Faris, and Co. are
favourite consignees with Davidson, and that he not only consigns his
own lumber to them (for it must be remembered that he is a lumber
dealer) but endeavours to befriend them by getting them other
consignments. It may be that Davidson in New York, John Fair and Co., in
London, and Zimmerman, Faris, and Co., in Buenos Ayres, are all
connected in this lumber business, and that the trade is attempted to be
covered under the name of the London house; or it may be that Davidson
is the sole owner, or a joint owner with Zimmerman, Faris, and Co. In
either case the property is condemnable, being shipped by the house of
trade in the enemy's country. Ship and cargo condemned.


_Discomforts of life at sea--A stern chase--Seized--The Punjaub
ransomed--Rain-squalls--A luxury--The Morning Star--Neutral cargo--The
Fairhaven--The Ino on the look-out--The Charles Hill--The
Nora--Fire-water--Commercial morality--The Louisa Hatch--Black
Diamonds--Coaling at sea under difficulties--Fernando de Noronna._

Captain Cooper, of the John Parks, and his wife and two nephews, were
fortunate in not being condemned to a long period of captivity. The
burning remains of his unlucky vessel were still within sight, when an
English barque ranged up alongside of the Alabama, and an arrangement
was soon effected with her captain to convey the whole party to England.

A long interval now, with nothing but the Englishman's excitement--the
weather--to break the weary monotony of an eventless voyage. So far,
however, as gales of wind could offer a distraction, the Alabama had
little of which to complain, and the vessel rolled and tumbled about in
the heavy seas in a manner which sorely tried the endurance of, at all
events, her unfortunate captain.

The gale still continues, writes Captain Semmes, on the 11th March. Wind
E.N.E. For four days now we have been rolling and tumbling about, with
the wind roaring day and night through the rigging, and rest more or
less disturbed by the motion of the ship. Sea-life is becoming more and
more distasteful to me. The fact is, I am reaching an age when men long
for quiet and repose. During the war my services belong to my country,
and ease must not be thought of; but I trust that the end is not afar
off. The enemy, from many signs, is on the point of final discomfiture.
Nay, a just Providence will doubtless punish the wicked fanatics who
have waged this cruel and unjust war upon us, in a way to warn and
astonish the nations upon earth. Infidelity and wickedness in every
shape let loose upon themselves, must end in total destruction. The
Yankee States have yet to go through an ordeal they little dreamed of in
the beginning of their unholy crusade against the Southern people.

On the 12th, the vessel was within fourteen degrees of the equator, but
so cool did the weather still continue that all hands were still wearing
woollen clothing, and sleeping under a couple of blankets. The sky
continued grey and overcast, with an occasional slight sprinkle of rain,
and a stiff breeze. The barometer falling steadily until, on the 14th
March, it had reached as low as 29.96, about the usual standard of the
trade winds.

That night brought, however, a slight relief from the long dullness. It
was just midnight when the startling cry of "Sail, ho! close aboard!"
was heard from the look-out; and in less than five minutes the Alabama
was within hailing distance of a large ship standing close on a wind
towards the northward and westward.

"Ship ahoy!--what ship's that?" rang hoarsely through the
speaking-trumpet from the deck of the Alabama. But no answer came, and
the hail was repeated. Still no answer, the strange sail keeping
steadily on her course, regardless of every thing, her huge hull
towering up high and dark as she passed almost within harpooning
distance of the Alabama, and shot away again into the darkness, like a
phantom that on being spoken to, had vanished away.

But the Alabama could have brought-to the Flying Dutchman himself, if he
had attempted to pass by without answering a hail. "Hands, wear ship!"
was the order before the sound of the second summons had well died away.
Up went the helm, round came the Alabama's head in the direction in
which the stranger had disappeared; and with the reefs shaken out of her
topsails, away she went in chase like a greyhound after a hare.

By the time sail was made, and headway got on the ship, the chase was
some three miles in advance, and gliding swiftly along with a strong
breeze. But though a stern chase is proverbially a long chase, the
splendid sailing qualities of the Alabama soon made themselves felt, and
within three hours after her helm was put up, she was within a few
hundred yards of the stranger, who now hove to at the first summons from
the cruiser's bow-guns.

She proved to be the United States ship Punjaub, of Boston, from
Calcutta for London, and having an English cargo on board, as appeared
from sworn affidavits among the papers, from the nature of the
voyage--from one British port to another--and from the cargo of jute and
linseed, she was released on a ransom bond for 55,000 dollars, the
remaining prisoners from the John Parks being transferred to her for
passage home.

The 21st March brought a change of weather, with heavy squalls of rain.
The variety was greatly enjoyed by all on board, Captain Semmes
recording in his journal his own pleasure at once more hearing the roll
of the thunder, for the first time for many months, and the delight with
which both officers and men paddled about on the deck with their bare
feet, enjoying, "like young ducks," the first heavy rain they had
experienced for a considerable time.

On the morning of Monday, March 23rd, a sail hove in sight, which, being
overhauled about noon, was found to be the United States ship Morning
Star, from Calcutta to London. This ship also had a neutral cargo, duly
vouched as such by the proper legal certificates; so she, too, was
released on ransom bond. A second prize, however, which fell into the
Alabama's hands the same day, was less fortunate. This was the United
States schooner Kingfisher, of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, some months out
on a whaling voyage. It was well for her that she but very recently
discharged into another vessel her second cargo of oil, and could only,
at present, boast of some twenty barrels, all of which were at once
consigned to the flames, together with the unlucky vessel.

The Kingfisher brought a piece of intelligence which afforded immense
satisfaction to all on board, being of no less a fact than the presence
of the United States sloop of war, Ino, at Ascension, where the
Kingfisher had left her but a fortnight before. This was the identical
vessel that had assisted in the piratical capture of Messrs. Myers and
Tunstall, on neutral ground, scarcely fourteen months before; and all
hands were rejoicing in the prospect of an early brush with her, when
the outrage then perpetrated might be avenged. Anxious as all were for a
fight on any terms, there was possibly not a vessel in the United States
navy they would have more gladly encountered.

It was a curious circumstance connected with this schooner, that her
master was, according to his account, one of the only three persons in
his native place, Fairhaven, who, in the last fatal election of a
President for the United States, had voted for the Southern candidate,

Two more captures were made on the following day--one, the ship Charles
Hill, of Boston, from Liverpool to Monte Video; the other, the ship
Nora, also of Boston, from Liverpool for Calcutta. In both cases the
usual claim was set up to a neutral ownership of cargo, and as usual on
investigation proved to be altogether unsupported by anything like real

The following are the cases:--


Ship under U.S. flag and register, laden with salt (value in Liverpool
six shillings per ton), under charter party with H.E. Falk to proceed
from Liverpool to Monte Video or Buenos Ayres. No claim of neutral
property in the cargo. Ship and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *


Ship under the U.S. flag; laden with salt, under charter party with W.N.
de Mattos, of London, to proceed to Calcutta. In the bill of lading the
cargo is consigned to "order;" and on the back of the bill is this
endorsement:--"I hereby certify that the salt shipped on board the Nora
is the property of W.N. de Mattos, of London, and that the said W.N. de
Mattos is a British subject, and was so at the time of shipment.

"(Signed) H.E. FALK, Agent for W.N. de Mattos."

At the bottom of the signature is "R.C. Gardner, Mayor," presumed to be
intended for the signature of the Mayor of Liverpool. As this statement
is not under oath, and as there is no seal attached to it, it does not
even amount to an _ex parte_ affidavit. Vessel and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some valuable supplies were extracted from these two ships, and the
prisoners--one of them a female--having been transferred to the Alabama,
the vessels were fired on the evening of the day after their capture. As
was but too frequently the case in boarding prizes, access was by some
means obtained to their strong liquor, and that evening saw a good deal
of drunkenness on board the Alabama. Unfortunately, the delinquents were
but too often some of the best men in the ship. They could be trusted
with anything in the world but rum or whisky; but against temptation of
this kind they were not proof, and the duty of boarding offered only too
easy an opportunity of indulging this true sailor's taste. However, if
the prizes had their little bit of revenge in thus creating a temporary
disorder among their captors, they in this case, at all events, more
than made up for it, by contributing an accession of half-a-dozen seamen
to the crew, which, notwithstanding the discharge of the men sent home
in the----, was now fast growing very strong.

The following extract from a letter found on board the Charles Hill may
throw some light on the pretensions of that vessel at all events, to the
protection of neutrality:--


DEAR SIR,--I have read your several letters from Philadelphia. As a
rebel privateer has burned several American ships, it may be well if you
can have your bills of lading endorsed as English property, and have
your cargo certified to by the English Consul, &c.

       *       *       *       *       *

After crossing the equator during the night of the 29th-30th March, the
Alabama experienced a succession of calms and wet weather; at one time
chasing a vessel in so thick a mist that, though not more than a mile or
two ahead, she was more than once lost sight of for an hour at a time.
She was still involved in this misty, uncomfortable weather, when, on
the night of the 4th April, she again fell in with an United States
ship, the Louisa Hatch, deeply laden with that, to the Alabama, most
invaluable article--coal. An investigation of her papers gave the
following result:--


Ship, under U.S. colours. Among the papers is a charter party, dated
London, 1st January, 1863, executed between John Pirie and Co., and
William Grant, the Master, by which the ship was chartered to take coal
to Point de Galle, Ceylon, or Singapore, as ordered, &c. Without any
assignment of this contract, as far as appears, the ship seems to have
been loaded by entirely new parties, to wit, by one J.R. Smith, who
describes himself as the agent of H. Worms, of Cardiff. By the bill of
lading, the ship is to proceed to the. Point de Galle, and there deliver
the coal to the company of Messageries Imperiales. On the back of the
bill of lading is the following certificate:--"I certify that the
within-mentioned cargo is French property, having been shipped by order,
for the account of the Messageries Imperiales." This certificate is
signed by Mr. Smith, but is not sworn to, nor is the order, nor any copy
of the order to ship this cargo to an account of the Messageries
Imperiales, found among the papers. As the ship was not chartered by any
agent of this company, and as the coal was not shipped by any such
agent, Smith being the agent of Worms, and Worms not being described as
the agent of the company, the presumption is that, if there was any such
order at all in the case, it was a mere general understanding that the
company would pay so much per ton for coal delivered for them at their
depots, the property remaining in the shippers until delivery. The
presumption, in the absence of proof, is, that the cargo being on board
an American ship is American; shipped on speculation to the far east, by
the owner, or his agent, in Cardiff; and we have seen that there is no
legal evidence in the case; the unsworn certificate of Mr. Smith not
even amounting to an _ex parte_ affidavit. Ship and cargo condemned.
Probable value of cargo in Cardiff, 2500 dollars. Cost of coal in
Brazil, 15 to 17 dollars per ton.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Alabama now stood away in the direction of Fernando de Noronha, with
her prize in company, with the intention of there taking on board a
fresh supply of coal. The run was not a little protracted by the light
and baffling winds that still prevailed, and as though this was not
enough, fortune must needs play her a trick, by sending her off on a
chase of fourteen miles after a supposed Yankee whaler, which, when at
last overhauled, turned out to be nothing but a poor little
green-painted "Portiguee."

Rain--rain--rain, the sun sometimes showing himself for an hour or two,
just a few minutes too early, or a few minutes too late, for any
purposes of observation, and then again retiring behind the dense masses
of cloud that hid the whole horizon in one drenching down-pour. And all
this while every mile of latitude of the last importance, as the Alabama
groped her way slowly to the southward and eastward in search of the
little island at which she was to take in her supplies, and which she
might at any moment run past in the darkness altogether! Trying work,
indeed, for the patience of men cooped up in their narrow floating
prison, and longing to be at work again.

Too trying, at last, to be borne any longer without an effort at action;
so a bold attempt was made at coaling while under way upon the open sea!
Steam was got up, and the prize taken in tow, and then two boats were
lowered, and set to work. But the scheme, bold and ingenious as it was,
was soon found to be impracticable. The boats managed to get loaded from
the captured collier, but they had then to be warped up alongside the
Alabama, and the lowest speed that could be given her was too great for
them to be hauled up against it. So each time, as they were filled, it
was necessary to stop the engine, and thus occasion another difficulty.

We now--says Captain Semmes--began to part our tow lines by these
stoppages and startings, and it took a long time to get the line fast
again; so after a sleepless night, during which, as I lay in my cot
trying to sleep, it seemed as if a dozen stentors on deck were rivaling
each other in making the night hideous, I sent word to get the boats run
up again, and to continue our course to Fernando de Noronha without

At daylight we made the peak of the island a long way off, some
thirty-eight or forty miles, and in the afternoon at 2.30 came to, with
the peak bearing S.W. 1/2 S. and the N.E. end of the Rat Island N.E. by
E. 1/2 E., depth of water thirteen and a half fathoms. Anchored the
prize near us. But for our steam we should have been still drifting to
the S.W., as the day has been nearly calm throughout. Fernando de
Noronha, in the wayside of the commerce of all the world, is sighted by
more ships, and visited by fewer, than any other spot of earth. It is a
broken, picturesque, volcanic rock, in mid ocean, covered with a
pleasing coat of verdure, including trees of some size, and the top of
the main island is cultivated in small farms, &c. Awfully hot when the
sun shines, and indeed, when he does not shine. Just after dark hauled
the prize alongside, and commenced coaling.


_An official "in trouble"--On shore again--A breakfast party--On
horseback--Blowing hard--Taken in the net--Easy captures--The Kate
Cory--The Lafayette--A polite Governor--The Louisa Hatch burned, and
Kate Cory burned--Landing prisoners--Tired of waiting--A scramble--Out
of harbour again._

_April 11th._--Light and variable airs; misty from the southward and
eastward, and oppressive; ther. 83°. Last night the two vessels lay
alongside of each other so roughly, and we received so much damage (our
forechannels being crushed in, and our topsail mainyard being carried
away) that we were compelled to haul the prize off, and continue coaling
by means of our boats.

The authorities on shore having hoisted no colours, we have not set ours
to-day. We were visited this morning by a couple of gentlemen from the
shore, bearing a letter from the Governor in reply to an inquiry I had
caused the Paymaster to address to him on the subject of supplies. Their
interpreter very naively informed me that he was a German, who had been
sentenced to banishment here from Rio, and that he had a year and a-half
to serve. This was said while my servant was drawing the cork of a
champagne bottle. The forger (for such was his offence) taking his glass
of wine with the rest! The Governor informed me that I could procure
supplies of beef, fresh pork, fowls, &c., and that he would be glad to
exchange these articles with me for flour, wine, sugar, coffee, &c. I
was glad to find that he raised no question of neutrality, though he
had, no doubt, been informed by a boat's crew from the shore that got
the information on board, of the ship in my company being a prize. He
kindly invited me to visit the shore. During the night (one o'clock) we
had a surprise in the way of a strange steamer making her appearance,
coming round the point of Rat Island. I had all hands called to
quarters, and the battery made ready, fires extinguished, and chains got
right for slipping. Although she came within a mile of us, with the
intention, as we thought, of coming to anchor, she kept on her course
to the southward and we piped down, the men, much fagged from coaling,
not having lost more than half an hour's rest by the operation.

_Sunday, April 12th._--The exigencies of war compel me to work to-day in
coaling ship. Weather clear and very hot during morning, clouding about
noon and raining for several hours.

I visited the island this morning in company with the Surgeon, and
called on the Governor. The surf was too heavy to land, but we found a
bolsa moored at some distance from the shore, and transferring ourselves
to this we were very skillfully put through the surf by three or four
naked fellows, two of them not having even a breech-cloth about their
loins. Fine, well-made fellows they were too. We found horses in
waiting, and rode about a mile to the village and residence of the
Governor--a Major in the Brazilian army; passing an immense sand-drift,
which we had not expected to find on this volcanic rock.

We found the Governor at breakfast, and he insisted on our seating
ourselves, and making a second breakfast with him in company with his
wife--a sprightly, bright mulatto--and a pretty girl, quite white, of
about sixteen, and the _padre_. After breakfast we were introduced to a
number of what appeared to be the gentry of the island, and who had
assembled thus early to meet us. Having smoked and chatted awhile, we
remounted for a ride over the island.

We were not in the saddle more than twenty minutes when one of those
showers, so sudden in this climate, overtook us, and gave us a complete
drenching; we had other showers during the day, but were compensated by
the sun hiding himself during the entire ride. We passed under the
shadow of the gigantic peak, and soon reached the summit of the island,
which spreads out into a most beautiful and productive plain of some two
or three hundred acres. The soil is a ferruginous clay of the richest
description, and covered with the choicest vegetation of wild grapes,
Indian corn, the cotton plant, the castor bean, &c., &c. We stopped a
few minutes to examine a manioc manufactory. Continuing our ride, we
passed through a small but dense forest, to a cocoa-nut plantation on
the south-west part of the island, where we found the water-melon
growing in its choice soil--sand. Here we took shelter again from
another heavy rain, and got some fine grapes. Whilst waiting for the
shower to pass, I had quite a talk with the Governor on various topics;
among others, on the state of the mixed races in the Brazils, &c., &c.
The island, at the season at which we visited it, was a gem of
picturesque beauty--exceedingly broken and diversified with dells and
rocks, and small streams, &c., &c. It was the middle of the rainy
season. The little mountain paths as we returned became small brooks
that hummed and purled in their rapid course. I took occasion to inform
his Excellency that my tender was a prize, so that he might be under no
apprehension. Number of convicts 1000. Whole number of population, 2000.
The Governor expressed himself our very good friend, &c., &c. Got on
board at 5 P.M.

_Monday, April 13th._--Another rainy day. Showers very heavy, but still
we continue our coaling. Wind from northward and westward, and though
light, there is considerable sea on. The bad weather continued all day,
and the night having set in with threatening appearances, I caused
everybody to be brought on board from the prize, to guard against the
possibility of her being driven on shore, and endangering life. I had
the steam got up, and the chain ready for slipping, and was fearful that
I should be obliged to slip; but we held on during the night. Night very
dark, with heavy rain, and much sea on.

_Tuesday, April 14th._--Wind this morning from about W.S.W.; weather
still louring. Our friends came off from the shore again this morning,
bringing the fresh provisions ordered for the crew. Every thing is very
dear here. Meat forty cents per pound; but still my crew has been so
long on salt diet that flesh is an anti-scorbutic necessity for them. I
have arranged to sell forty or more tons of coal for a Brazilian
schooner there is in the harbour, and had a proposition for purchasing
the prize, which I offered to sell as low as 20,000 dollars; but this
sum seemed to alarm them, they saying there was not so much money in
Fernando de Noronha. Continued our coaling.

_Wednesday, April 15th._--Weather clear, and light wind from the
eastward. Finished coaling ship this morning. At about 11 A.M. a couple
of whale-boats from two vessels in the offing pulled into the harbour;
went on board our prize, and thence to the shore. Although the two
masters were told that we were the Iroquois, they seemed at once to have
comprehended the true state of the case, and to make haste to put
themselves out of harm's way. We were an hour and more getting up steam
and weighing our anchor for the chase; and if in the meantime these
whaling captains had pulled out to their ships, and run into shore so as
to get within the league, they might have saved them. We gave chase, and
came up with both of them on the south side of the island, about
half-past 3 P.M., and captured them--both of them being without the
league. One the hermaphrodite brig Kate Cory, of Westport, and the other
the barque Lafayette, of New Bedford; the barque we burned, and the
brig we brought into the anchorage, arriving after dark, about 7 A.M. We
sounded in thirteen fathoms on a bank on the south side, on the southern
extremity of which there is a breaker lying out from two and a half to
three miles. There is also a reef off Tobacco Point running out half a
mile. We saw no other dangers.

       *       *       *       *       *

With reference to these captures, the following amusing account is
extracted from the private journal of the officer of the Alabama who was
prize-master on board the Louisa Hatch:--

'At noon, on the 15th of April, two vessels were descried to the south,
standing off and on, under reduced sail. At 12:30 two boats were
observed pulling towards us, asking my ship's name, the port I hailed
from, &c. I answered correctly. The person in charge of the other boat
then inquired if the war-steamer was the Alabama. I replied, 'Certainly
not, she was the Iroquois U.S. steamer.' 'Have you any news of the
Alabama?' 'Yes, we had heard of her being in the West Indies, at Jamaica
or Costa Rica, &c.' A conversation ensued, by which I learned that the
boats belonged to the two vessels in the distance, that they were both
whalers put in for supplies, and that seeing the steamer they were
rather dubious as to her nationality, and had therefore spoke me, to
gain the required information. A brisk conversation was then kept up; my
object in engaging them in it was to enable the Alabama to get under way
ere the whalers took the alarm, feeling certain that the preparations
were being made to go after them.

'I then invited the masters to come on board my ship, which they
cheerfully consented to do, and were within a boat's length, when a cry
of alarm broke from the steersman in the foremost boat. Shouting to his
crew to 'Give way, men; give way for your lives!' he with a few
well-directed, vigorous strokes, turned his boat's head round, and made
for the shore, the other boat following, blank astonishment being
depicted on the face of each member of the crews. To the frantic
inquiries of the person in charge of the other boat as to the cause of
his (the steersman's) extraordinary conduct, his only reply was,
'There!' pointing to a small Confederate flag of about fifteen inches
long and six inches broad, which I had inadvertently left flying at the
gaff; the gaff being lowered down, the little flag having been used as a
dog-vane, in order to tell the direction of the wind, &c. No sooner did
the men perceive it than they redoubled their exertions to gain the
shore; one of the masters calling out that they had spoken a ship a week
ago, from whom they had obtained news of peace. No credence, however,
could be, or was placed in this statement.

'Immediately after they left I despatched a boat to the Alabama
informing them of the character of my visitors. At 9.15 the Alabama was
observed to get under way, steaming out of the anchorage after the two

'The larger island being between the scene of the Alabama's operations
and the Louisa Hatch, I was not, of course, an eye witness of the
captures. But at 5.30 I observed a dense column of smoke, which, as it
grew later, turned into a ruddy glare, leaving no doubt in our minds as
to the fate of the whalers. At 7 P.M. observed the Alabama coming round
the northern part of the island with a vessel in tow, both anchoring at
7.30. The next morning I learnt that the captures were the barque
Lafayette, of New Bedford, and the brig Kate Cory, of Westport. The
barque was burnt and the brig kept, it being our intention to send off
all the prisoners we had on board, consisting of 140, including the
women stewardesses, in her; but on communicating with the authorities,
it was resolved to land them on the island, a Brazilian schooner
engaging to convey them to Pernambuco. For this purpose provisions for
twenty-one days were sent ashore, the prisoners, after being paroled,

The remainder of the day was spent in transferring provisions, &c., for
ship's use. The next evening the prizes, the Louisa Hatch and Kate Cory,
slipped cables, and stood seaward. When about five miles from land both
vessels were set fire to; Mr. Evans, the officer in charge of the brig,
returning on board long before me, the strong westerly current rendering
it extremely difficult to stem it.

'We remained painting and cleaning ship until the 22nd. At 9.30 A.M. we
got under way, steering and cruising towards Bahia, at which place we
arrived on the 11th of May, having captured and burnt four vessels
between Fernando and Bahia.

'The news of our doings off the islands had preceded us, of course with
additions and manipulations _ad lib._, the schooner having left Noronha
the day previous to our departure. The Governor of Pernambuco had sent
three war vessels to the islands to enforce the neutrality of the place,
which, according to Yankee representations, had been infringed. Not
content with this, the American representatives had succeeded in
procuring the recall of the Governor, whose only crime was that he had
let us anchor off the place--a crime of which he was necessarily
guiltless, because he had no power to prevent our anchoring if we
insisted on it.

'Whilst at Bahia I was shown a letter from the master of one of the
whaling barques to an agent, in which he wrote that he would spare no
money or time to follow to the uttermost ends of the earth, and bring to
justice, the man who had so cruelly deceived him. This sentence had
reference to my denial of the Alabama and the substitution of the U.S.
steamer Iroquois for that of C.S. steamer Alabama. The ingratitude of
some people!!'

On the 16th April Captain Semmes resumes his diary as follows:--Weather
clear; wind light from the southward and eastward. Our banner, last
night a lurid flame, is a tall column of smoke advertising us for
twenty-five or thirty miles round. My first intention was to ship all my
prisoners, amounting to about one hundred and ten, in the prize brig,
but the Governor having consented to my landing them, I am busy to-day
getting them on shore, with their baggage and provisions, and receiving
prisoners from the Louisa Hatch. Sun very warm. The Governor paid me a
visit this morning, and requested that I would write him on the subject
of the captures yesterday, stating the fact (with which he was
satisfied, or at least, to which he made no objection) that they were
captured beyond the league from the land, and requesting leave to land
the prisoners, in order that our understanding should assume an official
shape, which I did.

_Friday, April 17th._--The weather still continues very warm; wind light
from the S.E., and cloudy. Busy receiving and stowing away provisions,
replacing the coal consumed, and getting ready for sea generally. The
landing of so many prisoners amid so small a population has created a
very great stir, and the excitable Brazilians are discussing among
themselves and with the Yankee captains the question of the American war
with great vehemence. Several sail have been reported as usual. The
afternoon set in rainy, and the rain continued all night. Towards
nightfall sent the prizes, Louisa Hatch and Kate Cory, a league outside
the island, and burned them. Received four recruits from the Louisa
Hatch, and more volunteered, but I am full.

_Saturday, April 18th._--Morning cloudy, with wind light from the S.E.
Loosed sails to-day. I am anxiously expecting the arrival of the
Agrippina, my store ship, from England, which was ordered to rendezvous
here--not so anxiously, however, as if my coal-bunkers were empty. But
she has a couple of additional guns on board, that would make an
important addition to my battery.

_Sunday, April 19th._--Rain in the morning, with light airs. Our
steam-tubes leak badly, and I am afraid the leaks will increase so as to
give us trouble. Every time we get up steam, even a few pounds for
condensing water, we find that large quantities of hot water flow into
the hold; eight inches escaped in about twelve hours yesterday.
Unfortunately, too, this tubing is laid so low in the bottom of the
ship, as to be out of reach for examination or repairs without being
taken up. The Governor sent me off a fine turkey and some fruit, and his
lady a bouquet of roses. The roses were very sweet, and made me
home-sick for a while.

_Monday, April 20th._--A dull, heavy, rainy day--the rain coming down at
intervals in torrents, as it is wont to do in these regions. Still
laying at our anchors, waiting for the Agrippina. She should be out
thirty-five days, to-day, from Cardiff. In the afternoon the rain
ceased, except an occasional light sprinkle, but the dull canopy of
clouds did not break, and we had a strong breeze from the S.E. for four
or five hours, indicating the approach of the trades to this latitude.

_Tuesday, April 21st._--Morning clear, wind light from S.E. The Island
after the rain is blooming in freshness and verdure, and as my eye roams
over its green slopes I long for repose and the quiet of peace in my own
land: I do not think it can be far off. Fresh "trade" in the afternoon.
Towards night the Brazilian steamer sailed with a load of our prisoners.

_Wednesday, April 22nd._--Cloudy, with squalls for rain. At 9.30 got
under way under steam, and stood to the eastward. Cut away four
whale-boats that the islanders might have a scramble for them. They soon
started in chase! Steamed due east, about forty-five miles, let the
steam go down, and put the ship under sail. No sail seen.


_A curious prize--The Nye--The Dorcas Prince--An anniversary--The Union
Jack and-the Sea Lark--In the harbour of Bahia--Explanations--Unexpected
meeting--The Georgia--A little holiday--Diplomacy--More

A curious prize was the next that fell into the clutches of the
all-devouring Alabama. A whaling barque, the Nye, of New Bedford, eleven
months out, without having once put into port! Three whole months before
the launching of the Alabama, had that patient little vessel been
ploughing the seas, gathering, as it turned out, only additional fuel
for her own funeral pyre. A weary voyage to have so sad a termination!

Among her crew, transferred as prisoners to her captor, was a
Lieutenant of Marines from the Quaker State, serving on board the
whaler in the capacity of steward!

Next came the Dorcas Prince, of and from New York, for Shanghai. Cargo
chiefly coal, probably intended for United States ships of war in the
East Indies--a supposition that undoubtedly gave additional zest to the
bonfire, which--no claim to neutrality being found among her papers--in
due course followed on her capture.

_Saturday, May 2nd._--An anniversary with me--writes Captain Semmes--my
marriage-day. Alas! this is the third anniversary since I was separated
from my family by this Yankee war! And the destruction of fifty of their
ships has been but a small revenge for this great privation.

On that day two more were added to the long list, and the barque Union
Jack, of Boston, and ship Sea Lark, of New York, shared the fate of
their fifty predecessors. The former of these two vessels added three
women and two infants to the already far too numerous colony of the
weaker sex, by which the Alabama was now encumbered.

There was no claim of neutral property among the papers of either of
these ships, except in the case of one Allen Hay, who was the shipper of
five cases of crackers, and ten barrels of butter, on board the Union
Jack. In this case, a Thomas W. Lielie made oath before the British
Consul at New York, that the said articles were shipped "for and on
account of Her Britannic Majesty." This certificate was of no force or
effect, for its _indefiniteness_, as decided in other cases. A claim of
property must point out the owner or owners, and not aver that it
belongs to the subjects of a nation generally. There must be some one
designated who has a right to the possession of the property under the
bill of lading. The certificate was accordingly set aside, and the ship
and cargo condemned.

Besides the women and children, the Union Jack furnished also another
prisoner of a somewhat unusual character, in the person of the Rev.
Franklin Wright, late editor of a religious paper, and newly-appointed
consul at Foo Chow. The worthy clergyman's entry, however, upon his new
duties was for the time indefinitely postponed by the confiscation of
his appointment, along with the other public papers in his charge. So,
for a time, Foo Chow had to exist without the advantages arising from
the presence of a functionary from the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Monday, May 11th._--Showed the United States colours to a Spanish
brig. In the afternoon ran in and anchored in the harbour of Bahia. A
Portuguese steamer, the only vessel of war found here. No Yankee
man-of-war had been here for some months. The health officer came on
board, just at nightfall. The Agrippina not here, and I begin to fear
that some disaster has befallen her.

_Tuesday, May 12th._--This morning the President sent a messenger to me
with a copy of the _Diario de Bahia_ of the 8th May, in which appears a
sort of proclamation or request, addressed to me by the President of
Pernambuco, desiring that I should leave Fernando de Noronha in
twenty-four hours after the receipt of the same. This paper seems to be
based on certain false statements carried to Pernambuco by the Yankee
prisoners whom I had sent to this place. It is alleged that I violated
the neutrality of the island, &c. I replied to the President, that there
was no truth in this statement; but that, on the contrary, I had paid
respect to the neutrality of Brazil. In reply to my communication, the
President informed me that I should be admitted to the usual
hospitalities of the port; but the bearer of his despatch took occasion
to say that he hoped I would not stop more than three or four days, as
the President was afraid of being compromised in some way. The master of
an English barque came on board and informed me that he had coal and
provisions for the Confederate steamer Japan, which was to meet him here
on the 6th instant.

_Wednesday, May 13th_.--Early this morning a strange steamer was
discovered at anchor about half a mile from us; and at 8 A.M., when we
hoisted our colours, to our great surprise and delight, she too hoisted
the Confederate flag. We then exchanged the established signals; and on
sending a boat on board of her, we ascertained that she was the Georgia,
Lieut. Commanding Maury. Chapman and Evans, two of my Sumter
Lieutenants, were on board of her. The Georgia sailed from England about
the 2nd of April, and armed off Ushant. Our ship has been crowded with
visitors ever since we came in.

_Thursday, May 14th._--At 12.15 P.M. with a party of officers from the
Georgia and my own ship, I took a steam-tug and proceeded up the harbour
to the railroad depot, at the invitation of the manager of the road, for
an excursion into the country, which proved to be very pleasant. We
passed along the whole port of Bahia, the lower town skirting the water,
and the upper town the crests of a semicircular height, the intermediate
space being filled with trees and shrubbery. The houses are mostly
white, and many of them very picturesque. The terminus of the road is a
beautiful and spacious iron building, situated in the middle of a great
square; and the road itself is a very substantial job. We rode out
twenty-four miles through a picturesque country, the road bordered for
most of the way by the bay and lagoons, with beautiful little valleys
occasionally opening on either hand, with their patches of sugar-cane
and cotton. On our return we sat down to a beautiful lunch, with
champagne. Our hosts were attentive and agreeable, and we returned on
board at dusk, after a very pleasant day. The English residents here
have been very attentive to us. Our tug-man, who was a Thames waterman,
dodged in and out among the launches and vessels in a way that only a
Thames man can do. The French mail came in to-day, and brought us news
that the Florida was at Pernambuco.

_Friday, May 15th._--This morning a person in citizen's dress came on
board and said that the President had requested him to ask me to show
him my commission. I replied that I could have no objection to show my
commission, but it must be to an officer of my own rank, and that this
officer must come on board in his uniform for the purpose; that I could
not show my commission to any person who might come on board in
citizen's dress, bringing me a mere verbal message, and without any
credentials of his rank, &c. I remarked, however, that it would give me
very great pleasure to call on the President myself and exhibit it. To
this he readily assented; and having appointed an hour for the
interview, I went on shore, accompanied by my _aide_, and had a long and
agreeable chat with his Excellency, who was a man of about thirty-five
years of age, tall and delicate-looking, with black eyes and hair.

We discussed various points relating to the subject of neutral and
belligerent rights, &c.; and I took occasion to repeat the assurances I
had previously given him in my letter, that I had paid due attention to
the neutral rights of Brazil during my visit to Fernando de Noronha, &c.
I told him I only desired him to extend to me and to the Georgia the
same hospitality as he would extend to a Federal cruiser; but that I
might say to him as an individual, that we were entitled to the warm
sympathies of Brazil, &c.

I arranged about coaling the Georgia and this ship by means of launches,
as there were port objections to the ship being hauled alongside. He
seemed anxious that our stay should be as short as possible, lest our
delay might compromise his neutrality in some way. He said my sailors
had been behaving very badly on shore, and indeed I knew they had. I
told him he would oblige me by securing the rioters and putting them in
prison. This evening we were entertained very handsomely at the
residence of Mr. Ogilvie, where we met all the English society of the

_Saturday, May 16th._--This day the ship (Castor), from which the
Georgia was coaling, was ordered to be hauled off, and the operation
suspended, the Yankee Consul having alleged to the Government that she
had munitions of war on board.

_Sunday, May 17th.--_In the morning an officer came on board and read
me a despatch from the President, expressing displeasure at my remaining
so long in the port, and directing me to proceed to sea in twenty-four
hours. The same paper was read on board the Georgia. I replied that the
Government itself had caused our delay, by prohibiting us from coaling
from the ship from which we had purchased our coal; and that I could go
to sea in twenty-four hours after this prohibition was removed, &c., &c.
A party of English ladies and gentlemen visited the ship this afternoon.
We were crowded all day, besides, with miscellaneous visitors.

_Tuesday, May 19th._--This morning, at the request of the President, I
went on shore to see him, and we had a long and animated discussion, in
which he stated he had certain proofs, adduced by the United States
Consul, to the effect that the coal-ship Castor had been sent here to
meet us, &c.; and that under these circumstances (the ship being
charged, besides, with having munitions of war on board), he felt it his
duty to prevent us from coaling from her, but that we might have free
access to the market, &c. The Consul, too, had told him that I had
shipped one of the prisoners after landing him: the fact being that,
although many of them volunteered, I refused to receive any of them,
having already a full crew on board. In the afternoon addressed a letter
to the President, insisting upon the right to coal from the Castor.

_Wednesday, May 20th._--We were promised lighters with coal from the
shore this morning; but not one has yet come off--half-past twelve. Just
at nightfall a lighter came alongside, and during the night we filled
up. The next day we got under way and steamed out of the harbour.

_Sunday, May 24th._--I am quite home-sick this quiet Sunday morning. I
am now two _long, long_ years away from my family, and there are no
signs of an abatement of the war; on the contrary, the Yankees seem to
become more and more infuriated, and nothing short of a war of invasion
is likely to bring them to terms, unless indeed it be the destruction of
their commerce; and for this, I fear, we are as yet too weak. If we can
get and hold Kentucky, the case may be different. Well, we must
sacrifice our natural yearnings on the altar of our country, for without
a country we can have no home.


_Two more!--The Gildersliene and Justina--Case of the Jabez Snow--The
barque Amazonian--Relieved of prisoners--A hint--The Talisman--Under
false colours--The Conrad--A nobler fate--Re-christened--The Tuscaloosa
commissioned--Short of provisions._

The 25th May witnessed the capture of the ship Gildersliene and the
barque Justina. The latter having a neutral cargo, was ransomed on a
bond for 7000 dollars; the former condemned and burned, after an
investigation terminating in the following decision:--


Ship under the United States colours and register. Charter-party with
Messrs. Halliday, Fox, and Co., of London, who describe themselves as
merchants and freighters, to make a voyage to Calcutta and back to
London or Liverpool. Cargo taken in at Sunderland, and consisting of
coal, said to be shipped for the "service of the Peninsular and Oriental
Steam Navigation Company," but not even averred to be on "their account
and risk." No certificate or other evidence of property; ship and cargo
condemned. Master knows nothing of property except what appears by the

       *       *       *       *       *

_Friday, May 29th._--We had another chase last night from about 2 A.M.,
but with better success than the two previous nights, since at 7.30 A.M.
we came up with and captured the ship Jabez Snow, of Rockport, Maine.
Just at daylight, being within about four miles of her, we hoisted our
own colours, and fired a gun. She did not show any colours in return,
and stood a second gun before heaving to; she finally showed her
colours. Got on board from the prize a quantity of provisions and
cordage; transhipped the crew, and about sunset set her on fire. Found a
letter on board, the writer of which referred to American ships being
under a cloud "owing to dangers from pirates, more politely styled
privateers," which our kind friends in England are so willing "should
slip out of their ports to prey on our commerce." This letter was dated
Boston, November 25th, 1862.


Ship under United States colours, cargo coals, from Cardiff for Monte
Video. On the face of the bill of lading is the following: "We certify
that the cargo of coals per Jabez Snow, for which this is the bill of
lading, is the _bonâ fide_ property of Messrs. Wilson, Holt, Lane, &
Co., and that the same are British subjects and merchants; And also that
the coals are for their own use.


As this certificate was not sworn to, it added no force to the bill of
lading, as every bill of lading is an unsworn certificate of the facts
it recites. There being no legal proof among the papers to contradict
the presumption that all property found under the enemy's flag is
enemy's property, and as the Master, who was the charterer and agent of
the ship, and whose duty it was to know about all the transactions in
which he was engaged, swore that he had no personal knowledge of the
owner of the cargo, except such as he derived from the ship's papers,
the cargo, as well as the ship, is condemned as prize of war. The
following significant extract from a letter of the Master to his owners,
dated Penrith Roads, April 19th, 1863, was found on board, though not
produced by the Master:--

"I have my bills of lading certified by the Mayor, that the cargo is
_bonâ fide_ English property. Whether this will be of any service to me
in the event of my being overhauled by a Southern pirate, remains to be

The certificate above recited seems, therefore, to have been procured by
the Master to protect his ship from capture, and not to have been a
spontaneous act of the pretended neutral owners to protect the cargo.
The cargo and advance freight were insured against war-risk, the ship
paying the premium. No effort was made by Wilson, Holt, Lane, & Co., to
protect the cargo, and they were the proper parties to make the oath.
The agent who shipped the coal for this firm, and who wrote the
above-quoted certificate, could only know, of course, that he had
shipped them by order of his principal. Why, then, did Wilson, Holt,
Lane, & Co., decline to make the necessary oath to protect the cargo?
They should have taken the necessary steps to protect either themselves
or the insurers, but they did no such thing. It would seem, probably,
that they were the agents of some American house, and that they could
not, in conscience, take the oath required by law.

       *       *       *       *       *

The next prize was the Amazonian, of Boston, from New York to Monte
Video, captured, after a long chase, on the 2d of June, but not until
two blank shots had failed to bring her to, and the stronger hint of a
round from the rifled gun had convinced her of the impossibility of

       *       *       *       *       *


Ship under United States colours; has an assorted cargo on board, and is
bound from New York to Monte Video. There are two claims of neutral
property--one for twenty cases of varnish and fifty casks of oil,
claimed as shipped on "account of Messrs. Galli & Co., French subjects."
This claim is sworn to by a Mr. Craig, before a notary. It does not aver
that the property is in Messrs. Galli & Co., but simply that it was
shipped "on their account." There is no outside evidence of the truth of
this transaction, as the master knows nothing about it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Right glad was the Alabama to fall in, on the day after this last
capture, with an English brigantine, the master of which proved willing,
in consideration of a gift from Captain Semmes of one of his noble
collection of captured chronometers, to relieve him of the crowd of
prisoners with which he was encumbered. To the number of forty-one they
were forthwith transferred, along with a stock of provisions sufficient
for a fortnight's consumption; and the Alabama breathed freely again,
relieved of her disagreeable charge.

It may not be an uninstructive, and it is most assuredly an amusing
comment, upon the claims of neutrality so loudly insisted upon, to quote
the following extract from a New York letter, captured on board one of
the recent prizes. It is dated April 7th, and addressed to a
correspondent in Buenos Ayres:--

"When you ship in American vessels, it would be as well to have the
British Consul's certificate of English property attached to the bill of
lading and invoices; as in the event of falling in with the numerous
privateers, it would save both cargo and vessel, in all probability. An
American ship, recently fallen in with, was released by the Alabama on
account of a British Consul's certificate showing the greater part of
the cargo to be English property. If you ship in a neutral vessel, we
save five per cent, war insurances."

Another prize. The Talisman, a fine ship of 1100 tons, under United
States colours and register, with no claim of neutral property in cargo;
and before the glare of her funeral pyre had faded from the horizon,
another hove in sight, so evidently American, that notwithstanding the
English ensign flying at her peak, she was at once brought to and
boarded. And American she proved to be in her origin; but her owners had
been wise, and, so far as her papers went, she had been regularly
transferred to the protection of the British flag--humiliating, perhaps,
to the proud "Yankee nation," but effective as a precaution against
capture; though, had the Confederate cruiser been able to send her into
port for adjudication, the transfer might very possibly, when the
evidence came to be sifted, have proved but a "bogus transaction" after

So the "Englishman" had to be released, consenting, however, to relieve
the Alabama of a prisoner and his wife, recently captured on board the
Talisman. A week passed away, and then came another instance of a
similar transfer under the strong pressure of fear, the whilom Yankee
barque Joseph Hall, of Portland, Maine, now seeking a humiliating safety
as the "British" Azzopadi, of Port Lewis, Isle of France!

Alas! for the Stars and Stripes, the Azzopadi was not hull down on the
horizon ere the once-renowned Yankee clipper Challenger lay humbly, with
her maintopsail to the mast, in the very place in which her countryman
had just been performing a similar penance, claiming, as the
British-owned Queen of Beauty, a similar immunity.

At last, however, as the impatient crew of the Alabama were beginning to
think that their enemy's flag had finally vanished from the face of the
ocean, an adventurous barque hove in sight, with the old familiar
bunting at her peak. She proved to be the Conrad, of Philadelphia, from
Buenos Ayres for New York, partly laden with wool, the ownership of
which was, as usual, claimed as neutral. On investigation, the claim
proved an evident-fabrication, the facts of the case being as follows:--


Ship under American colours and register. A Mr. Thomas Armstrong, who
describes himself as a British subject doing business at Buenos Ayres,
makes oath before the British Consul that a part of this wool belongs to
him and a part to Don Frederico Elortando, a subject of the Argentine
Republic. This may or may not be true, but the master is unable to
verify the document, he not having been present when it was prepared,
and not knowing any thing about it. There is, besides, so strong a
current of American trade with Buenos Ayres, that the presumption is,
from the very fact that this wool was going to New York in an American
barque, under the imminency of capture, which our presence in these
seas--well known at Buenos Ayres when the barque sailed--must have
shown, that the property is American, and that the certificate is an
attempt to cover it; Mr. Armstrong probably being a brother or a partner
in the transaction with some American house. Ship and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *


From an examination of the correspondence in this case, brought on board
after the ship's papers had been examined, it appeared that Mr.
Armstrong, the party shipping a part of the cargo, swears before _his_
consul that he and one Don Frederico Elortando, are the _owners_ of the
property, and swears before the United States Consul that he is the sole
_owner_ of the property. Both of these oaths cannot be true. It further
appears that, whilst the property in the bill of lading is consigned to
Simon de Visser, Esq., in the letters of Messrs. Kirkland and Von Sachs
it is spoken of as consigned to them. The letters make no mention of any
joint-ownership with Armstrong, but treat the consignment as his sole
property. But though, like so many of her countrymen, condemned, the
Conrad was not to die. A nobler fate was in store for her--no less a
destiny than that of carrying the proud young flag to which she had
succumbed, and taking the sea, under a new name, as the consort of her
captor. Accordingly, Acting-Lieutenant Low was appointed to the command,
assisted by Acting-Master Sinclair and two master's mates. The two
rifled pounders captured in the Talisman were mounted on board, a due
complement of rifles, revolvers, ammunition, &c., supplied, and then the
transformed barque fired her first gun, ran up the Confederate ensign to
her peak, and amid a burst of cheering from her own crew and that of her
consort, made a fresh start in life as the Confederate States
sloop-of-war Tuscaloosa.

The Alabama was now bound for the Cape of Good Hope, where her faithful
tender, the Agrippina, was again to meet her. On the 27th of June,
however, when in lat. 20.01 S., long. 28.29 W., it was discovered that a
great portion of the supposed month's supply of bread had been destroyed
by weevils, and that there was not enough left for the run. A visit to
some port nearer at hand thus became inevitable, and the ship's course
was accordingly shaped for Rio Janeiro.


_An insult to the Yankee flag--Fine weather--The Anna F. Schmidt--"What
ship's that?"--The Express--A supply of bread--Saldanha Bay--Visitors
from the country--A funeral--The Tuscaloosa's prize--The capture off
Cape Town--The Sea Bride won--Ship crowded--Sympathy_.

_Sunday, June 28th._--At 4.30 this evening brought-to a heavy ship with
a blank cartridge; or rather she seemed to come-to of her own accord, as
she was evidently outsailing us, and was, when we fired, at very long
range. Soon after heaving-to she burned a blue light, and whilst our
boat, with a light in it, was pulling towards her, she burned another.
She afterwards said she would not have hove-to but that she thought we
might be in distress. The boarding officer reported us as the United
States ship Dacotah, and demanded to see the ship's papers, which were
refused, the Master stating that we had no right to see his papers. The
boarding officer having been informed of her name (the Vernon), and that
she was from Melbourne, for London, and being satisfied, from
observation, that she was really an English ship, she being one of the
well-known frigate-built Melbourne packets, returned on board, and the
ship filled away; and she was already at considerable distance from us
when I received the boarding officer's report. Under all these
circumstances, I did not chase him afresh to enforce my belligerent
right of search. _Cui bono_, the vessel being really English? Although,
indeed, the resistance to search by a neutral is good cause of capture,
I could only capture to destroy; and I would not burn an English ship
(being satisfied of her nationality) if the Master persisted to the law
in not showing his papers. Nor did I feel that the Confederate States
flag had any insult to revenge, as the insult, if any, was intended for
the Yankee flag. Most probably, however, the ship being a packet-ship,
and a mail-packet, the Master erred from ignorance.

Lat. 26.35, long. 32.59.30, current S.E. thirty miles; ship rolling and
tumbling about, to my great discomfort. The fact is, I am getting too
old to relish the rough usage of the sea. Youth sometimes loves to be
rocked by the gale, but when we have passed the middle stage of life, we
love quiet and repose.

_Tuesday, June 30th._--The bad weather of the past week seems at length
to have blown itself out; and this morning we have the genial sunshine
again, and a clear, bracing atmosphere. With a solitary exception, the
Cape pigeons, true to their natures, have departed. There is still some
roughness of the sea left, however, and the ship is rolling and creaking
her bulk-heads, as usual. Wind moderate from about East.

Another prize on the 2nd of July, the Anna, F. Schmidt, of Maine, from
Boston for San Francisco; and another cautious Yankee transformed into
an Englishman; and then came a large ship flying before the wind, with
all sail set to her royals, and answering the Alabama's challenge with a
gun from her own bow port.

A man-of-war this, from her fashion of replying, even had the fact not
been sufficiently apparent from the cut of her heavy yards and lofty
spars. An enemy, perhaps! And wild with the hope of a fight, though it
be with an enemy not much less than double her size, away flies the
Alabama, at top speed of sail and steam, in chase. The sea was smooth,
though with a strong breeze; and ere long the saucy little cruiser
ranged up alongside of the fine frigate, with ten black muzzles grinning
through his ports on either side.

"This is the Confederate States ship Alabama!" rang out from the
quarter-deck, as the two ships flew through the water, side by
side:--"What ship's that?"

But there was to be no fight that day. The chase contented herself with
the laconic reply, "Her Britannic Majesty's ship Diomede;" and went
tearing along upon her course under the tremendous press of canvas,
beneath which her spars were bending like a whip, and was soon out of
sight, evidently bound on some errand that would not brook delay.

Some small compensation for this disappointment was found two days
afterwards in the capture of the fine ship Express, of Boston, from
Callao for Antwerp, loaded with guano, the particulars of which are
recorded as follows:--


Ship under United States colours and register; cargo guano, shipped by
Senan, Valdeavellano and Co., at Callao, and consigned to J. Sescau and
Co., at Antwerp. On the back of this bill of lading is the following
endorsement: "Nous soussignés chargé d'affaires et consul général de
France à Lima, certifions que la chargement de mille soixante douze de
register de Huano spécifié au présent connaissement, est propriété

Fait à Lima, le 27 Janvier, 1863.

(Signed and impressed with the Consular seal.)

This certificate fails to be of any value as proof, for two reasons:
first, it is not sworn to; and secondly, it simply avers the property to
be neutral (the greater part of it, for it does not touch the guano in
sacks), instead of pointing out the owner or owners. A Consul may
authenticate evidence by his seal, but when he departs from the usual
functions of a Consul, and becomes a witness, he must give his testimony
under oath, like other witnesses. This certificate, therefore, does not
even amount to an _ex parte_ affidavit. If the property had been in the
shipper's or consignee's name, it would have been quite as easy to say
so as to put the certificate in its present shape. Why, then, was the
simple declaration that the property was neutral made use of?--the law
with which every Consul, and more especially a chargé d'affaires, is
supposed to be acquainted with, declaring them to be insufficient? The
conclusion from these two facts--viz., that there was no oath taken, and
that there was no owner named--seemed to be that the Consul gave a sort
of matter-of-course certificate, upon the application of some one who
declared the property to be neutral, perhaps with a knowledge to the
fact, or contrary to the fact, neither party taking any oath. Now, the
presumption of law being, that goods found in an enemy's ship belong to
the enemy, unless a distinct neutral character be given to them, by
pointing out the _real owner_, by proper documentary proof, as neither
the bill of lading nor the certificate, which is a mere statement of a
fact, like the bill of lading, not under oath, nor the Master's
testimony, who knows nothing (see his deposition) except as he has been
told by the shipper, amounts to proper documentary proof, the ship and
cargo are both condemned. It must be admitted that this is a case in
which, perhaps, a prize court would grant "further proof;" but as I
cannot do this, and as a distinct neutral character is not impressed
upon the property by former evidence, I must act under the presumption
of law. Sect. 3rd, Phillimore, 596. The charter-party in this case
describes the charterers, J. Sescau and Co., of Antwerp, as agents of
the supreme Peruvian Government. But if so, why was it not certificated
by the government, as was done in the case of the Washington, captured
and released on bond by this ship? And then the master swears that _the
shippers told him_ that the cargo belonged to them; and if the Peruvian
Government must resort to a French official for a certificate, why not,
then, on oath made before him? and why did he not state the fact that it
so belonged, which would have protected it?

       *       *       *       *       *

The Alabama was now again heading for the Cape, the Anna Schmidt having
yielded a supply of bread sufficient, with strict economy, to last out
the passage. There she arrived on the 29th July, anchoring in Saldanha
Bay, at about 1.45 P.M.

_Thursday, July 30th._--Last night the sky and atmosphere were
singularly brilliant. Landed this morning at eight, to get sight for my
chronometers, this being the first time that I ever set foot on the
Continent of Africa. Saldanha is a gloomy, desert-looking place, the
shore comprised of sand and rock, without trees, but with green patches
here and there. There are three or four farm-houses in sight, scattered
over the hills. The farmers here are mostly graziers. The cattle are
fine and good; a great number of goats graze on the hills, and
sheep-raising is extensive, the mutton being particularly fine. Small
deer are abundant. We had a venison steak for breakfast. The little
islands in the bay abound in rabbits, and there is good
pheasant-shooting in the valleys. Already a party of officers has gone
out to stretch their limbs, and enjoy the luxury of shooting.

_July 31st._--Took a stroll on shore, and walked round some fine
oat-fields. The soil resembles our hummock land in Florida, and produces
finely. Engaged caulking, painting, &c. An abundance of wild-flowers in
bloom. Huge blocks of granite lie about the sand, and from the tops of
projections, &c.

_Saturday, Aug. 1st._--I returned on board, after a stroll on shore, at
2 P.M. During my walk I met some farmers in a four-horse waggon coming
to see the ship. They brought me a wild peacock--not quite so large as
our wild turkey. It was without the gorgeous plumage of the domestic
bird. The schooner Atlas came in this afternoon, with letters for me
from some merchants at Cape Town, offering their services to supply me
with coal, &c., and expressing their good-will, &c., &c. I took occasion
by this vessel, which returned immediately, to write to the Governor,
Sir Philip B. Wodehouse, informing him of my presence here.

_Sunday, Aug. 2nd._--The inhabitants say that this winter has been
remarkable for its general good weather, and for the few gales they have
had. Crowds of country people, from far and near, came on board to look
at the ship to-day.

_Monday, Aug. 3rd._--Another crowd of visitors to-day, who came in their
country waggons and on horseback. They all speak Dutch, and it is rare
to find one among them who speaks English. Although it is nearly half a
century since England took final possession of the colony, the English
language has made but little progress, the children being taught by a
Dutch schoolmaster, and the papers being, many of them, printed in
Dutch. There was an intelligent young _boer_ (about twenty-three) among
them, who had never been on board a ship before. He was quite excited by
the novelty of everything he saw. Some of the female visitors were
plump, ruddy, Dutch girls, whose large rough hands, and awkward bows and
curtsies, showed them to be honest lasses from the neighboring farms,
accustomed to milking the cows and churning the butter. I found the
geranium growing wild in my rambles to-day. Just as we were going to
sun-down quarters, a boat came alongside with the body of Third
Assistant-engineer Cummings, who accidentally shot himself with his gun.

_Tuesday, Aug. 4th._--In the afternoon, at three, the funeral procession
started from shore with the body of the deceased engineer. He was taken
to a private cemetery about a mile and a half distant, and interred with
the honours due to his grade, the First Lieutenant reading the funeral
service. This is the first burial we have had from the ship.

_Wednesday, Aug. 5th._--At 6 A.M. got up the anchor, and getting under
way, steamed out of the bay and shaped our course for Cape Town. At 9.30
descried a sail a point on the starboard bow, and at 10.30 came up with
and sent a boat on board of the Confederate barque Tuscaloosa, and
brought Lieutenant Lowe on board. He reported having captured, on the
31st July the American ship Santee, from the eastward, laden with rice,
certificated as British property, and bound for Falmouth. He released
her on ransom for 150,000 dollars. I directed Lieutenant Lowe to proceed
to Simons Bay for supplies. Steamed in for the town. At 12.30 made a
barque, two points on starboard bow; gave chase, and at about 2 P.M.
came up with and hove the chase, she having up United States colours.
This was a close pursuit, as the barque was not more than five or six
miles from the shore when we came up with her. The Master might have
saved himself if he had stood directly in for the land; but we ran down
upon him under English colours, and he had no suspicion of our character
until it was too late. The United States consul at once protested
against our violation of British waters (!). The Governor telegraphed to
the Admiral (Walker), at Simon's Bay, to send a man-of-war round; and
about 10 P.M. her Majesty's steamship Valorous, Captain Forsyth, came in
and anchored. Some correspondence has passed between the Governor and
myself on the subject of the capture, and I believe he is satisfied as
to distance, &c. Put a prize crew on board the prize (Sea Bride), and
directed her to stand off and on until further orders. The moment our
anchor was dropped we were crowded with visitors.

_Thursday, Aug. 6th._--Notwithstanding the bad weather, the ship has
been crowded with visitors all the morning, and my cabin has been
constantly filled with people pressing to shake hands with me, and to
express sympathy for my cause. During the night we had some thunder and
lightning, first from the S.E., and then from the N.W.; and the wind
springing up, very gently at first, freshened to a gale by morning, with
showers of rain and hail. Communicated with the prize, and directed the
Prizemaster, in case he should be blown off by a gale, to rendezvous at
Saldanha Bay by the fifteenth of the month. Captain Forsyth, of the
Valorous, came on board. Returned his visit.

_Friday, Aug. 7th._--I should have been under way for Simons Bay this
morning but for the gale. The wind is blowing very fresh from northward
and westward, with dense clouds climbing up and over the Table, Lion's
head, &c.--presenting a very fine spectacle, with the rough waters, the
ships with struck upper yards, and the town half enveloped with flying
mists, &c. The bold watermen in all the gale are cruising about the bay
under reefed sails, some of them with anchors and cables, ready to
assist any ships that may require it. Last night, in the first watch, a
sail was reported to be on the shore near the lighthouse and firing
signal guns. Very soon we saw two or three boats put out to her
assistance. In the morning we heard that it was a Brazilian brig, and
that the crew was saved. The brig is fast breaking up in the gale.


_Wrecked!--A narrow escape--Respect for neutral waters--The Martha
Wenzell--At the Cape--Dense fogs--Heavy weather--"Are you a vessel of
war?"---Firmness and obstinacy--Simon's Town--Misrepresentations--A
little rest--Land-sharks--A night scene--To the Indian Ocean--The barque

_Saturday, August 8th,_ 1863.--The gale broke last night, but there is
still some breeze blowing, and the sea is quite rough. Last night a
Bremen brig was wrecked off Point Monille. We heard her firing guns, and
I feared at first it was our prize; and yet I could not conceive how my
Prizemaster, who was acquainted with the soundings, could have made such
a mistake. The weather has checked the throng of visitors, and yet a few
get off to us, asking for autographs, and looking curiously at the ship.
We are finishing our repairs, and getting supplies on board. Our prize
has not made her appearance to-day. She will rendezvous at Saldanha Bay
on the 15th inst.

_Sunday, August 9th,_ 1863.--Weather has again become fine. At 6 A.M.
precisely, we moved out of the bay, and steamed along the coast towards
the Cape. We gave chase to two sail off the mouth of False Bay, and
overhauling them, one proved to be an English, and the other an American
barque. The latter we boarded; but when I came to get bearings and plot
my position, it unfortunately turned out that I was within a mile, or a
mile and a quarter, of a line drawn from the Cape Lighthouse to the
opposite headland of the bay, and therefore within the prescribed limit
of jurisdiction. The master of the barque, in the meantime, having come
on board, I informed him of those facts, and told him to return to, and
take possession of his ship, as I had no authority to exercise any
control over him; which he did, and in a few minutes more, we were under
steam standing up the bay. What a scene for the grim old Cape to look
down upon. The vessel boarded was the Martha Wenzell, of Boston, from
Akyab for Falmouth. At 2 P.M. anchored in Simon's Bay, and was boarded
by a Lieutenant from the flag-ship of Admiral Walker.

_Monday, August 10th._--Weather fine. I called on Admiral Walker at his
residence, and was presented by him to his family, and spent an
agreeable half hour with them, giving them a brief outline of our
quarrel and war. Dined on board the Chinese gunboat Kwang-Tung,
Commander Young. This is one of Laird's side-wheel steamers, built for
Captain Sherrard Osborne's fleet. Capt. Bickford, of the Narcissus, and
Lieut. Wood, flag Lieutenant, dined with us.

_Tuesday, August 11th._--Weather fine. Visited the flag-ship of
Rear-Admiral Sir Baldwin W. Walker and the Kwang-Tung. Employed caulking
and refitting ship. Many visitors on board.

_Wednesday, August 12th._--Wind fresh from the southward and eastward.
Photographers and visitors on board. The Kwang-Tung made a trial trip of
her engines, after having repaired them, with the Admiral's family on
board. Wind freshened to a gale towards night.

_Thursday, August 13th.-_--Weather cloudy; blowing a moderate gale from
the S.E. The Tuscaloosa is ready for sea, but is detained by the
weather. Dined with Rear-Admiral Walker; Governor Sir Philip Wodehouse
and lady were of the party. My sailors are playing the devil as usual.
They manage to get liquor on board the ship, and then become
insubordinate and unruly. We have to force some of them into irons. The
man Weir, whom I made a Quartermaster, has run off; also two of the
Stewards, and two dingy boys; the latter were apprehended and brought on

_Friday, August 14th._--We have a dense fog to-day and calm. The
Tuscaloosa, which went out at daylight, anchored some four or five miles
outside the harbour. The mail steamer from England arrived at Cape Town
to-day, bringing us news of Lee's invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Finished our repairs this evening.

_Saturday, August 15th._--We were ready to get under way at daylight
this morning, but were delayed by the dense fog until eleven o'clock,
when we moved out of the harbour. As we neared the Cape another fog bank
rolled over and enveloped us for a couple of hours. At 2.30, boarded an
English barque. At 3, let the steam go down, and raised the propeller.
Weather threatening. Barometer 29.80. Took single reefs in the topsails.
At 11 P.M. a steamer passed close, to leeward of us.

Light winds and thick weather now for rather more than a week, varied by
a stiff northwester on the 22nd August, lasting over the greater part of
two days.

_Tuesday, August 25th._--Dense, cloudy morning. Got a glimpse of the sun
and latitude at twelve o'clock. Our freshwater condenser is about giving
out, the last supply of water being so salt as to be scarcely drinkable.
This will be a serious disaster for us if we cannot remedy it at Cape
Town, for we have no tank room for more than eight days' supply, and no
place to store casks except on deck, where they would interfere with the
guns. And so I have borne up to run for Angra Pequena, where I expect to
pick up my prize-crew that I may return to Simon's Bay to see what can
be done, without further delay. I am quite knocked up with cold and
fever, but sick as I may be, I can never lie by and be quiet, the
demands of duty being inexorable and incessant.

_Thursday, August 27th._--Morning fine; made all sail at early daylight
and stood in for the land, having every promise of getting latitude at
meridian for position, and running in to an anchor early in the
afternoon. But an ominous fog-bank, that we had noticed hanging over the
land for a short time before, suddenly enveloped us at eight, and shut
us in so completely as to render it difficult to see a hundred yards in
any direction; the wind the while blowing fresh from the south; weather
cool and uncomfortable, and the rigging dripping rain. Hove to, and
awaited anxiously the disappearance of the fog; but hour after hour
passed, and still no change--six, seven bells struck, and the fog
appeared to grow more dense, and the wind to increase; wore ship, and
put her head off shore; went below, and turned in, in supreme disgust.
At 1.30 aroused by the report that there was a topsail schooner close
aboard. She ran down for us, when we backed main topsail, and sent a
boat and brought the Master on board. Being like ourselves bound for
Angra, he consented to pilot us in. Filled away, and made sail. We were
to-day, at noon, by computation, W.S.W. from Pedestal Point (Angra);
distance about ten miles. The fog continued most relentlessly until 4
P.M., when it disappeared, and we wore ship for the land, and were
probably on the point of making it just at sunset, when the fog came on
again, and enveloped everything in impenetrable darkness. Wore ship
seaward, and stood off and on during the night: the weather blustering.

_Friday, August 28th._--Morning cloudy, wind blowing half a gale. At
8.50 took a single reef in the topsail--the schooner in sight to
leeward. At 9.30 made the land, and soon came in full view of it. My
would-be pilot could not recognise it, until the schooner, having run in
ahead of us, ran down, to leeward, by which we knew that she had made
out our position. I followed her, and ran in, and anchored in Sheerwater
Bay; my pilot being of no sort of assistance to me, he seeming to have a
very imperfect knowledge of the locality. Soon after anchoring, a boat
came out of the lagoon to us, and we recognised some of our prize-crew
of the Sea Bride in her.

In effect the Tuscaloosa and the prize had both been three days in the
harbour of Angra Pequena. In the afternoon we got up our anchor again,
and ran into the lagoon, and anchored near the Sea Bride in seven
fathoms of water. A number of the officers are off this evening to visit
the Tuscaloosa--no doubt to get a _good drink of fresh water_. I have
sent my pitcher for some, being nearly parched up with the salt-water we
have been drinking for the last three days. We are lying in _smooth
water_, in a snug harbour, and I hope to get what I have not had for
several nights--a good night's rest. A more bleak and comfortless
prospect, in the way of landscape, could scarcely present itself to the
eye. Nothing but land and rock--not a sprig of vegetation of any kind to
be seen. In fact it never rains here, and this is consequently a guano
region. We passed a bank of guano in Halifax island, a shanty, a few
labourers, and a large army of penguins spread out with much solemnity
on the island.

_Saturday, August 29th._--Getting on board flour, &c., from the Sea
Bride, and water from the schooner--1500 gallons, which will enable us
to cruise some twenty days. Hauled a borrowed sieve in the afternoon,
and caught a fine lot of fish.

_Sunday, August 30th._--At 10.30 mustered the crew, and landed James
Adams, O.S., discharged by sentence of court-martial, with forfeiture of
pay and prize-money.

_Monday, August 31st,_--At 7 A.M. got under way, and stood out of the

       *       *       *       *       *

The Alabama was now visited by a succession of the heavy gales prevalent
during winter time in the neighbourhood of the Cape. On the 7th
Sept.--Captain Semmes writes--we had a rough, ugly night of it, with a
continuance, and even increase of the gale, and a short and abrupt sea,
in which the ship occasionally rolled and pitched with violence,
frequently thumping my cot against the beams overhead and awaking me.
Shipped large quantities of water through the propeller well; cabin-deck

_Tuesday, September 8th._--Weather cloudy, the sun shining faintly
through the grey mass. Gale continues; the wind (E.S.E.) not having
varied a hair for the last sixteen hours. Barometer gradually falling;
ship rolling and pitching in the sea, and all things dreary-looking and
uncomfortable. I am supremely disgusted with the sea and all its
belongings; the fact is, I am past the age when men ought to be
subjected to the hardships and discomforts of the sea. Seagoing is one
of those constant strifes which none but the vigorous, the hardy, and
the hopeful--in short, the youthful, or at most, the middle-aged--should
be engaged in. The very roar of the wind through the rigging, with its
accompaniments of rolling and tumbling, hard, overcast skies, gives me
the blues. This is a double anniversary with me. It was on the 8th of
September that I received my first order for sea-service (1826); and it
was on the 8th of September that Norton's Division fought the battle of
Moline del Ray (1847). What a history of the United States has to be
written since the last event! How much of human weakness and wickedness
and folly has been developed in these years! But the North will receive
their reward, under the inevitable and rigorous laws of a just
government of the world.

Another week passed with a solitary excitement in the shape of an
obstinate English skipper, who stoutly refused to heave to. The
following account of this affair is extracted from the journal of one of
the Alabama's officers:--

Towards evening of the 10th of September the wind fell considerably. At
8.30 P.M. a sail in sight on weather bow. Immediately we turned to
windward, and stood in chase. At 9.45 fired a gun to heave chase to.
Chase, however, still kept on her course. At 10.35 we ran up alongside,
and the officer of the deck hailed her--"Ship ahoy!" "Halloa! heave to,
and I will send a boat on board." "What do you want me to heave to
for?" "That's my business." "Are you a vessel of war?" Captain Semmes
then waxing wroth, replied, "I'll give you five minutes to heave to in."
"You have no right to heave me to unless you tell me who you are." "I'll
let you know who I am." To officer of the deck--"Load that gun with
shot, sir, and rain on that fellow--he's stupid enough to be a
foreigner." "Tell me who you are," yelled out the master of the ship.
"If you are not hove to in five minutes I'll fire into you." Addressing
the officer of the watch, Captain Semmes asked, "Is that gun ready for
firing, sir?" "All ready, sir." "Then stand by to fire."

The Captain of the ship beginning to realize the fact that we were in
earnest, rolled out a volley of oaths, not only loud, but deep also.
That little ebullition being finished, he hauled his mainsail up and lay
to. Captain Semmes then gave me orders to board and ascertain who the
vessel was, as the reluctance to heave to was suspicious in itself.

On boarding, the Mate met me at the gangway and introduced me to a tall,
burly man, who proved to be the Master. With the utmost suavity I
inquired, "What ship is this?" "Who are you?" he blurted out. "What ship
is this, captain?" I repeated. "I sha'n't tell you," was the polite
reply. "Captain, what vessel is this?" "Are you a man-of-war?" asked he.
"Of course we are," replied I. "Who are you?" queried he.

With the greatest distinctness possible, and with the utmost sternness,
I said, "We are--we are the United States steamer Iroquois, Captain
Palmer, on a cruise; and now, having told you this, I have something
more to tell you--namely, that I am come on board to ask questions, not
to answer them; further, I have asked you three times who you are, and
have not yet received an answer. So just step down into the cabin, and
produce the ship's papers."

With a very ill grace he descended into the cabin, I following, and I
had just removed my cap when he roared out, "Who are you? Are you
English? Say you are an English man-of-war, and I will let you look at
my papers." Said I, "Captain, either you are crazy or else you think I
am. Here we fire a gun, and any man with a grain of sense would have
understood that it was meant for a ship to heave to, more especially
when a nation is at war. You are told to heave to, are boarded, and
asked a question. Instead of replying, you ask, perfectly savagely, 'Who
are you?' I tell you we are the United States ship Iroquois, and then
you ask, 'Are you English? Tell me you are an English man-of-war!' It's
absurd, I tell you."

"Mr. Officer," yelled he, "'crazy!' 'sense!' 'absurd!' By G--d, sir, if
an English man-of-war were here, no Yankee dare set foot on this deck,
sir. Who are you?" "Captain," I said to the man, "it is time this piece
of folly were ended. Now understand me. Look at that clock: it wants
twelve minutes to eleven; I want to see your papers; I give you two
minutes to produce them in. If, at ten minutes to eleven, the papers are
not forthcoming, I shall adopt measures to place them in my possession."

I then sat down. Question after question did the worthy skipper ask, but
no reply did I deign to give. At length it wanted but a few seconds to
the time specified, when with a bad grace the irate Master produced his
key, unlocked his safe, and brought forth his papers. Upon examination I
found it was the ship Flora, of and to Liverpool, from Manilla, with a
general cargo.

While looking over his papers, a ceaseless string of interrogations was
kept up by the Master, to which I returned no answer, merely returning
the papers, and remarking that he had given himself and us also, some
really causeless detention. "Have you any news, captain?" I asked. "Yes,
I have some news; news that some three or four of you would like to be
acquainted with, but news that one of you would rather not know. But I'd
see you Yankees sunk forty fathoms deep before I would tell you it."
"Come, captain, don't be uncharitable; you know what is written in the

He then went on to state what a bad passage he had made so far, having
met with a succession of baffling winds ever since he had left Manilla;
that he had made all sail for a fair wind, and which had only lasted for
a few hours, the wind coming ahead again; and it looking threatening, he
had reduced sail considerably, and was making but slow progress when he
was stopped by us.

"Stopped by a Yankee, too! That's something I won't forget in a hurry,"
said he.

I could not help laughing at the "offended majesty" air he assumed, and
wishing him a speedy passage, returned on board. From one of my boat's
crew I learnt that the Flora had either seen or been boarded a couple of
days ago by a two-masted long-funnelled steamer, supposed by the Master
to have been a Confederate, though showing Yankee colours.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, September 16th._--At 3 P.M. doubled the Cape of Good Hope and
steamed into the anchorage at Simon's Town, which we reached at about
4.30 P.M. The Vanderbilt had left on Friday last, and was reported to
have hovered near the Cape for a day or two. Greatly disarranged by the
news from home--Vicksburg and Port Hudson fallen; Rosecrans' army
marching southwards; and Lee having recrossed the Potomac. Our poor
people seem to be terribly pressed by the Northern hordes.

But we shall fight it out to the end, and the end will be what an
all-wise Providence shall decree.

_Thursday, September 17th._--Called on the Admiral, and received a visit
from the Captain of the Narcissus.

Various misrepresentations had been made to the Admiral as to my
proceedings since I left, &c., by the United States Consul, which I
explained away. Spent an agreeable half-hour with the Admiral and his
lady. There being no coal here--the Vanderbilt having taken it all--I
made arrangements for it to be sent to me from Cape Town.

_Saturday, September 19._--The steamer Kadie arrived with coals for me
from Cape Town. Hauled her alongside, and commenced coaling. Walked on
shore, and lunched with Captain Bickford. Dispatched letters for the
mail-steamer for England. Liberty-men drunk, and few returning. Dined
with the Admiral. A very pleasant party, composed entirely of naval
officers, including the Captains of the ships present, the
Captain-superintendent of the dockyard, &c. After dinner the young
ladies made their appearance in the drawing-room, and we had some music.

_Sunday, September 20th._--Hauled the ship over to get at the copper
around the blow-pipe, which was worn off. Visited the shore at half-past
nine, took a long walk, dropped in upon the Post-captain, and went to
church--Father Kiernan saying mass. He is an earnest, simple-minded
Irish priest, with a picturesque little church on the hill-side, and a
small congregation composed chiefly of soldiers and sailors--a seaman
serving mass. Captain Coxon and a couple of the Lieutenants of the
squadron being present. Liberty-men returning in greater numbers
to-day--the money is giving out.

_Monday, September 21st._--At daylight, hauled the steamer alongside
again, and recommenced coaling. Called to see the ladies at the
Admiral's after dinner, and walked through their quite extensive garden,
winding up a ravine with a rapid little stream of water passing through

_Tuesday, September 22nd._--A large number of liberty-men on shore yet.
The Yankee Consul, with his usual unscrupulousness, is trying to
persuade them to desert. With one or two exceptions, the whole crew have
broken their liberty--petty officers and all. With many improvements in
the character of the seaman of the present day, in regard to
intelligence, he is, in some respects, as bad as ever. Finished coaling
this evening.

_Wednesday, September 23rd._--Refitting the fore-topmasts. Some twenty
men still absent. A few are picked up by the Simon's Town police for the
sake of the reward. And the sailor-landlords, those pests of all
sea-ports, are coming on board and presenting bills for board, &c. Of
course these claims are not listened to. It is a common contrivance with
Jack and these sharks, to endeavor to extort money out of their ships.

The process is simple enough. The landlord gives Jack a glass or two of
bad liquor, and it may be, a meal or two, and it is agreed between them
that a bill of twenty times the value received shall be acknowledged.
The land-shark charges in this exorbitant way for the risk he runs of
not being able to get anything, so he has nothing to complain of when he
happens to come across a captain who is disposed to protect his seamen
from such extortion. Knowing the villains well, I did not permit them to
impose upon me.

_Thursday, September 24th._--Waiting for the chance of getting over my
deserters from Cape Town. Informed by telegraph, in the afternoon, that
it was useless to wait longer, as the police declined to act. It thus
appears that the authorities declined to enable me to recover my
men--fourteen in number, enough to cripple my crew. This is another of
those remarkable interpretations of neutrality in which John Bull seems
to be so particularly fertile. Informed by telegrams from Cape Town that
vessels had arrived reporting the Vanderbilt on two successive days off
Cape Aguthas and Point Danger. The moon being near its full, I preferred
not to have her blockade me in Simon's Bay, as it might detain me until
I should have a "dark moon," and being all ready for sea, this would
have been irksome; so the gale having lulled somewhat, towards 9 P.M., I
ordered steam to be got up, and at half-past eleven, we moved out from
our anchors.

The lull only deceived us, as we had scarcely gotten under way, before
the gale raged with increased violence, and we were obliged to buffet it
with all the force of our four boilers. The wind blew fiercely; but
still we drove her between five and six knots per hour in the very teeth
of it.

Nothing could exceed the peculiar weird-like aspect of the scene, as we
struggled under the full moonlight with the midnight gale. The
surrounding mountains and high lands, seemingly at a great distance in
the hazy atmosphere, had their tops piled with banks of fleecy clouds,
remaining as motionless as snow-banks, which they very much
resembled--the cold south wind assisting the illusion; the angry waters
of the bay breaking in every direction, occasionally dashing on board of
us; the perfectly clear sky, with no sign of a cloud anywhere to be
seen, except those piled on the mountains already mentioned;--the bright
full moon, shedding her mysterious rays on all surrounding
objects--illuminating, yet distancing them--all these were things to be
remembered. And last, the revolving light on the Cape, at regular
intervals, lighting up the renowned old headland.

We passed the Cape at about 3 A.M., and bearing away gave her the
trysails reduced by their bonnets, and close-reefed topsails; and I
turned in to snatch a brief repose, before the trials of another day
should begin.

_Friday, September 25th.--Delivered the jail_, as usual, upon getting to
sea. It will take several days, I am afraid, to work the grog out of the
crew, before they are likely to settle down into good habits and

The next fortnight's run through the heavy gales that prevail almost
incessantly in the higher latitudes of the Indian Ocean, brought the
Alabama some 2400 miles upon her course. Two days more brought her off
the Island of St. Paul's, a distance of 2840 miles. Another couple of
days, and she had made about sufficient easting, and began to shape her
course towards the north--the "sunny north."

A few short extracts from the journal will give sufficient idea of the
period thus passed through:--

_October 16th._--Lat. 35.23; Long. 89.55; no observations for current;
distance some 135 miles. The gale in which we lay-to ten hours, having
broken in upon our day's work. Bar. 29.57, and on a stand; running
before the wind, under close-reef and reefed foresail. Afternoon gale
increased, and between twelve and one it blew furiously, the whole sea
being a sheet of foam, the air rendered misty by the spray, and the
heavy seas threatening to jump on board of us, although we were scudding
at the rate of very little less than fifteen knots--the whole
accompanied by an occasional snow-squall from dark, threatening-looking
clouds. It is not often that a wilder scene is beheld: in the meantime
the Cape pigeons are whirling around us, occasionally poising themselves
against the stern, as serenely, apparently, as if the elements were at
rest. The barometer has remained perfectly stationary at 29.57 during
this blow for seven hours (from morning to 7 P.M.), without varying a
single hair's breadth, during all of which time the gale was raging with
unmitigated violence from about S.W. by W. to S.W. During this period,
we were travelling about on an average speed of eleven knots; and of
course this must have been the rate of speed of the vortex--distant from
us probably 150 to 200 miles. At 7 P.M. the mercury began to rise
slowly, and at 8 was at 27.60, the weather looking less angry, and the
squalls not so frequent or violent. Verily, our good ship, as she is
darted ahead on the top of one of those huge, long Indian Ocean waves
that pursue her, seems like a mere cock-boat.

It is remarkable that this is the anniversary of the cyclone we took off
the banks of Newfoundland.

_October 18th_--Observing has been particularly vexatious during the
past week. What with the heavy seas constantly rising between the
observer and the horizon, preventing him from producing a contact at the
very instant, it may be, that he is ready for it, the passage of a
flying cloud under the sun when his horizon is all right, and the heavy
rolling of the ship requiring him to pay the utmost care to the
preservation of his balance, and sometimes even to "lose his
sight"--from the necessity of withdrawing one hand suddenly from his
instrument to grasp the rail or the rigging to prevent himself from
falling--what with all these things, the patience of even as patient a
man as myself is sorely tried. Perhaps this stormy tumbling about at sea
is the reason why seamen are so calm and quiet on shore. We come to hate
all sorts of commotion, whether physical or moral.

At last the region of endless gales was passed, and escaping entirely
the southern belt of calms, the Alabama dashed along in the S.E. trade.
On the 26th October, as she was nearing the Line, news reached her from
an English barque, that the United States sloop Wyoming was on guard in
the Sunda Straits, accompanied by a three-masted schooner. This sloop
being about the Alabama's own size, hopes of a fight were again rife
among both officers and men; and great was their impatience when the
trade at length parted from them, and light, variable winds again began
to baffle the eager ship.

Drawing slowly nearer to the Straits, news still came from passing ships
of the enemy's presence there, reports going at length so far as to
state, that she had been specially dispatched thither by the United
States consul at Batavia, in search of the Alabama herself.

At last, on the 6th November, came another prize, the first since
leaving the Cape of Good Hope, nearly six weeks before. She proved to be
the barque Amanda, from Manilla to Queenstown for orders, the following
being the particulars of her case:--


Ship under U.S. colours and register. Cargo, sugar and hemp.
Charter-party to proceed to Europe or the United States. On the face of
each of the three bills of lading appears the following certificate for
the British Vice-consul at Manilla:--

"I hereby certify that Messrs. Ker and Co., the shippers of the
merchandize specified in this bill of lading, are British subjects
established in Manilla, and that according to invoices produced, the
said merchandize is shipped by order, and for account of Messrs.
Halliday, Fox, and Co., British subjects of London, in Great Britain."

As nobody swears to anything, of course this certificate is valueless,
and the presumption of law prevails, viz., "that all property found
under the enemy's flag is enemy's property," until the contrary be shown
by competent and credible testimony under oath, duly certified to by a
Consul or another officer. Ship and cargo condemned.


_New cruising-ground--Case of the Winged Racer--A good chase--The
Contest--On the look-out--Not to be deceived--No prizes--Condore--A
French settlement--Kindly greetings--Monkey Island--Far from
home--Whistling Locusts--Instinct--Why no one sees a dead
monkey--Homewards--Yankee ships scarce._

The 8th of November saw the Alabama again in sight of land, and after
anchoring for a night off Flat Point, and sending a boat ashore, in the
vain hope of finding in the Malay villages a supply of some sort of
fresh provision, she again lifted her anchor and proceeded to sea under

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tuesday, November 10th._--Passed between the islands of Beezee and
Sonbooko, both high and picturesque, the channel about a mile wide, some
villages under the groves of cocoa-nut trees on the former. The naked
natives coming down to the beach to gaze at us. We ran through the
Strait of Sunda about 2 P.M., passing to the westward of Thwart-the-Way.

Soon after passing out of the Strait and shaping our course, we
discovered a clipper-looking ship, under topsails, standing towards
North Island. Gave chase, although we were in the midst of a rain
squall, and in the course of fifteen or twenty minutes we were near
enough to him to make him show his colours. They were United States, and
upon being boarded he proved to be the Winged Racer, a vessel for which
we had been hunting outside the Strait. We captured him and sent him to
anchor about three miles from North Island (the Island bearing about
W.S.W.), and ran up and anchored near him ourselves. By working hard we
were enabled to get everything we wanted out of him by 2 o'clock A.M.;
and having despatched her crew, together with the crew of the Amanda, in
the boats of the prize, at their own request, we got under way at 4
A.M., and steamed out of sight of the coast by daylight. We were
fortunate enough to get some fowls, fruits, and vegetables from a
bum-boat of Malays, who made a business of supplying ships. The boat
reported that, when she left Angra about two days before, the Wyoming
was there. Fired the ship.

       *       *       *       *       *


Ship under United States colours and register, and no claim of the
neutrality of the cargo among the papers; ship bound to New York. Ship
and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Wednesday, November 11th._--Made the North Watcher soon after daylight,
and finding that if I continued on at the same speed, I should be up
with Gasper Strait early in the night, and should be obliged to anchor
until daylight, I ordered the steam to be let down, and we were about
making arrangements for getting up the propeller, when a sail was
descried on the port bow, close hauled on the starboard tack. She soon
proved to be a rakish-looking ship, evidently United States. Kept away
from her from time to time as she passed towards our bow, and when we
came near enough we showed her the United States colours. She replied
with the same. I then fired a gun and hoisted our own colours (new
flag). Instead of obeying this signal to heave to, she made sail and
ran. We at once started the fires afresh, the steam having gone entirely
down, and made all sail in pursuit. The chase at this time was about
four miles from us, and for a long time we gained scarcely any thing
upon her. We threw a rifleshot astern him, but he disregarded this also.
Finally, after an exciting chase of one hour and a half (shifting guns,
and sending men aft to trim ship, and giving her a full head of steam),
we came near enough to him to throw a 32 pound shot between his masts,
when he shortened sail, came to the wind, and hove to. If the wind had
been _very_ fresh (it was blowing a good breeze) he would probably have
ran away from us. He proved to be the clipper ship Contest, from
Yokohama (Japan) for New York Captured him, and anchored in the open sea
in fourteen fathoms of water, and took from the prize such supplies as
we wanted. All our people having returned on board about nightfall, it
was discovered soon after that the prize was dragging her anchor, which
she did so fast in the freshened breeze that a boat which was sent to
board and fire her sculled until the officer nearly lost sight of us,
and fearing that if he continued he might lose sight of us altogether in
a rain squall, returned. Got up steam immediately and weighed anchor,
and ran down to the prize, sent a boat crew on board of her and burned

       *       *       *       *       *


Ship under United States colours and register, and no claim for cargo;
ship and cargo condemned.

       *       *       *       *       *

Concluding, that on receiving intelligence of the Alabama's arrival, the
Wyoming, if, in truth, she was near the Strait, would run at once for
Gaspar Passage in search of her, Captain Semmes now determined to double
upon his enemy, and gave her the start of him, holding himself for a few
days in the Java Sea, a little east of the Strait. A week passed by
without any incident worthy of record. At length a change came.

_Thursday, November 19th_.--At 3.30 P.M. boarded the English ship
Avalanche (transferred) two or three days from Singapore, with
newspapers from England of the 10th of October--only forty days!
Gratified at the general good aspect of the news, and particularly at
our victory at Chicamauga. Reports several American ships laid up at
Singapore, and a general stagnation of American trade. This ship came to
anchor some two miles astern of us, and we sent off the prisoners of the
Contest by her, the Master consenting to take them for a chronometer
which I sent him. He will probably put them on shore at Angra Point. We
first hoisted the Dutch flag, and sent a German, Master's Mate we had,
on board of him; but the Master, when told that we were a Dutch ship of
war, said, "Oh! that won't do; I was on board of her in Liverpool, when
she was launched!"

_Friday, November 20th_.--Lowered and rigged the cutter, and sent her to
board a couple of barques, which reported four American ships at
Bankok; there about to lay up, lest they should fall in with us, and one
American ship at Manilla.

_Saturday, November 21st_.--At 3 P.M. got under way under sail, with the
wind from the south-west.

_Sunday, Nov. 22nd_.--At 3 A.M. lowered the propeller, and went ahead
under steam. Passed within about four miles of Direction Island at 5.15

_Monday, Nov. 23rd_.--At 8 A.M. made Seraia.

_Thursday, Nov. 26th_.--Lat. 5.36; Long. 111.42, or within fifty miles
of dangerous ground, towards which the current is setting us. No
anchoring ground. 47 fathoms. After noon, the calm still continuing, let
go a kedge in 50 fathoms of water--mud--and veered to 150 fathoms.

_Friday, Nov. 27th_.--Noon. The struggle against the current is hopeless
in the death-like calm that prevails, and so we have come-to again with
the kedge.

_Sunday, Nov. 29th_.--After five days of dead calm, we took the monsoon
this morning at daylight, settling in lightly, and at 9 A.M. we got
under way, and stood to the northward and westward.

_Thursday, Dec, 3rd_.--At daylight we discovered a small vessel at
anchor near the head of the harbour of the Island of Condore, with
French colours, and awnings and other indications of her being a vessel
of war. Sent a boat in to examine water. Boat returned at 1 P.M. with
the commander of the vessel--a French vessel of war--and I was quite
surprised to learn that we had arrived in civilized waters, and that the
Island of Condore was in the possession of the French. There was a small
garrison of 50 or 60 at the village on the east side. There had been a
recent revolt of the natives, the French officers said; and for this
reason there were few vegetables or fruits to be had, and most of the
natives had betaken themselves to the mountains. Got underway and ran
into the harbour, the Frenchman politely showing me the way, and
anchored in nine fathoms. Got a spring out, so as to present our port
broadside to any enemy that might be disposed to violate neutrality,
and, to save coal, permitted all the fires to go out. A couple of ships,
running before the wind, passed in sight during the day--the ships
prudently running a little out of the track to sight the island in this
uncertain sea.

_Friday, December 4th._--The harbour is picturesque, with mountains
rising abruptly from the water to the height of 1800 feet, clothed with
dense verdure from water's edge to top, many of the trees being of large
size. The soil is very rich, but there is little cultivated land, the
mountain-sides being too steep. The French have constructed two or three
huts on the northern shore, and a couple of rude jetties, or landing
places of loose stone. Landed on one of these to get sight for the
chronometers. Found a Frenchman overseeing three or four Chinese seamen
chopping wood and thatching a hut. The French make slaves, both here and
on the mainland, of prisoners of war. The island is under the government
of an _Enseign de Vaisseau._

The Commander of the Junk is a Midshipman, so that we have gotten among
high dignitaries. Landed at noon, at an inviting little sand-beach on
the south shore, to get latitude--8° 39' 10". Found the ruined hut of a
Frenchman, with his grave close by, and his name carved on the bark of a
tree on the beach. A picturesque burial spot, amid eternal shades, with
the lullaby of the ocean.

_Saturday, December 5th._--Amused this morning, watching some sedate old
baboons sitting on the sand-beach opposite, and apparently observing the
ship very attentively. Large numbers of these caricatures of humanity
inhabit these islands; yesterday, when a boat landed, great numbers of
young ones were seen gamboling about; but one of the old ones having
called out to them, they soon all disappeared in the thick wood.
Returned the visit of the Frenchman. He is on board a miserable country
craft, of about 40 tons burthen. Sent a boat to the village on the east
side to call on the Governor, and see if we could get some fruit and
vegetables. Boat returned at nightfall. The village is a mere military
port, the native inhabitants, except a few prisoners or slaves, having
fled to the mountains, and no supplies were to be had. The Governor's
residence is a _thatched_ hut, as are all the other houses, with no
industry or taste displayed in their structure. A few patches of
cultivation were visible--rice, fruit, and cotton--the latter looking
rather unpromising. The destroyers of their rice were the monkeys. There
are several varieties of fine large pigeons here, and in abundance. They
are beautiful in feather and fat. A common variety has a green back and
golden tail. This must be a paradise for monkeys, so abundant is their
food in the forests, almost every tree bearing a fruit or nut of some
sort. These French officers had heard and believed that we sunk or
burned every ship we took, _with all on board_, and received the
Paymaster rather coolly at first, but became quite cordial when they
observed we were _Christians_, and did not commit this wholesale murder.

_Sunday, December 6th_.--Another lonely Sabbath-day--lonely, though in
the midst of one hundred and fifty people. Away, away from home, by half
the circumference of the globe! One of the most frequent and unpleasant
of my experiences since I entered the China Sea, is an _oppressive_
sense of _great_ distance from home, and the utter strangeness of
everything around me, almost as though I had entered another planet.

_Monday, December 7th_.--The commander of the island, M. Bizot, visited
me to-day. He is an agreeable and intelligent young man of twenty-four
or five years of age, and appeared very friendly and expressed sympathy
for our cause. His position is a flattering one for a man of his age and
rank, and he seems to have entered upon his duties with pride and zeal.
He brought me a chart of the island, surveyed last year. The French have
been in possession two years and a half. He spoke of my having hoisted
the English flag upon first anchoring, and seemed surprised that we had
not heard of the possession of the island by the French, which, he said,
had been notified to all the Powers. I pleasantly told him that I had
had some notion of taking possession of it myself, but that I had found
the French ahead of me. He brought down for me the welcome present of a
_pig_ and some little fruit, and told me he had a _potato patch_ on
shore, which he would share with me. Fresh provisions of all kinds are
so scarce here that I fear my generous friend has been robbing himself.
He told me that he had one hundred and forty _forçats_--slave-prisoners
--at the village, whom he meant to put to good use in constructing store
and dwelling-houses, &c. The hunters brought on board to-day an East India
bat, or vampire, measuring two feet ten inches from tip to tip of wing. Its
head resembled that of a dog or wolf more than any other animal, its teeth
being very sharp and strong. Among the curiosities of the island is a locust,
that has a whistle almost as loud as that of a railroad.

_Tuesday, Dec. 8th_.--The Commander of the Junk came on board, and
brought me a couple of fowls. The apes here are very large, and quite
fierce. They will not run from you, but come around you, and grin and
chatter at you. An officer shot one, and he died like a human being,
throwing his hands over his wound and uttering piercing cries! This
monkey was afterwards buried in the sand by his comrades, though the
interment was not quite complete when the operators were interrupted.
This is the reason why nobody ever sees a dead monkey, any more, as the
Singhalese proverb says, than a white crow or a straight cocoa-nut tree.
A curious vegetable product was brought on board to-day, it being to all
appearance a finely-made Havana cigar. The fibre is woody, covered with
a smooth bark, and the colour of dark tobacco. It comes from the tree
perfect in shape, and is not a seed-pod or fruit. One is at a loss to
conceive its use or functions. The illusion caused by its appearance is
perfect. We had no success with the sieve, the fish here being all
jumpers, and jumping out of the net.

_Wednesday, Dec. 9th_.--The excessive heat and moisture of the climate
here is very enervating. We begin to feel its effects already. It weighs
upon us like a vapour-bath, and we feel indisposed to take the least
exercise; a walk on shore of half a mile or so quite overcomes us.

_Thursday, Dec. 10th_.--At about 2.30 P.M. a French steamer passed the
Gap, going to the southward. Afterwards informed by the Commander that
it was the mail steamer from Saigon, for Singapore. The Saigon people
are expecting us there.

_Friday, Dec. 11th_.--In the afternoon the Commander and Surgeon came on
board, bringing us a _bullock_! and some vegetables.

_Sunday, Dec. 13th_.--The crew dined off the Commander's bullock to-day,
being the first meal of fresh meat since leaving Simon's Town, nearly
three months ago; and yet we have _no one_ on the sick list!
Causes--good water, temperance, strict government, and, as a
consequence, a reasonable degree of contentment, and moderate and
constant employment. The crew has had several runs on shore, too,
without the possibility of getting drunk. A present of cocoa-nuts this
morning from the Commander. This young Frenchman is very attentive to

_Monday, Dec. 14th_.--To-day we applied the principle of the coffer-dam
to the replacement of the copper around our delivery or blow-pipe, some
three feet below water. The operation proved quite simple and easy of
accomplishment. Getting ready for sea. The news of our "whereabouts"
probably reached Singapore on the evening of Saturday, and it is only
two days from Singapore here, for a fast steamer; and so, whilst the
enemy, should there be one at Singapore, is coming hitherward, we must
be going thitherward to seek coal and provisions.

_Tuesday, Dec. 15th_.--At daylight got under way, under sail, and stood
out of the harbour--lighting and banking the fires. On account of our
proximity to the shore, and the very light breeze, we had barely room to
pass the point--not more than a ship's length to spare, in case we had
been obliged to let go our anchor. I felt quite nervous for a few
minutes, but held on, and we caught a light breeze that soon sent us
ahead out of danger.

Well, we are on the sea once more, with our head turned _westward_, or
_homeward_. Shall we ever reach that dear home which we left three years
ago, and which we have yearned after so frequently since? Will it be
battle, or shipwreck, or both, or neither? And when we reach the North
Atlantic, will it still be war, or peace? When will the demon-like
passions of the North be stilled? These are solemn and interesting
questions for us, and an all-wise Providence has kindly hidden the
answers behind the curtain of Fate. A lengthened cruise would not be
politic in these warm seas. The homeward trade of the enemy is now quite
small--reduced probably to twenty or thirty ships per year; and these
may easily evade us by taking the different passages to the Indian
Ocean, of which there are so many, and so widely separated. The foreign
coasting trade (as between one port in China and another, and the trade
to and from Calcutta and to and from Australia), besides facilities for
escape, are almost beyond our reach--at least we could only ransom the
ship, the cargoes being all neutral--that is to say, _such of them as
get cargoes, now not many_. And then there is no cruising or chasing to
be done here successfully, or with safety to oneself, without plenty of
coal; and we can only rely upon coaling once in three months at some
English port. At the other ports there would probably be combinations
made against us, through the influence of the Yankee Consuls. So I will
try my luck around the Cape of Good Hope once more; then to the coast of
Borneo; and thence perhaps to Barbadoes, for coal; and thence---? If the
war be not ended, my ship will need to go into dock, to have much of her
copper replaced, now nearly destroyed by such constant cruising, and to
have her boilers overhauled and repaired; and this can only be properly
done in Europe. Our young officers, who had had so agreeable a change
from the cramped ship to the shores and forests of Condore, with their
guns and their books, had become so attached to the island that they
left it with some regret.


_In the East--Aor--Marine nomads--Suspicious--At Singapore--A busy
city--Chinese merchants--Whampoa and Co.--Calculating machines--Under
way--The Martaban of Maulmain--Transformation--The Texan
Star--Evasive--Getting at the truth.--Sonora--To the Cape._

The Alabama was now steering for Singapore, and for three or four days
kept her course without the occurrence of anything particularly
noteworthy. On the 19th December she anchored for a time in the bay on
the south-east side of the island of Aor, with its lofty hills clothed
with green to their summits, and its little sandhills and groves of
cocoa-nut trees. The island is unclaimed by any European nation.

_Sunday, Dec, 20th_.--To-day being Sunday, and the weather being still
thick, and blowing, I have resolved to remain until to-morrow before
making the run for Singapore. Weather improved this morning, however,
and the barometer going up. Several islands visible that were hid from
us yesterday. Pulo Aor looking beautiful and picturesque. Some of the
natives on board with their scant stores of fowls, eggs, and cocoa-nuts.
They are larger than the natives of Condore, and stouter, and more
developed, but with countenances not very prepossessing. The Governor, a
rough-looking, middle-aged fellow, above the common height, pulled out
some greasy papers, the recommendations of former visitors, and desired
that I also would give him one, which I declined, as I knew nothing
about him. Their canoes are light and graceful, and occasionally they
present quite a picture with their gaily-dressed or half-dressed
occupants. We heard their tom-toms and banjoes last night as evening set
in, but a music much sweeter to our ears was a chorus from some _frogs_,
with notes somewhat finer than their relatives on our side of the earth.
These islanders are nothing more than marine nomads, that lead an idle,
vagabond life, intermixed with a good deal of roguery. They have a fine
_physique_, as might be supposed from their open-air mode of life, in
which they have plenty of healthful exercise without being overworked,
as Mother Nature feeds them spontaneously, and they require little more
clothing than they brought into the world with them.

In the afternoon some of the officers visited the shore, and were
hospitably received. There were from ninety to one hundred natives, men,
women, and children, visible, and there were probably as many more on
the other side of the island, as they have a S.W. monsoon village there.
They seemed to have plenty of fowls, and they are very expert fishermen.
They were gambling--such a thing as labour being out of the question.
The island seems originally to have been a solid mass of rock, the rocky
walls of the mountains peeping out in many places from the midst of the
dense forest, and gradually as time and the elements disintegrated
portions of it, plants and trees took root, until the island became what
it is now, a mass of luxuriant vegetation. There were some fine large
boats carefully hauled up on the beach, quite large enough for piratical
purposes, for which they were probably intended, and some swivels were
lying near the chief man's door. The cocoa-nut tree has climbed the
mountain sides, and waves its feathery foliage from the crests of the
ridges. It is food, and cordage, and light to the natives. Several
delightful little valleys presented themselves, upon which, and on the
adjacent steeps or the mountains, were thatched huts. Probably to the
mere animal part of our nature, the life that these people lead is
happier than any other; wants few and easily supplied, labour not too
pressing, and the simple tastes satisfied with such pleasures as they

Rain, rain, in the afternoon. Most of the moisture is deposited on the
mountain-tops, and the clouds sweep over it. And now for Singapore, God

_Monday, Dec. 21st_--At 3.30 A.M. we got under way, under steam and
sail, and steered S. by E. 32 1/2 miles, South 18 miles, and S. by W. 14
miles; and the weather setting in very thick, with heavy rain, obscuring
all things, we were obliged to come to in 10 1/2 fathoms, with the north
point of Bintang island bearing, and within 11 miles by computation of
the Pedra Branca lighthouse. We have thus to war against the weather as
well as our enemies. Soon after daylight we made a ship-rigged steamer
on our port bow, bound also for Singapore. She anchored near us astern.
It clearing a little at noon, we got hold of the marks and got under
way, and taking a Malay pilot, anchored off Singapore at 5.30 P.M.

_Tuesday, Dec. 22d_.--At 9.30 A.M. the pilot came on board, and we ran
up into New Harbour alongside of the coaling depôt, and commenced
coaling. Singapore is quite a large town, with an air of prosperity--a
large number of ships in the harbour. The country is beautiful, and
green, with an abundance of fine fruit, &c.; the country around highly
improved with tasteful houses and well-laid-out grounds. The English
residents call it the Madeira of the East, in allusion to its
healthfulness. Some twenty-two American merchant ships here, most of
them laid up! The Wyoming was here twenty days ago, and left for Rhio
Strait, where she remained for some days. Finished coaling last night,
the operation having occupied no more than ten hours. Received

_Wednesday, Dec. 23rd_.--Weather variable, with occasional showers of
rain--raining heavily in the afternoon. Visited the city, and was
astonished at its amount of population and business. There are from
eighty to one hundred thousand Chinese on Singapore island, nearly all
of them in the city, from twelve to fifteen thousand Malays, and about
fifteen hundred Europeans. Singapore being a free port, it is a great
_entrepôt_ of trade. Great quantities of Eastern produce reach it from
all quarters, whence it is shipped to Europe.

The business is almost exclusively in the hands of the Chinese, who are
also the artisans and labourers of the place. The streets are thronged
with foot-passengers and vehicles, among which are prominent the ox, or
rather the buffalo cart, and the hacks for hire, of which latter there
are nine hundred licensed. The canal is filled with country boats of
excellent model, and the warehouses are crammed with goods. Money seems
to be abundant and things dear. They are just finishing a tasteful
Gothic church, with a tall spire, which is a notable landmark as you
approach; they are also completing officers' quarters on a hill which
commands the town. Barracks for three or four regiments lie unoccupied a
couple of miles outside the city, and a large court-house.

The moving multitude in the streets comprises every variety of the human
race, every shade of colour, and every variety of dress, among which are
prominent the gay turbans and fancy jackets of the Mahomedan, Hindu, &c.
Almost all the artisans and labourers were naked, except a cloth or a
pair of short trousers tucked about the waist. The finest dressed part
of the population was decidedly the _jet-black_, with his white flowing
mantle and spotted turban. The upper class of Chinese merchants are
exceeding polite, and seem intelligent. I visited the establishment of
Whampoa and Co. Whampoa was above the middle height, stout, and with a
large, well-developed head. I was told that his profits some years
amounted to forty or fifty thousand pounds! He was sitting in a small,
dingy, ill-lighted little office on the ground floor, and had before him
a Chinese calculating machine, over the numerous small balls of which,
strung on wires, he was running his hands for amusement, as a gambler
will sometimes do with his checks. At the suggestion of the gentleman
who was with me, I requested him to multiply four places of figures by
three places, naming the figures, and the operation was done about as
rapidly as I could write down the result. Their shaved heads, and long
queues, sometimes nearly touching the ground, are curious features of
their personal appearance. The workshops front upon the streets, and in
them busy, half-naked creatures may be seen, working away as
industriously as so many beavers all day long, seeming never to tire of
their ceaseless toil.

Amid all this busy population I saw but one female in the streets, and
she was of the lower class. Dined in the country with Mr. Beaver. The
ride out was over good roads flanked by large forests and ornamental
trees, among which was the tall, slender, graceful palm of the
betel-nut. The Botanical Gardens are on an elevation commanding a fine
view of the town and the sea, and are laid out with taste, ornamented
with flowering trees and shrubs, and flowers. Hither a band of music
comes to play several times a week, when the townspeople turn out to
enjoy the scene. A few miles beyond the town the whole island is a
jungle, in which abounds the ferocious Bengal tiger. It is said that one
man and a half per day is the average destruction of human life by these
animals. Visited opium-preparation shop. It pays an enormous licence.

All this beauty fails to reconcile the European lady to this country, I
was told. The eternal sameness of summer, and the heat and moisture,
weigh upon them, and their husbands being away all day on business, they
pine for their European homes. The life seems agreeable enough to the
men. The Governor of the "Straits Settlement" is a Colonel.

_Thursday, Dec. 24._--Cloudy; five of my men deserted last night. The
Kwang-tung got under way at 8 1/2 A.M., and we followed her and steered
for the strait of Malacca. Several sails in sight; Malay pilot on board.
Passed the Kwang-tung very rapidly. At about 1 P.M. we fired a gun and
hove to an American-looking barque, under English colours, with the
name, "Martaban, of Maulmain," on her stern. Sent a boat on board; and
the officer reporting that she was an American-built ship, with English
register, and that the Master refused to come on board, I went on board
myself to examine the case. There being no bill of sale, the transaction
being recent, the Master and Mate, &c., being Americans, I had no doubt
that the transfer was fraudulent, and captured and burned her. The cargo
had no paper on board connected with it, except the ordinary bill of
lading. It consisted of rice, and was shipped in Maulmain by a Mr.
Cohen, and consigned to his order at Singapore, whither the ship was
bound. Of course, the cargo followed the fate of the ship under such
circumstances. Upon examination of the Master (Pike), under oath, he
admitted that the transfer was a sham, and made to protect the ship from
capture. At 11.30 P.M. came to anchor about four miles distant from
Malacca, bearing N., in fifteen fathoms water, for the purpose of
landing our prisoners.

       *       *       *       *       *

The boarding officer's journal furnishes the annexed description of the
interview with the Master of the prize:--

I was sent on board to examine her papers. The barque was American
built, had a new English flag, and on her stern was painted "Martaban,
of Maulmain." We knew that many Yankee vessels had been transferred to
English owners, and of course had to have an English flag; but the
question arose--Was there not some jobbery in this case? Nearing the
Martaban I saw that she was newly painted; pulling round and under the
stern, I saw that a name had been painted over, but could not see what
the name was. I further observed that the last four letters of Maulmain
had been painted much more recently than the other ones, so I determined
to most rigidly scrutinize her papers. Upon my arrival on board, I
inquired after the Captain's health, and then expressed a wish to make a
few inquiries respecting his vessel.

He with the utmost affability was equally ready to afford me any
information required, at the same time informing me I should find
"everything correct." The vessel I found was the Martaban of Maulmain,
Captain Pike, from Maulmain to Singapore, rice laden. I then requested
to see the ship's papers, which request was readily granted. Accordingly
the register, clearance bills of lading, and crew list, were speedily
produced and examined, not omitting the Master's certificate. These but
corroborated what I previously knew. Putting a few questions to the
Captain, and comparing his answers with the papers, I learned the
following facts--viz., that the barque was American built, that she had
been upwards of five months in Maulmain; that she had been transferred
on the 10th December, after the cargo was in, and on the day in which
she cleared, and only one day previous to her sailing; that the captain
had no certificate or bill of sale, nor, in fact, any papers respecting
the transfer on board; that he, the Captain, was an American, and had
commanded the barque previous to her transfer.

Taking the register up again and closely scrutinizing it, I observed
what had previously escaped my attention--viz., that the register, which
is a printed form, with spaces for written insertions, had been first
written with a lead pencil, and over that with ink. No professional
registrar or shipmaster would, I felt certain, have so prepared it.
Looking again at the crew list I made another discovery, that all the
names of the crew were written in one handwriting, from the mate to the
boys. Now I well knew that some of the crew, and especially the mates,
would be able to write, and of the mate's ability to use a pen I
speedily satisfied myself by making him produce his logbook, wherein his
name, &c., was written; or, if unable to write, the usual X, his mark,
would have been affixed to each name. I had now no doubt about the
papers, believing them to be false. I then requested the Master to take
his papers and go on board the Alabama, which, however, he positively
refused to do, unless forcibly compelled; stating that "this was an
affair that flag (pointing to the English colours flying at his peak)
wouldn't stand." He still persisting in his refusal to go on board our
ship, I took possession of his vessel, pending Captain Semmes' decision.

Finding that the Mountain wouldn't come to Mahomet, Mahomet went to the
Mountain; for, after calling a man out of my boat and stationing him at
the wheel, I dispatched the boat back to the Alabama with a report of
the irregularity of the papers, and a request for further instructions.
To my surprise, Captain Semmes came himself and stopped at the gangway,
and told the Captain he had come to examine the ship's papers. Captain
Pike signifying his assent, we went into the cabin, and the papers being
produced, I pointed out some of the discrepancies and acts previously

Captain Semmes then sharply interrogated Pike, insisting upon additional
documents to prove the legality of the transfer. None being forthcoming,
Captain Semmes put some questions, as only a lawyer can (Captain Semmes
not only having studied, but practised law), the answers to which only
convinced Captain Semmes that what he had suspected was true--viz., that
the ship was sailing under false colours, and was to all intents and
purposes an American vessel.

Captain Pike of course protested, to which Captain Semmes replied by
ordering the destruction of the vessel. Captain Semmes returning to the
Alabama, I ordered the English flag to be hauled down, and directed the
Mates and crew to pack their luggage, and hold themselves in readiness
to go on board our ship. The First Lieutenant coming off, our boats got
off a few stores, and the prisoners were transferred to the Alabama.

By 5.20 had applied the torch, and regained our ship 5.30. The steamer
Kwang-Tung was observed near our burning prize. We then shaped our
course for Malacca, intending to land our prisoners there.

About 7.30 the same evening, Mr. Smith, captain's clerk, and self had
the boatswain and a seaman down in the steerage; and putting them on
oath obtained the following additional particulars--viz., that they
shipped on board the Martaban at Hong Kong and Singapore respectively;
that she was then an American vessel, and called the Texan Star, of
Galveston or Boston (she having had two American registers); that she
left Maulmain as the Texan Star, and on leaving there hoisted American
colours; that the name Martaban, of Maulmain, was painted by the
captain's nephew two days after leaving that port; that the English flag
was hoisted for the first time when the Alabama hove in sight this day;
and that no articles were signed by them at Maulmain; nor, indeed, was
any agreement made by the crew to serve in a British vessel, all hands,
in fact, believing her to be American. The Mate having also made a few
admissions, they and the preceding depositions were shown to Captain
Semmes, who, after sending for Captain Pike, put the following questions
to him--viz.:

What is your name?--Samuel B. Pike.

Where were you born?--At Newbury Port, Massachusetts.

Are you a naturalized citizen of any foreign government?--I am not.

How long have you been in command of the Martaban, formerly the Texan
Star?--Two years and a half.

In what part of the United States was the Texan Star registered?--She
was built and registered at Boston.

Has she but one register in America?--There was a change of owners, and
she has had two American registers.

Who were the owners under the last American register?--John Alkerm,
Samuel Stevens, George L. Rogers, and myself.

What proportion of the ship did you own?--One-sixth.

When did you sail from the last port in the United States?--A year ago
last July.

It is stated in the present British register that Mr. Mark Currie is the
owner?--That is as I understand it.

Do you state upon your oath that the sale was a _bonâ fide_ sale?--I do
not state that.

Do you not know that it was intended merely as a cover to prevent
capture?--Yes, I do know it.

This closed the matter; nothing more was necessary. Here was admission
enough to destroy any legal doubt that might have arisen from the
destruction of a vessel under the English flag. What added to our
triumph was the copy of a letter from Captain Pike to his owners, in
which he stated that "he had taken such precautions as would deceive
Semmes and all the Confederates." Had the Texan Star escaped, how Yankee
cuteness would have been extolled! Why, as the Bostonians have presented
a gold chronometer to the master of the barque Urania for such a daring
deed as hoisting the American flag over his American vessel in a neutral
port (Cape Town), whilst the Alabama was lying there, I say, had the
Texan Star escaped from the Alabama, nothing short of the Presidency, or
a statue in marble, or the deed graved in letters of gold, or some other
equally ridiculous token of admiration, would have awaited the gallant
master, and the fame of his clever trick would have been handed down to
Yankee posterity.

Captain Semmes thus resumes his diary on the 25th December:--At daylight
sent the prisoners of the Texan Star on shore, with a note to the
Commander. Malacca is a pretty little village, or at least the
sea-point, viewed from our anchorage, with a picturesque hill in the
rear, on which is situated the fort and lighthouse. The flagstaff was
decorated with flags and signals in honour of Christmas Day. A couple of
boats with some English officers and citizens ran off, and visited us
for a few minutes. Got under way at 9.30, under steam; at night anchored
near Parceelar Hill in 25 fathoms water.

_Saturday, December 26th_.--At 6 A.M. got under way, and stood out for
the lightship, and soon made a couple of American-looking ships ahead,
at anchor; steamed up to the first, which refused to show colours. Sent
a boat on board, when she proved to be the American ship Senora, from
Singapore. Captured her, and steamed to the second, which in like manner
refused to show colours. Upon sending a boat on board, she proved to be
the American ship Highlander, also from Singapore. Captured her. Both of
these ships were very large, being over a thousand tons each. They were
both in ballast, bound to Aycaab for rice. At 10 A.M., having sent off
the crews of the two prizes in their own boats, at their own election,
fired the ships, and steamed out. Passed the lightship at about 11 A.M.,
and discharged the pilot.

From the 26th December to the 13th of January the Alabama steadily
pursued her course, meeting with little adventure. Only four sail were
seen in the period, and these all proved to be neutrals. On the last day
of the year 1863 the North Indian Ocean was entered, and the ship's head
once more laid in the direction of the Cape.


_The Emma Jane--Quilon--An alarm--Landing prisoners--Johanna and
Mohilla--Friendly authorities--Slavery--A trading monarch--Distance
lends enchantment to the view--Cousins-german of the Sultan--Princes
gardens--Mahommedan sympathy--Off again._

On the 14th January, as the Alabama was lazily drifting in a
north-easterly direction, near the Malabar coast, a ship was discovered
running down towards her. The useful decoy--the United States flag--was
at once hoisted, and the same colours were run up by the stranger. A gun
brought the Yankee vessel to, and the Alabama forthwith took possession
of the Emma Jane of Bath, Maine, bound from Bombay to Amherst in
ballast, and at 8.30 P.M. the prize was set fire to.

About this period the cruiser experienced a series of calms, and she
drifted with the current rather than sailed. On the 16th of January the
Ghaut Mountains were made, and Captain Semmes makes the following entry
in his journal.

_Saturday, January 16th._--At meridian made the town of Quilon, and bore
up east 1/2 south for the town of Angenga, which we made about 2 P.M. At
4.30 came to in the road abreast of the fort, and despatched a
Lieutenant on shore to see about landing my prisoners. In the evening
the residing magistrate's son came on board, and I arranged the matter
with him. There being no external trade or shipping at Angenga, the
prisoners could not well get away by sea; but my visitor stated that
there was lagoon navigation inland all the way to Cochin, some
seventy-five miles to the northward, and that at Cochin there were
always means of reaching Bombay and other ports. Native boats were
passing every day between Angenga and Cochin, and if I would send the
necessary provisions on shore for the prisoners, his father would see
them transported to Cochin. I sent a Lieutenant on shore after night
with the son, to arrange the matter with the father; and as the boat was
delayed much beyond her time, and we heard some firing as of revolvers
and muskets, and as there was also some surf running, I became uneasy,
and despatched the First Lieutenant in another boat to look into the
matter. The chief magistrate had only been at public worship--the cause
of the detention of the boat. Both boats returned about 11.30 P.M.

_Sunday, January 17th._--At daylight I sent all the prisoners on shore,
where they were landed apparently in the presence of half the
village--the native boats taking them through the surf--and at 9.30 got
under way. The town of Angenga was formerly of some importance as a
shipping port for the produce of the country--cocoa-nut oil, pepper, &c.
But all its trade has passed to its more prosperous rival--Cochin. It is
about fifty miles from Travancore, the residence of The Rajah. There is
water communication all the way, and the journey is generally made (in
canoes) in the night to avoid the heat of the sun. The natives are
nearly as black as the Africans, but with straight hair and European
features. A large number of them visited the ship this morning. They
were fine specimens of physical development, and wore scarcely any other
covering than a cloth about the loins. They were sprightly and chatty,
and in their quaint canoes made quite a picture.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the 17th January the Alabama left Angenga, arriving without further
adventure on the 21st at the Island of Minicoy, and after three weeks
more of fine weather, found herself off the island of Comoro.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Tuesday, February 9th_.--At 3.30 A.M. passed in sight of the N.E. end
of Comoro. Soon after daylight made the Islands of Johanna and Mohilla.
At 1.30 P.M. came to anchor about three-quarters of a mile from the
shore. Despatched the Paymaster to the-town to arrange for fresh
provisions. In the afternoon visited by several canoes, with a couple of
poles lashed across the gunwales, attached to a float in each, to
maintain their stability. Stalwart naked negroes were for the most part
their occupants. Many of them spoke a little English. Among others, a
dignitary of the Church came on board with the compliments of the chief
priest (Mahommedan). We made arrangements with him for the supply of the
ship. One of his companions asked me to which of the belligerent parties
I belonged to, the North or the South. I replied, to the South. "Then,"
said he, "you belong to the side which upholds slavery." "Yes," said I,
"we belong to the country where the black man is better taken care of
than in any other part of the world." The churchman seeing me put on the
defensive, as it were, came to my aid, and said: "Oh, we are
slaveholders here; being Mahommedans, we have no prejudices that way;
our only trouble is, we cannot get slaves enough. The English, who have
no control over us, we being an independent government, are strong
enough to interfere in everybody's business, and to say to us, that we
bring over from the main no more slaves. The slaves themselves would
gladly come to us, as they are much better off than under their native
chiefs, who are continually making war upon and enslaving one another."

My informant was himself a full-blooded African negro, as black as the
ace of spades, but with an immaculate white turban on his head, and the
flowing robe and loose jacket of the Mahommedan.

_Wednesday, February 10th_.--Visited by the King's Dragoman this
morning, who came to pay the respects of the authorities, to say he was
glad to see us in Johanna. In the course of conversation, he was pleased
to say that our ship was well known to him, and the news of our having
appeared off the Cape some months ago had driven off all the Yankee
whalers, several of which had been accustomed to resort hither. King
Abdallah, he said, resided on the east side of the island. The king
himself would come to see us, but was very busy just now patting up a
sugar-mill, which he had just received from the Mauritius.

The island is a beautiful, picturesque spot. There is quite a mountain
in the interior, and the higher parts of Johanna are densely wooded; the
mountain-sides being in some places so steep that the tops of some trees
touch the trunks and roots of others.

The inhabitants are a mixture of Arabs and negroes. They are intelligent
and sprightly, and had not only heard of the American war, but said it
bore heavily on them, as they were now compelled to pay a much higher
price for their goods, which are mostly cotton. We have driven away,
they say, all their Yankee trade. The Sultan is a young man of
twenty-eight, with a moderate harem of only five wives.

_Thursday, February 11th_.--Visited the town to get sights for my
chronometers--which puts the town at 44.26.30 N., just 30" less than
Captain Owen's determination. The town, as viewed from the anchorage, is
a picturesque object, with its tall minaret, its two forts, one perched
on a hill commanding the town, and the other on the sea-beach, and its
stone houses; but the illusion is rudely dispelled on landing. You land
on a beach of rocks and shingle, through a considerable surf even in the
calmest weather. The beach was strewn with the washed clothes of the
ship, and a set of vagabonds of all colour, save only that of the
Caucasian, were hanging about looking curiously on. The town is
dilapidated and squalid to the last degree--the houses of rough stones,
cemented and thatched; the streets five feet wide, and rendered, as it
would seem, purposely crooked.

It was the second day of the fast of Ramadan, and groups of idlers were
congregated in the narrow porticoes reading the Koran. The language,
which is peculiar to the island, is very soft and pleasing to the ear.
We visited one of the principal houses. The walls were filled with a
number of small niches, receptacles for everything imaginable--coffee-cups,
ornaments, &c. A number of couches were ranged round the room.

A crowd of half-clad, dirty children gathered round us, but no female
made her appearance. We took our sights among the gaping multitude, all
of whom were very civil and polite, and returned on board about 5 P.M.,
having seen all the outside life that was to be seen at Auzuan. The
inside life was, of course, out of our reach.

Upon coming on deck this morning I was struck with the soft picturesque
beauty of the hills, as shone upon by the morning sun lighting up the
tops and sides, and throwing the valleys and ravines into shade. At
night I am lulled by the roar of the sea upon the beach. It is
delightful to sniff the fragrance of the land as it comes off to us
upon the dew-laden wings of the softest of breezes. My fellows on shore
looked rueful and woe-begone--nature had no charms for them--there was
no liquor to be had! If I were to remain here long, I should send them
on shore as a punishment.

_Friday, February 12th_.--This is the Mahommedan Sabbath, but they do
not keep it so grimly as the Puritans. We had a number of visitors on
board, and among others, several princes, cousins-german of the Sultan,
one of them being the Commander-in-Chief of the army. He gave me an
account of the affair of the Dale. Some years ago two Yankee whalers
came in. One of them obtained provisions to the amount of two hundred
and fifty dollars, telling the people he was too poor to pay for them in
money, but that he would give them a bill on the Consul at Zanzibar. To
this they assented; the skipper then ran off with his ship in the night,
without giving the bill. They seized the other Captain and took him on
shore, to keep him as a hostage while his ship should go in pursuit of
the runaway and get the promised bill. But they thought better of it in
a few hours, and released him. The Dale came the next season and
demanded twenty-five thousand dollars, threatening to burn the town if
the money was not paid. They could not pay them, there being probably
not so much money in the island. The Yankees then set fire to one end of
the town, cannonaded the fort, doing some damage, and withdrew. This is
about the usual origin of Yankee shipmasters' complaints to their
government. I made a present of a captured Yankee clock to each of the
princes, and gave them a package of writing-paper. They seemed anxious
to get some finery for their wives, but I told them we were not in that
line, like Yankee whalers.

_Saturday, February 13th_.--Visited the town again to-day. Called at the
houses of a couple of the princes, in which I found everything dirty,
with an attempt at tawdry finery. A black _houri_ was set to fan me. We
were served with rose syrup. Walked to the prince's garden--a beautiful
wilderness of cocoa and betel nuts, sweet orange and mango, with
heterogeneous patches of rice, sweet potatoes and beans, and here and
there a cotton plant. Two or three slave huts were dotted about, and
walls of loose stones ran along crooked lanes and bye-ways. As we came
off, some of the inhabitants were at evening prayer, and others
preparing to take their evening meal. People met us everywhere with
kindly greetings, and the Cadi, a venerable-looking old man, wished me a
safe return to my own country.

_Sunday, February 14th_.--Visited in force again to-day by the princes,
and other chief men. In the afternoon the high-priest visited me. He was
a fine-looking man--Arab by descent--with a well-developed forehead,
and easy, gentlemanly bearing. He wore a sword, and was evidently looked
upon with great respect by his attendants. He expressed much sympathy
with our cause, and said he would pray to Allah for our success. The
Yankee whalers, he said, invariably stole some of their slaves. Said
they could not do very well without the whalers, as they were the only
traders to the island, and brought them many useful things.

_Monday, February 15th_.--Received on board some bullocks and fruit;
paid our bills, and were taken leave of affectionately by the simple
people. At meridian moved out of the anchorage under steam, amid the
cheers, given in real English fashion, by the many boatmen that
surrounded us.


_"Man overboard!"--Blowing hard--Three Years--Wearing out--The Cape
again--Seizure of the Tuscaloosa--Towards Europe--War News--What the
Alabama effected--Case of the Rockingham--The last capture--The
Tycoon--Nineteen overhauled--In the Channel--At Cherbourg._

From the middle to the 28th February there was but little excitement on
board the Alabama. On that day the usual routine of life on a man-of-war
was broken by the cry of "Man overboard." The vessel was at once hove
to, but before a boat could be lowered a gallant fellow, Michael Mars,
leapt overboard, and swimming to the rescue of his shipmate, fortunately
succeeded in saving the man's life.

On the third of March they saw the first Cape Pigeon and Albatross, and
on the 4th Captain Semmes writes as follows:--

The gale still continues, though moderating very fast; sea not so
turbulent, though the surf is thundering into it now and then, and
keeping the decks flooded. 'Tis three years to-day since I parted with
my family in Washington, on the day in which Washington's great republic
was humiliated by the inauguration as President of a vulgar democratic
politician, in whom even the great events in which, by a singular
destiny, he has been called to take a part, have not been able to sink
the mountebank. These three years of anxiety, vigilance, exposure, and
excitement, have made me an old man, and sapped my health, rendering
repose necessary, if I would prolong my life. My ship is wearing out,
too, as well as her commander, and will need a general overhauling by
the time I can get her into dock. If my poor services be deemed of any
importance in harassing and weakening the enemy, and thus contributing
to the independence of my beloved South, I shall be amply rewarded.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Alabama still kept on through gales, with creaking cordage and
jerking tiller ropes, until on the 11th of March the Cape was sighted,
off which they were knocked about until the 20th instant; lying in the
track of vessels bounding before the gale at the rate of ten or twelve
knots an hour, and only able to see them when within a mile of the ship.

Arrived in Table Bay, Captain Semmes received intelligence of the
seizure of the Tuscaloosa, upon which he at once wrote a despatch to
Admiral Walker.[15]

[Footnote 15: For papers relating to the seizure of this vessel, see
Appendix.] The Cape was left on the 25th of March, the vessel's head
being laid towards Europe, and on the 29th the following entry is found
in the journal:--

"I have at length had a little leisure to read the late papers received
at the Cape. The Yankee Government and people, and with them a great
portion of the English press and people, seem to have jumped suddenly to
the conclusion that we are beaten, and that the war must soon end by our
submission! Mr. Lincoln has even gone so far as to prescribe the terms
on which our States may re-enter the rotten "concern"--to wit, by a
reorganization of the States government by one-tenth of the people.
Verily, the delusion of these men in the matter of this war is
unaccountable. No power on earth can subjugate the Southern States,
although some of them have been guilty of the pusillanimity of making
war with the Yankees against their sisters. History will brand them as
traitors and cowards. As for the tone of the English press, I am not
surprised at it. England is too rich to be generous. Our war for her is
a sort of prize-fight, and she is looking on in about the same spirit
with which her people lately viewed the prize fight between King and
Heenan. Hurrah one; well done the other."

       *       *       *       *       *

From March 29th to April 22d there were no events calling for special
attention, save that on the sixteenth the intelligence was learned from
the master of a French ship that there were no American vessels at the
Chincha Islands, though in July, 1863, there were between seventy and
eighty American sail there. This speaks volumes of the terror the
Alabama had excited.

The night of the 22d of April was employed in giving chase to a strange
sail, which was overhauled at daybreak on the following morning; and the
United States flag having been responded to by a display of the same
colours, the Alabama boarded and took possession of the guano-laden
ship, Rockingham, which was employed as a target, and then set fire to.
The cargo being claimed as the property of neutrals, Captain Semmes
examined the ship's papers and entered the following in his journal:--


"Ship under United States colours and register. Is from Callao, bound to
Cork for orders, and loaded with guano. This guano purports to be
shipped by the Guano Consignment Company to Great Britain. One Joseph A.
Danino, who signs for Danino and Moscosa, certifies that the guano
belongs to the Peruvian Government; and Her Britannic Majesty's Acting
Consul at Lima certifies that the said Joseph A. Danino appeared before
him and 'voluntarily declared' 'that the foregoing signature is of his
own handwriting, and also that the cargo above mentioned is truly and
verily the property of the Peruvian Government.'

"As this is the only certificate of the neutrality of the cargo among
the papers, and as nobody swears to anything in this certificate, there
is no testimony at all. The ship being enemy's property, and the cargo
being presumed to be enemy's property also, from being found on board
the ship, it was incumbent on the neutral parties, if there are any such
in the case, to have documented their property by sworn certificates;
and this rule of law is so well known, that the absence of an oath would
seem to be conclusive as to the fraudulent attempt to cover. Ship and
cargo condemned."

       *       *       *       *       *

This capture was followed by that of the Tycoon, on the 27th of the same
month; and as no claim of neutrality of cargo was made, the ship was
burned. This, as it afterwards turned out, was the last of the Alabama's
prizes. Nineteen other vessels were overhauled before she reached
Cherbourg, but not one of them sailed under the Stars and Stripes. When
it is remembered that no less than sixty-five American ships had been
taken by the gallant cruiser, it is not much to be wondered at that the
Yankee flag was a _rara avis_ on the high seas.

From the 25th of May to the 10th of June the Alabama was making her way
north, and on the last-named date she was abreast of the Lizard, and was
boarded by a Channel pilot. "I felt," writes Captain Semmes, "great
relief to have him on board, as I was quite knocked up with cold and
fever, and was too ill-qualified physically for exposure to the weather
and watching through the night. And thus, thanks to an all-wise
Providence, we have brought the cruise of the Alabama to a successful

Little could Captain Semmes have imagined, when he penned these lines,
that the cruising days of his vessel were so soon to end. The vessel
entered Cherbourg on the morning of the 11th. Two days after news was
received that the Kearsarge would shortly arrive there, intelligence
which was confirmed next day by the appearance of that vessel.


_The Kearsarge--Preparations--The iron-clad--State of the Alabama--Out
of the harbour--The Deerhound--The Captain's address--Armaments of the
combatants--Plan of action--The engagement--Rapid fire--Badly
wounded--Sinking--The end of the Alabama--In the water--Gallant
conduct--Surgeon Llewellyn--The Deerhound to the rescue--The enemy's
boats--Not a wrack--The informing spirit_.

It was written that the Alabama was never to behold the ports of her

The latest entries in the diary of Captain Semmes are of an interest too
great to permit us to exclude them, prior to the narration of the
memorable duel which closes the history of a vessel whose renown, short
as her career has been, may challenge that of any ship that has spread a
sail upon the waters, and casts a lustre even upon the heroic history of
the Confederate States.

On Tuesday, June 14th, Captain Semmes writes:--

"Great excitement on board, the Kearsarge having made her appearance off
the eastern entrance of the breakwater, at about 11 A.M. Sent an order
on shore immediately for coal (one hundred tons), and sent down the
yards on the mizen-mast, and the topgallant yards, and otherwise
preparing the ship for action.

"_Wednesday, June 15th._--The Admiral sent off his _aide_ to say that he
considered my application for repairs withdrawn upon my making
application for coal, to which I assented. We commenced coaling this
afternoon. The Kearsarge is still in the offing; she has not been
permitted to receive on board the prisoners landed by me, to which I had
objected in a letter to the Admiral. Mailed a note yesterday afternoon
for Flagofficer Barrow, informing him of my intention to go out to
engage the enemy as soon as I could make my preparations, and sent a
written notice to the U.S. consul, through Mr. Bonfils, to the same
effect. My crew seems to be in the right spirit, a quiet spirit of
determination pervading both officers and men. The combat will no doubt
be contested and obstinate; but the two ships are so equally matched, I
do not feel at liberty to decline it. God defend the right, and have
mercy upon the souls of those who fall, as many of us must!"

       *       *       *       *       *

It has been denied that the captain of the Kearsarge sent a challenge to
the Alabama. Captain Semmes, indeed, says nothing of it himself. What
the Kearsarge did--and with a particular object, there cannot be a
doubt--was, as recorded, to enter the breakwater at the east end, and
"at about 11 A.M., on Tuesday, she _passed through the west end without
anchoring_." These are the words of a French naval captain, who speaks
of what he saw. Few will deny that among brave men this would be
considered something equivalent to a challenge. It was more than a
challenge--it was a defiance. The officer we have quoted adds, that
"anyone could then see her outside protection." It is easy to see
everything after the event. The Kearsarge looked bulky in her middle
section to an inspecting eye; but she was very low in the water, and
that she was _armed_ to resist shot and shell it was impossible to
discern. It is distinctly averred by the officers of the Alabama that
from their vessel the armour of the Kearsarge could not be
distinguished. There were many reports abroad that she was protected on
her sides in some peculiar way; but all were various and indistinct, and
to a practical judgment untrustworthy. Moreover, a year previous to this
meeting, the Kearsarge had lain at anchor close under the critical eye
of Captain Semmes. He had on that occasion seen that his enemy was not
artificially defended. He believes now that the reports of her plating
and armour were so much harbour-gossip, of which during his cruises he
had experienced enough.

Now the Kearsarge was an old enemy, constantly in pursuit, and her
appearance produced, as Captain Semmes has written, great excitement on
board the Alabama. And let us here call attention to what the officers
and men of the illustrious Confederate ship had been enduring for the
space of two years. During all this time they had been homeless, and
without a prospect of reaching home. They had been constantly crowded
with prisoners, who devoured their provender--of which they never had
any but a precarious supply. Their stay in any neutral harbour was
necessarily short as the perching of a hawk on a bough. Like the hawk's
in upper air, the Alabama's safety as well as her business was on the
high seas. Miserably fed, hunted, eluding, preying, destroying--is this
a life that brave men would willingly have to be continuous? They were
fortified by the assurance of a mighty service done to their country.
They knew that they inflicted tremendous damage upon their giant foe.
They were, perhaps, supported by the sense that their captain's
unrivalled audacity had done more harm to the United States than the
operations of many thousand men. But their days were wretched; their
task was sickening; it demands an imagination that can fix its eye upon
stern, barren duty as a planet never darkened, always visible, for such
a life as this to be carried on uncomplainingly and without a passionate
longing for the bare exercise of hard blows. In addition, they read of
the reproaches heaped upon them by comfortable shore-men. They were
called pirates, and other gloomy titles. The execrations of certain of
the French and English, and of all the United States press, sounded in
their ears across the ocean; but from their own country they heard
little. The South was a sealed land in comparison with the rest of the
world. Opinion spoke loudest in Europe, and though they knew that they
were faithfully, gallantly, and marvellously serving their country in
her sore need, the absence of any immediate comfort, either physical or
moral, helped to make them keenly sensitive to virulent criticism, even
to that of avowed and clamorous enemies.

It was this state of mind through the whole crew which caused the
excitement on board the Alabama when the Kearsarge steamed in and out of
the breakwater. Now, and at last, our day of action has come! was the
thought of every man on board. The chivalrous give and take of battle
was glorious to men who had alternately hunted and fled for so dreary a
term. They trusted for victory; but defeat itself was to be a
vindication of their whole career, and they welcomed the chances gladly.

The application for coal at a neutral port was in itself a renunciation
of any further hospitality from the harbour, as Captain Semmes was
aware. The Port-admiral contented himself with pointing it out to him. A
duel is not an unpopular thing in France. The prospective combat of two
apparently equally-matched ships of war would have been sufficient to
have melted any scruples entertained by Frenchmen in authority; they
were only too happy to assist towards an engagement between Federals and
Confederates, the latter being as popular in France as in England, to
say nothing for the sympathy excited for the Alabama. French officers
agreed with Captain Semmes in thinking that there was marked offence and
defiance in the manoeuvres of the Kearsarge, and that he could hardly do
less than go out and meet her. We have done our best to show that the
Captain, whether in his heart he felt the mere chances to be equal or
not, was anxious to persuade himself that they were so. He knew his
opponent to be the heavier in ship, battery, and crew, but "I did not
know that she was also iron-clad," he says. Personally he desired the
battle; the instigations of an enthusiastic crew, unanimous for action,
as also of friendly foreign officers, are to be taken into account.
Those who venture, now that we are enabled to measure by results, to
cast blame upon him, should first, in justice, throw themselves into his
position. President Davis may deplore the loss of a vessel that did a
mighty service, but we doubt not that he will endorse the honourable
words of Mr. Mason in his justification of Captain Semmes, and rejoice
that the man who was the ship, is saved for further service to the

On Sunday, in the morning, being the 19th June, the Alabama steamed out
of Cherbourg harbour by the opening to the west, and steered straight to
meet the Kearsarge, accompanied by the French iron-clad La Couronne. The
late foul weather had given way to a gentle breeze, and the subsiding
swell of the Atlantic wave under a clear sky made the day eminently
favourable for the work in hand. All Cherbourg was on the heights above
the town and along the bastions and the mole. Never did knightly
tournament boast a more eager multitude of spectators. It chanced
fortunately that an English steam-yacht, the Deerhound, with its owner,
Mr. John Lancaster, and his family, on board, was in harbour at the
time. The Deerhound followed the Alabama at a respectful distance, and
was the closest witness of the fight. Some French pilot-boats hung as
near as they considered prudent. At the limit of neutral waters the
Alabama parted company with her, escort, and the Couronne returned to
within a league of the shore.

Left to herself at last, the Alabama made her final preparations for the
coming struggle. Mustering all his ship's company upon the deck, Captain
Semmes addressed them as follows;--


"You have, at length, another opportunity of meeting the enemy--the
first that has been presented to you since you sunk the Hatteras! In the
meantime, you have been all over the world, and it is not too much to
say that you have destroyed, and driven for protection under neutral
flags, one-half of the enemy's commerce, which, at the beginning of the
war, covered every sea. This is an achievement of which you may well be
proud; and a grateful country will not be unmindful of it. The name of
your ship has become a household word wherever civilization extends.
Shall that name be tarnished by defeat? The thing is impossible!
Remember that you are in the English Channel, the theatre of so much of
the naval glory of our race, and that the eyes of all Europe are at this
moment upon you. The flag that floats over you is that of a young
republic, which bids defiance to her enemy's, whenever and wherever
found. Show the world that you know how to uphold it. Go to your

[Footnote 16: The above is a correct report of Captain Semmes' address
on this occasion. Various statements have appeared as to the way in
which it was continued: received. Captain Semmes states, "The only
replies that were made were shouts from the seamen of 'Never! never!'
when I spoke of the name of their ship being tarnished by defeat."]

It took three-quarters of an hour for the Alabama to come within range
of the Kearsarge. At the distance of one mile, the Alabama opened fire
with solid shot. The Kearsarge took time to reply. After ten minutes the
firing was sharp on both sides.

According to the statement of the Captain of the Kearsarge, her battery
consisted of seven guns--to wit, two 11-inch Dahlgrens--very powerful
pieces of ordnance; four 32 pounders, one light rifle 28 pounder. She
went into action with a crew of 162 officers and men.

The armament of the Alabama consisted of one 7-inch Blakeley rifled gun,
one 8-inch smooth-bore pivot gun, six 32 pounders, smooth-bore, in
broadside. The Alabama's crew numbered not more than 120. On this head
Captain Winslow speaks erroneously. He sets down the Alabama's crew at
150 officers and men. The Alabama had a formidable piece in the Blakeley
rifled gun, but she was destitute of steel shot.

It will thus be seen that there was inequality between the antagonists.
Captain Winslow speaks of the Alabama having "one gun more" than the
Kearsarge. His two great Dahlgrens gave the balance altogether in his
favour. But in an estimate of the rival capabilities of the two vessels,
the deteriorated speed of the Alabama should be considered as her
principal weakness. Cherbourg had done little to repair the copper of
her bottom, which spread out in broad fans and seriously impeded her
cutting of the water; and it had been found impossible to do more than
to patch up the boilers for the day's business. They were not in a state
to inspire the engineers with confidence. The Kearsarge, on the other
hand, was in first rate condition and well in hand. She speedily showed
that she could overhaul the Alabama. In fact, the Alabama entered the
lists when she should have been lying in dock. She fought with an
exhausted frame. She had the heroism to decide upon the conflict,
without the strength to choose the form of it. After some little
manoeuvring this became painfully evident to Captain Semmes. The
Kearsarge selected her distance at a range of five hundred yards, and
being well protected she deliberately took time and fired with sure

Captain Semmes had great confidence in the power of his Blakeley rifled
gun, and we believe it is a confidence not shaken by its failure to win
the day for him. He wished to get within easy range of his enemy, that
he might try this weapon effectively; but any attempt on his part to
come to closer quarters was construed by the Kearsarge as a design to
bring the engagement between the ships to a hand-to-hand conflict
between the men. Having the speed, she chose her distance, and made all
thought of boarding hopeless.

It was part of the plan of Captain Semmes to board, if possible, at some
period of the day, supposing that he could not quickly decide the battle
with artillery. It was evidently Captain Winslow's determination to
avoid the old-fashioned form of a naval encounter, and to fight
altogether in the new style; his superior steam power gave him the
option. When the Alabama took her death-wound she was helpless. We must
interpret the respectful distance maintained by the Kearsarge up to the
very last, and the persistent plying of her guns while the side of the
sinking ship was visible, as a settled resolution on Captain Winslow's
part to trust to guns alone, and throughout, so that a dangerous
proximity might be shunned. That much homage was paid by him to the
hostile crew, and that his manoeuvre was creditably discreet, few will

The crew of the Alabama, seamen and officers, were in high spirits
throughout the engagement, though very early the slaughter set in and
the decks were covered with blood. Their fire was rapid and admirable.
It has been said in the House of Lords by no less a person than the Duke
of Somerset, that her firing was positively bad; and that she hit the
Kearsarge only three times during the action. By Captain Winslow's own
admission the Kearsarge was hit twenty-eight times by shot and shell--or
once to every fifth discharge. No seaman knowing anything of an actual
engagement on the deep will object to the accuracy of such an aim. Had
the Kearsarge shown the same blank sides as the Alabama, another tale
might have been told. Captain Semmes, however, perceived that his shell
rebounded after striking her, and exploded harmlessly. This led him to
rely upon solid shot. The Alabama, not being thus or in any way
shielded, was pierced with shell, and soon showed vast rents in her
after-part. Her pivot-gun was a distinct mark for the enemy, and a
single shell exploding near it killed and wounded half the number of men
by whom it was worked. Each ship fought her starboard broadside, and
steamed in a circle to keep that side to the enemy. So, for an hour,
this, to a distant spectator, monotonous manoeuvre continued, without
perceptibly narrowing the range. Captain Semmes was standing on the
quarter-deck when the chief engineer sent word to say that the ship was
endangered by leakage. The first lieutenant, Mr. Kell, was sent below to
inspect the damage. He returned with word that the ship was sinking.
Captain Semmes at once ordered the ship to be put about and steered
towards shore. But the water was rising in her: the fires were speedily
extinguished. The Alabama's shot from slackening had now ceased. It was
evident to all on board that she was doomed. To have continued firing
would have been to indulge a stupid rancour, and to act in such a manner
is not in the nature of a seaman like Captain Semmes. On the contrary,
his thoughts were directed towards saving the lives of his crew. He gave
command for the Confederate flag to be hauled down.

Many wild stories are being told of something like a mutiny of the crew
at this desecration of the Southern banner; of how they implored the
Captain to spare them the disgrace of it; and of a certain quartermaster
drawing his cutlass, daring any hand on board to haul down the flag, and
being dramatically threatened with a loaded pistol by Mr. Kell, the
First Lieutenant, and so brought to his senses. The fact is, that the
flag came down quietly and decorously. All on board perceived that there
was no help for it, and that it would be a shocking breach of humanity
to imperil the lives of the wounded men.

The general detestation of the Yankee was yet more strongly instanced
when the men were struggling for life in the water. The head of every
man was pointed away, as if instinctively, from the vessel that stood
nearest to rescue him. One who was hailed from the Kearsarge with the
offer of a rescue, declined it civilly, and made his way for the neutral
flag. The men swam as if they had still an enemy behind them, and not
one that was ready to save. Tardy as were the boats of the Kearsarge in
descending to perform this office, they found many of the poor fellows
still painfully supporting themselves above the surface. Of these, both
men and officers, when, after being hauled into the boats, they had
dashed the blinding salt water from their eyes and discovered among whom
they were, many sprang overboard again, preferring any risk to the
shelter of the Federalists. Hatred to the flag of the old Union and love
of their Captain appear to have been their chief active passions. When
taken on board the Deerhound, the question as to the safety of Captain
Semmes was foremost in every mouth.

Captain Semmes asserts that shots were fired at the Alabama after the
signal of surrender. We will not attempt to substantiate a charge like
this: but French officers maintain it to be an undeniable fact that,
after the Confederate flag had been lowered, the Kearsarge fired no less
than five shots into her. We believe that Captain Winslow does not deny
the charge; but asserts that he was unaware of the act of surrender. In
his letter to the _Daily News_, he declares the accusation that he had
been guilty of this act to be "twaddle" (we quote his own phrase).

The master's mate of the Alabama, Mr. Fullam, was despatched in the
dingey to the Kearsarge with a request that assistance might immediately
be given in rescuing the lives of the wounded men. It was promised, but
the fulfilment of the promise, owing, as we trust it may be proved, to
circumstances incidental to the fight, was, as we have said, tardy.
Captain Winslow expressed himself in kindly terms with regard to his old
shipmate in the days when the Union was not a mockery of its name;
Captain Semmes having served with him in the same vessel many years
back. During Mr. Fullam's absence the Alabama had gone down stern
foremost. All the wounded had been stretched in the whale-boat for
transmission to the Kearsarge. The surgeon of the Alabama, an
Englishman, Mr. David Herbert Llewellyn, son of an incumbent of a
Wiltshire parsonage, and godson of the late Lord Herbert of Lea, was
offered a place in this boat. He refused it, saying that he would not
peril the wounded men, and he sank with the Alabama. The rest of the
crew, with their captain, were already in the waves. Mr. Lancaster
meantime had steamed up to the Kearsarge, requesting permission to
assist in saving life, and he was soon among them, throwing lines from
the yacht, and picking up many exhausted men in his boats. The loss of
men by drowning was nineteen, including an officer (Mr. Llewellyn),
carpenter, and assistant-engineer. The loss in killed and wounded was
twenty-eight, of whom seven were killed. Not a wrack of the Alabama was
secured by the victors in this memorable sea-fight. The captain and his
officers dropped their swords into the deep; the men drove their oars
into the bottoms of the boats. One spirit--the spirit of the
unconquerable Confederation of the Southern States--animated all. Not a
man who was able to support himself in the water, swam towards the

So sank the Alabama. It would have been glorious for her to have won,
but it was not disgraceful that the day went against her. She fought
against odds such as brave commanders are not in the habit of declining;
she fought to the water's edge. An end like this, and the splendid
antecedents she points to, have made her name and that of her captain
household words. Her flag has been indeed a "meteor flag," and that it
shall "yet terrific burn" we may reckon to be probable, when it is
remembered that the informing spirit, of which the good vessel was but
the gross body, is alive, and prepared once more to offer himself to the
land of his choice for service upon the seas.


       *       *       *       *       *

No. I.


_Ably Bradford_--Of New York, from New York to Puerto Caballo. Captured
25th July, 1861, N.E. of Laguayra, Venezuela.

Sent to New Orleans. Recaptured by enemy.

_Albert Adams_--Of Massachusetts. Captured 5th July, 1861, four leagues
off Cienfuegos.

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

_Arcade_--Of Maine, from Portland, Maine, to Guadaloupe. Captured 26th
November, 1861, in lat. 20° 27' N., long. 57° 15' W.


_Ben Dunning_--Of Maine. Captured 5th July, 1861, four leagues off

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

_Cuba_--Of Maine, from Trinidad to English ports. Captured 4th July,
1861, in lat. 21° 29' N., long. 84° 06' W.

Sent to Cienfuegos. Retaken by enemy.

_Daniel Trowbridge_--Of Connecticut, from New York to Demerara. Captured
27th October, 1861, in lat. 17° 54' N., long. 56° 30' W.


_Ebenezer Dodge_--Of Massachusetts, from New Bedford to South Pacific
(whaling). Captured 8th December, 1861, in lat. 30° 57' N., long. 51°
49' W.


_Golden Rocket_--Of Bangor, Maine. Captured 3d July, 1861, in lat. 21°
29' N., long. 84° 06' W. Valued at $35,000.


_Investigator_--Of Maine, from Spain to Newport, Wales. Captured 18th
January, 1862, in Straits of Gibraltar. Valued at $15,000,

Released on ransom bond.

_Joseph Maxwell_--Of Pennsylvania. Captured 27th July, 1861, seven miles
from Puerto Caballo.

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Governor-General of Cuba.

_Joseph Parkes_--Of Massachusetts, from Pernambuco to Boston. Captured
25th September, 1861, in lat. 6° 20' N., long. 42° 24'W.


_Louisa Kilham_--Of Massachusetts. Captured 6th July, 1861, five miles
from Cienfuegos.

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

_Machias_--Of Maine, from Trinidad to an English port. Captured 4th
July, 1861, in lat. 21° 29' N., long. 84° 06' W.

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

_Montmorency_--Of Maine, from Newport, Wales, to St. Thomas. Captured
25th November, 1861, in lat. 18° 30' N., long. 58° 40' W. Valued at

Released under ransom bond.

_Naiad_--Of New York. Captured 6th July, 1861, five miles from

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

_Neapolitan_--Of Massachusetts, from Messina to Boston. Captured 18th
January, 1862, in Straits of Gibraltar.


_Vigilans_--Of Maine, from New York to Island of Sombrero. Captured 3d
December, 1861, in lat. 29° 10' N., long. 57° 22' W. Valued at $40,000.


_West Wind_--Of Rhode Island. Captured 6th July, 1861, five miles off

Sent to Cienfuegos. Released by Captain-General of Cuba.

       *       *       *       *       *


_Alert_--Of New London, from New London to the Indian Ocean (whaling).
Captured 9th September, 1862, off Flores. Valued at $20,000.


_Altamaha_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford (whaling). Captured 13th
September, 1862, in lat. 40° 34' N., 25° 24' W. Valued at $3,000.


_Amanda_--Of United States, from Manilla to Queenstown. Captured 6th
November, 1863, in lat. 7° 00' S., long. 103° 19' E. Valued at $104,442.


_Amazonian_--Of New York, from New York to Monte Video. Captured 2d
June, 1863, in lat. 15° 09', long. 55° 04'. Valued at $97,665.


_Anna F. Schmidt_--Of Maine, from Boston (_via_ St. Thomas) to San
Francisco. Captured 2d July, 1863, in lat. 26° 14', long. 37° 51'.
Valued at $350,000.


_Ariel_--Of New York, from New York to Aspinwall. Captured 7th Dec.,
1862, off Cape Maize. Valued at $261,000.

Released on bond.

_Baron de Castine_--Of Castine, from Bangor to Cardenas. Captured 29th
October, 1862, in lat. about 39° 18' N., long. about 69° 12' W. Valued
at $6,000.,

Released on bond.

_Benjamin Tucker_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford (whaling). Captured
14th September, 1862, off Flores. Valued. at $18,000.


_Bethia Thayer_--Of Maine. Captured 1st March, 1863, in lat. 29° 50' N.,
long. 38° 31' W. Valued at $40,000.

Released on bond.

_Brilliant_--Of New York, from New York to Liverpool. Captured 3d
October, 1862, in lat. 39° 58' N., long. 50° 00' W. Valued at $164,000.


_Charles Hill_--Of Boston, from Liverpool to Monte Video. Captured 25th
March, 1863, in lat. 1° 22', long. 26° 08'. Valued at $28,450.


_Chastelaine_--Of Boston, from Martinique to Cienfuegos. Captured 27th
January, 1863, in lat. 17° 19' N., long. 72° 21' W. Valued at $10,000.

_Contest_--Of the United States, from Yokohama, Japan, to New York.
Captured 11th November, 1863, in lat. 4° 48' S., long. 106° 49' E.
Valued at $122,815.


_Courser_--Of Province Town, from Province Town (whaling). Captured 16th
September, 1862, off Flores. Valued at $7,000.


_Crenshaw_--Of New York, from New York to Glasgow. Captured 26th
October, 1862, in lat. 40° 11' N., long. 64° 32' W. Valued at $33,869.


_Dorcas Prince_--Of New York, from New York to Shanghai. Captured 26th
April, 1862, in lat. 7° 36', long. 31° 57'. Valued at $44,108.


_Dunkirk_--Of New York, from New York to Lisbon. Captured 7th October,
1862, in lat. about 41° 00' N., long. 53°. Valued at $25,000.


_Elisha Dunbar_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford (whaling). Captured
18th September, 1862, in lat. 39° 50' N., long. 35° 25' W. Valued at


_Emily Farnum_--Of New York, from New York to Liverpool. Captured 3d
October, 1862, in lat. 39° 58' N., long. 50° 00' W.

Neutral cargo, Released and made a Cartel.

_Emma Jane_--Of Maine, from Bombay to Amherst (in ballast). Captured
14th January, 1864, in lat. 7° 57' S., long. 76° 09' W. Valued at


_Express_--Of Callao, from Callao to Antwerp. Captured 6th July, 1863,
in lat. 28° 28', long. 30° 20. Valued at $121,300.


_Gildersliene_--Of London, from Sunderland to Calcutta. Captured 25th
May, 1863, in lat. 12° 04', long. 35° 10'. Valued at $62,783.


_Golden Eagle_--Of United States, from San Francisco (_via_ Howland's
Island) to Cork. Captured 21st February, 1863, in lat. 29° 28' N., long.
44° 58' W. Valued at $61,000.


_Golden Rule_--Of New York, from New York to Aspinwall. Captured 26th
January, 1863, off Jamaica. Valued at $112,000.


_Hatteras_--Of United States Navy, gunboat. Sunk 11th January, 1863, off
Galveston. Valued at $160,000.


_Highlander_--Of the United States, from Singapore to Aycaab (in
ballast). Captured 26th December, 1863. Valued at $75,965.


_Jabez Snow_--Of Cardiff, from Cardiff to Monte Video. Captured 29th
May, 1863, in lat. 12° 54', long. 35° 18'. Valued at $72,881.


_John A. Parks_--Of Maine, from New York to Monte Video. Captured 2d
March, 1863, in lat. 29° 25' N., long. 37° 47' W. Valued at $66,157.


_Justina_--Of the United States. Captured 25th May, 1863, in lat. 12°
04', long. 35° 10'. Valued at $7,000.


_Kate Cory_--Of Westport (whaler). Captured 15th April, 1863, in lat. 4°
08', long. 32° 01'. Valued at $10,568.


_Kingfisher_--Of Massachusetts, from Fair Haven (on whaling expedition).
Captured 23d March, 1863, in lat. 2° 08' N., long. 26° 08' W. Valued at


_Lafayette_ (1)--Of New York, from New York to Belfast. Captured 23d
October, 1862, in lat. 39° 34' N., long. 63° 26' W. Valued at $110,337.


_Lafayette_ (2)--Of New Bedford (whaler). Captured 15th April, 1863, in
lat. 4° 08', long. 32° 01. Valued at $20,908.


_Lamplighter_--Of Boston, from New York to Gibraltar. Captured 15th
October, 1862, in lat. 41° 32' N., long. 54° 17' W. Valued at $117,600.


_Lauretta_--Of Boston, from New York to Madeira and Mediterranean.
Captured 28th. October. 1862, in lat. 39° 18' N., long. 67° 35' W.
Valued at $32,880.


_Levi Starbuck_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford to the Pacific
(whaling). Captured 2d November, 1862, in lat. 36° 13' N., long. 66° 01'
W. Valued at $25,000.


_Louisa Hatch_--Of Rockland, from Cardiff to Point de Galle. Captured
4th April, 1863, in lat. 3° 12', long. 26° 9'. Valued at $38,315.


_Manchester_--Of New York, from New York to Liverpool. Captured 11th
October, 1862, in lat. 41° 08' N., long. 55° 26' W. Valued at $164,000.


_Morning Star_--Of Boston, from Calcutta to London. Captured 23d March,
1863, in lat. 2° 08' N., long. 26° 08' W. Valued at $61,750.

Released on bond.

_Nora_--Of Boston, from Boston to Calcutta. Captured 25th March, 1863,
in lat. 1° 22', long. 26° 08'. Valued at $76,-636.


_Nye_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford (whaling barque). Captured 24th
April, 1863, in lat. 5° 45', long. 31° 53'. Valued at $31,127.


_Ocean Rover_--Of Massachusetts, from Massachusetts (out whaling).
Captured 8th September, 1862, off Flores. Valued at $70,000.


_Ocmulgee_--Of Edgartown. Captured 5th September, 1862, in about lat. 37°
20' N., long. 28° 08' W. Valued at $50,000.


_Olive Jane_--Of the United States, from Bordeaux to New York. Captured
21st February, 1863, in lat., 29° 28' N., long. 44° 58' W. Valued at


_Palmetto_--Of New York, from New York to St. John's, Porto Rico.
Captured 3d February, 1863, in lat. 27° 18' N., long. 6° 16' W. Valued
at $18,430.


_Parker Cook_--Of Boston, from Boston to Aux Cayes. Captured 30th
November, 1862, in lat. 18° 59' N., long. 68° 45' W. Valued at $10,000.


_Punjaub_--Of Boston, from Calcutta to London. Captured 15th March,
1863, in lat. 8° 36' N., long. 31° 43' W. Valued at $55,000.

Released on bond.

_Rockingham_--Of the United States, from Callao to Cork. Captured 23d
April, 1864, in lat. 15° 52' S., long. 31° 44' W. Valued at $97,878.


_Sea Lark_--Of New York, from New York to San Francisco. Captured 3d
May, 1863, in lat. 9° 39' S., long. 32° 44' W. Valued at $550,000.


_Sonora_--Of the United States, from Singapore to Aycaab (in ballast).
Captured 26th December, 1863, off Malacca. Valued at $46,545.


_Starlight_--Of Boston, from Fayal to Boston. Captured 7th September,
1862, off Flores. Valued at $4,000.


_Talisman_--Of New York, from New York to Shanghai. Captured 5th June,
1863, in lat. 14° 35', long. 36° 26'. Valued at $139,195.


_Texan Star_--Of the United States, from Maulmein to Singapore. Captured
24th December, 1863, off Malacca. Valued at $97,628.


_Tonawanda_--Of Philadelphia, from Philadelphia to Liverpool. Captured
9th October, 1862, in lat. 40° 03' N., long. 54° 38' W. Valued at

Released on ransom bond.

_Tycoon_--Of the United States, from New York to San Francisco. Captured
27th April, 1864. in lat. 11° 16', long. 32° 6'.


_Union_--Of Baltimore, from Baltimore to Jamaica. Captured 5th December,
1862, off Cape Maise. Valued at $15,000.

Released on bond.

_Union Jack_--Of Boston, from Boston to Shanghai. Captured 3d May, 1863,
in lat. 9° 39', long. 32° 44'. Valued at $77,000.


_Virginia_--Of New Bedford, from New Bedford (whaling). Captured 17th
September, 1862, in lat. 40° 03' N., long. 32° 46' W. Valued at $25,000.


_T.B. Wales_--Of Boston, from Calcutta to Boston. Captured 8th November,
1862, in lat. 29° 15' N., long. 57° 57' W. Valued at $245,625.


_Washington_--Of New York, from Chincha Islands to Antwerp. Captured
27th February, 1863, in lat. 30° 19' N., long. 40° 01' W. Valued at

Released on bond.

_Wave Crest_--Of New York, from New York to Cardiff. Captured 7th
October, 1862, in lat. about 41° 00' N., long. 53°. Valued at $44,000.


_Weather Gauge_--Of Province Town, from Province Town (whaling).
Captured 9th September, 1862, off Flores. Valued at $10,000.


_Winged Racer_--Of the United States, from Manilla to New York. Captured
10th November, 1863, in Strait of Sunda. Valued at $150,000.


No. II.



   July     1  Lat. 26.18 N.  Long. 87.23 W.
            2       23.04           86.13
            3       21.29           84.06
            4  No observation.
            5  Off the Jardinelles.
            6  At Cienfuegos, Cuba.
            7         do       do
            8  Off the Caymans.
            9  Off Jamaica.
     10 to 15  No observation.
     16 to 24  At St. Anne's, Curaçao.
     25 to 27  At and off Puerto Caballo.
           28  Off Tortuga.
        29 to
   Aug.     5  At Port of Spain.
            6        9.14           59.10
            7        8.31           56.12
            8        7.19           53.34
            9        6.10           50.48
           10        4.29           48.25
   Aug.    11   Lat. 2.38 N.  Long. 47.48 W.
           12        4.10           49.37
           13        4.56           50.55
           14        4.49           51.19
        15 16  At Cayenne.
           17        5.56
           18  Off the mouth of the Surinam.
     19 to 31  At Paramaribo.
   Sept.    1  No observation.
            2        4.50           50.20
            3        3.05           48.44
            4       00.44           47.12
            5        1.03           44.48
      6 to 15  At Maranham.
           16       00.17 S.        42.59
           17        2.19 N.        41.29
           18        3.38           40.57
           19        4.33           40.41
           20        4.46           41.00
           21        5.12           41.59
           22        5.37           42.12
           23        5.25           42.19
           24        5.35           41.27
           25        6.20           42.27
           27        6.24           43.10
           28        6.10           44.20
           29        6.55           45.08
           30        7.33           45.28
   Oct.     1        7.39           45.55
            2        8.19           46.23
            3        8.30           46.21
            4        8.55           46.58
            5        9.13           47.21
            6        8.31           47.08
            7        8.13           47.13
            8        8.52           46.44
            9        7.21           46.30
           10        6.22           45.48
   Oct.    11   Lat. 6.38 N.  Long. 45.13 W.
           12        6.56           44.41
           13        7.04           44.47
           14        8.31           45.46
           15        9.36           48.11
           16       10.22           50.05
           17       11.37           51.49
           18       13.01           53.12
           19       13.33           53.46
           20       13.46           54.06
           21       14.00           54.07
           22       14.21           54.16
           23       14.36           54.37
           24       15.20           54.51
           25       16.54           55.30
           26       18.13           56.04
           27       17.54           56.30
           28       17.03           57.07
           29       16.54           57.33
           30       16.40           58.16
           31       16.54           57.59
   Nov.    1        16.52           57.25
           2        16.32           56.55
           3        16.35           57.38
           4        16.43           57.45
           5        17.10           59.06
           6        16.39           59.54
           7        16.00           60.46
           9        15.08           61.54
    10 to 23  At Martinique.
          24        16.12
          25        18.11           58.48
          26        20.07           57.12
          27        22.22           56.27
          28        24.22           57.12
          29        25.51           57.36
          30        27.16           58.29
   Dec.    1        27.38           58.20
           2        28.12           58.09
           3        29.10           57.22
   Dec.    4   Lat. 30.03 N.  Long. 55.09 W.
           5        30.19           53.02
           6        29.35           52.02
           7        29.27           51.35
           8        30.57           51.49
           9        31.35           51.14
          10        32.39           49.47
          11        32.48           49.32
          13/       33.28           47.03
          14        33.49           44.47
          15        34.00           42.05
          16        33.24           40.43
          17        33.24           40.00
          18        33.53           38.43
          19        34.30           36.40
          20        34.17           35.31
          21        35.17           33.05
          22  No observation.
          23        36.29           32.32
          24        27.31           31.30
          25        36.08           28.42
          26        35.09           25.56
          27        35.00           22.49
          28        35.17           20.53
          29        35.43           18.59
          30        35.39           17.33
          31        35.22           16.27
   Jan.    1        35.53           13.14
           2        35.52            9.36
           3        35.49            7.00

On the 4th of January the Sumter reached Cadiz, and on the 17th left for
Gibraltar. She entered that port on the following day, where she was
finally put out of commission.

       *       *       *       *       *


   Aug. 25          Lat. 39.15 N.  Long. 26.30 W.
        26               39.39           26.07
        27               39.59           24.34
   Aug.  28         Lat. 39.58 N.  Long. 21.30 W.
         29              38.56           19.23
         30              37.23           19.06
         31 Lat. by acc. 36.23           21.54
   Sept.  1         Lat. 35.33           22.17
          2              35.29           24.22
          3              36.16           25.56
          4              37.22           28.08
          5 No observation.
         to | Off Flores.
         12              40.17           34.05
         13              40.34           35.24
         14              40.12           33.02
         15              40.03           32.46
         16  Off Flores.
         17              40.03           32.46
         18              39.50           35.25
         19              38.32           35.03
         20              37.20           36.26
         21              36.35           36.58
         22              35.21           37.26
         23              34.43           38.38
         24              34.52           48.28
         25              34.59           41.10
         26              35.35           41.36
         27              37.12           43.13
         28              37.40           42.00
         29              37.09           43.13
         30              38.87           45.03
   Oct.   1              40.27           46.31
          2        40 to 40.30     48 to 48.20
          3              39.58           50.00
          4              39.52           50.41
          5              40.19           51.14
          6              41.02           53.50
          7  No observation.
          8  Lat. (D.R.) 41.00 Long. (D.R.) 55.43
                                Long. Chro. 54.37
          9         Lat. 40.03        Long. 54.38
         10              41.13           53.45
         11              41.08           55.26
    Oct.  12     Lat. 41.42 N.        Long. 56.48 W.
          13  Assumed 40.30                 59.28
          14          41.21                 59.31
          15          41.32                 59.17
          16    (D.R.)42.16                 59.18
          17    (D.R.)42.06                 59.46
          18 Supposed 41.25                 59.10
          19          40.21                 62.08
          20          40.28                 62.40
          21          40.18                 62.40
          22 By acct. 40.16                 64.17
          23          39.34                 63.26
          24          40.04                 62.05
          25          39.57                 63.18
          26          40.11                 64.32
          27          39.47                 68.06
          28          39.18                 67.35
          29  No observation.
          30          39.18                 69.12
          31          37.51                 67.34
     Nov.  1          36.15                 65.55
           2          36.13                 66.01
           3          35.17                 67.11
           4          34.27                 63.30
           5          31.34                 61.27
           6          29.05                 61.22
           7          29.03                 59.22
           8          29.15                 57.57
           9          27.51                 58.24
          10          25.40                 57.50
          11          24.05                 57.36
          12          22.58                 57.37
          13          22.08                 57.43
          14          21.11                 57.49
          15          20.40                 58.24
          16          18.00                 59.27
          17          15.51                 60.20
          18          13.15                 63.01
          21          12.10                 64.35
          to | At Island of Blanquilla.
          26          13.12                 65.30
     Nov. 28      Lat. 16.19 N.         Long. 66.06 W.
          29           17.45                  67.15
          30           18.59                  68.45
     Dec.  1           19.40                  69.49
           2           20.04                  71.50
           3           20.12                  72.58
           4 \
          to  | Off Cape Maise, Jamaica, and Cuba.
          12 /
          13           18.47                  78.28
          14           18.16                  80.43
          15           18.39                  83.06
          16           19.16                  84.10
          17           19.18                  84.25
          18           19.47                  85.46
          19           20.00                  85.31
          20           21.20                  86.32
          21           22.06                  88.40
          22           21.26                  91.15
          23           20.18                  91.50
          24 \
          to  | At the Arcas.
          31 /
     n.   1 \
          to  | At the Arcas.
          5 /
          6             21.11                  93.13
          7             22.35                  94.26
          8             24.36                  94.45
          9             26.19                  94.11
         10             27.45                  94.42
         11             28.51                  94.55
         12             28.03                  93.08
         13             27.05                  90.37
         14             25.58                  88.58
         15             26.16                  88.35
         16             23.43                  87.35
         17             21.45                  85.34
         18             19.50                  82.51
         19             18.30                  80.34
         20 \
         to  | At Port Royal.
         25 /
     Jan.26        Lat. 17.50 N.         Long. 74.52 W
         27             17.19                  72.21
         28             17.56                  70.28
         29  At San Domingo.
         30             19.31                  67.38
         31             21.45                  68.06
     Feb. 1             24.08                  68.18
          2             26.17                  68.06
          3             27.18                  66.10
          4             28.00                  64.11
          5             27.10                  61.30
          6             25.44                  60.32
          7             26.36                  60.15
          8             25.41                  58.48
          9             24.51                  57.55
         10             24.32                  56.53
         11             24.52                  56.34
         12             25.15                  56.36
         13             26.08                  55.32
         14             27.09                  53.17
         15             28.29                  50.07
         16             28.45                  46.57
         17             28.11                  45.01
         18             28.15                  44.37
         19             28.04                  44.29
         20             28.32                  45.05
         21             29.28                  44.58
         22             29.33                  44.57
         23             30.21                  43.55
         24             30.32                  42.50
         25             30.22                  41.03
         26             30.23                  40.42
         27             30.19                  40.01
         28             30.07                  39.38
   March  1             29.50                  38.31
          2             29.25                  37.47
          3             28.42                  36.59
          4             27.02                  35.44
          5             26.04                  35.23
          6             24.09                  32.20
          7             24.30                  35.12
          8             22.36                  34.32
          9             20.22                  33.53
   Mar.  10        Lat. 18.26 N.         Long. 33.17 W.
         11             16.18                  32.36
         12             13.57                  31.47
         13             11.31                  31.25
         14              9.24                  31.48
         15              8.36                  31.43
         16              7.46                  30.21
         17              7.53                  30.34
         18              7.14                  29.26
         19              5.59                  28.01
         20              4.32                  27.00
         21              2.47                  26.23
         22              2.11                  26.24
         23              2.08                  26.08
         24              1.41                  26.13
         25              1.22                  26.08
         26              1.12                  26.32
         27   No observation.
         28              00.46                  26.19
         29              00.18                  26.10
         30              00.34 S.               25.35
         31              00.39                  25.19
   April  1               1.00                  25.20
          2               2.10                  26.02
          3               2.52                  25.58
          4               3.12                  26.09
          5               3.25                  27.04
          6               3.46                  28.00
          7               3.57                  30.07
          8               4.01     Long. (D.R.) 31.17
          9               4.08                  32.01
         10 \
         to  | At Fernando de Noronha.
         22 /
         23                4.42                  31.49
         24                5.45                  31.53
         25                6.22                  31.44
         26                7.36                  31.57
         27                8.16                  32.18
         28                8.19                  31.40
         29                8.22                  31.07
         30                9.02                  31.39
   May    1                9.17                  32.17
  May     2           Lat. 9.37 S          Long. 32.34 W
          3                9.39                  32.44
          4                8.48                  32.34
          5                10.06                 32.45
          6                10.24                 32.30
          7                12.08                 33.07
          8                12.30                 33.52
          9                12.55                 34.49
         10                13.29                 36.07
         11 \
         to  |At Bahia.
         21 /
         22                13.04                  37.36
         23                12.33                  36.39
         24                11.34                  34.54
         25                12.04                  35.10
         26                11.39                  34.47
         27                12.15                  35.05
         28                12.54                  35.18
         29                13.31                  35.38
         30                14.19                  35.36
June      1                14.44                  35.15
          2                15.01                  34.56
          3                15.09                  35.04
          4                14.46                  34.57
          5                14.35                  36.26
          6                15.17                  35.26
          7                16.07                  35.37
          8                15.55                  35.28
          9                16.55                  35.36
         10                16.17                  34.35
         11                15.32                  33.46
         12                17.25                  34.24
         13                19.21                  35.37
         14                19.54                  35.18
         15                22.38                  35.11
         16                23.41                  35.36
         17                23.54                  35.53
         18                24.16                  37.15
         19                24.57                  39.01
         20                25.48                  40.18
         21                25.46                  40.16
    June 22           Lat. 25.55 S.         Long. 40.21 W.
         23                25.24                  38.40
         24                25.19                  36.36
         25                25.56                  33.44
         26 Lat.(D.R.)     26.40                  30.16
         27                26.01                  28.29
         28                25.57                  30.31
         29                26.35                  32.59
         30                25.56                  35.12
     July 1                25.38                  36.38
          2                26.14                  37.51
          3                26.31                  37.33
          4                27.27                  34.37
          5                27.58                  31.43
          6                28.28                  30.20
          7                29.45                  27.36
          8                30.00                  24.20
          9                29.57                  21.16
         10                29.29                  17.47
         11                28.00                  15.12
         12                26.44                  13.32
         13                28.13                  13.27
         14                29.21                  11.31
         15                30.07                   8.06
         16      Lat.(D.R.)30.39                   4.05
         17                30.16                   00.20
         18                29.54                   3.04 E.
         19       at.(D.R.)29.47                   5.32
         20                29.57                   7.23
         21                30.43                  10.19
         22                31.33                  12.37
         23                31.59                  14.12
         24                33.24                  14.51
         25                33.56                  15.34
         26                33.26                  16.37
         27                33.46                  17.17
         28                33.46                  17.31
         29 \
         to  | At Saldanha Bay, and the Cape.
    Aug. 16 /
         17                34.03                   17.11
         18                33.24                   16.56
         19                32.52                   17.09
   Aug.  20          Lat. 32.45 S.           Long. 16.55 E.
         21                33.14                   15.41
         22                32.13                   16.08
         23                31.43                   15.30
         24                31.24                   14.34
         25                31.18                   13.37
         26                27.57                   14.12
         27   No observation.
         28 \
         to  | At Angra Pequena.
         30 /
         31                26.51                   14.40
   Sept.  1   No observation.
          2                28.37                   10.13
          3                29.43                    8.59
          4                30.04                    8.46
          5                30.24                    9.28
          6                30.35                   11.16
          7                31.17                   11.07
          8                31.41                   11.16
          9                32.30                   12.49
         10                33.16                   15.20
         11                33.10                   16.37
         12                33.43                   16.03
         13                33.51                   17.34
         14                34.28                   17.43
         15                34.26                   17.30
         16 \
         to  | At Simon's Town.
         24 /

         25                35.26                   18.15
         26                37.28                   17.58
         27                37.52                   19.03
         28                39.02                   23.07
         29                39.02                   27.20
         30                39.12                   31.59
   Oct.   1                39.15                   35.46
          2                38.27                   39.02
          3                38.46                   42.49
          4                38.43                   46.56
          5                38.47                   49.20
          6                38.44                   53.33
          7                37.51                   57.30
   Oct.   8           Lat. 38.04 S.          Long. 60.23 E.
          9                38.16                   64.15
         10                38.26                   68.57
         11                38.28                   72.40
         12                38.46                   77.12
         13                38.15                   80.29
         14                37.47                   83.42
         15                35.23                   89.55
         16                35.23                   89.55
         17                32.59                   93.28
         18                30.59                   96.17
         19                28.26                   98.43
         20                25.33                   99.42
         21                22.41                  100.12
         22                21.13                  100.10
         23                18.52                  100.10
         24                15.45                  101.25
         25    Lat. (D.R.) 12.26     Long. (D.R.) 102.00
         26                10.27                  102.13
         27                 9.55            Long. 101.50
         28                 9.38                  101.51
         29                 9.20                  101.53
         30                 9.09                  102.14
         31                 8.53                  102.50
          1                 8.55                  103.51
          2                 9.30                  103.28
          3                 9.17                  103.31
          4                 8.31                  103.06
          5                 7.22                  103.15
          6                 7.00                  103.19
          7                 6.59                  103.27
          8 \
          to  | Off Flat Point.
         10 /
         11                  4.48                 106.49
         12                  4.19                 108.00
         13                  3.59                 107.25
         14                  3.44                 109.05
         15                  3.03                 109.27
         16                  2.44                 109.16
         17 \
         to  | Off the Malays.
         23 /
   Nov.  24             Lat. 3.40 N         Long. 109.45 E.
         25    Supposed Lat. 3.50  Supposed Long. 110.30
         26                  4.36                 111.42
         27                  4.51                 111.54
         28                  4.51                 111.54
         29                  5.01                 111.47
         30                  6.14                 110.31
   Dec.   1                  7.30                 108.42
          2                  8.30                 107.15
          3 \
         to  | At Cindore.
         14 /
         15                  8.24                 106.48
         16                  7.18                 107.27
         17           (D.R.) 6.11                 106.12
         18                  4.48                 105.10
         19 \
        and  | At Island of Aor.
         20 /
         21 \
         to  | At and off Singapore.
        26 /
        27                  4.08                  100.11
        28         Supposed 4.46                   99.40
        29         Supposed 5.29                   98.16
        30                  5.39                   96.40
        31  Off N. end of Sumatra.
  Jan.   1                  6.23                   93.35
         2                  5.39                   93.08
         3                  5.29                   92.33
         4                  6.05      Long. (D.R.) 91.40
         5                  6.29                   90.37
         6                  6.07                   88.40
         7                  5.39                   87.22
         8                  5.22                   84.53
         9                  5.05                   82.09
        10                  5.14                   79.50
        11                  5.49                   78.25
        12                  7.26                   76.02
        13                  7.33                   76.01
        14                  7.57                   76.09
        15                  8.25                   76.08
  Jan.  16   At Quilon.
        17             Lat. 8.40 N.          Long. 76.32 E.
        18                  8.31                   76.30
        19                  8.05                   75.05
        20                  7.29                   74.28
        21  No observation.
        22                  7.52                   70.22
        23                  7.04                   67.17
        24                  7.03                   64.28
        25                  6.27                   61.49
        26                  5.33                   59.19
        27                  5.01                   56.36
        28                  4.02                   53.46
        29                  2.43                   51.00
        30                 00.50                   48.42
        31                  1.31 S.                47.20
  Feb.   1                  3.15                   46.13
         2                  4.48                   45.40
         3                  6.47                   44.44
         4                  8.24                   44.26
         5                 10.18                   43.47
         6                 10.42                   44.00
         7                 10.44                   43.50
         8                 10.45                   43.42
         9 \
        to  | At Islands of Johanna and Mohilla.
        16 /
        17                  13.41                  43.04
        18                  14.15                  42.45
        19                  15.03                  42.24
        20                  16.00                  41.45
        21                  17.02                  41.31
        22                  18.43                  41.20
        23                  19.49                  41.23
        24                  20.29                  41.19
        25                  21.18                  41.44
        26                  23.36                  41.15
        27                  25.31                  40.00
        28                  27.11                  37.51
        29                  29.16                  36.17
  March  1                  31.32                  34.37
         2                  33.20                  32.22
         3                  35.05                  29.49
  March  4            Lat. 35.11 S.          Long. 23.28 E.
         5                 35.51                   26.43
         6                 39.09                   24.58
         7                 35.10                   24.03
         8                 35.49                   21.39
         9                 35.46                   20.29
        10                 35.42                   20.13
        11                 35.08                   18.21
        12                 33.57                   17.06
        13                 33.35                   16.10
        14                 34. 3                   15.20
        15                 33.48                   15.23
        16                 32.50                   16.31
        17                 33.10                   16.22
        18   No observation.
        19                 32.57                   15.55
        20                 33.51                   17.31
        21 \
        to  | At the Cape.
        24 /
        25                 34.02                   18.10
        26                 33.41                   15.52
        27                 31.50                   12.39
        28                 31.36                   10.09
        29                 30.25                    8.25
        30                 28.53                    6.55
        31                 28.00                    4.50
  April  1                 26.13                    2.40
         2                 24.17                    0.24
         3                 22.35                    1.29 W.
         4                 21.01                    3.13
         5                 19.37                    4.44
         6                 18.41                    4.22
         7                 17.15                    3.44
         8                 17.42                    5.50
         9                 18.00                    8.53
        10                 18.12                   11.47
        11                 18.25                   14.42
        12                 18.47                   17.13
        13                 18.55                   19.43
        14                 18.58                   22.33
        15                 19. 9                   25.--
        16                 19.17                   26.42
  April 17            Lat. 19.12 S.          Long. 27.33 W.
        18                 19.22                   28.57
        19                 19.13                   29.36
        20                 18.49                   30.01
        21                 18.18                   30.26
        22                 17.23                   30.56
        23                 15.52                   31.44
        24                 15.19                   32. 6
        25                 13.59                   32. 4
        26                 13. 5                   32.22
        27                 11.16                   32. 6
        28                 10. 5                   31.46
        29                  8. 9                   31.29
        30                  5.26                   30.12
  May    1                  2.25                   30.38
         2                 00.13                   30.41
         3                  1.43 N.                31.28
         4                  3.30                   32.38
         5                  5. 6                   34.19
         6                  7.15                   36. 7
         7                  9.40                   37.36
         8                 11.54                   38.43
         9                 14.13                   39.43
        10                 16.43                   40.33
        11                 18.37                   41.09
        12                 20.10                   41.25
        13                 20.33                   41.19
        14                 20.53                   41.09
        15                 21.12                   40.55
        16                 22.05                   41.16
        17                 22.57                   41.50
        18                 24.33                   41.57
        19                 26.32                   41.50
        20                 28.04                   41.33
        21                 29.24                   40.42
        22                 30.25                   39.54
        23                 31.39                   38.39
        24                 33.13                   36.49
        25                 35.51                   35.41
        26                 37.43                   33.53
        27                 38.42                   32.50
        28                 39.23                   32.31
        29                 39.51            (D.R.) 32.25
  May   30            Lat. 40.25 N.          Long. 30.22 W.
        31                 40.54                   27.15
  June   1                 41.35                   24.15
         2                 42.07                   22.15
         3                 42.18                   20.30
         4                 42.10                   18.04
         5                 41.58                   16.31
         6                 42.31                   15.42
         7                 43.47                   14.12
         8                 45.45            (D.R.) 12.06
         9                 47.34                    9.07
        10                 49.18                    6.03
        11  On this day the Alabama entered Cherbourg harbour.

No. III.


The following is a full report of Mr. Laird's speech in the
House of Commons on Friday night:--After the discussion that
has taken place about the Alabama, I shall not trouble the
house with many remarks. I can only say, from all I know
and all I have heard, that from the day the vessel was laid down
to her completion everything was open and above-board in this
country. (Cheers.) I also further say that the officers of the
Government had every facility afforded them for inspecting the
ship during the progress of building. When the officers came
to the builders they were shown the ship, and day after day the
customs officers were on board, as they were when she finally
left, and they declared there was nothing wrong. ("Hear,"
from Mr. Bright.) They only left her when the tug left, and
they were obliged to declare that she left Liverpool a perfectly
legitimate transaction. (Hear, hear.) One point has been
overlooked in this discussion. If a ship without guns and without
arms is a dangerous article, surely rifled guns and ammunition
of all sorts are equally--(cheers)--and even more dangerous. (Cheers.)
I have referred to the bills of entry in the custom houses of London
and Liverpool, and I find there have been vast shipments of implements
of war to the Northern States through the celebrated houses of Baring
and Co.--(loud cheers and laughter)--Brown, Shipley and Co., of Liverpool,
and a variety of other names, which I need not more particularly
mention, but whose Northern tendencies are well known to
this house. (Hear, hear.) If the member for Rochdale, or the
honourable member for Bradford, wishes to ascertain the extent
to which the Northern States of America have had supplies of
arms from this country, they have only to go to a gentleman
who, I am sure, will be ready to afford them every information,
and much more readily than he would to me or to any one else
calling upon him--the American consul in Liverpool. Before
that gentleman the manifest of every ship is laid, he has to give
an American pass to each vessel; he is consequently able to
tell the exact number of rifles which have been shipped from this
country for the United States--information, I doubt not, which
would be very generally desired by this house. (Loud cries of
"Hear.") I have obtained from the official custom house returns
some details of the sundries exported from the United Kingdom to the
Northern States of America from the 1st of May, 1861, to the 31st
of December, 1862. There were--muskets, 41,500 (hear, hear); rifles,
341,000 (cheers); gun flints, 26,500; percussion caps, 49,982,000
(cheers and laughter); and swords, 2,250. The best information I could
obtain leads me to believe that from one-third to a half may be added
to these numbers for items which have been shipped to the Northern
States as hardware. (Hear, hear.) I have very good reason
for saying that a vessel of 2,000 tons was chartered six weeks
ago for the express purpose of taking out a cargo of "hardware"
to the United States. (Cheers.) The exportation has not
ceased yet. From the 1st of January to the 17th March, 1863,
the custom bills of entry show that 23,870 gun-barrels, 30,802
rifles, and 3,105,800 percussion caps were shipped to the United
States. (Hear, hear). So that if the Southern States have
got two ships, unarmed, unfit for any purpose of warfare--for
they procured their armaments somewhere else--the Northern
States have been well supplied from this country through the
agency of some most influential persons. (Hear, hear.) Now,
it has been stated--and by way of comparison treated as matter
of complaint--that during the Crimean war the Americans behaved
so well that the honourable member for Bradford and the
member for Birmingham both lauded their action as compared
with that of our own Government. Now, I have heard that a
vessel sailed from the United States to Petropaulovski. (Cries
of "Name.") If honourable members will allow me I will go
on, and first I propose to read an extract from the _Times_, written
by their correspondent at San Francisco, dated the 29th of
January, 1863:--

"Now, this case of the Alabama illustrates the saying that
a certain class should have a good memory. During the Crimean war,
a man-of-war (called the America, if I remember) was built in America
for the Russian Government, and brought out to the Pacific, filled with
arms and munitions, by an officer in the United States navy. This
gentleman took her to Petropaulovski, where she did service against
the allied squadron, and she is still in the Russian navy. (Cries of 'No,'
and 'Hear, hear.') We made no such childish fuss about this act
of 'hostility' by a friendly Power, which we could not prevent,
as our friends are now making about the Alabama, whose departure
from England our Government could not stop."

The America was commanded by a Lieutenant Hudson, who--if
my information be correct, and I have no doubt that it is--was
then, or had been just previously, a lieutenant in the American
navy; he was the son of a most distinguished officer in the
same service, Captain Hudson. I am further informed that
some doubts having arisen about the character of this ship, the
American men-of-war in the different ports she called at protected
her; and, on her arrival in Russia, the captain who took
her out was, I know, very handsomely rewarded for his services.
(Hear, hear.) Now, I will go a step further about the Northern
States. In 1861, just after the war broke out, a friend of
mine, whom I have known for many years, was over here, and
came to me with a view of getting vessels built in this country
for the American Government--the Northern Government. (Hear, hear.)
Its agents in this country made inquiries; plans and estimates were
given to my friend, and transmitted to the Secretary of the American
Navy. I will read an abstract from this gentleman's letter, dated the
30th of July, 1861. It is written from Washington, and states--

"Since my arrival here I have had frequent interviews with
our 'Department of Naval Affairs,' and am happy to say that
the Minister of the Navy is inclined to have an iron-plated ship
built out of the country. (Hear, hear.) This ship is designed
for a specific purpose, to accomplish a definite object. I send
you herewith a memorandum handed me last evening from the
department, with the request that I would send it to you by
steamer's mail of to-morrow, and to ask your immediate reply,
stating if you will agree to build such a ship as desired, how
soon, and for how much, with such plans and specifications as
you may deem it best to send me."

(Loud cheers.) The extract from the memorandum states
that "the ship is to be finished complete, with guns and everything
appertaining." (Renewed cheering and laughter.) On the 14th of August
I received another letter from the same gentleman, from which the
following is an extract:

"I have this morning a note from the Assistant-Secretary
of the Navy, in which he says, 'I hope your friends will tender
for the two-iron plated steamers.'" (Hear, hear.) After this,
the firm with which I was lately connected, having made contracts
to a large extent with other persons, stated that they were
not in a position to undertake any orders to be done in so short
a time. This was the reply:

"I sent your last letter, received yesterday, to the Secretary
of the Navy, who was very desirous to have you build the iron-plated
or bomb-proof batteries, and I trust that he may yet decide
to have you build one or more of the gunboats."

(Loud cheers.) I think, perhaps, in the present state of the
law in America, I shall not be asked to give the name of my
correspondent (hear), but he is a gentleman of the highest respectability.
If any honourable member wishes, I should have no hesitation in handing
the whole correspondence, with the original letters, into the hands of
you, sir, or the First Minister of the Crown, in strict confidence,
because there are communications in these letters respecting the views
of the American Government which I certainly should not divulge, which
I have not mentioned or alluded to before. But seeing that the American
Government are making so much work about other parties,
whom they charge with violating or evading the law, though in
reality they have not done so, I think it only fair to state those
facts. (Cheers.) As I said before, they are facts. (Hear,
hear.) I do not feel at liberty to state those points to which I
have referred, as being of a confidential character, but, if any
honourable gentleman feels a doubt regarding the accuracy of
what I have stated, I shall feel happy to place the documents in
the hands of the Speaker, or of the First Minister of the Crown,
when he will see that they substantiate much more than I have
stated. (Cheers.) I do not wish to occupy the House longer;
but I must say this, that to talk of freedom in a land like the
Northern States of America is an absurdity. Almost every
detective that can be got hold of in this country is employed.
(Hear, hear.) I believe there are spies in my son's works in
Birkenhead, and in all the great establishments in the country.
A friend of mine had detectives regularly on his track in consequence
of some circumstances connected with his vessels. If that be freedom,
I think we had better remain in the position in which we now are.
(Cheers and laughter.) In conclusion, I will allude to a remark which
was made elsewhere last night--a remark, I presume, applying to me or
to somebody else, which was utterly uncalled for. (Hear.) I have only
to say that I would rather be handed down to posterity as the builder of a
dozen Alabamas than as the man who applies himself deliberately
to set class against class (loud cheers), and to cry up the institutions
of another country, which, when they come to be tested, are of no value
whatever, and which reduce liberty to an utter absurdity. (Cheers.)

No. IV.


_From the Journal of an Officer of the_ ALABAMA.

_Sunday, 11th._--Fine moderate breeze from the eastward.
Read Articles of War. Noon: Eighteen miles from Galveston.
As I write this some are discussing the probability of a fight
before morning. 2.25 P.M.: Light breeze; sail discovered by
the look-out on the bow. Shortly after, three, and at last five,
vessels were seen; two of which were reported to be steamers.
Every one delighted at the prospect of a fight, no doubt whatever
existing as to their being war-vessels--blockaders we supposed.
The watch below came on deck, and of their own accord began preparing
the guns, &c., for action. Those whose watch it was on deck were engaged
in getting the propeller ready for lowering; others were bending a cable
to a kedge and putting it over the bow--the engineers firing up for steam,
officers looking to their side-arms, &c., and discussing the size of
their expected adversary or adversaries. At 2.30 shortened sail
and tacked to the southward. 4 P.M.: A steamer reported
standing out from the fleet toward us. Backed maintopsail and
lowered propeller. 4.50: Every thing reported ready for action.
Chase bearing N.N.E., distant ten miles. Twilight set in about
5.45. Took in all sail. At 6.20 beat up to quarters, manned
the starboard battery, and loaded with five second shell; turned
round, stood for the steamer, having previously made her out to
be a two-masted side-wheel, of apparent 1,200 tons, though at
the distance she was before dark we could not form any correct
estimate of her size, &c.

At 6.30 the strange steamer hailed and asked, "What
steamer is that?" We replied (in order to be certain who he
was), "Her Majesty's ship Petrel! What steamer is that?"
Two or three times we asked the question, until we heard,
"This is the United States steamer----," not hearing the
name. However, United States steamer was sufficient. As no
doubt existed as to her character, we said, at 6.35, that this was
the "Confederate States steamer, Alabama," accompanying the
last syllable of our name with a shell fired over him. The signal
being given, the other guns took up the refrain, and a tremendous
volley from our whole broadside given to him, every shell striking
his side, the shot striking being distinctly heard on board our vessel,
and thus found that she was iron.

The enemy replied, and the action became general. A most
sharp spirited firing was kept up on both sides, our fellows peppering
away as though the action depended on each individual. And so it did.
Pistols and rifles were continually pouring from our quarter-deck
messengers most deadly, the distance during the hottest of the fight
not being more than forty yards! It was a grand, though fearful sight,
to see the guns belching forth, in the darkness of the night, sheets of
living flame, the deadly missiles striking the enemy with a force that
we could _feel_. Then, when the shells struck her sides, especially the
percussion ones, her whole side was lit up, and showing rents of five or
six feet in length. One shot had just struck our smoke-stack, and wounding
one man in the cheek, when the enemy ceased his firing, and
fired a lee gun; then a second, and a third. The order was
given to "Cease firing." This was at 6.52. A tremendous
cheering commenced, and it was not till everybody had cleared
his throat to his own satisfaction, that silence could be obtained.
We then hailed him, and in reply he stated that he had surrendered,
was on fire, and also that he was in a sinking condition. He
then sent a boat on board, and surrendered the U.S. gunboat,
Hatteras, nine guns, Lieutenant-Commander Blake, 140 men.
Boats were immediately lowered and sent to his assistance, when
an alarm was given that another steamer was bearing down for
us. The boats were recalled and hoisted up, when it was found
to be a false alarm. The order was given, and the boatswain
and his mates piped "All hands out boats to save life;" and soon
the prisoners were transferred to our ship--the officers under
guard on the quarter deck, and the men in single irons. The
boats were then hoisted up, the battery run in and secured, and
the main brace spliced. All hands piped down, the enemy's
vessel sunk, and we steaming quietly away by 8.30, all having
been done in less than two hours. In fact, had it not been for
our having the prisoners on board, we would have sworn nothing
unusual had taken place--the watch below quietly sleeping in
their hammocks. The conduct of our men was truly commendable.
No flurry, no noise--all calm and determined. The coolness
displayed by them could not be surpassed by any old veterans--our
chief boatswain's mate apparently in his glory. "Sponge!"--"Load
with cartridge!"--"Shell-fire seconds!"--"Runout!"--"Well,
down compressors!"--"Left, traverse!"--"Well!"--"Ready!"--"Fire!"--"That's
into you!"--"Damn you! that kills your pig!"--"That stops your wind!"
&c., &c., was uttered as each shot was heard to strike with a crash that
nearly deafened you. The other boatswain's mate seemed equally to
enjoy the affair. As he got his gun to bear upon the enemy, he
would take aim, and banging away, would plug her, exclaiming,
as each shot told--"That's from the scum of England!"--"That's
a British pill for you to swallow!" the New York papers
having once stated that our men were the "scum of England."
All other guns were served with equal precision. We were
struck seven times; only one man being hurt during the engagement,
and he only received a flesh-wound in the cheek. One shot
struck under the counter, penetrating as far as a timber, then
glancing off; a second struck the funnel; a third going through
the side across the berth-deck, and into the opposite side; another
raising the deuce in the lamp room; the others lodging in the
coal-bunkers. Taking a shell up and examining it, we found it
filled with sand instead of powder. The enemy's fire was directed
chiefly towards our stern, the shots flying pretty quick over
the quarter-deck, near to where our Captain was standing. As
they came whizzing over him, he, with his usual coolness, would
exclaim--"Give it to the rascals!"--"Aim low, men!"--"Don't
be all night sinking that fellow!" when for all or anything we knew,
she might have been an iron-clad or a ram.

On Commander Blake surrendering his sword, he said that
"it was with deep regret he did it." Captain Semmes smacked
his lips and invited him down to his cabin. On Blake giving his
rank to Captain Semmes, he gave up his state-room for Blake's
special use, the rest of the officers being accommodated according
to their rank in the wardroom and steerages, all having previously
been paroled, the crew being placed on the berth-deck, our
men sleeping anywhere, so that the prisoners might take their
places. Of the enemy's loss we could obtain no correct accounts,
a difference of seventeen being in their number of killed, the
Hatteras having on board men she was going to transfer to other
ships. Their acknowledged loss was only two killed and seven
wounded. A boat had been lowered just before the action to
board us; as we anticipated, and learnt afterwards, it pulled in
for the fleet and reached Galveston. From conversation with
her First-Lieutenant, I learnt that as soon as we gave our name
and our first broadside, the whole after division on board her left
the guns, apparently paralyzed; it was some time before they
recovered themselves. The conduct of one of her officers was
cowardly and disgraceful in the extreme. Some of our shells
went completely through her before exploding, others burst inside
her, and set her on fire in three places. One went through
her engines, completely disabling her; another exploding in her
steam chest, scalding all within reach. Thus was fought, twenty-eight
miles from Galveston, a battle, though small, yet the first
yard-arm action between two steamers at sea. She was only
inferior in weight of metal--her guns being nine in number, viz.,
four thirty-two pounders, two rifled thirty pounders, carrying
60lb. shot (conical), one rifled twenty pounder, and a couple of
small twelve pounders. On account of the conflicting statements
made by her officers, we could never arrive at a correct estimate
of her crew. Our prisoners numbered seventeen officers, one
hundred and one seamen. We further learnt that the Hatteras
was one of seven vessels sent to recapture Galveston, it being
(although unknown to us) in the possession of our troops. We
also found that the flag-ship Brooklyn, twenty-two guns, and the
Oneida, nine guns, sailed in search of us. By their account of
the course they steered they could not fail to have seen us.

No. V.


[From the _Cape Argus._]

_August 6th, 1863._

Yesterday, at almost noon, a steamer from the northward
was made down from the signal-post, Lion's-hill. The Governor
had, on the previous day, received a letter from Captain
Semmes, dated Saldanha Bay, informing his Excellency that the
gallant captain had put his ship into Saldanha Bay for repairs.
This letter had been made public in the morning, and had caused
no little excitement. Cape Town, that has been more than
dull--that has been dismal for months, thinking and talking of
nothing but bankruptcies--bankruptcies fraudulent and bankruptcies
unavoidable--was now all astir, full of life and motion.
The stoop of the Commercial Exchange was crowded with merchants,
knots of citizens were collected at the corner of every
street; business was almost, if not altogether suspended. All
that could be gleaned, in addition to the information in Captain
Semmes' letter to the Governor, a copy of which was sent to the
United States Consul immediately it was received, was that the
schooner Atlas had just returned from Malagas Island, where
she had been with water and vegetables for men collecting guanos
there. Captain Boyce, the master of the Atlas, reported that he
had himself actually seen the steamer Alabama; a boat from
the steamer had boarded his vessel, and he had been on board
her. His report of Captain Semmes corroborated that given by
every one else. He said the captain was most courteous and
gentlemanly. He asked Captain Boyce to land thirty prisoners
for him in Table Bay, with which request Captain Boyce was
unable to comply. Captain Semmes said that the Florida was
also a short distance off the Cape, and that the Alabama, when
she had completed her repairs, and was cleaned and painted,
would pay Table Bay a visit. He expected to be there, he said,
very nearly as soon as the Atlas.

Shortly after the Atlas arrived, a boat brought up some of
the prisoners from Saldanha Bay, and amongst them one of the
crew of the Alabama, who said he had left the ship. All these
waited on the United States Consul, but were unable to give
much information beyond what we had already received. The
news that the Alabama was coming into Table Bay, and would
probably arrive about four o'clock this afternoon, added to the
excitement. About noon a steamer from the north-west was
made known by the signal-man on the hill. Could this be the
Alabama? or was it the Hydaspes, from India, or the Lady
Jocelyn, from England? All three were now hourly expected,
and the city was in doubt. Just after one it was made down,
FROM THE S.E." Here was to be a capture by the celebrated Confederate
craft, close to the entrance of Table Bay. The inhabitants rushed off
to get a sight. Crowds of people ran up the Lion's-hill, and to the
Kloof-road. All the cabs were chartered--every one of them; there was
no cavilling about fares; the cabs were taken and no questions asked,
but orders were given to drive as hard as possible. The barque
coming in from the south-east, and, as the signal-man made
down, five miles off; the steamer, coming in from the north-west,
eight miles off, led us to think that the Kloof-road was the best
place for a full view. To that place we directed our Jehu to
drive furiously. We did the first mile in a short time; but the
Kloof-hill for the next two and-a-half miles is up-hill work.
The horse jibbed, so we pushed on, on foot, as fast as possible,
and left the cab to come on. When we reached the summit, we
could only make out a steamer on the horizon, from eighteen to
twenty miles off. This could not be the Alabama, unless she
was making off to sea again. There was no barque. As soon
as our cab reached the crown of the hill, we set off at a breakneck
pace down the hill, on past the Roundhouse, till we came
near Brighton, and as we reached the corner, there lay the Alabama
within fifty yards of the unfortunate Yankee. As the Yankee came round
from the south-east, and about five miles from the bay, the steamer
came down upon her. The Yankee was evidently taken by surprise. The
Alabama fired a gun, and brought her to. When first we got sight of the
Alabama, it was difficult to make out what she was doing; the barque's
head had been put about, and the Alabama lay off quite immovable, as if
she were taking a sight at the "varmint!" The weather was
beautifully calm and clear, and the sea was as smooth and transparent
as a sheet of glass. The barque was making her way slowly from the steamer,
with every bit of her canvas spread. The Alabama, with her steam off,
appeared to be letting the barque get clear off. What could this mean?
no one understood. It must be the Alabama. "There," said the spectators,
"is the Confederate flag at her peak; it must be a Federal
barque, too, for there are the Stars and the Stripes of the States
flying at her main." What could the Alabama mean lying there--

   "As idly as a painted ship
   Upon a painted ocean."

What it meant was soon seen. Like a cat watching and playing with a
victimized mouse, Captain Semmes permitted his prize to draw off a few
yards, and he then up steam again, and pounced upon her. She first
sailed round the Yankee from stem to stern, and stern to stem again. The
way that fine, saucy, rakish craft was handled was worth riding a
hundred miles to see. She went round the bark like a toy, making a
complete circle, and leaving an even margin of water between herself and
her prize of not more than twenty yards. From the hill it appeared as if
there were no water at all between the two vessels. This done, she sent
a boat with the prize crew off, took possession in the name of the
Confederate States, and sent the barque off to sea. The Alabama then
made for the port.

We came round the Kloof to visit Captain Semmes on board. As we came we
found the heights overlooking Table Bay covered with people; the road to
Green Point lined with cabs. The windows of the villas at the bottom of
the hill were all thrown up, and ladies waved their handkerchiefs, and
one and all joined in the general enthusiasm; over the quarries, along
the Malay burying-ground, the Gallows Hill, and the beach, there were
masses of people--nothing but a sea of heads as far as the eye could
reach. Along Strand Street and Adderley Street the roofs of all the
houses from which Table Bay is overlooked, were made available as
standing-places for the people who could not get boats to go off to her.
The central, the north, the south, and the coaling jetties, were all
crowded. At the central jetty it was almost impossible to force one's
way through to get a boat. However, all in good time, we did get a boat,
and went off in the midst of dingies, cargo-boats, gigs and wherries,
all as full as they could hold. Nearly all the city was upon the bay;
the rowing clubs in uniform pulled off with favoured members of their
respective clubs on board. The crews feathered their oars in
double-quick time, and their pulling, our "stroke" declared, was "a
caution, and no mistake." Just before getting alongside, we passed
Captain Wilson in the port-boat, who told us that the prize taken was
the Sea Bride, and that there was no difficulty in hearing from Captain
Semmes himself the whole story of the capture. We passed the Federal
barque Urania at her anchorage, and that ship, disregardful of the
privateer, sported all her bunting with becoming pluck. The Stars and
Stripes floated defiantly from her-mizen peak, and her name from her
main. On getting alongside the Alabama, we found about a dozen boats
before us, and we had not been on board five minutes before she was
surrounded by nearly every boat in Table Bay, and as boat after boat
arrived, three hearty cheers were given for Captain Semmes and his
gallant privateer. This, upon the part of a neutral people, is,
perchance, wrong; but we are not arguing a case--we are recording facts.
They did cheer, and cheer with a will, too. It was not, perhaps, taking
the view of either side, Federal or Confederate, but in admiration of
the skill, pluck, and daring of the Alabama, her captain, and her crew,
who now afford a general theme of admiration for the world all over.

Visitors were received by the officers of the ship most courteously, and
without distinction, and the officers conversed freely and unreservedly
of their exploits. There was nothing like brag in their manner of
answering questions put to them. They are as fine and gentlemanly a set
of fellows as ever we saw; most of them young men. The ship has been so
frequently described, that most people know what she is like, as we do
who have seen her. We should have known her to be the Alabama if we had
boarded her in the midst of the ocean, with no one to introduce us to
each other. Her guns alone are worth going off to see, and everything
about her speaks highly for the seamanship and discipline of the
commander and his officers. She has a very large crew, fine,
lithe-looking fellows, the very picture of English men-of-war's men.

The second officer told us that it was the Sea Bride they had captured,
and pointed out her captain, who stood aft conversing with a number of
people who had gathered round him. "This, sir," said the officer, "is
our fifty-sixth capture; we have sent her off with about ten of our men
as a crew, and we left a few of her own men on board of her." We asked
him how he liked Saldanha Bay, and his answer was, "It is a very
charming place. Why did you not build Cape Town there?" Our answer was,
"Because we never do anything properly at the Cape." "Ah, sir!" he said;
"that is a great mistake to leave so fine a bay without harbor
conveniences. It is a great deal better than Table Bay. We enjoyed
ourselves capitally there, had some good shooting; one of us shot an
ostrich, a fine fellow, but he got away. Unfortunately, we lost one of
our officers there--one whom we all respected--as fine an officer as
ever trod this ship's deck. He was in a boat in the bay, shooting wild
fowl; he drew his gun towards him, the barrel in his hand; the trigger
caught, the charge passed through his lung, and his only dying words
were, 'Oh, me!' and he fell back a corpse. But for that circumstance, we
should always remember Saldanha Bay with pleasure. The gun was within an
inch of his breast when it went off."

After this melancholy recital, we walked across to get a little chat
with the prisoner so recently captured. He is a superior man, and spoke
of the loss of his ship in the spirit of a philosopher. He was leaning
against a rail just opposite the cabin. "What can't be cured must be
endured," said he. In answer to our remark, that an hour more would have
saved him, he said, "Yes, it would; I had not the remotest idea of a
capture at this end of the world. I never supposed that she was in this
direction. I was in my cabin, washing," said he, "and my mate came down
and said there was a steamer in sight. 'Capital!' I said; 'it is the
English mail-steamer; I shall be just in time for my letters.' He went
up again, and shortly returning, said, 'She is going to hail us.' 'Hail
us!' I said; 'what the deuce can she want to hail us for?' and I went on
deck. I looked at that (pointing to the Confederate flag), and I soon
saw who we were falling into the hands of. I said, 'Good-bye, mate; we
shall not be long here.' This, sir," he went on to say, "is the second
time I have been captured coming to the Cape. I left New York in the
M.J. Calcon, and was captured by the Florida in 33° West and between 28°
and 29° North. I went home all right, and left New York again on the
28th of May, direct for the Cape." This gentleman's name is Mr. H.

The next we had an opportunity of conversing with was the chief officer.
This gentleman who, by the way, stands six feet four out of his shoes,
showed us round the ship with just pride. He pointed out to us the
peculiar qualities of the magnificent guns. One of Blakeley's rifle
pieces is a terrible-looking weapon. It throws conical shells of a
hundred weight; and he remarked, "When we fought the Hatteras, these
conical shells struck one after the other in capital style; they
exploded with magnificent effect, and lit up her whole broadside." Many
of the captured crew we observed in irons.

We were now introduced to Capt. Semmes, who up to this time had been
engaged in the cabin with Mr. W.J. Anderson, of Anderson, Saxon, and
Co., upon the subject of supplies, which are to be provided by the firm.
We received a very cordial greeting from the gallant gentleman, who
remarked that at Bahia, and indeed everywhere he had been, both his
officers and himself had received very great attention from the English
residents. We had always concluded that Captain Semmes, of the
Powhattan, a fine steamer belonging to the States, to whom we were
introduced some years since by the late Mr. D.M. Huckins, American
Consul, was the captain of the Sumter and Alabama; but we found we were
mistaken, and on remarking this to the captain, he said, "Captain Semmes
of the Powhattan is of the same family as myself--he is, indeed, my
cousin; but he was born in the North, his interests are all there, and
he remains in the Federal service." Having desired us to take a seat, he
said he should be happy to give us any information in his power; he had
no secrets, and bade us take notes if we wished so to do. He then
informed us that he had taken fifteen ships since he left Bahia. We told
him that Captain Bartlett, of the ship Fortuna, stated that on the 2d of
July he saw a ship on fire. Our readers will recollect that the
particulars were given in a paragraph immediately after the Fortuna
arrived. It was as follows:--"On the 2d of July, Captain Bartlett saw
some smoke rising up on the horizon, which he supposed to be the smoke
from a steamer. Later in the day, however, a strong reflection of light
was seen in the sky, and which the captain at once believed to be a ship
on fire. All hands were then called up 'to bout ship,' and they stood
towards the spot from whence the light proceeded. This was about six
o'clock; and at two o'clock on the morning of the 3d July, and in lat.
25° 57' South, and in long. 38° 20' West, the Fortuna ran up within
forty yards of a large vessel of 800 or 1000 tons, which was enveloped
in one mass of flame from stem to stern. Nothing remained of her but her
hull; the whole of her rigging, masts, and decks had already been
consumed. As the Fortuna ran towards the wreck, another vessel--the
Oaks--bound to Calcutta, joined her, and the two vessels spoke one
another. From what Captain Bartlett could make out, the captain of the
Oaks told him that in the evening, about half-past six, an English
man-of-war had passed him, and whilst passing she fired two guns, from
which it was concluded that the crew of the burning vessel had been
rescued by the man-of-war." Captain Semmes said Captain Bartlett was
quite right in supposing that the ship had been set on fire by himself.
She was the Annie F. Schmidt, from New York to San Francisco, with a
general cargo on board; but the supposition of the man-of-war coming to
the rescue of the crew was a mistake. "We set her on fire in the night,"
said Captain Semmes, "and shortly after we had done so, we heard a
couple of guns. We thought it was another Yankee, and we up steam and
fired a gun for her to heave-to. On coming alongside her, we found she
was Her Majesty's frigate Dido. 'We did not take her, sir,' said the
captain, with a laugh; 'in fact, we never attempt to take any of Her
Majesty's frigates.'"

We said we would mention that, and we do, as Captain Semmes's last. "The
Dido people," he went on to say, "asked us if we had set the ship on
fire, and I answered we had, and had got the crew safe on board. 'All
right!' was the answer, and we parted. She was a vessel of about 1000
tons." We asked Captain Semmes if he could give us the names of the
vessels he had captured. He answered that he could. "For," he said, "you
English people won't be neighbourly enough to let me bring my prizes
into your ports, and get them condemned, so that I am obliged to sit
here a court of myself, try every case, and condemn the ships I take.
The European powers, I see, some of them complain of my burning the
ships; but what, if they will preserve such strict neutrality as to keep
me out of their ports, what am I to do with these ships when I take them
but burn them?" He then fetched his record books, and we took the
following down from his lips:--"The ships we have captured were--the
Ocmulgee, of 400 tons, thirty-two men on board; we burned her. The
Alert, a whaler of 700 tons; we burned her. The whaling schooner
Weathergauge; we burned her. The whaling brig Altamaha; we burned her.
The whaling ship Benjamin Tucker; we burned her. The whaling schooner
Courser; we burned her. The whaling barque Virginia; we burned her. The
barque Elisha Dunbar, a whaler; we burned her. The ship Brilliant, with
1000 tons of grain on board; we burned her. The Emily Farnum we captured
and released as a cartel, and having so many prisoners we put some of
them on board her, and sent them off. The Wave Crest, with a general
cargo on board for Europe, we set on fire. The Dunkirk brig, with a
general cargo on board, we burned. The ship Tonawanda we captured, with
a valuable freight on board, and released her, after taking a bond for a
thousand dollars. The ship Manchester, with a cargo of grain, we burned.
The barque Lamplighter, with an assorted cargo for Europe, we burned.
The barque Lafayette, with an assorted cargo, we burned. The schooner
Crenshaw, with an assorted cargo for the West Indies, we burned. The
barque Lauretta, with an assorted cargo on board for Europe, we burned.
The brig Baron de Custine we took a bond for and released. The whaling
ship Levi Starbuck we burned. The T.B. Wales, from Calcutta to Boston,
with a valuable cargo on board, we burned. The barque Martha, from
Calcutta to West Indies, with an assorted cargo, we burned. The schooner
Union we, after boarding, found had some English property on board, and
we released her on bond. The mail steamer Ariel Running between New York
and Aspinwall, we captured. Unfortunately she was going, not returning,
or we should have had a lot of gold. We released her on bond. The United
States gunboat Hatteras, who came out to fight us, had the same number
of guns and crew. Our guns were a little heavier than hers, but we
equalized them by permitting her to fight us at 300 yards. We sunk her
in thirteen minutes by the watch. The barque Golden Rule, with an
assorted cargo, we burned. She belonged to the same company as the
Ariel. The brig Chastelaine we burned. The schooner Palmetto we burned.
The barque Olive Jane we burned. The Golden Eagle, laden with guano, we
burned. The Washington, from the Pacific, with guano, we released on
bond. The Bethia Thayer, from East India, with a valuable cargo on
board, was released on bond. The John A. Parker, with flour and lumber,
from Boston to Buenos Ayres, we burned. The Punjaub, from East India,
we found to have some English cargo on board, we released on bond. The
ship Morning Star we released on bond. The whaling schooner Kingfisher
we burned. The ship Nora, from Liverpool to West Indies, with salt on
board, we burned. The barque Lafayette we burned. The whaling brig Kate
Cory we burned. The whaling barque Nye we burned. The Charles Hall, from
Liverpool, with coal, we burned.

"The ship Louisa Hatch, from Cardiff to West Indies, we burned. The ship
Dorcas Prince, with a general cargo, we burned. The ship Sea Lark, with
a general cargo from the East Indies, we burned. The barque Union Jack,
from Boston to Shanghai, we burned. We captured a Yankee consul on board
of her; he was on his way to Foochin; we landed him at the Brazils. The
ship Gildersliene, from New York to the East Indies, we burned. The
barque Justina we released on bond, to take home prisoners. The ship
Jabez Snow, from New York to the East Indies, we burned. The barque
Amazonian, from Boston to Buenos Ayres, we burned. The ship Talisman,
from New York to the East Indies, we burned. The barque Conrad, fitted
up as a Federal cruiser, a tender to a man-of-war, we captured and
burned. After these came the Anne F. Schmidt, mentioned before, and the
Sea Bride--and the Sea Bride you saw us take to-day. The estimated value
of these captures is 4,200,000 dollars."

The American Consul, Mr. Graham, has handed to his Excellency the
Governor a protest against the capture of the Sea Bride, on the ground
that the vessel was in British waters at the time of her being stopped
by the Alabama. His Excellency told Mr. Graham that the decision of the
case remained purely on evidence, but he would see there was no breach
of neutrality. The Captain of the Sea Bride says he is prepared to show
by bearings that he was within two and a half miles of Robben Island.

No. VI.


_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to the Secretary to the Admiralty.
August_ 19, 1863.

I beg you will be pleased to acquaint my Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty with the following particulars relative to the proceedings of
the Confederate States ships of war Alabama, her reported tender
Tuscaloosa, and the Georgia, which have recently arrived at the Cape of
Good Hope.

2. On the 28th of July an English schooner arrived in Table Bay, and
reported that on the previous day she had been boarded by the
Confederate steamer Alabama, fifteen miles north-west of Green Point.
After some inquiries the Alabama left her, steering south-east.

3. Upon the receipt of this intelligence I ordered Captain Forsyth, of
the Valorous, to hold himself in readiness to proceed to any of the
ports in this colony where the Alabama might anchor, in order to
preserve the rules of strict neutrality.

4. By a letter addressed to the Governor of this Colony by Captain
Semmes, copy of which was telegraphed to me on the 4th instant, it
appears that the Alabama had proceeded to Saldanha Bay for a few days,
anchoring there on the 29th of July.

5. On the 5th instant I received a private telegram to the effect that
the Alabama was off Table Bay, when I directed the Valorous immediately
to proceed to that anchorage; and shortly afterwards a telegram reached
me from the Governor stating "that the Alabama had captured a vessel
(American), which was in sight, and steering for Table Bay." The
Valorous reached that Bay at 10.15 P.M., where the Alabama had anchored
at 3 o'clock in the afternoon of the same day.

6. Captain Forsyth having informed me that the tender to the Alabama had
been ordered by Captain Semmes to Simon's Bay for provisions, and having
learned that this vessel had been captured off the coast of Brazil, and
not been condemned in any Prize Court, I had doubts as to the legality
of considering her in the light of a tender, being under the impression
that it was a ruse to disguise the real character of the vessel. I
therefore wrote to the Governor to obtain the opinion of the
Attorney-General of the Colony upon this subject, which correspondence
is inclosed.

7. On the 8th of August the tender Tuscaloosa, a sailing barque, arrived
in Simon's Bay, and the boarding officer having reported to me that her
original cargo of wool was still on board, I felt that there were
grounds for doubting her real character, and again called the Governor's
attention to this circumstance. My letter and his reply are annexed. And
I would here beg to submit to their Lordships' notice that this power of
a captain of a ship of war to constitute every prize he may take a
"tender," appears to me to be likely to lead to abuse and evasion of the
laws of strict neutrality, by being used as a means for bringing prizes
into neutral ports for disposal of their cargoes, and secret
arrangements--which arrangements, it must be seen, could afterwards be
easily carried out at isolated places.

8. The Alabama, after lying three days in Table Bay, came to this
anchorage to caulk and refit. She arrived here on the 9th, and sailed
again on the 15th instant. Captain Semmes was guarded in his conduct,
and expressed himself as most anxious not to violate the neutrality of
these waters.

9. I should observe that, from the inclosed copy of a letter from
Captain Forsyth to the Governor, it would appear that the vessel Sea
Bride, taken by the Alabama off Table Bay, was beyond the jurisdiction
of neutral territory.

10. During his passage to this port Captain Semmes chased another
American vessel, the Martha Wentzel, standing in for Table Bay. On my
pointing out to him that he had done so in neutral waters, he assured me
that it was quite unintentional, and, being at a distance from the land,
he did not observe that he had got within three miles of an imaginary
line drawn from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Hanglip, but on
discovering it he did not detain the vessel. The explanation I
considered sufficient.

11. The tender Tuscaloosa, having been detained by a strong
south-easter, got under way for the purpose of going to sea on the 14th
instant, but anchored again a little distance from the Roman Rock
lighthouse in consequence of thick fog prevailing.

12. The Alabama did not take in any coal, either here or at Table Bay,
but after being caulked she proceeded to sea on the 15th instant,
followed by the Tuscaloosa. Their destinations are unknown.

13. On the 16th instant, the Confederate States steamer Georgia,
Commander Maury, anchored in this bay. She requires coal, provision, and
caulking. This vessel did not meet the Alabama outside.

14. The Florida, another Confederate States steamer, is reported to be
off this coast, probably cruising to intercept the homeward-bound
American ships from China; indeed, it is with that object these ships
are on this part of the Station.

15. I have learnt, since the departure of the Alabama, and her so-called
tender, that overtures were made by some parties in Cape Town to
purchase the cargo of wool, but, being unsatisfactory, they were not
accepted. It is reported to be Captain Semmes' intention to destroy the
Tuscaloosa at sea.

16. The Alabama is a steamer of about 900 tons, with 8 guns, and 150
men. The Georgia is an iron steamer of about 700 tons, with 5 guns, and
110 men. The Tuscaloosa is a sailing-barque of 500 tons, having 2 small
guns and 10 men.

_Captain Semmes, C.S.N., to Governor Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 1, 1863.

An opportunity is offered me by the coasting schooner Atlas, to
communicate with the Cape, of which I promptly avail myself.

I have the honour to inform your Excellency that I arrived in this bay
on Wednesday morning last, for the purpose of effecting some necessary
repairs. As soon as these repairs can be completed I will proceed to
sea, and in the meantime your Excellency may rest assured that I will
pay the strictest attention to the neutrality of your Government.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Governor Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 7,

Captain Forsyth having informed me that the Alabama has a tender outside
captured by Captain Semmes on the coast of America, and commissioned by
one of the Alabama's Lieutenants, and as this vessel has been ordered
into Simon's Bay for provisions, may I request your Excellency will be
good enough to obtain the opinion of the Law Officers whether this
vessel ought still to be looked upon in the light of a prize, she never
having been condemned in a Prize Court; the instructions, copy of which
I inclose, strictly forbidding prizes captured by either of the
contending parties in North America being admitted into our ports.

_Governor Sir P. Wodehouse to Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker, August 8,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter
of yesterday's date, and to inclose the copy of an opinion given by the
Acting Attorney-General to the effect that the vessel to which you refer
ought to be regarded as a tender and not as a prize.

I shall take care to submit this question to Her Majesty's Government by
the next mail, but in the meantime I conclude that your Excellency will
be prepared to act on the opinion of the Attorney-General in respect to
any vessels which may enter these ports in the character of prizes
converted into ships of war by the officers of the navy of the
Confederate States.

_Extracts from "Wheaton's Elements of International Law."_

What constitutes a setting forth as a vessel of war has been determined
by the British Courts of Prize, in cases arising under the clause of the
Act of Parliament, which may serve for the interpretation of our own
law, as the provisions are the same in both. Thus it has been settled
that where a ship was originally armed for the Slave Trade, and after
capture an additional number of men were put on board, but there was no
commission of war and no additional arming, it was not a setting forth
as a vessel of war under the Act. But a commission of war is decisive if
there be guns on board; and where the vessel after the capture has been
fitted out as a privateer, it is conclusive against her, although, when
recaptured, she is navigating as a mere merchant-ship; for where the
former character of a captured vessel had been obliterated by her
conversion into a ship of war, the Legislature meant to look no further,
but considered the title of the former owner forever extinguished. Where
it appeared that the vessel had been engaged in a military service of
the enemy, under the direction of his Minister of the Marine, it was
held as a sufficient proof of a setting forth as a vessel of war; so
where the vessel is armed, and is employed in the public military
service of the enemy by those who have competent authority so to employ
it, although it be not regularly commissioned. But the mere employment
in the enemy's military service is not sufficient; but if there be a
fair semblance of authority, in the person directing the vessel to be so
employed, and nothing upon the face of the proceedings to invalidate it,
the Court will presume that he is duly authorized; and the commander of
a single ship may be presumed to be vested with this authority as
commander of a squadron.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Governor Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 8,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter
of this day's date, covering the written opinion of the Acting
Attorney-General of this Colony as to the legality of the so-called
tender to the Confederate States armed ship Alabama, and for which I beg
to express my thanks.

The vessel in question, now called the Tuscaloosa, arrived here this
evening, and the boarding officer from my flag-ship obtained the
following information:

That she is a barque of 500 tons, with two small rifled 12 pounder guns
and ten men, and was captured by the Alabama on the 21st June last, off
the coast of Brazil: cargo of wool still on board.

The admission of this vessel into port will, I fear, open the door for
numbers of vessels captured under similar circumstances being
denominated tenders, with a view to avoid the prohibition contained in
the Queen's instructions; and I would observe that the vessel Sea Bride
captured by the Alabama off Table Bay a few days since, or all other
prizes, might be in like manner styled tenders, making the prohibition
entirely null and void.

I apprehend that to bring a captured vessel under the denomination of a
vessel of war, she must be fitted for warlike purposes, and not merely
have a few men and two small guns put on board of her (in fact nothing
but a prize crew) in order to disguise her real character as a prize.

Now this vessel has her original cargo of wool still on board, which
cannot be required for warlike purposes, and her armament and the number
of her crew are quite insufficient for any services other than those of
a slight defence.

Viewing all the circumstances of the case, they afford room for the
supposition, that the vessel is styled a "tender" with the object of
avoiding the prohibition against her entrance as a prize into our ports,
where, if the captors wished, arrangements could be made for the
disposal of her valuable cargo, the transhipment of which, your
Excellency will not fail to see, might be readily effected on any part
of the coast beyond the limits of this Colony.

My sole object in calling your Excellency's attention to the case is to
avoid any breach of strict neutrality.

_Governor Sir P. Wodehonse to Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker. August_ 10,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter
of the 8th instant, on which I have consulted the Acting

The information given respecting the actual condition of the Tuscaloosa
is somewhat defective, but referring to the extract from Wheaton
transmitted in my last letter, the Attorney-General is of opinion that
if the vessel received the two guns from the Alabama or other
Confederate vessel of war, or if the person in command of her has a
commission of war, or if she be commanded by an officer of the
Confederate navy, in any of these cases there will be a sufficient
setting forth as a vessel of war to justify her being held to be a ship
of war; if all of these points be decided in the negative, she must be
held to be only a prize, and ordered to leave forthwith.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Governor Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 11,

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's
letter, dated yesterday, respecting the Confederate barque Tuscaloosa
now in this bay.

As there are two guns on board, and an officer of the Alabama in charge
of her, the vessel appears to come within the meaning of the cases cited
in your above-mentioned communication.

_Governor Sir P. Wodehouse to the Duke of Newcastle. August_ 19, 1863.


I beg to take this opportunity of making your Grace acquainted with what
has occurred here in connection with the visit of the Confederate States
steamer Alabama.

On Tuesday, the 4th instant, I received a letter from the Commander of
that vessel, dated the 1st August at Saldanha Bay, announcing his having
entered that bay with a view to effecting certain repairs, and stating
that he would put to sea as soon as they were completed, and would
strictly respect our neutrality.

When this intelligence was received, the United States Consul called on
me to seize her, or at any rate to send her away instantly; but as the
vessel which brought the news reported that the Alabama was coming
immediately to Table Bay, I replied that I could not seize her, but
would take care to enforce the observance of the neutral regulations.

On the next day, about noon, it was reported from the signal station
that the Alabama was steering for Table Bay from the north, and that a
Federal barque was coming in from the westward; and soon after, that the
latter had been captured and put about. A little after 2 P.M. the United
States Consul called to state that he had seen the capture effected
within British waters; when I told him he must make his statement in
writing, and an investigation should be made. I also, by telegram,
immediately requested the Naval Commander-in-Chief to send a ship of war
from Simon's Bay. The Alabama, leaving her prize outside, anchored in
the bay 3.30 P.M., when Captain Semmes wrote to me that he wanted
supplies and repairs, as well as permission to land thirty-three
prisoners. After communicating with the United States Consul, I
authorized the latter, and called upon him to state the nature and
extent of his wants, that I might be enabled to judge of the time he
ought to remain in the port. The same afternoon he promised to send the
next morning a list of the stores needed, and announced his intention of
proceeding with all despatch to Simon's Bay to effect his repairs there.
The next morning (August 6th) the Paymaster called on me with the
merchant who was to furnish the supplies, and I granted him leave to
stay till noon of the 7th.

On the night of the 5th, Her Majesty's ship Valorous had come round from
Simon's Bay. During the night of the 6th the weather became
unfavourable; a vessel was wrecked in the bay, and a heavy sea prevented
the Alabama from receiving her supplies by the time arranged. On the
morning of the 8th, Captain Forsyth, of the Valorous, and the Port
Captain, by my desire, pressed on Captain Semmes the necessity for his
leaving the port without any unnecessary delay; when he pleaded the
continued heavy sea and the absence of his cooking apparatus, which had
been sent on shore for repairs, and had not been returned by the
tradesman at the time appointed, and intimated his own anxiety to get
away. Between 6 and 7 A.M., on Sunday, the 9th, he sailed, and on his
way round to Simon's Bay captured another vessel; but on finding that
she was in neutral waters he immediately released her.

In the meantime, the United States Consul had, on the 5th August,
addressed to me a written statement that the Federal barque Sea Bride
had been taken "about four miles from the nearest land," and "already in
British waters;" on which I promised immediate inquiry. The next day the
Consul repeated his protest, supporting it by an affidavit of the master
of the prize, which he held to show that she had been taken about two
miles and a half from the land; and the agent for the United States
underwriters, on the same day, made a similar protest. On the 7th, the
Consul represented that the prize had, on the previous day, been brought
within one mile and a half of the lighthouse, which he considered as
much a violation of the neutrality as if she had been there captured,
and asked me to have the prize crew taken out and replaced by one from
the Valorous, which I declined.

I had, during this period, been seeking for authentic information as to
the real circumstances of the capture, more particularly with reference
to the actual distance from the shore, and obtained through the Acting
Attorney-General statements from the keeper of the Green Point
Lighthouse (this was supported by the Collector of Customs), from the
signal-man at the station at the Lion's Rump, and from an experienced
boatman who was passing between the shore and the vessels at the time.
Captain Forsyth, of the Valorous, also made inquiries of the captain of
the Alabama and of the Port Captain, and made known the result to me.
And upon all these statements I came to the conclusion that the vessels
were not less than four miles distant from land; and on the 8th I
communicated to the United States Consul that the capture could not, in
my opinion, be held to be illegal by reason of the place at which it was

In his reply of the 10th, the Consul endeavoured to show how
indefensible my decision must be, if, in these days of improved
artillery, I rested it on the fact of the vessels having been only three
miles from land. This passage is, I think, of considerable importance,
as involving an indirect admission that they were not within three miles
at the time of capture. And I hope your Grace will concur in my view
that it was not my duty to go beyond what I found to be the distance
clearly established by past decisions under international law.

An important question has arisen in connection with the Alabama, on
which it is very desirable that I should, as soon as practicable, be
made acquainted with the views of Her Majesty's Government. Captain
Semmes had mentioned after his arrival in port, that he had left outside
one of his prizes previously taken, the Tuscaloosa, which he had
equipped and fitted as a tender, and had ordered to meet him in Simon's
Bay, as she also stood in need of supplies. When this became known to
the naval commander-in-chief, he requested me to furnish him with a
legal opinion; and whether this vessel could he held to be a ship of war
before she had been formally condemned in a prize court; or whether she
must not be held to be still a prize, and, as such, prohibited from
entering our ports. The Acting Attorney-General, founding his opinion on
Earl Russell's despatch to your Grace, of the 31st January, 1862, and on
"Wheaton's International Law," states in substance that it was open to
Captain Semmes to convert this vessel into a ship of war, and that she
ought to be admitted into our ports on that footing.

On the 8th August the vessel entered Simon's Bay, and the Admiral wrote
that she had two small rifled guns, with a crew of ten men, and that her
cargo of wool was still on board. He was still doubtful of the propriety
of admitting her.

On the 10th August, after further consultation with the Acting
Attorney-General, I informed Sir Baldwin Walker that, if the guns had
been put on board by the Alabama, or if she had a commission of war, or
if she were commanded by an officer of the Confederate Navy, there must
be held to be a sufficient setting forth as a vessel of war to justify
her admission into port in that character.

The Admiral replied in the affirmative on the first and last points, and
she was admitted.

The Tuscaloosa sailed from Simon's Bay on the morning of the 14th
instant, but was becalmed in the vicinity until the following day, when
she sailed about noon. The Alabama left before noon on the 15th instant.
Neither of these vessels was allowed to remain in port longer than was
really necessary for the completion of their repairs.

On the 16th, at noon, the Georgia, another Confederate war steamer,
arrived at Simon's Bay in need of repairs, and is still there.

Before closing this despatch I wish particularly to request instructions
on a point touched on in the letter from the United States Consul of the
17th instant, viz.: the steps which should be taken here in the event of
the cargo of any vessel captured by one of the belligerents being taken
out of the prize at sea, and brought into one of our ports in a British
or other neutral vessel.

Both belligerents are strictly interdicted from bringing their prizes
into British ports by Earl Russell's letter to the Lords of the
Admiralty of the 1st June, 1861, and I conceive that a colonial
government would be justified in enforcing compliance with that order by
any means at its command, and by the exercise of force if it should be

But that letter refers only to "prizes;" that is, I conceive, to ships
themselves, and makes no mention of the cargoes they may contain.
Practically the prohibition has been taken to extend to the cargoes; and
I gathered, from a conversation with Captain Semmes on the subject of
our neutrality regulations, that he considered himself debarred from
disposing of them, and was thus driven to the destruction of all that he
took. But I confess that I am unable to discover by what legal means I
could prevent the introduction into our ports of captured property
purchased at sea, and tendered for entry at the custom-house in the
usual form from a neutral ship. I have consulted the Acting
Attorney-General on the subject, and he is not prepared to state that
the customs authorities would be justified in making a seizure under
such circumstances; and therefore, as there is great probability of
clandestine attempts being made to introduce cargoes of this
description, I shall be glad to be favoured with the earliest
practicable intimation of the views of Her Majesty's Government on the

_Captain Semmes, C.S.N., to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 5, 1863.

I have the honour to inform your Excellency of my arrival in this bay,
in the Confederate States steamer Alabama under my command. I have come
in for supplies and repairs, and in the meantime I respectfully ask
leave to land in Cape Town thirty-three prisoners, lately captured by me
on board two of the enemy's ships destroyed at sea. The United States
Consul will doubtless be glad to extend such hospitality and assistance
to his distressed countrymen, as required of him by law.

_Sir P. Wodehouse to Captain Semmes, C.S.N. August_ 5, 1863.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter announcing
your arrival in this port, and to state that I have no objection to
offer to your landing the prisoners now detained in your ship.

I have further to beg that you will be good enough to state the nature
and extent of the supplies and repairs you require, that I may be
enabled to form some estimate of the time for which it will be necessary
for you to remain in this port.

_Captain Semmes, C.S.N., to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 5, 1863.

I have had the honour to receive your letter of this day's date, giving
me permission to land my prisoners, and requesting me to state the
nature of the supplies and repairs which I may require. In the way of
supplies I shall need some provisions for my crew, a list of which will
be handed you to-morrow by the paymaster, and as for repairs my boilers
need some iron work to be done, and my bends require caulking, being
quite open. I propose to take on board the necessary materials here, and
to proceed with all despatch to Simon's Bay for the purpose of making
these repairs.

_Mr. Adamson to Captain Semmes C.S.N. August_ 6, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor of this colony to acquaint you that he
has received from the Consul for the United States at this port a
representation, in which he sets forth that an American barque was
yesterday captured by the ship which you command, in British waters, in
violation of the neutrality of the British Government, and claims from
him redress for the alleged outrage.

His Excellency will be glad, therefore, to receive from you any
explanation you may wish to give as to the circumstances in which the
capture was effected.

_Captain Semmes, C.S.N., to Mr. Adamson. Cape Town, August_ 6, 1863.

I have had the honour to receive your communication of this day's date,
informing me that the United States Consul at this port had presented to
his Excellency the Governor a representation in which he sets forth that
an American barque was yesterday captured by this ship under my command
in British waters, in violation of the neutrality of the British
Government, and requesting me to make to his Excellency such
representation as I may have to offer on the subject.

In reply, I have the honour to state that it is not true that the barque
referred to was captured in British waters, and in violation of British
neutrality; she having been captured outside all headlands, and a
distance from the nearest land of between five and six miles. As I
approached this vessel I called the particular attention of my officers
to the question of distance, and they all agreed that the capture was
made from two to three miles outside the marine league.

_U.S. Consul to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 4, 1863.

From reliable information received by me, and which you are also
doubtless in possession of, a war steamer called the Alabama is now in
Saldanha Bay, being painted, discharging prisoners of war, &c.

The vessel in question was built in England to prey upon the commerce of
the United States of America, and escaped therefrom while on her trial
trip, forfeiting bonds of £20,000, which the British Government exacted
under the Foreign Enlistment Act.

Now, as your Government has a treaty of amity and commerce with the
United States, and has not recognised the persons in revolt against the
United States as a Government at all, the vessel alluded to should be at
once seized and sent to England, from whence she clandestinely escaped.
Assuming that the British Government was sincere in exacting the bonds,
you have doubtless been instructed to send her home to England, where
she belongs. But if, from some oversight, you have not received such
instructions, and you decline the responsibility of making the seizure,
I would most respectfully protest against the vessel remaining in any
port of the colony another day. She has been at Saldanha Bay four [six]
days already, and a week previously on the coast, and has forfeited all
right to remain an hour longer by this breach of neutrality. Painting a
ship does not come under the head of "necessary repairs," and is no
proof that she is unseaworthy; and to allow her to visit other ports
after she has set the Queen's proclamation of neutrality at defiance
would not be regarded as in accordance with the spirit and purpose of
that document.

_Mr. Adamson to U.S. Consul. August 5,_ 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of yesterday's date relative to the Alabama.

His Excellency has no instructions, neither has he any authority, to
seize or detain that vessel; and he desires me to acquaint you that he
has received a letter from the Commander, dated the 1st instant, stating
that repairs were in progress, and as soon as they were completed he
intended to go to sea. He further announces his intention of respecting
strictly the neutrality of the British Government.

The course which Captain Semmes here proposes to take is, in the
Governor's opinion, in conformity with the instructions he has himself
received relative to ships of war and privateers belonging to the United
States and the States calling themselves the Confederate States of
America visiting British ports.

The reports received from Saldanha Bay induce the Governor to believe
that the vessel will leave that harbour as soon as her repairs are
completed; but he will immediately, on receiving intelligence to the
contrary, take the necessary steps for enforcing the observance of the
rules laid down by Her Majesty's Government.

_Mr. Graham (U.S. Consul) to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 5, 1863.

The Confederate steamer Alabama has just captured an American barque off
Green Point, or about four miles from the nearest land (Robben Island).
I witnessed the capture with my own eyes, as did hundreds of others at
the same time. This occurrence at the entrance of Table Bay, and clearly
in British waters, is an insult to England and a grievous injury to a
friendly Power, the United States.

Towards the Government of my country and her domestic enemies the
Government of England assumes a position of neutrality; and if the
neutrality can be infringed with impunity, in this bold and daring
manner, the Government of the United States will no doubt consider the
matter as one requiring immediate explanation.

Believing that the occurrence was without your knowledge or expectation,
and hoping you will take such steps to redress the outrage as the
exigency requires, I am, &c.

_Mr. Rawson to Mr. Graham. August_ 6, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of yesterday's date respecting the capture of the Sea Bride by the
Alabama, and to acquaint you that he will lose no time in obtaining
accurate information as to the circumstances of the capture. I have,


_Colonial Secretary._

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 6, 1863.

I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your despatch of this

I beg now to enclose for your Excellency's perusal, the affidavit of
Captain Charles F. White, of the Sea Bride, protesting against the
capture of the said barque in British waters. The bearings taken by him
at the time of capture conclusively show that she was in neutral waters,
being about two and a half miles from Robben Island. This statement is
doubtless more satisfactory than the testimony of persons who measured
the distance by the eye.

I believe that there is no law defining the word "coast" other than
international law. That law has always limited neutral waters to the
fighting distance from land, which, upon the invention of gunpowder, was
extended to a distance of three nautical miles from land on a straight
coast, and by the same rule, since the invention of Armstrong rifled
cannon, to at least six miles.

But all waters inclosed by a line drawn between two promontories or
headlands are recognised by all nations as neutral, and England was the
first that adopted the rule, calling such waters the "King's chambers."
By referring to "Wheaton's Digest," page 234, or any other good work on
international law, you will find the above rules laid down and

The fact that the prize has not already been burned, and that her fate
is still in suspense, is clear proof that Captain Semmes had misgivings
as to the legality of the capture, and awaits your Excellency's assent.
If you decide that the prize was legally taken, you will assume a
responsibility which Captain Semmes himself declined to take.

_Affidavit of C.F. White._

On this 6th day of August, A.D. 1863, personally appeared before me,
Walter Graham, Consul of the United States at Cape Town, Charles F.
White, master of the barque Sea Bride, of Boston, from New York, and
declared on affidavit that on the 3d day of August instant, he sighted
Table Mountain and made for Table Bay, but that on the 4th instant,
night coming on, he was compelled to stand out. On the 5th instant, he
again made for the anchorage, and about two P.M. saw a steamer standing
toward the barque, which he supposed was the English mail steamer, but
on nearing her, found her to be the Confederate steamer Alabama. He,
Captain White, was peremptorily ordered to heave his vessel to as a
prize to the Alabama. One gun was fired, and immediately after the
demand was made another gun was fired. Two boats were lowered from the
Alabama and sent on board the barque. The officer in charge of these
boats demanded the ship's papers, which the said master was compelled to
take on board the said steamer. This happened about a quarter before
three o'clock. He and his crew were immediately taken from his vessel
and placed as prisoners on board the Alabama, the officers and crew
being put in irons. The position of the barque at the time of capture
was as follows:--Green Point Lighthouse bearing south by east; Robben
Island Lighthouse north-east.

The said appearer did further protest against the illegal capture of
said vessel, as she was in British waters at the time of capture,
according to bearings.

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. August 7, 1863_.

Understanding from your letter of this date, received this morning,[17]
that the case of the Sea Bride is still pending, I enclose the
affidavits of the first officer of that vessel and the cook and steward,
which I hope will throw additional light on the subject.

[Footnote 17: A formal acknowledgment omitted here as superfluous.]

From the affidavit of the first officer, it appears that the alleged
prize was brought within one and a half miles of Green Point Lighthouse
yesterday at one o'clock P.M. Now, as the vessel was at that time in
charge of a prize crew, it was a violation of neutrality as much as if
the capture had been made at the same distance from land.

Pending your decision of the case I would most respectfully suggest that
the prize crew on board the Sea Bride be removed, and that the vessel be
put in charge of a crew from Her Majesty's ship Valorous.

_Affidavit of James Robertson._

On the day and date hereof before me, Walter Graham, Consul for the
United States of America at Cape Town, personally came and appeared
James Robertson, cook and steward of the barque Sea Bride, an American
vessel, and made affidavit that he was on board said barque on the night
of the 5th day of August instant, after the said barque had been
captured as a prize by the Confederate steamer Alabama, and a prize crew
put on board. That at about five minutes before two o'clock A.M. of the
6th instant, the prize crew on board the said barque received a signal
from the Alabama aforesaid to burn the said barque, and immediately all
hands were called to execute that order. That the sails were clewed, a
tar barrel taken from underneath the topgallant forecastle and placed in
the forecastle, and a bucketful of tar, with other combustibles and
ammunition, ordered on the cabin table, but that when these arrangements
were completed, another signal was received from the said Alabama,
countermanding the order to burn the said prize, and to stand off and on
the land until daylight, which orders were obeyed.

_Affidavit of John Schofield._

On the day and date hereof before me, Walter Graham, Consul for the
United States of America at Cape Town, personally came and appeared
John Schofield, first officer of the barque Sea Bride, of Boston, who
made affidavit that he was on board of said vessel at one o'clock P.M.
yesterday, the 6th day of August instant, while she was in possession of
a prize crew of the steamer Alabama; that he took the bearings of said
barque at that time, which were as follows: Robben Island Lighthouse
bore north-east by north one-half north, Green Point Lighthouse bore
south-west one-half west.

He also deposed that the officer in command of the barque came on deck
about that time, and stamping his foot as if chagrined to find her so
near the land, ordered her further off, which was done immediately.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of this date, inclosing two affidavits relative to the Sea Bride, and to
state that his Excellency is not prepared to admit that the fact of that
vessel having been brought by the prize crew within one and a half miles
of the Green Point Lighthouse "was a violation of the neutrality as much
as if the capture had taken place at the same distance from land,"
although both the belligerents are prohibited from bringing their prizes
into British ports.

The Governor does not feel warranted in taking steps for the removal of
the prize crew from the Sea Bride.

_Mr. Bawson to Mr. Graham. August_ 8, 1863.

With reference to the correspondence that has passed relative to the
capture by the Confederate States steamer Alabama, of the barque Sea
Bride, I am directed by the Governor to acquaint you that, on the best
information he has been enabled to procure, he has come to the
conclusion that the capture cannot be held to be illegal, or in
violation of the neutrality of the British Government, by reason of the
distance from land at which it took place.

His Excellency will, by next mail, make a full report of the case to Her
Majesty's Government.

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 10, 1863.

Your decision in the case of the Sea Bride was duly received at four
o'clock p. M. on Saturday. In communicating that decision you simply
announce that the vessel was, in your opinion, and according to evidence
before you, a legal prize to the Alabama; but you omit to state the
principle of international law that governed your decision, and neglect
to furnish me with the evidence relied upon by you.

Under these circumstances I can neither have the evidence verified or
rebutted here, nor am I enabled to transmit it as it stands to the
American Minister at London, nor to the United States Government at
Washington. An invitation to be present when the _ex parte_ testimony
was taken was not extended to me, and I am therefore ignorant of the
tenor of it, and cannot distinguish the portion thrown out from that
which was accepted. If your decision is that the neutral waters of this
colony only extend a distance of three miles from land, the character of
that decision would have been aptly illustrated to the people of Cape
Town had an American war-vessel appeared on the scene, and engaged the
Alabama in battle. In such a contest with cannon carrying a distance of
six miles (three overland), the crashing buildings in Cape Town would
have been an excellent commentary on your decision.

But the decision has been made, and cannot be revoked here, so that
further comment at present is, therefore, unnecessary. It can only be
reversed by the Government you represent, which it probably will be when
the United States Government shall claim indemnity for the owners of the
Sea Bride.

An armed vessel named the Tuscaloosa, claiming to act under the
authority of the so-called Confederate States, entered Simon's Bay on
Saturday the 8th instant. That vessel was formerly owned by citizens of
the United States, and while engaged in lawful commerce was captured as
a prize by the Alabama. She was subsequently fitted out with arms by the
Alabama to prey upon the commerce of the United States, and now, without
having been condemned as a prize by any Admiralty Court of any
recognized Government, she is permitted to enter a neutral port in
violation of the Queen's Proclamation, with her original cargo on board.
Against this proceeding I hereby most emphatically protest, and I claim
that the vessel ought to be given up to her lawful owners. The capture
of the Sea Bride in neutral waters, together with the case of the
Tuscaloosa, also a prize, constitute the latest and best illustration of
British neutrality that has yet been given.

_Mr. Rawson to Mr. Graham. August_ 10, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of this date, and to state with reference to that part of it which
relates to the Tuscaloosa, that his Excellency is still in
correspondence with the Commander-in-chief respecting the character of
that vessel, and the privileges to which she is entitled.

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 12, 1863.

Upon receiving your last communication to me dated the 10th instant, I
deemed it simply a report of progress on one subject treated of in my
last letter to your Excellency, and I have therefore waited anxiously
for the receipt of another letter from the Colonial Secretary
communicating the final result in the case. Failing to receive it, and
hearing yesterday P.M. that the Tuscaloosa would proceed to Sea from
Simon's Bay to-day, I applied for an injunction from the Supreme Court
to prevent the vessel sailing before I had an opportunity of showing by
witnesses that she is owned in Philadelphia in the United States, and
her true name is Conrad; that she has never been condemned as a prize by
any legally constituted Admiralty Court; and that I am _ex officio_ the
legal agent of the owners, underwriters, and all others concerned. I
have not yet learned the result of that application, and fearing that
delay may allow her to escape, I would respectfully urge you to detain
her in port until the proper legal steps can be taken.

I am well aware that your Government has conceded to the so-called
Confederate States the rights of belligerents, and is thereby bound to
respect Captain Semmes' commission; but having refused to recognize the
"Confederacy" as a nation, and having excluded his captures from all the
ports of the British Empire, the captures necessarily revert to their
real owners, and are forfeited by Captain Semmes as soon as they enter a
British port.

Hoping to receive an answer to this and the preceding letter as early as
possible, and that you will not construe my persistent course throughout
this correspondence on neutral rights as importunate, or my remarks as
inopportune, I have, &c.

_Mr. Rawson to Mr. Graham. August 12, 1863_.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of this date, and to acquaint you that it was not until late last
evening that his Excellency received from the naval Commander-in-chief
information that the condition of the Tuscaloosa was such as, as his
Excellency is advised, to entitle her to be regarded as a vessel of war.

The Governor is not aware, nor do you refer him to the provisions of
international law by which captured vessels, as soon as they enter our
neutral ports, revert to their real owners, and are forfeited by their
captors. But his Excellency believes that the claims of contending
parties to vessels captured can only be determined in the first instance
by the Courts of the captor's country.

The Governor desires me to add that he cannot offer any objection to the
tenor of the correspondence which you have addressed to him on this
subject, and that he is very sensible of the courtesy you have exhibited
under such very peculiar circumstances!!! He gives you credit for acting
on a strict sense of duty to your country.

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 17, 1863.

I have delayed acknowledging the receipt of your last letter, dated the
12th August, on account of events transpiring, but which have not yet
culminated so as to form the subject of correspondence.

Your decision that the Tuscaloosa is a vessel of war, and by inference a
prize, astonishes me, because I do not see the necessary
incompatibility. Four guns were taken from on board the Talisman (also a
prize), and put on board the Conrad (Tuscaloosa), but that transfer did
not change the character of either vessel as a prize, for neither of
them could cease to be a prize till it had been condemned in an
Admiralty Court of the captor's country, which it is not pretended has
been done. The Tuscaloosa, therefore, being a prize, was forbidden to
enter Simon's Bay by the Queen's Proclamation, and should have been
ordered off at once; but she was not so ordered. Granting that Her
Majesty's Proclamation affirmed the right of Captain Semmes as a
belligerent to take and to hold prizes on the high seas, it just as
emphatically denied his right to hold them in British ports. Now, if he
could not hold them in Simon's Bay, who else could hold them except
those whose right to hold them was antecedent to his--that is, the,

The Tuscaloosa remained in Simon's Bay seven days with her original
cargo of skins and wool on board. This cargo, I am informed by those who
claim to know, has been purchased by merchants in Cape Town; and if it
should be landed here directly from the prize, or be transferred to
other vessels at some secluded harbour on the coast beyond this Colony,
and brought from thence here, the infringement of neutrality will be so
palpable and flagrant that Her Majesty's Government will probably
satisfy the claims of the owners gracefully and at once, and thus remove
all cause of complaint. In so doing it will have to disavow and
repudiate the acts of its executive agents here--a result I have done
all in my power to prevent.

Greater cause of complaint will exist if the cargo of the Sea Bride is
disposed of in the same manner, as I have reason to apprehend it will be
when negotiations are concluded; for being originally captured in
neutral waters, the thin guise of neutrality would be utterly torn into
shreds by the sale of her cargo here.

The Georgia, a Confederate war-steamer, arrived at Simon's Bay
yesterday, and the Florida, another vessel of the same class, has
arrived, or is expected hourly at Saldanha Bay, where she may remain a
week without your knowledge, as the place is very secluded. The Alabama
remained here in Table Bay nearly four days, and at Simon's Bay six
days; and as the Tuscaloosa was allowed to remain at Simon's Bay seven
days, I apprehend that the Georgia and Florida will meet with the same
or even greater favours. Under such circumstances further protests from
me would seem to be unavailing, and I only put the facts upon record for
the benefit of my Government and officials possessed of diplomatic

_Mr. Rawson to Mr. Graham. August_ 19, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of the 17th instant, and to state that he has, during the recent
transactions, endeavoured to act in strict conformity with the wishes of
Her Majesty's Government; he will in like manner pursue the same course
in any future cases which may arise.

I am to add that His Excellency has no reason to believe that either the
Alabama or the Tuscaloosa have been allowed to remain in the ports of
the Colony for a greater length of time than the state of the weather,
and the execution of the repairs of which they actually stood in need,
rendered indispensable.

_Statement of Joseph Hopson._

Joseph Hopson, keeper of the Green Point Lighthouse, states:

I was on the look-out on Wednesday afternoon when the Alabama and Sea
Bride were coming in. When I first saw them the steamer was coming round
the north-west of Robben Island, and the barque bore from or about five
miles west-northwest. The barque was coming in under all sail with a
good breeze, and she took nothing in when the gun was fired. I believe
two guns were fired, but the gun I mean was the last, and the steamer
then crossed the stern side of the barque, and hauled up to her on the
starboard side. He steamed ahead gently, and shortly afterwards I saw
the barque put round with her head to the westward, and a boat put off
from the steamer and boarded her. Both vessels were then good five miles
off the mainland, and quite five, if not six, from the north-west point
of Robben Island.

_Statement of W.S. Field, Collector of Customs._

I was present at the old Lighthouse, Green Point, on Wednesday
afternoon, at 2 P.M., and saw the Alabama capture the American barque
Sea Bride, and I agree with the above statement as far as the position
of the vessels and their distance from shore.

I may also remark that I called the attention of Colonel Bisset and the
lighthouse keeper Hopson to the distance of the vessels at the time of
the capture, as it was probable we should be called upon to give our
evidence respecting the affair, and we took a note of the time it

_Statement of John Roe._

I was yesterday, the 5th day of August, 1863, returning from a whale
chase in Hunt's Bay, when I first saw the barque Sea Bride standing from
the westward on to the land. I came on to Table Bay, and when off Camps
Bay I saw the smoke of the Alabama some distance from the westward of
Robben Island. When I reached the Green Point Lighthouse the steamer was
standing up towards the barque, which was about five miles and a half to
the westward of Green Point, and about four and half from the western
point of Robben Island. This was their position (being near each other
at the time) when the gun was fired.

_Statement of Signalman at the Lion's Rump Telegraph Station._

On Wednesday last, the 5th day of August, 1863, I sighted the barque Sea
Bride about seven o'clock in the morning, about fifteen or twenty miles
off the land, standing into Table Bay from the south-west. There was a
light breeze blowing from the north-west, which continued until after
midday. About midday I sighted the Alabama screw steamer standing from
due north towards Table Bay, intending, as it appeared to me, to take
the passage between Robben Island and the Blueberg Beach. She was then
between fifteen and eighteen miles off the land.

After sighting the steamer, I hoisted the demand for the barque, when
she hoisted the American flag, which I reported to the Port Office, the
barque then being about eight miles off the land from Irville Point. No
sooner had the barque hoisted the American flag than the steamer turned
sharp round in the direction of and towards the barque. The steamer
appeared at that time to have been about twelve miles off the land from
Irville Point, and about four or five miles outside of Robben Island,
and about seven miles from the barque.

The steamer then came up to and alongside of the barque, when the latter
was good four miles off the land at or near the old Lighthouse, and five
miles off the Island. The steamer, after firing a gun, stopped the
further progress of the barque, several boats were sent to her, and
after that the barque stood out to sea again, and the Alabama steamed
into Table Bay.

_Captain Forsyth to Sir P. Wodehouse. August_ 6, 1863.

In compliance with the request conveyed to me by your Excellency, I have
the honor to report that I have obtained from Captain Semmes a statement
of the positions of the Confederate States steamer Alabama and the
American barque Sea Bride, when the latter was captured yesterday

Captain Semmes asserts that at the time of his capturing the Sea Bride,
Green Point Lighthouse bore from the Alabama south-east about six or six
and a half miles.

This statement is borne out by the evidence of Captain Wilson, Port
Captain of Table Bay, who has assured me that at the time of the Sea
Bride being captured, he was off Green Point in the port boat, and that
only the top of the Alabama's hull was visible.

I am of opinion, if Captain Wilson could only see that portion of the
hull of the Alabama, she must have been about the distance from the
shore which is stated by Captain Semmes, and I have therefore come to
the conclusion that the barque Sea Bride was beyond the limits assigned
when she was captured by the Alabama.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to the Secretary to the Admiralty.
September_ 17, 1863.

With reference to my letters dated respectively the 19th and 31st
ultimo, relative to the Confederate States ship of war Alabama, and the
prizes captured by her, I beg to inclose, for their Lordships'
information, the copy of a statement forwarded to me by the Collector of
Customs at Cape Town, wherein it is represented that the Tuscaloosa and
Sea Bride had visited Ichaboe, which is a dependency of this Colony.

2. Since the receipt of the above-mentioned document, the Alabama
arrived at this anchorage (the 16th instant), and when Captain Semmes
waited on me, I acquainted him with the report, requesting he would
inform me if it was true. I was glad to learn from him that it was not
so. He frankly explained that the prize Sea Bride in the first place had
put into Saldanha Bay through stress of weather, and on being joined
there by the Tuscaloosa, both vessels proceeded to Angra Pequena, on the
West Coast of Africa, where he subsequently joined them in the Alabama,
and there sold the Sea Bride and her cargo to an English subject who
resides at Cape Town. The Tuscaloosa had landed some wool at Angra
Pequena and received ballast, but, he states, is still in commission as
a tender. It will, therefore, be seen how erroneous is the accompanying
report. I have no reason to doubt Captain Semmes' explanation; but he
seems to be fully alive to the instructions of Her Majesty's Government,
and appears to be most anxious not to commit any breach of neutrality.

3. The Alabama has returned to this port for coal, some provisions, and
to repair her condensing apparatus.

4. From conversation with Captain Semmes, I find that he has been off
this Cape for the last five days, and as the Vanderbilt left this on the
night of the 11th instant, it is surprising they did not see each other.

_The Duke of Newcastle to Sir P. Wodehouse. November 4, 1863_.

I have received your despatch of the 19th August last, submitting for my
consideration various questions arising out of the proceedings at the
Cape of Good Hope of the Confederate vessels Georgia, Alabama, and her
reputed tender, the Tuscaloosa.

I will now proceed to convey to you the views of Her Majesty's
Government on these questions.

The capture of the Sea Bride, by the Alabama, is stated to have been
effected beyond the distance of three miles from the shore--which
distance must be accepted as the limit of territorial jurisdiction,
according to the present rule of international law upon that subject. It
appears, however, that the prize, very soon after her capture, was
brought within the distance of two miles from the shore; and as this is
contrary to Her Majesty's orders, it might have afforded just grounds
(if the apology of Captain Semmes for this improper act, which he
ascribed to inadvertence, had not been accepted by you) for the
interference of the colonial authorities upon the principles which I am
about to explain.

With respect to the Alabama herself, it is clear that neither you nor
any other authority at the Cape could exercise any jurisdiction over
her; and that, whatever may have been her previous history, you were
bound to treat her as a ship of war belonging to a belligerent Power.

With regard to the vessel called the Tuscaloosa, I am advised that this
vessel did not lose the character of a prize captured by the Alabama,
merely because she was, at the time of her being brought within British
waters, armed with two small rifled guns, in charge of an officer, and
manned with a crew of ten men from the Alabama, and used as a tender to
that vessel under the authority of Captain Semmes.

It would appear that the Tuscaloosa is a barque of 500 tons, captured by
the Alabama, off the coast of Brazil, on the 21st of June last, and
brought into Simon's Bay on or before the 7th of August, with her
original cargo of wool (itself, as well as the vessel, prize) still on
board, and with nothing to give her a warlike character (so far as is
stated in the papers before me), except the circumstances already

Whether, in the case of a vessel duly commissioned as a ship of war,
after being made prize by a belligerent Government, without being first
brought _infra praesidia_, or condemned by a court of prize, the
character of prize, within the meaning of Her Majesty's orders, would or
would not be merged in that of a national ship of war, I am not called
upon to explain. It is enough to say that the citation from Mr.
Wheaton's book by your attorney-general does not appear to me to have
any direct bearing upon the question.

Connected with this subject is the question as to the cargoes of
captured vessels, which is alluded to at the end of your despatch. On
this point I have to instruct you that Her Majesty's orders apply as
much to prize cargoes of every kind which may be brought by any armed
ships or privateers of either belligerent into British waters as to the
captured vessels themselves. They do not, however, apply to any articles
which may have formed part of any such cargoes, if brought within
British jurisdiction, not by armed ships or privateers of either
belligerent, but by other persons who may have acquired or may claim
property in them by reason of any dealings with the captors.

I think it right to observe that the third reason alleged by the
attorney-general for his opinion assumes (though the fact had not been
made the subject of any inquiry) that "no means existed for determining
whether the ship had or had not been judicially condemned in a court of
competent jurisdiction," and the proposition that, "_admitting her to
have been captured by a ship of war of the Confederate States_, she was
entitled to refer Her Majesty's Government, in case of any dispute, to
the court of her States in order to satisfy it as to her real
character." This assumption, however, is not consistent with Her
Majesty's undoubted right to determine within her own territory whether
her own orders, made in vindication of her own neutrality, have been
violated or not.

The question remains what course ought to have been taken by the
authorities of the Cape--

1st. In order to ascertain whether this vessel was, as alleged by the
United States Consul, an uncondemned prize brought within British waters
in violation of Her Majesty's neutrality; and

2dly. What ought to have been done if such had appeared to be really the

I think that the allegations of the United States Consul ought to have
been brought to the knowledge of Captain Semmes while the Tuscaloosa
was still within British waters, and that he should have been requested
to state whether he did or did not admit the facts to be as alleged. He
should also have been called upon (unless the facts were admitted) to
produce the Tuscaloosa's papers. If the result of these inquiries had
been to prove that the vessel was really an uncondemned prize, brought
into British waters in violation of Her Majesty's orders made for the
purpose of maintaining her neutrality, I consider that the mode of
proceeding in such circumstances, most consistent with Her Majesty's
dignity, and most proper for the vindication of her territorial rights,
would have been to prohibit the exercise of any further control over the
Tuscaloosa by the captors, and to retain that vessel under Her Majesty's
control and jurisdiction until properly reclaimed by her original

_Sir P. Wodehouse to the Duke of Newcastle. December_ 19, 1863.

I have had the honour to receive your Grace's despatch of the 4th
ultimo, from which I regret to learn that the course taken here relative
to the Confederate war steamer Alabama and her prizes has not in some
respects given satisfaction to Her Majesty's Government.

I must only beg your Grace to believe that no pains were spared by the
late Acting Attorney-General or by myself to shape our course in what we
believed to be conformity with the orders of Her Majesty's Government
and the rules of international law, as far as we could ascertain and
interpret them.

Mr. Denyssen has been so constantly engaged with professional business
since the arrival of the mail that I have been prevented from discussing
with him the contents of your despatch; but I think it right,
nevertheless, to take advantage of the first opportunity for
representing to your Grace the state of uncertainty in which I am placed
by the receipt of this communication, and for soliciting such further
explanations as may prevent my again falling into error on these
matters. In so doing I trust you will be prepared to make allowance for
the difficulties which must arise out of this peculiar contest, in
respect of which both parties stand on a footing of equality as
belligerents, while only one of them is recognized as a nation.

In the first place, I infer that I have given cause for dissatisfaction
in not having more actively resented the fact that the Sea Bride, on the
day after her capture, was brought a short distance within British

Your Grace demurs to my having accepted Captain Semmes' apology for this
improper act, which he ascribed to inadvertence. You will pardon my
noticing that the fact of the act having been done through inadvertence
was established by the United States Consul himself, one of whose
witnesses stated, "the officer in command of the barque came on deck
about that time, and stamping his foot as if chagrined to find her so
near the land, ordered her further off, which was done immediately."

I confess that on such evidence of such a fact I did not consider myself
warranted in requiring the commander of Her Majesty's ship Valorous to
take possession of the Alabama's prize.

The questions involved in the treatment of the Tuscaloosa are far more
important and more embarrassing; and first let me state, with reference
to the suggestion that Captain Semmes should have been required to admit
or deny the allegations of the United States Consul, that no such
proceeding was required. There was not the slightest mystery or
concealment of the circumstances under which the Tuscaloosa had come
into, and then was in possession of the Confederates. The facts were not
disputed. We were required to declare what was her actual status under
those facts. We had recourse to Wheaton, the best authority on
International Law within our reach--an authority of the nation with whom
the question had arisen--an authority which the British Secretary for
Foreign Affairs had recently been quoting in debates on American
questions in the House of Lords.

Your Grace intimates that the citation from this authority by the Acting
Attorney-General does not appear to have any direct bearing upon the

You will assuredly believe that it is not from any want of respect for
your opinion, but solely from a desire to avoid future error, that I
confess my inability to understand this intimation, or, in the absence
of instructions on that head, to see in what direction I am to look for
the law bearing on the subject.

The paragraph cited made no distinction between a vessel with cargo and
a vessel without cargo; and your Grace leaves me in ignorance whether
her character would have been changed if Captain Semmes had got rid of
the cargo before claiming for her admission as a ship of war. Certainly,
acts had been done by him which, according to Wheaton, constituted a
"setting forth as a vessel of war."

Your Grace likewise states, "Whether in the case of a vessel duly
commissioned as a ship of war, after being made prize by a belligerent
Government without being first brought _infra praesidia_, or condemned
by a Court of Prize, the character of prize, within the meaning of Her
Majesty's orders, would or would not be merged in a national ship of
war, I am not called upon to explain."

I feel myself forced to ask for further advice on this point, on which
it is quite possible I may be called upon to take an active part. I have
already, in error apparently, admitted a Confederate prize as a ship of
war. The chief authority on International Law, in which it is in my
power to refer, is Wheaton, who apparently draws no distinction between
ships of war and other ships when found in the position of prizes; and I
wish your Grace to be aware that within the last few days the commander
of a United States ship of war observed to me that if it were his good
fortune to capture the Alabama, he should convert her into a Federal

I trust your Grace will see how desirable it is that I should be fully
informed of the views of Her Majesty's Government on these points, and
that I shall be favoured with a reply to this despatch at your earliest

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to the Secretary to the Admiralty. January_
5, 1864.

I request you will be pleased to acquaint my Lords Commissioners of the
Admiralty that the barque called the Tuscaloosa, under the flag of the
Confederate States of North America (referred to in my letter of the
19th of August last), termed a tender to the Alabama, returned to this
anchorage on the 26th ultimo from cruising off the coast of Brazil.

2. In order to ascertain the real character of this vessel, I directed
the boarding officer from my flag-ship to put the questions, as per
inclosure No. 1, to the officer in command, Lieutenant Low, of the
Alabama; and having satisfied myself from his answers that the vessel
was still an uncondemned prize captured by the Alabama under the name of
the Conrad, of Philadelphia, I communicated the circumstances to the
Governor of this Colony, who, concurring in opinion with me that she
ought to be retained under Her Majesty's control and jurisdiction until
reclaimed by her proper owners, for violation of Pier Majesty's orders
for the maintenance of her neutrality, I caused the so-called
Tuscaloosa to be taken possession of; informing Lieutenant Low, at the
same time, of the reason for doing so.

3. Lieutenant Low has entered a written protest against the seizure of
the vessel, a copy of which, together with the reply of the Governor, I
inclose for their Lordships' information, as well as a copy of all the
correspondence which has passed on this subject.

4. Lieutenant Low having informed me that he expects the Alabama shortly
to arrive at this place, I have allowed him and his crew to remain on
board the Conrad for the present; but should the Alabama not make her
appearance I have acquainted him that I will grant him and his officers
(probably only one besides himself) a passage to England in one of the
packets. The crew he wishes to discharge if there is no opportunity of
their rejoining the Alabama.

5. The vessel in question is at present moored in this bay, in charge of
an officer and a few men belonging to Her Majesty's ship Narcissus,
where she will remain until she can be properly transferred to her
lawful owners, as requested by the Governor.

_Questions to be put to the Officer in Command or Charge of the barque
Tuscaloosa, carrying the Flag of the so-called Confederate States of

Ship's name and nation?--Tuscaloosa. Confederate.

Name and rank of officer in command?--Lieutenant Low, late Alabama.

Tonnage of the ship?--500.

Number of officers and men on hoard?--4 officers and 20 men.

Number and description of guns on board?--3 small brass guns, 2 rifled
12 pounders, 1 smooth-bore-pounder.

Where is she from?--St. Katherine's, Brazils.

Where is she bound?--Cruising.

For what purpose has the ship put into this port?--For repairs and

Is it the same ship that was captured by the Alabama, and afterwards
came to this port on the 9th of August last?--Yes.

What was her original name, on being captured by the Alabama?--Conrad,
of Philadelphia.

When was she captured by Alabama?--21st June, 1863.

To what nation and to whom did she belong before her capture?--Federal
States of America.

Has she been taken before any legally constituted Admiralty Court of the
Confederate States?--No.

Has she been duly condemned as a lawful prize by such Court to the

What is she now designated?--Tender to the Alabama.

What papers are there on board to constitute her as the Confederate
barque Tuscaloosa?--The commission of the Lieutenant commanding the
Tuscaloosa from Captain Semmes. The officers also have commissions to
their ship from him.

Are the papers which belonged to her before she was seized by the
Alabama on board?--No.

Is there any cargo on board, and what does it consist of?--No
cargo--only stores for ballast.

(Signed) JOHN LOW,

_Lieut.-Commander, Confederate States barque Tuscaloosa._


_Lieutenant and Boarding Officer, Her Majesty's ship Narcissus._

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Lieutenant Low, C.S.N. December_ 27,

As it appears that the Tuscaloosa, under your charge and command, is a
vessel belonging to the Federal States of America, having been captured
by the Confederate States ship of war Alabama, and not having been
adjudicated before any competent Prize Court, is still an uncondemned
prize, which you have brought into this port in violation of Her
Britannic Majesty's orders for the maintenance of her neutrality, I have
the honour to inform you that, in consequence, I am compelled to detain
the so-called Tuscaloosa (late Conrad) with a view of her being restored
to her original owners, and I request you will be so good as to transfer
the charge of the vessel to the officer bearing this letter to you.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Sir P. Wodehouse. December_ 28, 1863.

I have the honour to inform your Excellency that, acting upon your
concurrence in my opinion with reference to the instructions received
from home by the last mail, I have detained the barque Tuscaloosa (late
Conrad of Philadelphia), because she is an uncondemned prize, taken by
the Confederate States ship of war Alabama, and brought into British
waters in violation of Her Majesty's Orders for maintaining her
neutrality, and with the view to her being restored to her original

I shall be ready to hand her over to the Consul of the United States at
Cape Town, or to any person you may appoint to take charge of her.

I should add that Lieutenant Low has given up the Tuscaloosa (late
Conrad) under protest, which he is about to make in writing, a copy of
which shall be transmitted to your Excellency as soon as received.

_Lieutenant Low, C.S.N., to Sir P. Wodehouse. December_ 28, 1863

As the officer in command of the Confederate States ship Tuscaloosa,
tender to the Confederate States steamer Alabama, I have to record my
protest against the recent extraordinary measures which have been
adopted towards me and the vessel under my command by the British
authorities of this Colony.

In August last the Tuscaloosa arrived in Simon's Bay. She was not only
recognised in the character which she lawfully claimed and still claims
to be, viz., a commissioned ship of war belonging to a belligerent
Power, but was allowed to remain in the harbour for the period of seven
days, taking in supplies and effecting repairs with the full knowledge
and sanction of the authorities.

No intimation was given that she was regarded in the light of an
ordinary prize, or that she was considered to be violating the laws of
neutrality. Nor, when she notoriously left for a cruise on active
service, was any intimation whatever conveyed that on her return to the
port of a friendly Power, where she had been received as a man-of-war,
she would be regarded as a "prize," as a violater of the Queen's
proclamation of neutrality, and consequently liable to seizure. Misled
by the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, I returned to Simon's Bay on
the 26th instant, in very urgent want of repairs and supplies; to my
surprise I find the Tuscaloosa is now no longer considered as a
man-of-war, and she has by your orders, as I learn, been seized for the
purpose of being handed over to the person who claims her on behalf of
her late owners.

The character of the vessel, viz., that of a lawful commissioned
man-of-war of the Confederate States of America, has not been altered
since her first arrival in Simon's Bay, and she, having been once fully
recognised by the British authorities in command in this Colony, and no
notice or warning of change of opinion or of friendly feeling having
been communicated by public notification or otherwise. I was entitled to
expect to be again permitted to enter Simon's Bay without molestation.

In perfect good faith I returned to Simon's Bay for mere necessaries,
and in all honour and good faith, in return, I should on change of
opinion or of policy on the part of the British authorities, have been
desired to leave the port again.

But by the course of proceedings taken, I have been (supposing the view
now taken by your Excellency's Government to be correct) first misled
and next entrapped.

My position and character of my ship will most certainly be vindicated
by my Government. I am powerless to resist the affront offered to the
Confederate States of America by your Excellency's conduct and

I demand, however, the release of my ship; and if this demand be not
promptly complied with, I hereby formally protest against her seizure,
especially under the very peculiar circumstances of the case.

_Mr. Bawson to Lieutenant Low, C.S.N. December_ 29, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter
of yesterday's date protesting against the seizure of the Tuscaloosa,
whose character you represent to be the same as when, in August last,
she was admitted into the port of Simon's Bay, and I am to acquaint you
in reply that a full report was submitted to Her Majesty's Government of
all that took place on the first visit of the Tuscaloosa, and that the
seizure has now been made in conformity with the opinion expressed by
them on that report.

Your protest will of course be transmitted for their consideration.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Sir P. Wodehouse. December_ 29, 1863.

Lieutenant Low, the officer belonging to the Confederate States ship of
war Alabama, late in charge of the barque called the Tuscaloosa
(properly the Conrad of Philadelphia), having sent me a copy of the
protest which he has forwarded to your Excellency against the detention
of that vessel, I think it right to inclose for your information the
copy of my letter to Lieutenant Low[18] explaining the circumstances
under which the so-called Tuscaloosa is detained.

[Footnote 18: This letter is not given in the Blue Book.]

_Sir P. Wodehouse to the Duke of Newcastle. January_ 11, 1864.

I very much regret having to acquaint your Grace that the Confederate
prize vessel the Tuscaloosa has again entered Simon's Bay, and that the
Naval Commander-in-chief and myself have come to the conclusion that, in
obedience to the orders transmitted to his Excellency by the Admiralty,
and to me by your Grace's despatch of the 4th November last, it was our
duty to take possession of the vessel, and to hold her until properly
claimed by her original owners. The Admiral, therefore, sent an officer
with a party of men from the flag-ship to take charge of her, and to
deliver to her commander a letter in explanation of the act. Copies of
his protest, addressed to me, and of my reply, are inclosed. He not
unnaturally complains of having been now seized, after he had on the
previous occasion been recognised as a ship of war. But this is
manifestly nothing more than the inevitable result of the overruling by
Her Majesty's Government of the conclusion arrived at on the previous
occasion by its subordinate officer.

The Consul for the United States, on being informed of what had taken
place, intimated his inability to take charge of the ship on account of
the owners, and expressed a desire that it should remain in our charge
until he was put in possession of the requisite authority. Accordingly,
after taking the opinion of the Attorney-General, it was arranged that
the vessel should remain in the charge of Sir Baldwin Walker.

I ought to explain that the seizure was made without previous reference
to the Attorney-General. I did not consider such a reference necessary.
The law had been determined by Her Majesty's Government on the previous
case. The Admiral was of opinion that we had only to obey the orders we
had received, and on his intimating that opinion I assented.

Your Grace will observe that at the request of the officers of the
Tuscaloosa the Admiral has permitted them to remain on board, in
expectation of the immediate arrival of the Alabama, to which ship they
wish to return. I should otherwise have thought it my duty to provide
them with passages to England at the cost of Her Majesty's Government,
by whom, I conclude, they would be sent to their own country; and it is
probable that if the Alabama should not soon make her appearance, such
an arrangement will become necessary.

I have only to add that I have thought it advisable, after what has now
occurred, to intimate to the United States Consul that we should
probably be under the necessity of adopting similar measures in the
event of an uncondemned prize being fitted for cruising, and brought
into one of our ports by a Federal ship of war. I did not speak
positively, because I have been left in doubt by your Grace's
instructions whether some distinction should not be drawn in the case of
a ship of war of one belligerent captured and applied to the same use by
the other belligerent, but the Consul was evidently prepared for such a
step. Copies of all the correspondence are inclosed.

_Mr. Rawson to Mr. Graham. December_ 28, 1863.

I am directed by the Governor to acquaint you that the Tuscaloosa having
again arrived in Simon's Bay, will, under instructions lately received
from Her Majesty's Government, be retained under Her Majesty's control
and jurisdiction until properly reclaimed by her original holders.

_Mr. Graham to Sir P. Wodehouse. December_ 28, 1863.

I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date in
reference to the Tuscaloosa.

By virtue of my office as Consul for the United States of America in the
British possessions of South Africa, of which nation the original owners
of the Conrad _alias_ Tuscaloosa are citizens, I possess the right to
act for them when both they and their special agents are absent, I can
institute a proceeding _in rem_ where the rights of property of
fellow-citizens are concerned, without a special procuration from those
for whose benefit I act, but cannot receive actual restitution of the
_res_ in controversy, without a special authority. (See United States
Statutes at Large, vol. i., p. 254, notes 2 and 3.)

Under these circumstances I am content that the vessel in question
should for the present, or until the properly authenticated papers and
power of attorney shall be received from the owners in America, remain
in possession and charge of Her Majesty's naval officers. But should it
hereafter be determined to give the vessel up to any party other than
the real owners, I desire to have sufficient notice of the fact, so that
I may take the proper steps to protect the interests of my absent

With regard to the property of American citizens seized here at the
Custom-house, and which was formerly part of the Sea Bride's cargo, I
would suggest that it also be held by the Colonial Government, subject
to the order of the original owners. An announcement to that effect from
you would be received with great satisfaction by me.


_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to the Secretary to the Admiralty. January
18, 1864_.

With reference to my letter of the 5th instant, I have the honour to
submit, for their Lordships' information, a further correspondence
between the Governor of this Colony and myself relative to the American
vessel Conrad, of Philadelphia, lately called the Tuscaloosa.

2. Lieutenant Low, belonging to the Confederate States ship of war
Alabama, lately in charge of the Tuscaloosa, having paid off and
discharged his crew, finally quitted the vessel on the 9th instant; and
I have ordered him a passage to England by the mail-packet Saxon,
together with his first officer, Mr. Sinclair.

3. The Conrad now remains in charge of a warrant officer and two
ship-keepers, awaiting to be properly claimed or disposed of as the
Government may direct.

_Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker to Sir P. Wodehouse. January 6, 1864_.

With reference to your Excellency's communication of yesterday's date, I
have the honour to inform you that I will make arrangements for the safe
custody of the Conrad, of Philadelphia (late Tuscaloosa), by mooring her
in this bay, and putting ship-keepers in charge of her, until she can be
properly transferred to her lawful owners.

Lieutenant Low has requested to be allowed to remain on board the
vessel, together with his crew, for the present, as he expected the
Alabama to arrive here shortly, to which arrangement I have made no

There are some guns and other articles on board the Conrad said to
belong to the Alabama, a list of which I have already forwarded to your
Excellency. It is a matter for consideration how these things should be
disposed of.

I think, as a precautionary measure, it may be desirable that some
person on the part of the United States Consul should visit the Conrad,
to observe the state she is in, on being taken into British custody, to
prevent any question thereon hereafter.

_The Duke of Newcastle to Sir P. Wodehouse. March 4, 1864_.

I have received your despatches of the 11th and 19th January, reporting
the circumstances connected with the seizure of the Confederate
prize-vessel Tuscaloosa, under the joint authority of the Naval
Commander-in-chief and yourself. I have to instruct you to restore the
Tuscaloosa to the Lieutenant of the Confederate States who lately
commanded her, or, if he should have left the Cape, then to retain her
until she can be handed over to some person who may have authority from
Captain Semmes, of the Alabama, or from the Government of the
Confederate States, to receive her.

You will receive a further communication from me on this subject by the
next mail.

_The Duke of Newcastle to Sir P. Wodehouse. March 10, 1864_.

In my despatch of the 4th instant, I instructed you to restore the
Tuscaloosa to the Lieutenant of the Confederate States who lately
commanded her, or, if he should have left the Cape, then to retain her
until she could be handed over to some person having authority from
Captain Semmes, of the Alabama, or from the Government of the
Confederate States, to receive her.

I have now to explain that this decision was not founded on any general
principle respecting the treatment of prizes captured by the cruisers of
either belligerent, but on the peculiar circumstances of the case. The
Tuscaloosa was allowed to enter the port of Cape Town and to depart, the
instructions of the 4th of November not having arrived at the Cape
before her departure. The Captain of the Alabama was thus entitled to
assume that he might equally bring her a second time into the same
harbor, and it becomes unnecessary to discuss whether, on her return to
the Cape, the Tuscaloosa still retained the character of a prize, or
whether she had lost that character, and had assumed that of an armed
tender to the Alabama, and whether that new character, if properly
established and admitted, would have entitled her to the same privilege
of admission which might be accorded to her captor, the Alabama.

Her Majesty's Government have, therefore, come to the opinion, founded
on the special circumstances of this particular case, that the
Tuscaloosa ought to be released, with a warning, however, to the Captain
of the Alabama, that the ships of war of the belligerents are not to be
allowed to bring prizes into British ports, and that it rests with Her
Majesty's Government to decide to what vessels that character belongs.

In conclusion, I desire to assure you that neither in this despatch, nor
in that of the 4th November, I have desired in any degree to censure you
for the course you have pursued. The questions on which you have been
called upon to decide, are questions of difficulty, on which doubts
might properly have been entertained, and I am by no means surprised
that the conclusions to which you were led have not, in all instances,
been those which have been adopted on fuller consideration by Her
Majesty's Government.

_Captain Semmes, C.S.N., to Rear-Admiral Sir B. Walker, dated C.S.S.
Alabama; Table Bay, March 22, 1864_.

Sir:--I was surprised to learn upon my arrival at this port of the
detention by your order of the Confederate States barque Tuscaloosa, a
tender to this ship. I take it for granted that you detained her by
order of the Home Government, as no other supposition is consistent with
my knowledge of the candour of your character--the Tuscaloosa having
been formerly received by you as a regularly commissioned tender, and no
new facts appearing in the case to change your decision. Under these
circumstances I shall not demand of you the restoration of that vessel,
with which demand you would not have the power to comply, but will
content myself with putting this my protest against this detention on
the record of the case for the future consideration of our respective

Earl Russell, in reaching the decision which he has communicated to you,
must surely have misapprehended the facts, otherwise I cannot conceive
him capable of so misapplying the law. The facts are briefly
these:--1st. The Tuscaloosa was formerly the enemy's ship Conrad,
lawfully captured by me on the high seas, as a recognized belligerent;
2dly. She was duly commissioned by me as a tender to the Confederate
States steamer Alabama, then, as now, under my command; and 3dly. She
entered English waters not only without intention of violating Her
Britannic Majesty's orders of neutrality, but was received with
hospitality, and no question was raised as to her right to enter under
the circumstances. These were the facts up to the time of Earl Russell's
issuing to you his order in the premises. Let us consider, then, a
moment, and see if we can derive from them, or any of them, just ground
for the extraordinary decision to which Earl Russell has come.

My right to capture and the legality of the capture will not be denied.
Nor will you deny, in your experience as a naval officer, my right to
commission this, or any other ship lawfully in my possession, as a
tender to my principal ship. Your admirals do this every day, on distant
stations; and the tender, from the time of her being put in commission,
wears a pennant, and is entitled to the immunities and privileges of a
ship of war, the right of capture inclusive.

Numerous decisions are to be found in your own prize law to this effect.
In other words, this is one of the recognised modes of commissioning a
ship of war, which has grown out of the convenience of the thing, and
become a sort of naval common law, as indisputable as the written law
itself. The only difference between the commission of such a ship and
that of a ship commissioned by the sovereign authority at home is that
the word "tender" appears in the former commission and not in the
latter. The Tuscaloosa having then been commissioned by me in accordance
with the recognised practice of all civilized nations that have a
marine, can any other Government than my own look into her antecedents?
Clearly not. The only thing which can be looked at upon her entering a
foreign port is her commission. If this be issued by competent
authority, you cannot proceed a step further. The ship then becomes a
part of the territory of the country to which she belongs, and you can
exercise no more jurisdiction over her than over that territory. The
self-respect and the independence of nations require this; for it would
be a monstrous doctrine to admit that one nation may inquire into the
title by which another nation holds her ships of war. And there can be
no difference in this respect between tenders and ships originally
commissioned. The flag and the pennant fly over them both, and they are
both withdrawn from the local jurisdiction by competent commissions. On
principle you might as well have enquired into the antecedents of the
Alabama, as of the Tuscaloosa. Indeed, you had a better reason for
inquiring into the antecedents of the former than of the latter, it
having been alleged that the former escaped from England in violation of
your Foreign Enlistment Act. Mr. Adams, the United States Minister, did
in fact demand that the Alabama should be seized, but Earl Russell, in
flat and most pointed contradiction of his late conduct in the case of
the Tuscaloosa, gave him the proper legal reply, to wit: that the
Alabama being now a ship of war, he was estopped from looking into her
antecedents. One illustration will suffice to show you how untenable
your position is in this matter. If the Tuscaloosa's commission be
admitted to have been issued by competent authority, and in due form
(and I do not understand this to be contested except on the ground of
her antecedents), she is as much a ship of war as the Narcissus, your
flag-ship. Suppose you should visit a French port, and the port admiral
should request you to haul down your flag on the ground that you had had
no sufficient title to the ship before she was commissioned, or that she
was a contract ship and you had not paid for her, and the builder had a
lien on her, or that you had captured her from the Russians, and had not
had her condemned by a prize court, what would you think of the
proceeding? And how does the case supposed differ from the one in hand?
In both it is a pretension on the part of a foreign power to look into
the antecedents of a ship of war--neither more nor less in the one case
than in the other. I will even put the case stronger. If it be admitted
that I had the right to commission a tender, and the fact had been that
I had seized a French ship and put her in commission, you could not
inquire into the fact. You would have no right to know but that I had
the orders of my Government for this seizure. In short, you would have
no right to inquire into the matter at all. My ship being regularly
commissioned, I am responsible to my Government for my acts, and my
Government, in the case supposed, would be responsible to France, and
not to you. If this reasoning be correct--and with all due submission to
his lordship I think it is sustained by the plainest principles of the
international code--it follows that the condemnation of a prize in a
prize court is not the only mode of changing the character of a captured
ship. When the sovereign of the captor puts his own commission on board
such a ship, this is a condemnation in its most solemn form, and is
notice to all the world. On principle, if a ship thus commissioned were
recaptured, the belligerent prize court could not restore her to her
original owner, but must condemn her as a prize ship of war of the enemy
to the captors; for prize courts are international courts, and cannot
go behind the pennant and commission of the cruiser.

Further, as to this question of adjudication, your letter to Lieutenant
Low, the late commander of the Tuscaloosa, assumes that, as the
Tuscaloosa was not condemned, she was therefore the property of the
enemy from whom she had been taken. Condemnation is intended for the
benefit of neutrals, and to quiet the titles of purchasers, but is never
necessary as against the enemy. His right is taken away by force, and
not by any legal process, and the possession of his property _manu
forte_ is all that is required against him.

Earl Russell having decided to disregard these plain principles of the
laws of nations, and to go behind my commission, let us see what he next

His decision is this, that the Tuscaloosa being a prize, and having come
into British waters in violation of the Queen's orders of neutrality,
she must be restored to her original owner. The ship is not seized and
condemned for the violation of any municipal law, such as fraud upon the
revenue, &c.--as, indeed, she could not be so seized and condemned
without the intervention of a court of law--but by the strong arm of
executive power he wrests my prize from me, and very coolly hands her
over to the enemy. It is admitted that all prizes, like other merchant
ships, are liable to seizure and condemnation for a palpable violation
of the municipal law; but that is not this case. The whole thing is done
under the international law. Now, there is no principle better
established than that neutrals have no right to interfere in any manner
between the captor and his prize, except in one particular instance, and
that is where the prize has been captured in neutral waters and
afterwards comes of her own accord within the neutral jurisdiction. In
that case, and in that case alone, the neutral prize court may
adjudicate the case, and if they find the allegation of _infra terminos_
proved, they may restore the property to the original owner.

If a lawful prize, contrary to prohibition, come within neutral waters,
the most the neutral can do is to order her to depart without
interfering in any manner with the captor's possession.

It is admitted that if she obstinately refuses to depart, or conducts
herself otherwise in an improper manner, she may be compelled to depart,
or may, indeed, be seized and confiscated as a penalty for her offence.
But there is no plea of that kind set up here. To show how sacred is the
title of mere possession on the part of a captor, permit me to quote
from one of your own authorities. On page 42 of the first volume of
Phillimore on International Law, you will find the following passage:
"In 1654 a treaty was entered into between England and Portugal, by
which, among other things, both countries mutually bound themselves not
to suffer the ships and goods of the other taken by enemies and carried
into the ports of the other to be conveyed away from the original owners
or proprietors."

"Now, I have no scruple in saying (observes Lord Stowell in 1798) that
this is an article incapable of being carried into literal execution
according to the modern understanding of the law of nations; for no
neutral country can intervene to wrest from a belligerent prizes
lawfully taken. This is perhaps the strongest instance that could be
cited of what civilians call the _consuetudo obrogatoria."_

This being the nature of my title, the reasons should be very urgent
which should justify my being forcibly dispossessed of it. But there are
no such reasons apparent. It is not contended that there was any
misconduct on the part of the Tuscaloosa, unless her entry into a
British port as a Confederate cruiser be deemed misconduct. As stated in
the beginning of this letter, she had no intention of violating any
order of the Queen. Her error, therefore, if it were an error, is
entitled to be considered with gentleness and not with hardship. Her
error was the error of yourself and his Excellency the Governor, as well
as myself. We all agreed, I believe, that she was a lawfully
commissioned ship, and that her commission estopped all further enquiry.
In the meantime, she proceeds to sea thus endorsed, as it were, by the
Colonial authorities; your Home Government overrules your decision; the
Tuscaloosa returns in good faith to your port to seek renewed
hospitality under your orders of neutrality. And what happens? An
English officer, armed with your order, proceeds on board of her, turns
her commander and officers out of her, and assumes possession on the
ground that she has violated the Queen's orders; and this without any
warning to depart or any other notice whatever. In the name of all open
and fair dealing--in the name of frankness, candour, and good faith, I
most respectfully enter my protest against such an extreme,
uncalled-for, and apparently unfriendly course.

But the most extraordinary part of the proceeding has yet to be stated.
You not only divest me of my title to my prize, but you tell me that you
are about to hand her over to the enemy! On what principle this can be
done I am utterly at a loss to conceive. Although it may be competent to
a Government, in an extreme case, to _confiscate to the Exchequer_ a
prize, there is but one possible contingency in which the prize can be
restored to the opposite belligerent, and that is the one already
mentioned of a capture within neutral jurisdiction. And this is done on
the ground of the nullity of the original capture. The prize is
pronounced not to have been lawfully made, and this being the case, and
the vessel being within the jurisdiction of the neutral whose waters
have been violated, there is but one course to pursue. The vessel does
not belong to the captor, and as she does not belong to the neutral, as
a matter of course she belongs to the opposite belligerent, and must be
delivered up to him. But there is no analogy between that case and the
one we are considering. My capture cannot be declared a nullity. My
title is as good against the enemy as though condemnation had passed.
The vessel either belongs to me or to the British Government. If she
belongs to me, justice requires that she should be delivered up to me.
If she belongs (by way of confiscation) to the British Government, why
should that Government make a gratuitous present of her to one of the
belligerents rather than the other?

My Government cannot fail, I think, to view this matter in the light in
which I have placed it; and it is deeply to be regretted that a weaker
people struggling against a stronger for very existence should have so
much cause to complain of the unfriendly disposition of a Government
from which, if it represents truly the instincts of Englishmen, it had
the right to expect at least sympathy and kindness in the place of
rigour and harshness.

No. VII.


We are indebted to Messrs. Laird Brothers, of Birkenhead, for the
following measurements of the Alabama:

Length                                 About 230 feet.

Length between perpendiculars,            " 213.8 "

Breadth of beam extreme,                  " 32.0  "

Depth moulded,                            " 19.9  "

Draft of water when complete, with about
  300 tons coal in bunkers and stores on
  board for a six months' cruise,         " 15.0  "

Engines.--300 horse power collective.

Rig.--Three-masted schooner, with long lower masts and
yards on fore and mainmasts.

The hull of the vessel built of wood, the general arrangement
of scantling and materials being the same as in vessels of similar
class in Her Majesty's navy.

The vessel and machinery throughout were built by Messrs.
Laird Brothers at their works at Birkenhead.


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