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Title: Memoirs of Service Afloat, During the War Between the States
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.

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[Illustration: ADML. R. SEMMES.

Kelly Piet & Co. Baltimore]



Of the Late Confederate States Navy,
Author of "Service Afloat and Ashore, during the Mexican War."

Illustrated with Steel Engraved Portraits and Six Engravings
from Original Designs printed in Chromo-Tints.

Kelly, Piet & Co., 174 Baltimore Street.

New York, L. P. Levy; Louisville, Ky., F. I. Dibble & Co.;
St. Louis, Mo., J. Hart & Co.; Richmond, Va., R. T. Taylor;
New Orleans, La., C. W. Jarratt; San Francisco, Cal., H. H.
Bancroft & Co.

London: Richard Bentley.


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
Kelly, Piet & Co.
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States
for the District of Maryland.


  Sailors and Soldiers of the Southern States,


A number of publications have appeared, first and last, concerning the
author and his career, as was naturally to have been expected. The
_Alabama_ was the first steamship in the history of the world--the
defective little _Sumter_ excepted--that was let loose against the
commerce of a great commercial people. The destruction which she caused
was enormous. She not only alarmed the enemy, but she alarmed all the
other nations of the earth which had commerce afloat, as they could not be
sure that a similar scourge, at some future time, might not be let loose
against themselves. The _Alabama_, in consequence, became famous. It was
the fame of steam. As a matter of course, she attracted the attention of
the book-makers--those cormorants ever on the lookout for a "speculation."
A number of ambitious _literateurs_ entered the seductive field. But it
was easier, as they soon found, to enter the field than to explore it, and
these penny-a-liners all made miserable failures,--not even excepting the
London house of Saunders, Otley & Co., to whom the author was induced to
loan his journals, in the hope that something worthy of his career might
be produced. To those who have chanced to see the "Log of the _Sumter_ and
_Alabama_," produced by that house, it will be unnecessary to say that the
author had no hand in its preparation. He did not write a line for it, nor
had he any interest whatever in the sale of it, as the loan of his
journals had been entirely gratuitous. So far as his own career was
concerned, the author would gladly have devolved the labor of the
historian on other shoulders, if this had been possible. But it did not
seem to be possible, after the experiments that had been made. With all
the facilities afforded the London house referred to, a meagre and barren
record was the result. The cause is sufficiently obvious. The cruise of a
ship is a biography. The ship becomes a personification. She not only

  "Walks the waters like a thing of life,"

but she speaks in moving accents to those capable of interpreting her. But
her interpreter must be a seaman, and not a landsman. He must not only be
a seaman, he must have made the identical cruise which he undertakes to
describe. It will be seen, hence, that the career of the author was a
sealed book to all but himself. A landsman could not even interpret his
journals, written frequently in the hieroglyphics of the sea. A line, or a
bare mark made by himself, which to other eyes would be meaningless would
for him be fraught with the inspiration of whole pages.

Besides, the _Alabama_ had an inside as well as an outside life. She was a
microcosm. If it required a seaman to interpret her as to her outside
life, much more did it require one to give an intelligible view of the
little world that she carried in her bosom. No one but an eye-witness, and
that witness himself a sailor, could unveil to an outside world the
domestic mysteries of the every-day life of Jack, and portray him in his
natural colors, as he worked and as he played. The following pages may,
therefore, be said to be the first attempt to give anything like a
truthful picture of the career of the author upon the high seas, during
the late war, to the public. In their preparation the writer has discarded
the didactic style of the historian, and adopted that of memoir writing,
as better suited to his subject. This style gave him more latitude in the
description of persons and events, and relieved him from some of the
fetters of a mere writer of history. There are portions of the work,
however, purely historical, and these have been treated with the gravity
and dignity which became them. In short, the author has aimed to produce
what the title of his book imports--an historical memoir of his services
afloat during the war. That his book will be generally read by the
Northern people he does not suppose. They are scarcely in a temper yet to
read anything he might write. The wounds which he has inflicted upon them
are too recent. Besides, men do not willingly read unpalatable truths of
themselves. The people of America being sovereign, they are like other
sovereigns,--they like those best who fool them most, by pandering to
their vices and flattering their foibles. The author, not being a
flatterer, cannot expect to be much of a favorite at the court of the

A word now as to the feeling with which the author has written. It has
sometimes been said that a writer of history should be as phlegmatic and
unimpassioned as the judge upon the bench. If the reader desires a dead
history, in other words, a history devoid of the true spirit of history,
the author assents to the remark. But if he desires a living, moving,
breathing picture of events--a _personam_ instead of a _subjectam_, the
picture must not be undertaken by one who does not feel something of that
which he writes. Such a terrible war as that through which we have passed
could not be comprehended by a stolid, phlegmatic writer, whose pulse did
not beat quicker while he wrote. When all the higher and holier passions
of the human heart are aroused in a struggle--when the barbarian is at
your door with the torch of the incendiary in one hand, and the uplifted
sword of diabolical revenge in the other,--_feeling_ is an important
element in the real drama that is passing before the eyes of the beholder.
To attempt to describe such a drama with the cold words of philosophy, is
simply ridiculous. If the acts be not described in words suited to portray
their infamy, you have a lie instead of history. Nor does it follow that
feeling necessarily overrides judgment. All passions blind us if we give
free rein to them; but when they are held in check, they sharpen, instead
of obscuring the intellect. In a well-balanced mind, feeling and judgment
aid each other; and he will prove the most successful historian who has
the two in a just equipoise. But though the author has given vent
occasionally to a just indignation, he has not written in malice. He does
not know the meaning of the word. He has simply written as a Southern man
might be supposed to think and feel, treading upon the toes of his enemies
as tenderly as possible. If he has been occasionally plain-spoken, it is
because he has used the English language, which calls a rogue a rogue,
notwithstanding his disguises. When the author has spoken of the Yankee
and his "grand moral ideas," he has spoken rather of a well-known type
than of individual men. If the reader will bear these remarks in mind as
he goes along, he will find them a key to some of the passages in the
book. In describing natural phenomena, the author has ventured upon some
new suggestions. He submits these with great diffidence. Meteorology is
yet a new science, and many developments of principles remain to be made.

  _December, 1868_.


  CHAPTER I.                                                          PAGE

  A Brief Historical Retrospect                                         17


  The Nature of the American Compact                                    24


  From the Foundation of the Federal Government down to 1830,
  both the North and the South held the Constitution to be a
  Compact between the States                                            36


  Was Secession Treason?                                                46


  Another Brief Historical Retrospect                                   52


  The Question of Slavery as it affected Secession                      62


  The Formation of the Confederate Government, and the
  Resignation of Officers of the Federal Army and Navy                  71


  Author proceeds to Montgomery, and reports to the New
  Government, and is dispatched northward on a Special Mission          81


  The Commissioning of the Sumter, the First Confederate States
  Ship of War                                                           93


  The Preparation of the Sumter for Sea--She drops down between
  the Forts Jackson and St. Philip--Receives her Sailing Orders--
  List of her Officers                                                  97


  After long Waiting and Watching, the Sumter runs the Blockade
  of the Mississippi, in open Daylight, pursued by the Brooklyn        108


  Brief Sketch of the Officers of the Sumter--Her First Prize,
  with other Prizes in Quick Succession                                120


  Rapid Work--Seven Prizes in Two Days--The Sumter makes her
  First Port, and what occurred there                                  132


  The Sumter on the Wing again--She is put wholly under Sail for
  the first time--Reaches the Island of Curaçoa, and is only able
  to enter after a Diplomatic Fight                                    144


  The Sumter at Curaçoa--Her Surroundings--Preparations for Sea--
  Her Captain solicited to become a Warwick--Her Departure--The
  Capture of other Prizes--Puerto Cabello, and what occurred there     155


  Steaming along the Coast of Venezuela--The Coral Insect, and
  the Wonders of the Deep--The Andes and the Rainy Season--The
  Sumter enters the Port of Spain in the British Island of
  Trinidad                                                             170


  On the Way to Maranham--The Weather and the Winds--The Sumter
  runs short of Coal, and is obliged to "bear up"--Cayenne and
  Paramaribo, in French and Dutch Guiana--Sails again, and
  arrives at Maranham, in Brazil                                       188


  The Sumter at Maranham--More Diplomacy necessary--The Hotel
  Porto and its Proprietor--A week on Shore--Ship coals and
  sails again                                                          210


  The Sumter at Martinique--Proceeds from Fort de France to St.
  Pierre--Is an Object of much Curiosity with the Islanders--News
  of the Arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, on board the British
  Mail Steamer, The Trent--Mr. Seward's extraordinary Course on
  the Occasion                                                         232


  Arrival at St. Pierre of the Enemy's Steam-sloop Iroquois--How
  she violates the Neutrality of the Port--Arrival of the French
  Steamer-of-War Acheron--The Iroquois blockades the Sumter--
  Correspondence with the Governor--Escape of the Sumter               252


  The Sumter pursues her Voyage across the Atlantic--Capture and
  Burning of the Arcade, Vigilant, and Ebenezer Dodge--A Leaky
  Ship and a Gale--An Alarm of Fire!                                   268


  Voyage across the Atlantic pursued--Christmas-day on board the
  Sumter--Cape Fly-away, and the Curious Illusion produced by
  it--The Sumter passes from the Desert Parts of the Sea into a
  Tract of Commerce once more--Boards a large Fleet of Ships in
  one Day, but finds no Enemy among them--Arrival at Cadiz             283


  Annoyance of the Spanish Officials--Short Correspondence with
  the U. S. Consul--The Telegraph put in Operation by the
  Officials between Cadiz and Madrid--The Sumter is ordered to
  leave in twenty-four Hours--Declines Obedience to the Order--
  Prisoners land, and Ship Docked after much ado--Deserters--
  Sumter leaves Cadiz                                                  297


  The Sumter off Cadiz--The Pillars of Hercules--Gibraltar--
  Capture of the Enemy's Ships Neapolitan and Investigator--A
  Conflagration between Europe and Africa--The Sumter anchors in
  the Harbor of Gibraltar; the Rock; the Town; the Military; the
  Review, and the Alameda                                              306


  The Sumter still at Gibraltar--Ship crowded with Visitors--A
  Ride over the Rock with Colonel Freemantle--The Galleries and
  other Subterranean Wonders--A Dizzy Height, and the Queen of
  Spain's Chair--The Monkeys and the Neutral Ground                    320


  The Sumter in Trouble--Finds it impossible to coal, by reason
  of a Combination against her, headed by the Federal Consul--
  Applies to the British Government for Coal, but is refused--
  Sends her Paymaster and Ex-Consul Tunstall to Cadiz--They are
  arrested and imprisoned in Tangier--Correspondence on the
  Subject--The Sumter laid up and sold                                 329


  Author leaves Gibraltar and arrives in London--Mr. Commissioner
  Mason--Confederate Naval News--Short Sojourn in London--Author
  embarks on board the Steamer Melita for Nassau--Receives new
  Orders from the Navy Department--Returns to Liverpool                346


  A Brief _Resumé_ of the History of the War, from the date of
  the commissioning the Sumter, to the commissioning of the
  Alabama--Secretary Mallory and the Difficulties by which he was
  surrounded--The Reorganization of the Confederate States Navy        361


  The Legality of the Equipment of the Alabama, and a few
  Precedents for her Career, drawn from the History of the War
  of 1776                                                              370


  The Equipment of the Alabama illustrated by that of sundry
  Colonial Cruisers during the War of 1776--Benjamin Franklin and
  Silas Deane sent to Paris as Chiefs of a Naval Bureau--The
  Surprise and the Revenge--Captains Wickes and Conyngham, and
  Commodore John Paul Jones                                            388


  Author leaves Liverpool to join the Alabama--Arrives at
  Terceira--Description of the Alabama--Preparing her for Sea--
  The Portuguese Authorities--The commissioning of the Ship--A
  Picture of her Birth and Death--Captain Bullock returns to
  England--The Alabama on the High Seas                                400


  The Alabama a Ship of War, and not a Privateer--Sketch of the
  Personnel of the Ship--Putting the Ship in Order for Service--
  Sail and Steam--The Character of the Sailor--The First Blow is
  struck at the Whale Fishery--The Habitat and Habits of the
  Whale--Capture of the Ocmulgee                                       414


  Capture of the Starlight; Ocean Rover; Alert; Weather Gauge--A
  Chase by Moonlight--Capture of the Altamaha; Virginia; Elisha
  Dunbar--A Rough Sea, Toiling Boats, and a Picturesque
  Conflagration in a Gale                                              428


  The Yankee Colony of the Island of Flores--What the Captains of
  the Virginia and Elisha Dunbar said of the Alabama when they
  got back among their Countrymen--The Whaling Season at the
  Azores at an End--The Alabama changes her Cruising Ground--What
  she saw and what she did                                             445


  Capricious Weather of the Gulf Stream--Capture of the
  Packet-Ship Tonawanda; of the Manchester and Lafayette--A
  Cyclone, the Alabama's First Gale--How she behaved                   463


  The Physiognomy of Ships--Capture of the Lafayette--Decree of
  the Admiralty Court on board the Alabama in her Case, and in
  that of the Lauretta--The Criticisms of the New York Press--
  Further Evidence of the Rotary Nature of the Winds--The
  Lauretta captured--The Crenshaw captured--The New York Chamber
  of Commerce cries aloud in Pain--Capture of the Baron de
  Castine, and of the Levi Starbuck--Capture of the T. B.
  Wales--Lady Prisoners                                                479


  The Calm-Belts and the Trade-Winds--The Arrival of the Alabama
  at the Island of Martinique--The Curiosity of the Islanders to
  see the Ship--A Quasi Mutiny among the Crew, and how it was
  quelled                                                              498


  The Alabama at Martinique--Is blockaded by the Enemy's Steamer
  San Jacinto--How she escaped the Old Wagon--The Island of
  Blanquilla, the Alabama's new Rendezvous--Coaling Ship--A
  Yankee Skipper and his Alarm--How the Officers and Men amused
  themselves at this Island--The Alabama sails again--Capture of
  the Parker Cooke, Union, and Steamer Ariel                           514


  The Alabama is disabled by an Accident, and stops to repair her
  Machinery--Proceeds to her New Rendezvous at the Arcas Islands,
  and thence to Galveston--Engagement with the United States
  Steamer Hatteras, which she sinks                                    536


  The Alabama proceeds to Jamaica, where she lands her Prisoners
  and refits--Her Commander visits the Country--Intercourse with
  the English Naval Officers--Earl Russell's Letter--Preparations
  for Sea--A Boat Race by Moonlight, in which Strange Tactics are
  practised--Captain Blake of the Hatteras complains of "Dixie"
  being played by the English Bands--How the Matter is settled         551


  Departure from Jamaica--Capture of the Golden Rule--Coasting
  the Island of Hayti--Capture of the Castelaine--The Old City of
  St. Domingo and its Reminiscences--The Dominican Convent and
  the Palace of Diego Columbus--Capture of the Palmetto, the
  Olive Jane, and the Golden Eagle--How the Roads are blazed out
  upon the Sea--Captain Maury                                          563


  The Crossing of the 30th Parallel--The Toll-Gate upon the Sea--
  How the Travellers pass along the Highway--Capture of the
  Washington; John A. Parks; the Bethia Taylor; the Punjaub; the
  Morning Star; the Kingfisher; the Charles Hill; and the Nora--
  Alabama crosses the Equator--Capture of the Louisa Hatch--
  Arrival at Fernando de Noronha                                       581


  Fernando de Noronha--Its Famous Peak--Is a Penal Settlement of
  Brazil--A Visit from the Governor's Ambassadors--A Visit to the
  Governor in return--The Aristocracy of the Island--Capture of
  the Lafayette and the Kate Cory--Burning of these two Ships
  with the Louisa Hatch--Prisoners sent to Pernambuco--The Cloud
  Ring and the Rainy and Dry Seasons                                   596


  The Alabama leaves Fernando de Noronha for a Cruise on the
  Coast of Brazil--Enters the great Highway, and begins to
  overhaul the Travellers--Capture of the Whalers Nye; Dorcas
  Prince; Union Jack; Sea Lark--A Reverend Consul taken
  Prisoner--Alabama goes into Bahia--What occurred there--Arrival
  of the Georgia--Alabama proceeds to Sea again--Capture of the
  Gildersleeve; the Justina; the Jabez Snow; the Amazonian; and
  the Talisman                                                         610


  The Alabama continues her Cruise on the Coast of Brazil--
  American Ships under English Colors--The Enemy's Carrying-Trade
  in Neutral Bottoms--The Capture of the Conrad--She is
  commissioned as a Confederate States Cruiser--The Highways of
  the Sea, and the Tactics of the Federal Secretary of the Navy--
  The Phenomena of the Winds in the Southern Hemisphere--Arrival
  at Saldanha Bay, on the Coast of Africa                              626


  The connecting Thread of the History of the War taken up--A
  brief Review of the Events of the last twelve Months, during
  which the Alabama has been commissioned--The Alabama arrives at
  Cape Town--Capture of the Sea-Bride--Excitement thereupon--
  Correspondence between the U. S. Consul and the Governor on the
  Subject of the Capture                                               642


  A Gale at Cape Town--The Alabama gets under way for Simon's
  Town--Capture of the Martha Wenzell--The Tuscaloosa--Her
  Status as a Ship of War considered--She proceeds to Sea--The
  Alabama follows her--They, with the Sea-Bride, rendezvous at
  Angra Pequeña                                                        660


  The Alabama on the Indian Ocean--The Passengers questioned, and
  contracted with--The Agulhas Current--The brave West Winds--A
  Theory--The Islands of St. Peter and St. Paul--The Tropic of
  Capricorn--The South-east Trade-Winds, and the Monsoons--The
  Alabama arrives off the Strait of Sunda--Capture of the
  Amanda--Runs in and anchors under the Coast of Sumatra               674


  The Alabama passes through the Strait of Sunda, seeing nothing
  of the Wyoming--Burns the Winged Racer just inside of the
  Strait--The Malay Boatmen, and their Alarm--Alabama makes for
  the Gaspar Strait, and burns the Contest, after an exciting
  Chase--She passes through the Carimata Passage--Discharges her
  Prisoners into an English Ship--Miniature Sea-Serpents--The
  Currents--Island of Pulo Condore--Arrives at Singapore               690


  The Alabama at Singapore--Panic among the Enemy's Shipping in
  the China Seas--The Multitude flock to see the Alabama--Curious
  Rumor concerning a Portion of her Crew--The Author rides to the
  Country and spends a Night--The Chinese in possession of the
  Business of Singapore--Alabama leaves Singapore--Capture of the
  Martaban, alias Texan Star--Alabama touches at Malacca--Capture
  of the Highlander, and Sonora--Alabama once more in the Indian
  Ocean                                                                708


  The Alabama crosses the Bay of Bengal--The Pilgrims to Mecca,
  and how they received her Boarding-Officer--The Burning of the
  Emma Jane--The Town of Anjenga, and the Hindoos--The Great
  Deserts of Central Asia, and the Cotton Crop of Hindoston--The
  Alabama crosses the Arabian Sea--The Animalculæ of the Sea--The
  Comoro Islands--Johanna, and its Arab Population--The Alabama
  passes through the Mozambique Channel--Arrives at the Cape of
  Good Hope                                                            722


  The Alabama again in Cape Town--The Seizure of the Tuscaloosa,
  and the Discussion which grew out of it--Correspondence between
  the Author and Admiral Walker--Action of the Home Government,
  and Release of the Tuscaloosa                                        738


  The Alabama at the Cape of Good Hope--Leaves on her Return to
  Europe--Capture of the Rockingham, and of the Tycoon--She
  crosses the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere, and arrives
  at Cherbourg on the 11th of June, 1864--The Engagement between
  the Alabama and the Kearsarge                                        744


  Other Incidents of the Battle between the Alabama and the
  Kearsarge--The Rescue of a Portion of the Crew of the Alabama
  by the English Steam-Yacht Deerhound--The United States
  Government demands that they be given up--The British
  Government refuses Compliance--The rescued Persons not
  Prisoners--The Inconsistency of the Federal Secretary of the
  Navy                                                                 761


  The Federal Government and the English Steam-Yacht Deerhound--
  Mr. Seward's Despatch--Mr. Lancaster's Letter to the "Daily
  News"--Lord Russell's Reply to Mr. Adams, on the Subject of his
  Complaint against Mr. Lancaster--Presentation of a Sword to the
  Author by the Clubs of England; of a Flag by a Lady                  774


  Author makes a Short Visit to the Continent--Returns to London,
  and embarks on his Return to the Confederate States--Lands at
  Bagdad, near the Mouth of the Rio Grande--Journey through
  Texas--Reaches Louisiana; crosses the Mississippi, and reaches
  his Home after an Absence of four Years                              789


  Author sets out for Richmond--Is two Weeks in making the
  Journey--Interview with President Davis; with General Lee--
  Author is appointed a Rear-Admiral, and ordered to command the
  James River Squadron--Assumes Command--Condition of the Fleet--
  Great Demoralization--The Enemy's Armies gradually increasing
  in Numbers--Lee's Lines broken                                       799


  The Evacuation of Richmond by the Army--The Destruction of the
  James River Fleet--The Sailors of the Fleet converted into
  Soldiers--Their helpless Condition without any Means of
  Transportation--The Conflagration of Richmond, and the Entry of
  the Enemy into the Confederate Capital--The Author improvises a
  Railroad Train, and escapes in it, with his Command, to
  Danville, Va.                                                        807


  Interview with President Davis and Secretary Mallory--Author's
  Command organized as a Brigade of Artillery--The Brigade
  marches to Greensboro', N. C.--Capitulation between General
  Joseph E. Johnston and General Sherman--Dispersion of
  Johnston's Command in Consequence--Author returns Home, and is
  arrested--Conclusion                                                 817




The disruption of the American Union by the war of 1861 was not an
unforeseen event. Patrick Henry, and other patriots who struggled against
the adoption of the Federal Constitution by the Southern States, foretold
it in burning words of prophecy; and when that instrument was adopted,
when the great name and great eloquence of James Madison had borne down
all opposition, Henry and his compatriots seemed particularly anxious that
posterity should be informed of the manly struggle which they had made.
Henry said, "The voice of tradition, I trust, will inform posterity of our
struggles for freedom. If our descendants be worthy of the name of
Americans, they will preserve, and hand down to the latest posterity, the
transactions of the present times; and though I confess my explanations
are not worth the hearing, they will see I have done my utmost to preserve
their liberty."

The wish of these patriotic men has been gratified. The record of their
noble deeds, and all but inspired eloquence, has come down to posterity,
and some, at least, of their descendants, "worthy of the name of
Americans," will accord to them the foremost rank in the long list of
patriots and sages who illustrated and adorned our early annals.

But posterity, too, has a history to record and hand down. We, too, have
struggled to preserve our liberties, and the liberties of those who are to
come after us; and the history of that struggle must not perish. The one
struggle is but the complement of the other, and history would be
incomplete if either were omitted. Events have vindicated the wisdom of
Henry, and those who struggled with him against the adoption of the
Federal Constitution. Events will equally vindicate the wisdom of
Jefferson Davis, and other Confederate patriots, who endeavored to
preserve that Constitution, and hand it down, unimpaired, to their

The wisdom of a movement is not always to be judged by its success.
Principles are eternal, human events are transitory, and it sometimes
takes more than one generation or one revolution to establish a principle.
At first sight, it may appear that there is some discordance between
Patrick Henry and Jefferson Davis, as the one struggled against the
adoption of the Constitution, and the other to preserve it. But they were,
in fact, both engaged in a similar struggle; the object of both being to
preserve the sovereignty of their respective States. Henry did not object
so much to the nature of the partnership, into which his State was about
to enter, as to the nature of the partners with whom she was about to
contract. He saw that the two sections were dissimilar, and that they had
different and antagonistic interests, and he was unwilling to trust to the
_bona fides_ of the other contracting party. "I am sure," said he, "that
the dangers of this system are real, when those who have no similar
interests with the people of this country are to legislate for us--when
our dearest interests are to be left in the hands of those whose advantage
it will be to infringe them."

The North, even at that early day, was in a majority in both houses of
Congress; it would be for the advantage of that majority to infringe the
rights of the South; and Henry, with much more knowledge of human nature
than most of the Southern statesmen of his era, refused to trust that
majority. This was substantially the case with Jefferson Davis and those
of us who followed his lead. We had verified the distrust of Henry. What
had been prophecy with him, had become history with us. We had had
experience of the fact, that our partner-States of the North, who were in
a majority, had trampled upon the rights of the Southern minority, and we
desired, as the only remedy, to dissolve the partnership into which Henry
had objected to entering--not so much because of any defect in the
articles of copartnership, as for want of faith in our copartners.

This was the wisdom of Jefferson Davis and his compatriots, which, I say,
will be vindicated by events. A final separation of these States must
come, or the South will be permanently enslaved. We endeavored to bring
about the separation, and we sacrificed our fortunes, and risked our lives
to accomplish it. Like Patrick Henry, we have done our "utmost to preserve
our liberties;" like him, we have failed, and like him, we desire that our
record shall go down to such of our posterity as may be "worthy of the
name of Americans."

The following memoirs are designed to commemorate a few of the less
important events of our late struggle; but before I enter upon them, I
deem it appropriate to give some "reason for the faith" that was in us, of
the South, who undertook the struggle. The judgment which posterity will
form upon our actions will depend, mainly, upon the answers which we may
be able to give to two questions: First, Had the South the right to
dissolve the compact of government under which it had lived with the
North? and, secondly, Was there sufficient reason for such dissolution? I
do not speak here of the right of revolution--this is inherent in all
peoples, whatever may be their form of government. The very term
"revolution" implies a forcible disruption of government, war, and all the
evils that follow in the train of war. The thirteen original Colonies, the
germ from which have sprung these States, exercised the right of
revolution when they withdrew their allegiance from the parent country.
Not so with the Southern States when they withdrew from their
copartnership with the Northern States. They exercised a higher right.
They did not form a part of a consolidated government, as the Colonies did
of the British Government. They were sovereign, equally with the Northern
States, from which they withdrew, and exercised, as they believed, a
peaceful right, instead of a right of revolution.

Had, then, the Southern States the peaceful right to dissolve the compact
of government under which they had lived with the North? A volume might be
written in reply to this question, but I shall merely glance at it in
these memoirs, referring the student to the history of the formation of
the old Confederacy, prior to the adoption of the Constitution of the
United States; to the "Journal and Debates of the Convention of 1787,"
that formed this latter instrument; to the debates of the several State
Conventions which adopted it, to the "Madison Papers," to the
"Federalist," and to the late very able work of Dr. Bledsoe, entitled "Is
Davis a Traitor?" It will be sufficient for the purpose which I have in
view--that of giving the reader a general outline of the course of
reasoning, by which Southern men justify their conduct in the late war--to
state the leading features of the compact of government which was
dissolved, and a few of its historical surroundings, about which there can
be no dispute.

The close of the War of Independence of 1776 found the thirteen original
Colonies, which had waged that war, sovereign and independent States. They
had, for the purpose of carrying on that war, formed a league, or
confederation, and the articles of this league were still obligatory upon
them. Under these articles, a Federal Government had been established,
charged with a few specific powers, such as conducting the foreign affairs
of the Confederacy, the regulation of commerce, &c. At the formation of
this Government, it was intended that it should be perpetual, and was so
declared. It lasted, notwithstanding, only a few years, for peace was
declared in 1783, and the _perpetual_ Government ceased to exist in 1789.
How did it cease to exist? By the _secession_ of the States.

Soon after the war, a convention of delegates met at Annapolis, in
Maryland, sent thither by the several States, for the purpose of devising
some more perfect means of regulating commerce. This was all the duty with
which they were charged. Upon assembling, it was found that several of the
States were not represented in this Convention, in consequence of which,
the Convention adjourned without transacting any business, and
recommended, in an address prepared by Alexander Hamilton, that a new
convention should be called at Philadelphia, with enlarged powers. "The
Convention," says Hamilton, "are more naturally led to this conclusion, as
in their reflections on the subject, they have been induced to think,
that the power of regulating trade is of such comprehensive extent, and
will enter so far into the great system of the Federal Government, that to
give it efficacy, and to obviate questions and doubts concerning its
precise nature and limits, may require a corresponding adjustment in other
parts of the _Federal_ system. That these are important defects in the
system of the Federal Government is acknowledged by the acts of those
States, which have concurred in the present meeting. That the defects,
upon closer examination, may be found greater and more numerous than even
these acts imply, is at least, so far probable, from the embarrassments
which characterize the present state of our national affairs, foreign and
domestic, as may reasonably be supposed to merit a deliberate and candid
discussion, in some mode which will unite the sentiments and counsels of
all the States."

The reader will observe that the Government of the States, under the
Articles of Confederation, is called a "Federal Government," and that the
object proposed to be accomplished by the meeting of the new Convention at
Philadelphia, was to _amend_ the Constitution of that _Government_.
Northern writers have sought to draw a distinction between the Government
formed under the Articles of Confederation, and that formed by the
Constitution of the United States, calling the one a league, and the other
a government. Here we see Alexander Hamilton calling the Confederation a
government--a Federal Government. It was, indeed, both a league and a
government, as it was formed by sovereign States; just as the Government
of the United States is both a league and a government, for the same

The fact that the laws of the Confederation, passed in pursuance of its
League, or Constitution, were to operate upon the _States_; and the laws
of the United States were to operate upon the _individual citizens_ of the
States, without the intervention of State authority, could make no
difference. This did not make the latter more a government than the
former. The difference was a mere matter of detail, a mere matter of
machinery--nothing more. It did not imply more or less absolute
sovereignty in the one case, than in the other. Whatever of sovereignty
had been granted, had been granted _by the States_, in both instances.

The new Convention met in Philadelphia, on the 14th of May, 1787, with
instructions to devise and discuss "all such _alterations_, and _further_
provisions as may be necessary to render the Federal Constitution adequate
to the exigencies of the Union." We see, thus, that the very Convention
which framed the Constitution of the United States, equally called the
Articles of Confederation a Constitution. It was, then, from a
Constitutional, Federal Government, that the States seceded when they
adopted the present Constitution of the United States! A Convention of the
States assembled with powers only to amend the Constitution; instead of
doing which, it abolished the old form of government altogether, and
recommended a new one, and no one complained. As each State formally and
deliberately adopted the new government, it as formally and deliberately
seceded from the old one; and yet no one heard any talk of a breach of
faith, and still less of treason.

The new government was to go into operation when nine States should adopt
it. But there were thirteen States, and if nine States only acceded to the
new government, the old one would be broken up, as to the other four
States, whether these would or not, and they would be left to provide for
themselves. It was by no means the voluntary breaking up of a compact, _by
all the parties to it_. It was broken up piece-meal, each State acting for
itself, without asking the consent of the others; precisely as the
Southern States acted, with a view to the formation of a new Southern

So far from the movement being unanimous, it was a long time before all
the States came into the new government. Rhode Island, one of the Northern
States, which hounded on the war against the Southern States, retained her
separate sovereignty for two years before she joined the new government,
not uttering one word of complaint, during all that time, that the old
government, of which she had been a member, had been unduly broken up, and
that she had been left to shift for herself. Why was this disruption of
the old government regarded as a matter of course? Simply because it was a
league, or treaty, between sovereign States, from which any one of the
States had the right to withdraw at any time, without consulting the
interest or advantage of the others.

But, say the Northern States, the Constitution of the United States is a
very different thing from the Articles of Confederation. It was formed,
not by the States, but by the people of the United States in the
aggregate, and made all the States one people, one government. It is not a
compact, or league between the States, but an instrument under which they
have surrendered irrevocably their sovereignty. Under it, the Federal
Government has become the paramount authority, and the States are
subordinate to it. We will examine this doctrine, briefly, in another



The two principal expounders of the Constitution of the United States, in
the North, have been Daniel Webster and Joseph Story, both from
Massachusetts. Webster was, for a long time, a Senator in Congress, and
Story a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. The latter has
written an elaborate work on the Constitution, full of sophistry, and not
always very reliable as to its facts. The great effort of both these men
has been to prove, that the Constitution is not a compact between the
States, but an instrument of government, formed by the _people_ of the
United States, as contra-distinguished from the States. They both admit,
that if the Constitution were a compact between the States, the States
would have a right to withdraw from the compact--all agreements between
States, in their sovereign capacity, being, necessarily, of no more
binding force than treaties. These gentlemen are not always very
consistent, for they frequently fall into the error of calling the
Constitution a compact, when they are not arguing this particular
question; in short, it is, and it is not a compact, by turns, according to
the use they intend to make of the argument. Mr. Webster's doctrine of the
Constitution, chiefly relied on by Northern men, is to be found in his
speech of 1833, in reply to Mr. Calhoun. It is in that speech that he
makes the admission, that if the Constitution of the United States is a
compact between the States, the States have the right to withdraw from it
at pleasure. He says, "If a league between sovereign powers have no
limitation as to the time of duration, and contains nothing making it
perpetual, it subsists only during the good pleasure of the parties,
although no violation be complained of. If in the opinion of either party
it be violated, such party may say he will no longer fulfil its
obligations, on his part, but will consider the whole league or compact as
at an end, although it might be one of its stipulations that it should be

In his "Commentaries on the Constitution," Mr. Justice Story says, "The
obvious deductions which may be, and indeed have been drawn, from
considering the Constitution a _compact between States_, are, that it
operates as a mere treaty, or convention between them, and has an
obligatory force no longer than suits their pleasure, or their consent
continues." The plain principles of public law, thus announced by these
distinguished jurists, cannot be controverted. If sovereign States make a
compact, although the object of the compact be the formation of a new
government for their common benefit, they have the right to withdraw from
that compact at pleasure, even though, in the words of Mr. Webster, "it
might be one of its stipulations that it should be perpetual."

There might, undoubtedly, be such a thing as State merger; that is, that
two States, for instance, might agree that the sovereign existence of one
of them should be merged in the other. In which case, the State parting
with its sovereignty could never reclaim it by peaceable means. But where
a State shows no intention of parting with its sovereignty, and, in
connection with other States, all equally jealous of their sovereignty
with herself, only delegates a part of it--never so large a part, if you
please--to a common agent, for the benefit of the whole, there can have
been no merger. This was eminently the case with regard to these United
States. No one can read the "Journal and Debates of the Philadelphia
Convention," or those of the several State Conventions to which the
Constitution was submitted for adoption, without being struck with the
scrupulous care with which all the States guarded their sovereignty. The
Northern States were quite as jealous, in this respect, as the Southern
States. Next to Massachusetts, New Hampshire has been, perhaps, the most
fanatical and bitter of the former States, in the prosecution of the late
war against the South. That State, in her Constitution, adopted in 1792,
three years after the Federal Constitution went into operation, inserted
the following provision, among others, in her declaration of principles:
"The people of this Commonwealth have the sole and exclusive right of
governing themselves as a free, sovereign, and independent State; and do,
and forever hereafter shall exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction,
and right which is not, or may not hereafter be, by them, expressly
delegated to the United States."

Although it was quite clear that the States, when they adopted the
Constitution of the United States, reserved, by implication, all the
sovereign power, rights, and privileges that had not been granted away--as
a power not given is necessarily withheld--yet so jealous were they of the
new government they were forming, that several of them insisted, in their
acts of ratification, that the Constitution should be so amended as
explicitly to declare this truth, and thus put it beyond cavil in the
future. Massachusetts expressed herself as follows, in connection with her
ratification of the Constitution: "As it is the opinion of this
Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in said Constitution
would remove the fears, and quiet the apprehensions of the good people of
the Commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue
administration of the Federal Government, the Convention do, therefore,
recommend that the following alteration and provisions be introduced in
said Constitution: First, that it be explicitly declared, that all powers
not delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several
States, to be by them exercised."

Webster and Story had not yet arisen in Massachusetts, to teach the new
doctrine that the Constitution had been formed by the "_People of the
United States_," in contra-distinction to the people of the States.
Massachusetts did not speak in the name of any such people, but in her own
name. She was not jealous of the remaining people of the United States, as
fractional parts of a whole, of which she was herself a fraction, but she
was jealous of them as _States_; as so many foreign peoples, with whom she
was contracting. The powers not delegated were to be reserved to those
_delegating_ them, to wit: the "_several States_;" that is to say, to each
and every one of the States.

Virginia fought long and sturdily against adopting the Constitution at
all. Henry, Mason, Tyler, and a host of other giants raised their
powerful voices against it, warning their people, in thunder tones, that
they were rushing upon destruction. Tyler even went so far as to say that
"British tyranny would have been more tolerable." So distasteful to her
was the foul embrace that was tendered her, that she not only recommended
an amendment of the Constitution, similar to that which was recommended by
Massachusetts, making explicit reservation of her sovereignty, but she
annexed a condition to her ratification, to the effect that she retained
the right to withdraw the powers which she had granted, "whenever the same
shall be perverted to her injury or oppression."

North Carolina urged the following amendment--the same, substantially, as
that urged by Virginia and Massachusetts: "That each State in the Union
shall respectively [not aggregately] retain every power, jurisdiction, and
right which is not by this Constitution delegated to the Congress of the
United States, or to the departments of the Federal Government."

Pennsylvania guarded her sovereignty by insisting upon the following
amendment: "All the rights of sovereignty which are not, by the said
Constitution, expressly and plainly vested in the Congress, shall be
deemed to remain with, and shall be exercised by the several States in the
Union." The result of this jealousy on the part of the States was the
adoption of the 10th amendment to the Constitution of the United States as
follows: "The powers not delegated to the United States, by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the
States, or to the people."

It is thus clear beyond doubt, that the States not only had no intention
of merging their sovereignty in the new government they were forming, but
that they took special pains to notify each other, as well as their common
agent, of the fact. The language which I have quoted, as used by the
States, in urging the amendments to the Constitution proposed by them, was
the common language of that day. The new government was a federal or
confederate government--in the "Federalist," it is frequently called a
"Confederation"--which had been created by the States for their common use
and benefit; each State taking special pains, as we have seen, to declare
that it retained all the sovereignty which it had not expressly granted
away. And yet, in face of these facts, the doctrine has been boldly
declared, in our day, that the Constitution was formed by the people of
the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, and that it has a force
and vitality independent of the States, which the States are incompetent
to destroy! The perversion is one not so much of doctrine as of history.
It is an issue of fact which we are to try.

It is admitted, that if the fact be as stated by our Northern brethren,
the conclusion follows: It is, indeed, quite plain, that if the States did
not create the Federal Constitution, they cannot destroy it. But it is
admitted, on the other hand, by both Webster and Story, as we have seen,
that if they did create it, they may destroy it; nay, that any one of them
may destroy it as to herself; that is, may withdraw from the compact at
pleasure, with or without reason. It is fortunate for us of the South that
the issue is so plain, as that it may be tried by the record. Sophistry
will sometimes overlie reason and blind men's judgment for generations;
but sophistry, with all its ingenuity, cannot hide a fact. The speeches of
Webster and the commentaries of Story have been unable to hide the fact of
which I speak; it stands emblazoned on every page of our constitutional

Every step that was taken toward the formation of the Constitution of the
United States, from its inception to its adoption, was taken by the
States, and not by the people of the United States in the aggregate. There
was no such people known as the people of the United States, in the
aggregate, at the time of the formation of the Constitution. If there is
any such people now, it was formed by the Constitution. But this is not
the question. The question now is, who formed the Constitution, not what
was formed by it? If it was formed by the States, admit our adversaries,
it may be broken by the States.

The delegates who met at Annapolis were sent thither by the States, and
not by the people of the United States. The Convention of 1787, which
formed the Constitution, was equally composed of members sent to
Philadelphia by the States. James Madison was chosen by the people of
Virginia, and not by the people of New York; and Alexander Hamilton was
chosen by the people of New York, and not by the people of Virginia. Every
article, section, and paragraph of the Constitution was voted for, or
against, by States; the little State of Delaware, not much larger than a
single county of New York, off-setting the vote of that great State.

And when the Constitution was formed, to whom was it submitted for
ratification? Was there any convention of the people of the United States
in the aggregate, as one nation, called for the purpose of considering it?
Did not each State, on the contrary, call its own convention? and did not
some of the States accept it, and some of them refuse to accept it? It was
provided that when nine States should accept it, it should go into
operation; was it pretended that the vote of these nine States was to bind
the others? Is it not a fact, on the contrary, that the vote of eleven
States did _not_ bind the other two? Where was that great constituency,
composed of the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one
nation, all this time?

"But," say those who are opposed to us in this argument, "look at the
instrument itself, and you will see that it was framed by the people of
the United States, and not by the States. Does not its Preamble read thus:
'We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect
Union, &c., do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United
States of America'?" Perhaps there has never been a greater literary and
historical fraud practised upon any people, than has been attempted in the
use to which these words have been put. And, perhaps, no equal number of
reading and intelligent men has ever before submitted so blindly and
docilely to be imposed upon by literary quackery and the legerdemain of
words, as our fellow-citizens of the North have in accepting Webster's and
Story's version of the preamble of the Constitution.

A brief history of the manner, in which the words, "We, the people," &c.,
came to be adopted by the Convention which framed the Constitution, will
sufficiently expose the baldness of the cheat. The only wonder is, that
such men as Webster and Story should have risked their reputations with
posterity, on a construction which may so easily be shown to be a
falsification of the facts of history. Mr. Webster, in his celebrated
speech in the Senate, in 1833, in reply to Mr. Calhoun, made this bold
declaration: "The Constitution itself, in its very front, declares, that
it was ordained and established by the people of the United States in the
aggregate!" From that day to this, this declaration of Mr. Webster has
been the chief foundation on which all the constitutional lawyers of the
North have built their arguments against the rights of the States as
sovereign copartners.

If the Preamble of the Constitution stood alone, without the lights of
contemporaneous history to reveal its true character, there might be some
force in Mr. Webster's position; but, unfortunately for him and his
followers, he has _misstated a fact_. It is not true, as every reader of
constitutional history must know, that the Constitution of the United
States was ordained by the people of the United States in the aggregate;
nor did the Preamble to the Constitution _mean to assert_ that it was
true. The great names of Webster, and Story have been lent to a palpable
falsification of history, and as a result of that falsification, a great
war has ensued, which has sacrificed its hecatomb of victims, and
desolated, and nearly destroyed an entire people. The poet did not say,
without reason, that "words are things." Now let us strip off the
disguises worn by these word-mongers, and see where the truth really lies.
Probably some of my readers will learn, for the first time, the reasons
which induced the framers of the Constitution to adopt the phraseology,
"We, the people," &c., in the formation of their Preamble to that
instrument. In the original draft of the Constitution, the States, by
name, were mentioned, as had been done in the Articles of Confederation.
The States had formed the old Confederation, the States were equally
forming the new Confederation; hence the Convention naturally followed in
their Preamble the form which had been set them in the old Constitution,
or Articles. This Preamble, purporting that the work of forming the new
government was being done by the States, remained at the head of the
instrument _during all the deliberations of the Convention_, and no one
member ever objected to it. It expressed a fact which no one thought of
denying. It is thus a fact beyond question, not only that the
Constitution was framed by the States, but that the Convention so
proclaimed in "_front of the instrument_."

Having been framed by the States, was it afterward adopted, or "ordained
and established," to use the words of Mr. Webster, by the people of the
United States, in the aggregate, and was this the reason why the words
were changed? There were in the Convention several members in favor of
submitting the instrument to the people of the United States in the
aggregate, and thereby accomplishing their favorite object of establishing
a consolidated government--Alexander Hamilton and Gouverneur Morris among
the number. On the "Journal of the Convention," the following record is
found: "Gouverneur Morris moved that the reference of the plan [i. e. of
the Constitution] be made to one General Convention, chosen and authorized
by the people, to consider, amend, and establish the same." Thus the
question, as to who should "ordain and establish" the Constitution,
whether it should be the people in the aggregate, or the people of the
States, was clearly presented to the Convention. How did the Convention
vote on this proposition? The reader will perhaps be surprised to learn,
that the question was not even brought to a vote, for want of a second;
and yet this is the fact recorded by the Convention.

The reader who has read Mr. Madison's articles in the "Federalist," and
his speeches before the Virginia Convention, in favor of the ratification
of the Constitution, will perhaps be surprised to learn that he, too, made
a somewhat similar motion. He was not in favor, it is true, of referring
the instrument for adoption to a General Convention of the whole people,
alone, but he was in favor of referring it to such a Convention, in
connection with Conventions to be called by the States, thus securing a
joint or double ratification, by the people of the United States in the
aggregate, and by the States; the effect of which would have been to make
the new government a still more complex affair, and to muddle still
further the brains of Mr. Webster and Mr. Justice Story. But this motion
failed also, and the Constitution was referred to the States for adoption.

But now a new question arose, which was, whether the Constitution was to
be "ordained and established" by the legislatures of the States, or by
the people of the States in Convention. All were agreed, as we have seen,
that the instrument should be referred to the States. This had been
settled; but there were differences of opinion as to how the States should
act upon it. Some were in favor of permitting each of the States to
choose, for itself, how it would ratify it; others were in favor of
referring it to the legislatures, and others, again, to the people of the
States in Convention. It was finally decided that it should be referred to
Conventions of the people, in the different States.

This being done, their work was completed, and it only remained to refer
the rough draft of the instrument to the "Committee on Style," to prune
and polish it a little--to lop off a word here, and change or add a word
there, the better to conform the language to the sense, and to the
proprieties of grammar and rhetoric. The Preamble, as it stood, at once
presented a difficulty. All the thirteen States were named in it as
adopting the instrument, but it had been provided, in the course of its
deliberations by the Convention, that the new government should go into
effect if nine States adopted it. Who could tell which these nine States
would be? It was plainly impossible to enumerate all the States--for all
of them might not adopt it--or any particular number of them, as adopting
the instrument.

Further, it having been determined, as we have seen, that the Constitution
should be adopted by the people of the several States, as
contra-distinguished from the legislatures of the States, the phraseology
of the Preamble must be made to express this idea also. To meet these two
new demands upon the phraseology of the instrument, the Committee on Style
adopted the expression, "We, the people of the United States,"--meaning,
as every one must see, "We, the people of the several States united by
this instrument." And this is the foundation that the Northern advocates
of a consolidated government build upon, when they declare that the people
of the United States in the aggregate, as one nation, adopted the
Constitution, and thus gave the fundamental law to the States, instead of
the States giving it to the Federal Government.

It is well known that this phrase, "We, the people," &c., became a
subject of discussion in the Virginia ratifying Convention. Patrick Henry,
with the prevision of a prophet, was, as we have seen, bitterly opposed to
the adoption of the Constitution. He was its enemy _a l'outrance_. Not
having been a member of the Convention, of 1787, that framed the
instrument, and being unacquainted with the circumstances above detailed,
relative to the change which had been made in the phraseology of its
Preamble, he attacked the Constitution on the very ground since assumed by
Webster and Story, to wit: that the instrument itself proclaimed that it
had been "ordained and established" by the people of the United States in
the aggregate, instead of the people of the States. Mr. Madison replied to
Henry on this occasion. Madison had been in the Convention, knew, of
course, all about the change of phraseology in question, and this was his
reply: "The parties to it [the Constitution] were the people, but not the
people as composing one great society, but the people as composing
thirteen sovereignties. If it were a consolidated government," continued
he, "the assent of a majority of the people would be sufficient to
establish it. But it was to be binding on the people of a State only by
their own separate consent." There was, of course, nothing more to be
said, and the Virginia Convention adopted the Constitution.

Madison has been called the Father of the Constitution. Next to him,
Alexander Hamilton bore the most conspicuous part in procuring it to be
adopted by the people. Hamilton, as is well known, did not believe much in
republics; and least of all did he believe in federal republics. His great
object was to establish a consolidated republic, if we must have a
republic at all. He labored zealously for this purpose, but failed. The
States, without an exception, were in favor of the federal form; and no
one knew better than Hamilton the kind of government which had been

Now let us hear what Hamilton, an unwilling, but an honest witness, says
on this subject. Of the eighty-five articles in the "Federalist," Hamilton
wrote no less than fifty. Having failed to procure the establishment of a
consolidated government, his next great object was, to procure the
adoption by the States of the present Constitution, and to this task,
accordingly, he now addressed his great intellect and powerful energies.
In turning over the pages of the "Federalist," we can scarcely go amiss in
quoting Hamilton, to the point that the Constitution is a compact between
the States, and not an emanation from the people of the United States in
the aggregate. Let us take up the final article, for instance, the 85th.
In this article we find the following expressions: "The compacts which are
to embrace thirteen distinct States in a common bond of amity and Union,
must necessarily be compromises of as many dissimilar interests and
inclinations." Again: "The moment an alteration is made in the present
plan, it becomes, to the purpose of adoption, a new one, and must undergo
a new decision of each State. To its complete establishment throughout the
Union, it will, therefore, require the concurrence of thirteen States."

And again: "Every Constitution for the United States must, inevitably,
consist of a great variety of particulars, in which thirteen _Independent
States_ are to be accommodated in their interests, or opinions of
interests. * * * Hence the necessity of moulding and arranging all the
particulars which are to compose the whole in such a manner as to satisfy
all the _parties to the compact_." Thus, we do not hear Hamilton, any more
than Madison, talking of a "people of the United States in the aggregate"
as having anything to do with the formation of the new charter of
government. He speaks only of States, and of compacts made or to be made
by States.

In view of the great importance of the question, whether it was the people
of the United States in the aggregate who "ordained and established" the
Constitution, or the States,--for this, indeed, is the whole _gist_ of the
controversy between the North and South,--I have dwelt somewhat at length
on the subject, and had recourse to contemporaneous history; but this was
scarcely necessary. The Constitution itself settles the whole controversy.
The 7th article of that instrument reads as follows: "The ratification of
the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment
of the Constitution between the States so ratifying the same." How is it
possible to reconcile this short, explicit, and unambiguous provision with
the theory I am combating? The Preamble, as explained by the Northern
consolidationists, and this article, cannot possibly stand together. It is
not possible that the people of the United States in the aggregate, as one
nation, "ordained and established" the Constitution, and that the States
ordained and established it at the same time; for there was but one set of
Conventions called, and these Conventions were called by the States, and
acted in the names of the States.

Mr. Madison did, indeed, endeavor to have the ratification made in both
modes, but his motion in the Convention to this effect failed, as we have
seen. Further, how could the Constitution be binding only between the
States that ratified it, if it was not ratified--that is, not "ordained
and established"--by them at all, but by the people of the United States
in the aggregate? As remarked by Mr. Madison, in the Virginia Convention,
a ratification by the people, in the sense in which this term is used by
the Northern consolidationists, would have bound all the people, and there
would have been no option left the dissenting States. But the 7th article
says that they shall have an option, and that the instrument is to be
binding only _between such of them as ratify it_.

With all due deference, then, to others who have written upon this vexed
question, and who have differed from me in opinion, I must insist that the
proof is conclusive that the Constitution is a compact between the States;
and this being so, we have the admission of both Mr. Webster and Justice
Story that any one of the States may withdraw from it at pleasure.



One of the great difficulties in arguing the question of the relative
power of the States and of the Federal Government, consists in the fact
that the present generation has grown up under the shadow of the great
Federal monster, and has been blinded by its giant proportions. They see
around them all the paraphernalia and power of a great government--its
splendid capital, its armies, its fleets, its Chief Magistrate, its
legislature, and its judiciary--and they find it difficult to realize the
fact, that all this grandeur is not self-created, but the offspring of the

When our late troubles were culminating, men were heard frequently to
exclaim, with plaintive energy, "What! have we no government capable of
preserving itself? Is our Government a mere rope of sand, that may be
destroyed at the will of the States?" These men seemed to think that there
was but one government to be preserved, and that that was the Government
of the United States. Less than a century had elapsed since the adoption
of the Constitution, and the generation now on the theatre of events had
seemingly forgotten, that the magnificent structure, which they
contemplated with so much admiration, was but a creature of the States;
that it had been made by them for their convenience, and necessarily held
the tenure of its life at sufferance. They lost sight of the fact that the
State governments, who were the creators of the Federal Government, were
the governments to be preserved, if there should be any antagonism between
them and the Federal Government; and that their services, as well as
their sympathies, belonged to the former in preference to the latter. What
with the teachings of Webster and Story, and a host of satellites, the
dazzling splendor of the Federal Government, and the overshadowing and
corrupting influences of its power, nearly a whole generation in the North
had grown up in ignorance of the true nature of the institutions, under
which they lived.

This change in the education of the people had taken place since about the
year 1830; for, up to that time, both of the great political parties of
the country, the Whigs as well as the Democrats, had been State-Rights in
doctrine. A very common error has prevailed on this subject. It has been
said, that the North and the South have always been widely separated in
their views of the Constitution; that the men of the North have always
been consolidationists, whilst the men of the South have been
secessionists. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Whilst the North and
the South, from the very commencement of the Government, have been at
swords' points, on many questions of mere construction and policy,--the
North claiming that more ample powers had been granted the Federal
Government, than the South was willing to concede,--there never was any
material difference between them down to the year 1830, as to the true
nature of their Government. They all held it to be a federal compact, and
the Northern people were as jealous of the rights of their States under
it, as the Southern people.

In proof of this, I have only to refer to a few of the well-known facts of
our political history. Thomas Jefferson penned the famous Kentucky
Resolutions of '98 and '99. The first of those resolutions is in these
words: "_Resolved_, That the several States comprising the United States
of America are not united on the principles of unlimited submission to
their general Government; but that by a compact, under the style and title
of the Constitution of the United States, and of amendments thereto, they
constitute a general Government for special purposes; and that whensoever
the general Government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are
unauthoritative, void and of no force; that to this compact each State
acceded as a State, and is an integral party, its co-States forming, as to
itself, the other party; that the government created by this compact was
not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers
delegated to itself, since that would have made its discretion, not the
Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all cases of
compact among persons having no common judge, each party has an equal
right to judge for itself, as well of infractions, as of the mode and
measure of redress."

It is unnecessary to quote the other resolution, as the above contains all
that is sufficient for my purpose, which is to show that Mr. Jefferson was
a secessionist, and that _with this record_ he went before the American
people as a candidate for the Presidency, with the following results: In
1800 he beat his opponent, John Adams, who represented the
consolidationists of that day, by a majority of 8 votes in the Electoral
College. In 1804, being a candidate for re-election, he beat his opponent
by the overwhelming majority of 162, to 14 votes. In the Northern States
alone, Mr. Jefferson received 85 votes, whilst in the same States his
opponent received but 9. This was a pretty considerable indorsement of
secession by the Northern States.

In 1808, Mr. Madison, who penned the Virginia Resolutions of '98, similar
in tenor to the Kentucky Resolutions, became a candidate for the
Presidency, and beat his opponent by a vote of 122 to 47; the Northern
majority, though somewhat diminished, being still 50 to 39 votes. Mr.
Madison was re-elected in 1812, and in 1816, James Monroe was elected
President by a vote of 183 to his opponent's 34; and more than one half of
these 183 votes came from the Northern States. In 1820, Mr. Monroe was
re-elected over John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, by a majority of 231
votes to 13. Besides Monroe and Adams, Crawford and Jackson were also
candidates, but these two latter received only 11 votes between them. This
last election is especially remarkable, as showing that there was no
opposition to Jefferson's doctrine of State-Rights, since _all_ the
candidates were of that creed. The opposition had been so often defeated,
and routed in former elections, that they had not strength enough left to
put a candidate in the field.

John Quincy Adams succeeded Mr. Monroe, and his State-Rights doctrines
are well known. He expressed them as follows: "The indissoluble link of
union between the people of the several States of this confederated
nation, is, after all, not in the _right_, but in the _heart_. If the day
should ever come (may heaven avert it) when the affections of the people
of these States shall be alienated from each other; when the fraternal
spirit shall give way to cold indifference, or _collision of interests
shall fester into hatred_, the bands of political association will not
long hold together parties, no longer attracted by the magnetism of
conciliated interests, and kindly sympathies; and _far better will it be
for the people of the dis-united States to part in friendship with each
other, than to be held together by constraint_. Then will be the time
for reverting to the precedents, which occurred at the formation, and
adoption of the Constitution, to form again a more perfect union, by
dissolving that which could no longer bind, and to leave the separated
parts to be reunited _by the law of political gravitation to the centre_."

General Jackson succeeded Mr. Adams in 1828, and was re-elected in 1832.
It was during his administration that the _heresy_ was first promulgated
by Mr. Webster, that the Constitution was not a compact between the
States, but an instrument of government, "ordained, and established," by
the people of the United States, in the aggregate, as one nation. With
respect to the New England States in particular, there is other and more
pointed evidence, that they agreed with Mr. Jefferson, and the South down
to the year 1830, on this question of State rights, than is implied in the
Presidential elections above quoted. Massachusetts, the leader of these
States in intellect, and in energy, impatient of control herself, has
always sought to control others. This was, perhaps, but natural. All
mankind are prone to consult their own interests. Selfishness,
unfortunately, is one of the vices of our nature, which few are found
capable of struggling against effectually.

The New England people were largely imbued with the Puritan element. Their
religious doctrines gave them a gloomy asceticism of character, and an
intolerance of other men's opinions quite remarkable. In their earlier
history as colonists, there is much in the way of uncharitableness and
persecution, which a liberal mind could wish to see blotted out. True to
these characteristics, which I may almost call instincts, the New England
States have always been the most refractory States of the Union. As long
as they were in a minority, and hopeless of the control of the Government,
they stood strictly on their State rights, in resisting such measures as
were unpalatable to them, even to the extremity of threatening secession;
and it was only when they saw that the tables were turned, and that it was
possible for them to seize the reins of the Government, that they
abandoned their State-Rights doctrines, and became consolidationists.

One of the first causes of the dissatisfaction of the New England States
with the General Government was the purchase of Louisiana, by Mr.
Jefferson, in 1803. It arose out of their jealousy of the balance of power
between the States. The advantages to result to the United States from the
purchase of this territory were patent to every one. It completed the
continuity of our territory, from the head waters of the Mississippi, to
the sea, and unlocked the mouths of that great river. But Massachusetts
saw in the purchase, nothing more than the creation of additional Southern
States, to contest, with her, the future control of the Government. She
could see no authority for it in the Constitution, and she threatened,
that if it were consummated, she would secede from the Union. Her
Legislature passed the following resolution on the subject: "_Resolved_,
That the annexation of Louisiana to the Union, transcends the
Constitutional power of the Government of the United States. It formed a
new Confederacy, to which the States [not the people of the United States,
in the aggregate] united by the former compact, are not bound to adhere."

This purchase of Louisiana rankled, for a long time, in the breast of New
England. It was made, as we have seen, in 1803, and in 1811 the subject
again came up for consideration; this time, in the shape of a bill before
Congress for the admission of Louisiana as a State. One of the most able
and influential members of Congress of that day from Massachusetts was Mr.
Josiah Quincy. In a speech on this bill, that gentlemen uttered the
following declaration: "If this bill passes, it is my deliberate opinion
that it is virtually a dissolution of the Union; that it will free the
States from their moral obligation, and as it will be the right of all, so
it will be the duty of some definitely to prepare for separation,
amicably if they can, violently if they must."

Time passed on, and the difficulties which led to our War of 1812, with
Great Britain, began to rise above the political horizon. Great Britain
began to impress seamen from New England merchant ships, and even went so
far, at last, as to take some enlisted men from on board the United States
ship of war Chesapeake. Massachusetts was furious; she insisted that war
should be declared forthwith against Great Britain. The Southern States,
which had comparatively little interest in this matter, except so far as
the federal honor was concerned, came generously to the rescue of the
shipping States, and war was declared. But the first burst of her passion
having spent itself, Massachusetts found that she had been indiscreet; her
shipping began to suffer more than she had anticipated, and she began now
to cry aloud as one in pain. She denounced the war, and the Administration
which was carrying it on; and not content with this, in connection with
other New England States, she organized a Convention, at Hartford, in
Connecticut, with a view to adopt some ulterior measures. We find the
following among the records of that Convention: "Events may prove, that
the causes of our calamities are deep, and permanent. They may be found to
proceed not merely from blindness of prejudice, pride of opinion, violence
of party spirit, or the confusion of the times; but they may be traced to
implacable combinations, of individuals, _or of States_, to monopolize
office, and to trample, without remorse, upon the rights and interests of
the commercial sections of the Union. Whenever it shall appear, that these
causes are radical, and permanent, _a separation by equitable arrangement,
will be preferable to an alliance, by constraint, among nominal friends
but real enemies, inflamed by mutual hatred, and jealousy, and inviting,
by intestine divisions, contempt and aggressions from abroad_." Having
recorded this opinion of what should be the policy of the New England
States, in the category mentioned, the "Journal of the Convention" goes on
to declare what it considers the right of the States, in the premises.
"That acts of Congress, in violation of the Constitution, are absolutely
void, is an indisputable position. It does not, however, consist with the
respect, from a _Confederate State_ toward the General Government, to fly
to open resistance, upon every infraction of the Constitution. The mode,
and the energy of the opposition should always conform to the nature of
the violation, the intention of the authors, the extent of the evil
inflicted, the determination manifested to persist in it, and the danger
of delay. But in case of deliberate, dangerous, and palpable infractions
of the Constitution, _affecting the sovereignty of the State_, and
liberties of the people, it is not only the right, but the _duty_, of each
State _to interpose its authority_ for their protection, in the manner
best calculated to secure that end. When emergencies occur, which are
either beyond the reach of judicial tribunals, or too pressing to admit of
the delay incident to their forms, _States_, which have no common umpire,
_must be their own judges_, and _execute their own decisions_." These
proceedings took place in January, 1815. A deputation was appointed to lay
the complaints of New England before the Federal Government, and there is
no predicting what might have occurred, if the delegates had not found,
that peace had been declared, when they arrived at Washington.

It thus appears, that from 1803-4 to 1815, New England was constantly in
the habit of speaking of the dissolution of the Union--her leading men
deducing this right from the nature of the compact between the States. It
is curious and instructive, and will well repay the perusal, to read the
"Journal of the Hartford Convention," so replete is it with sound
constitutional doctrine. It abounds in such expressions as these: "The
constitutional compact;" "It must be the duty of the State to watch over
the rights _reserved_, as of the United States to exercise the powers
_which were delegated_;" the right of conscription is "not delegated to
Congress by the Constitution, and the exercise of it would not be less
dangerous to their liberties, than hostile to the _sovereignty of the
States_." The odium which has justly fallen upon the Hartford Convention,
has not been because of its doctrines, for these were as sound, as we have
seen, as the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of '98 and '99, but because
it was a secret conclave, gotten together, _in a time of war_, when the
country was hard pressed by a foreign enemy; the war having, in fact, been
undertaken for the benefit of the very shipping States which were
threatening to dissolve the Union on account of it.

Mr. John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, himself,
as is well known, a Massachusetts man, speaking of this dissatisfaction of
the New England States with the Federal Government, says: "That their
object was, and had been, for several years, a dissolution of the Union
and the establishment of a separate Confederation, he knew from
unequivocal evidence, although not provable in a court of law; and that in
case of a civil war, the aid of Great Britain, to effect that purpose,
would be assuredly resorted to, as it would be indispensably necessary to
their design." See Mr. Adams' letter of Dec. 30th, 1828, in reply to
Harrison Gray Otis and others.

We have thus seen, that for forty years, or from the foundation of the
Federal Government, to 1830, there was no material difference of opinion
between the sections, as to the nature of the league or compact of
government which they had formed. There was this difference between the
sections, however. The South, during this entire period of forty years,
had substantially controlled the Government; not by force, it is true, of
her own majorities, but with the aid of a few of the Northern States. She
was the dominant or ruling power in the Government. During all this time,
she conscientiously adhered to her convictions, and respected the rights
of the minority, though she might have wielded her power, if she had been
so inclined, to her own advantage.

Constitutions are made for the protection of minorities, and she
scrupulously adhered to this idea. Minorities naturally cling to the
guarantees and defences provided for them in the fundamental law; it is
only when they become strong, when they throw off their pupilage, and
become majorities, that their principles and their virtues are really
tested. It is in politics, as in religion--the weaker party is always the
tolerant party. Did the North follow this example set her by the South?
No; the moment she became strong enough, she recanted all the doctrines
under which she had sought shelter, tore the Constitution into fragments,
scattered it to the winds; and finally, when the South threw herself on
the defensive, as Massachusetts had threatened to do, in 1803 and 1815,
she subjugated her.

What was the powerful motive which thus induced the North to overthrow the
government which it had labored so assiduously with the South to
establish, and which it had construed in common with the South, for the
period of forty years? It was the motive which generally influences human
conduct; it was the same motive which Patrick Henry had so clearly
foreseen, when he warned the people of Virginia against entering into the
federal compact; telling them, that interested majorities never had, in
the history of the world, and never would respect the rights of

The great "American System," as it has been called, had in the meantime
arisen, championed by no less a personage than Henry Clay of Kentucky. In
1824, and again in 1828, oppressive tariffs had been enacted for the
protection of New England manufacturers. The North was manufacturing, the
South non-manufacturing. The effect of these tariffs was to shut out all
foreign competition, and compel the Southern consumer to pay two prices
for all the textile fabrics he consumed, from the clothing of his negroes
to his own broadcloth coats. So oppressive, unjust, and unconstitutional
were these acts considered, that South Carolina nullified them in 1830.
Immediately all New England was arrayed against South Carolina. An entire
and rapid change took place in the political creed of that section. New
England orators and jurists rose up to proclaim that the Constitution was
not a compact between the States. Webster thundered in the Senate, and
Story wrote his "Commentaries on the Constitution." These giants had a
herculean task before them; nothing less than the falsifying of the whole
political history of the country, for the previous forty years; but their
barren and inhospitable section of the country had been touched by the
enchanter's wand, and its rocky hills, and sterile fields, incapable of
yielding even a scanty subsistence to its numerous population, were to
become glad with the music of the spindle and the shuttle; and the giants
undertook the task! How well they have accomplished it, the reader will
see, in the course of these pages, when, toward the conclusion of my
narrative, he will be called upon to view the fragments of the grand old
Constitution, which has been shattered, and which will lie in such
mournful profusion around him; the monuments at once of the folly and
crimes of a people, who have broken up a government--a free
government--which might else have endured for centuries.



A few more words, and we shall be in a condition to answer the question
which stands at the head of this chapter. Being a legal question, it will
depend entirely upon the constitutional right the Southern States may have
had to withdraw from the Union, without reference to considerations of
expediency, or of moral right; these latter will be more appropriately
considered, when we come to speak of the causes which impelled the
Southern States to the step. I have combated many of the arguments
presented by the other side, but a few others remain to be noticed.

It has been said, that, admitting that the Constitution was a federal
compact, yet the States did in fact cede away a part of their sovereignty,
and from this the inference has been deduced, that they no longer remained
sovereign for the purpose of recalling the part, which had been ceded
away. This is a question which arises wholly under the laws of nations. It
is admitted, that the States were independent sovereignties, before they
formed the Constitution. We have only, therefore, to consult the
international code, to ascertain to what extent the granting away of a
portion of their sovereignty affected the remainder. Vattel, treating of
this identical point, speaks as follows: "Several sovereign and
independent States may unite themselves together by a perpetual
confederacy, without ceasing to be, each individually, a perfect State.
They will, together, constitute a federal republic; their joint
deliberations will not impair the sovereignty of each member, though they
may, in certain respects, _put some restraint upon the exercise of it_, in
virtue of _voluntary_ engagements." That was just what the American States
did, when they formed the Federal Constitution; they put some voluntary
restraint upon their sovereignty, for the furtherance of a common object.

If they are restrained, by the Constitution, from doing certain things,
the restraint was self-imposed, for it was they who ordained, and
established the instrument, and not a common superior. They, each, agreed
that they would forbear to do certain things, if their copartners would
forbear to do the same things. As plain as this seems, no less an
authority than that of Mr. Webster has denied it; for, in his celebrated
argument against Mr. Calhoun, already referred to, he triumphantly
exclaimed, that the States were not sovereign, because _they were
restrained of a portion of their liberty by the Constitution_. See how he
perverts the whole tenor of the instrument, in his endeavor to build up
those manufactories of which we spoke in the last chapter. He says:
"However men may think this ought to be, the fact is, that _the people of
the United States_ have chosen to _impose control_ on State sovereignty.
There are those, doubtless, who wish that they had been left without
restraint; but the Constitution has ordered the matter differently. To
make war, for instance, is an exercise of sovereignty, but, the
Constitution declares that no State shall declare war. To coin money is
another act of sovereign power; but no State is at liberty to coin money.
Again, the Constitution says, that no sovereign State shall be so
sovereign, as to make a treaty. These prohibitions, it must be confessed,
are a control on the State sovereignty of South Carolina, as well as of
the other States, which does not arise from her feelings of honorable

Here we see, plainly, the germ of the monstrous heresy that has riven the
States asunder, in our day. The "people of the United States," a common
superior, ordained and established the Constitution, says Mr. Webster, and
imposed restraints upon the States! However some might wish they had been
left without restraint, the Constitution has "_ordained it differently_!"
And the ostrich stomach of the North received, and digested this monstrous
perversion of the plainest historical truth, in order that the spindle
might whirr on, and the shuttle dance from side to side of the loom.

Following the idea of Mr. Webster, that the people of the United States
gave constitutional law to the States, instead of receiving it from them,
Northern writers frequently ask, in what part of the Constitution, is the
doctrine of secession found? In no part. It was not necessary to put it
there. The States who formed the instrument, delegated certain powers to
the Federal Government, retaining all others. Did they part, with the
right of secession? Could they have parted with it, without consenting to
a merger of their sovereignty? And so far from doing this, we have seen
with what jealous care they protested against even the implication of such
a merger, in the 10th amendment to the Constitution. If the power was not
parted with, by explicit grant, did it not remain to them, even before the
10th amendment was adopted, and still more, if possible, after it was

To make it still more apparent, that the common understanding among the
Fathers of the Constitution was, that this right of secession was
reserved, it is only necessary to refer to what took place, during the
transition from the old to the new government. The thirteen original
States seceded, as we have seen, from the Articles of Confederation, not
unanimously, or all together, but one by one, each State acting for
itself, without consulting the interests, or inclinations of the others.
One of the provisions of those Articles was as follows: "Every State shall
abide by the determination of the United States, in Congress assembled, in
all questions, which, by this Confederation, are submitted to them; and
the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every
State, and the Union shall be _perpetual_; nor shall any alteration, at
any time hereafter, be made in any of them, unless such alteration be
agreed to, in a Congress of the United States, and be afterward confirmed
_by the legislature of every State_."

Now, it is a pertinent, and instructive fact, that no similar provision of
perpetuity was engrafted in the new Constitution. There must have been a
motive for this--it could not have been a mere accidental omission--and
the motive probably was, that the Convention of 1787 were ashamed to
attempt, a second time, to bind sovereign States, by _a rope of sand_,
which they, themselves, were in the act of pulling asunder. It was in
accordance with this understanding, that both New York and Virginia, in
their ratifications of the new Constitution, expressly reserved to
themselves the right of secession; and no objection was made to such
conditional ratifications. The reservations made by these States enure, as
a matter of course, to the benefit of all the States, as they were all to
go into the new Union, on precisely the same footing.

In the extract from Mr. Webster's speech, which has been given above, it
is alleged among other things, that the States are not sovereign, because
they cannot make treaties; and this disability also has been urged as an
argument against secession. The disability, like others, was self-imposed,
and, as any one may see, was intended to be binding on the States only so
long as the contract which they were then forming should endure. The
Confederate States respected this obligation while they remained in the
Federal Union. They scrupulously forbore from contracting with each other
until they had resumed, each for itself, their original sovereignty; they
were then not only free to contract with each other, but to do and perform
all the other acts enumerated by Mr. Webster; the act of declaring war
included, even though this war should be against their late confederates.

The truth is, the more we sift these arguments of our late enemies, the
less real merit there appears in them. The facts of history are too
stubborn, and refuse to be bent to conform to the new doctrines. We see it
emblazoned on every page of American history for forty years, that the
Constitution was a compact between the States; that the Federal Government
was created, by, and for the benefit of the States, and possessed and
could possess no other power than such as was conferred upon it by the
States; that the States reserved to themselves all the powers not granted,
and that they took especial pains to guard their sovereignty, in terms, by
an amendment to the Constitution, lest, by possibility, their intentions
in the formation of the new government, should be misconstrued.

In the course of time this government is perverted from its original
design. Instead of remaining the faithful and impartial agent of all the
States, a faction obtains control of it, in the interests of some of them,
and turns it, as an engine of oppression, against the others. These
latter, after long and patient suffering, after having exhausted all
their means of defence, within the Union, withdraw from the agent the
powers which they had conferred upon him, form a new Confederacy, and
desire "to be let alone." And what is the consequence? They are denounced
as rebels and traitors, armies are equipped, and fleets provided, and a
war of subjugation is waged against them. What says the reader? Does he
see rebellion and treason lurking in the conduct of these States? Are
they, indeed, in his opinion, in face of the record which he has
inspected, so bereft of their sovereignty, as to be incapable of defending
themselves, except with halters around the necks of their citizens?

Let us examine this latter question of halters for a moment. The States
existed before the Federal Government; the citizens of the States owed
allegiance to their respective States, and to none others. By what process
was any portion of this allegiance transferred to the Federal Government,
and to what extent was it transferred? It was transferred by the States,
themselves, when they entered into the federal compact, and not by the
individual citizens, for these had no power to make such a transfer.
Although it be admitted, that a citizen of any one of the States may have
had the right to expatriate himself entirely--and this was not so clear a
doctrine at that day--and transfer his allegiance to another government,
yet it is quite certain, that he could not, _ex mero motu_, divide his
allegiance. His allegiance then was transferred to the Federal Government,
by his State, whether he would or not.

Take the case of Patrick Henry, for example. He resisted the adoption of
the Federal Constitution, by the State of Virginia, with all the energies
of an ardent nature, solemnly believing that his State was committing
suicide. And yet, when Virginia did adopt that Constitution, he became, by
virtue of that act, a citizen of the United States, and owed allegiance to
the Federal Government. He had been born in the hallowed old Commonwealth.
In the days of his boyhood he had played on the banks of the Appomattox,
and fished in its waters. As he grew to man's estate, all his cherished
hopes and aspirations clustered around his beloved State. The bones of his
ancestors were interred in her soil; his loves, his joys, his sorrows
were all centred there. In short, he felt the inspiration of patriotism,
that noble sentiment which nerves men to do, and dare, unto the death, for
their native soil. Will it be said, _can_ it be said, without revolting
all the best feelings of the human heart, that if Patrick Henry had lived
to see a war of subjugation waged against his native State, he would have
been a traitor for striking in her defence? Was this one of the results
which our ancestors designed, when they framed the federal compact? It
would be uncharitable to accuse them of such folly, and stupidity, nay of
such cruelty. If this doctrine be true, that secession is treason, then
our ancestors framed a government, which could not fail to make traitors
of their descendants, in case of a conflict between the States, and that
government, let them act as they would.

It was frequently argued in the "Federalist," and elsewhere, by those who
were persuading the States to adopt the Federal Constitution, that the
State would have a sufficient guarantee of protection, in the love, and
affection of its citizens--that the citizen would naturally cling to his
State, and side with her against the Federal Government--that, in fact, it
was rather to be apprehended that the Federal Government would be too
weak, and the States too strong, for this reason, instead of the converse
of the proposition being true. It was not doubted, in that day, that the
primary and paramount allegiance of the citizen was due to his State, and,
that, in case of a conflict between her and the Federal Government, his
State would have the right to withdraw his allegiance, from that
Government. If it was she who transferred it, and if she had the right to
transfer it, it follows beyond question, that she would have the right to
withdraw it. It was not a case for the voluntary action of the citizen,
either way; he could not, of his own free will, either give his allegiance
to the Federal Government, or take it away.

If this be true, observe in what a dilemma he has been placed, on the
hypothesis that secession is treason. If he adheres to the Federal
Government, after his State has withdrawn his allegiance from that
Government, and takes up arms against his State, he becomes a traitor to
his State. If he adheres to his State, and takes up arms against the
Federal Government, he becomes a traitor to that Government. He is thus a
traitor either way, and there is no helping himself. Is this consistent
with the supposed wisdom of the political Fathers, those practical, common
sense men, who formed the Federal Constitution?

The mutations of governments, like all human events, are constantly going
on. No government stands still, any more than the individuals of which it
is composed. The only difference is, that the changes are not quite so
obvious to the generation which views them. The framers of the
Constitution did not dare to hope that they had formed a government, that
was to last forever. Nay, many of them had serious misgivings as to the
result of the _experiment_ they were making. Is it possible, then, that
those men so legislated, as to render it morally certain, that if their
experiment should fail, their descendants must become either slaves or
traitors? If the doctrine that secession is treason be true, it matters
not how grievously a State might be oppressed, by the Federal Government;
she has been deprived of the power of lawful resistance, and must regain
her liberty, if at all, like other enslaved States, at the hazard of war,
and rebellion. Was this the sort of experiment in government, that our
forefathers supposed they were making? Every reader of history knows that
it was not.



In the previous chapters, I have given a brief outline of the history and
formation of the Federal Constitution, proving, by abundant reference to
the Fathers, and to the instrument itself, that it was the intention of
the former to draft, and that they did draft, a _federal compact_ of
government, which compact was "ordained, and established," by the States,
in their sovereign capacity, and not by the people of the United States,
in the aggregate, as one nation. It resulted from this statement of the
question, that the States had the legal, and constitutional right to
withdraw from the compact, at pleasure, without reference to any cause of
quarrel. Accordingly, nothing has yet been said about the causes which
impelled the Southern States to a separation, except indeed incidentally,
when the tariff system was alluded to, as the motive which had induced
Massachusetts and the other Northern States, to change their State-Rights

It was stated in the opening chapter, that the judgment which posterity
will form, upon the great conflict between the sections, will depend,
mainly, upon the answers which we may be able to give to two questions:
First, Had the South the right to dissolve the compact of government,
under which it had lived with the North? and secondly, Was there
sufficient ground for this dissolution? Having answered the first
question--imperfectly, I fear, but yet as fully, as was consistent, with
the design of these pages--I propose now to consider, very briefly, the
second. I would gladly have left all this preliminary work to other, and
abler pens, but I do not consider that the memoirs of any actor in the
late war, who, like myself, was an officer in the old service, and who
withdrew from that service, because of the breaking out of the war--or
rather because of the secession of his State--would be complete without,
at least, a brief reference to the reasons, which controlled his judgment.

The American Constitution died of a disease, that was inherent in it. It
was framed on false principles, inasmuch as the attempt was made, through
its means, of binding together, in a republican form of government, two
dissimilar peoples, with widely dissimilar interests. Monarchial
governments may accomplish this, since they are founded on force, but
republican governments never. Austria, and Russia, pin together, in our
day, with their bayonets, many dissimilar peoples, but if a republic
should make the attempt, that moment it must, of necessity, cease to be a
republic, since the very foundation of such a government is the consent of
the governed. The secession of the Southern States was a mere corollary of
the American proposition of government; and the Northern States stultified
themselves, the moment they attempted to resist it. The consent of the
Southern States being wanted, there should have been an end of the

If the Northern States were not satisfied to let them go, but entertained,
on the contrary, a desire to restrain them by force, this was a proof,
that those States had become tired of the republican form, and desired to
change it. But they should have been honest about it; they should have
avowed their intentions from the beginning, and not have waged the war, as
so many republics, endeavoring to coerce other republics, into a forced
union with them. To have been logical, they should have obliterated the
State boundaries, and have declared all the States--as well the Northern
States, as the Southern--so many counties of a consolidated government.
But even then, they could not have made war upon any considerable number
of those counties, without violating the fundamental American idea of a
government--the consent of the governed. The right of self-government was
vindicated in the Declaration of Independence, in favor of three millions
of the subjects of Great Britain. In the States of the Southern
Confederacy, there were eight millions.

The American Republic, as has been said, was a failure, because of the
antagonism of the two peoples, attempted to be bound together, in the same
government. If there is to be but a single government in these States, in
the future, it cannot be a republic. De Toqueville saw this, thirty years
ago. In his "Democracy in America" he described these States, as "more
like hostile nations, than rival parties, under one government."

This distinguished Frenchman saw, as with the eye of intuition, the canker
which lay at the heart of the federal compact. He saw looming up, in the
dim distance, the ominous, and hideous form of that unbridled, and
antagonistic Majority, which has since rent the country in twain--a
majority based on the views, and interests of one section, arrayed against
the views, and interests of the other section. "The majority," said he,
"in that country, exercises a prodigious, actual authority, and a moral
influence which is scarcely less preponderant; no obstacles exist, which
can impede, or so much as retard its progress, or which can induce it to
heed the complaints of those whom it crushes upon its path. * * * This
state of things is fatal, in itself, and dangerous for the future. * * *
If the free institutions of America are ever destroyed, that event may be
attributed to the unlimited authority of the majority. * * * Anarchy will
then be the result, but it will have been brought about by despotism."

Precisely so; liberty is always destroyed by the multitude, in the name of
liberty. Majorities within the limits of constitutional restraints are
harmless, but the moment they lose sight of these restraints, the
many-headed monster becomes more tyrannical, than the tyrant with a single
head; numbers harden its conscience, and embolden it, in the perpetration
of crime. And when this majority, in a free government, becomes a faction,
or, in other words, represents certain classes and interests to the
detriment of other classes, and interests, farewell to public liberty; the
people must either become enslaved, or there must be a disruption of the
government. This result would follow, even if the people lived under a
consolidated government, and were homogenous: much more, then, must it
follow, when the government is federal in form, and the States are, in the
words of De Toqueville, "more like hostile nations, than rival parties,
under one government." These States are, and indeed always have been rival

The dissimilarity between the people of the Northern, and the people of
the Southern States has always been remarked upon, by observant
foreigners, and it has not escaped the attention of our own historians.
Indeed it could not be otherwise, for the origin of the two sections has
been diverse. Virginia and Massachusetts were the two original germs,
from which the great majority of the American populations has sprung; and
no two peoples, speaking the same language, and coming from the same
country, could have been more dissimilar, in education, taste, and habits,
and even in natural instincts, than were the adventurers who settled these
two colonies. Those who sought a new field of adventure for themselves,
and affluence for their posterity, in the more congenial climate of the
Chesapeake, were the gay, and dashing cavaliers, who, as a class,
afterward adhered to the fortunes of the Charleses, whilst the first
settlers of Massachusetts were composed of the same materials, that formed
the "Praise-God-Barebones" parliament of Cromwell.

These two peoples, seem to have had an instinctive repugnance, the one to
the other. To use a botanical phrase, the Puritan was a seedling of the
English race, which had been unknown to it before. It had few, or none of
the characteristics of the original stock. Gloomy, saturnine, and
fanatical, in disposition, it seemed to repel all the more kindly, and
generous impulses of our nature, and to take a pleasure in pulling down
everything, that other men had built up; not so much, as its subsequent
history would seem to show, because the work was faulty, as because it had
been done by other hands than their own. They hated tyranny, for instance,
but it was only because they were not, themselves, the tyrants; they hated
religious intolerance, but it was only when not practised by themselves.

Natural affinities attracted like unto like. The Cavalier sought refuge
with the Cavalier, and the Puritan with the Puritan, for a century, and
more. When the fortunes of the Charleses waned, the Cavaliers fled to
Virginia; when the fortunes of Cromwell waned, the Puritans fled to
Massachusetts. Trade occasionally drew the two peoples together, but they
were repelled at all other points. Thus these germs grew, step by step,
into two distinct nations. A different civilization was naturally
developed in each. The two countries were different in climate, and
physical features--the climate of the one being cold and inhospitable, and
its soil rugged, and sterile, whilst the climate of the other was soft,
and genial, and its soil generous, and fruitful. As a result of these
differences of climate, and soil, the pursuits of the two peoples became
different, the one being driven to the ocean, and to the mechanic arts,
for subsistence, and the other betaking itself to agriculture.

Another important element soon presented itself, to widen the social, and
economical breach, which had taken place between the two peoples--African
slavery. All the Colonies, at first, became slaveholding, but it was soon
found, that slave labor was unprofitable in the North, where the soil was
so niggard, in its productions, and where, besides, the white man could
labor. One, by one, the Northern States got rid of their slaves, as soon
as they made this discovery. In the South, the case was different. The
superior fertility of the soil, and the greater geniality of the climate
enabled the planter to employ the African to advantage; and thus slave
labor was engrafted on our system of civilization, as one of its permanent

The effect was, as before remarked, a still greater divergence between the
two peoples. The wealth of the South soon began to outstrip that of the
North. Education and refinement followed wealth. Whilst the civilization
of the North was coarse, and practical, that of the South was more
intellectual, and refined. This is said in no spirit of disparagement of
our Northern brethren; it was the natural, and inevitable result of the
different situations of the two peoples. In the North, almost every young
man was under the necessity, during our colonial existence, of laboring
with his own hands, for the means of subsistence. There was neither the
requisite leisure, nor the requisite wealth to bring about a very refined
system of civilization. The life of a Southern planter on the other hand
with his large estates, and hundreds of vassals, with his profuse
hospitality, and luxurious style of living, resembled more that of the
feudatories of the middle ages, than that of any modern gentleman out of
the Southern States.

It is not my object to express a preference for either of these modes of
civilization--each, no doubt, had its advantages, and disadvantages--but
to glance at them, merely, for the purpose of showing the dissimilarity of
the two peoples; their uncongeniality, and want of adaptation, socially,
the one to the other. With social institutions as wide asunder as the
poles, and with their every material interest antagonistic, the separation
of the two peoples, sooner or later, was a logical sequence.

As had been anticipated by Patrick Henry, and others, the moment the new
government went into operation, parties began to be formed, on sectional
interests and sectional prejudices. The North wanted protection for her
shipping, in the way of discriminating tonnage dues, and the South was
opposed to such protection. The North wanted a bank, to facilitate their
commercial operations; the South was opposed to it. The North wanted
protection for their manufactures, the South was opposed to it. There was
no warrant, of course, for any of these schemes of protection in the
Federal Constitution; they were, on the contrary, subversive of the
original design of that instrument. The South has been called aggressive.
She was thrown on the defensive, in the first Congress, and has remained
so, from that day to this. She never had the means to be aggressive,
having been always in a minority, in both branches of the Legislature. It
is not consistent with the scope of these memoirs, to enter, at large,
into the political disputes which culminated in secession. They are many,
and various, and would fill volumes. It will be sufficient to sketch the
history of one or two of the more important of them.

The "American System," of which Mr. Clay, of Kentucky, became the
champion, and to which allusion has already been made, became the chief
instrument of oppression of the Southern States, through a long series of
years. I prefer to let a late distinguished Senator, from the State of
Missouri, Mr. Benton, tell this tale of spoliation. On the slavery
question, Mr. Benton was with the North, he cannot, therefore, be accused
of being a witness unduly favorable to the South. In a speech in the
Senate, in 1828, he declared himself, as follows: "I feel for the sad
changes, which have taken place in the South, during the last fifty years.
Before the Revolution, it was the seat of wealth, as well as hospitality.
Money, and all it commanded, abounded there. But how is it now? All this
is reversed. Wealth has fled from the South, and settled in regions north
of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact, that the South, in four
staples alone, has exported produce, since the Revolution, to the value of
eight hundred millions of dollars; and the North has exported
comparatively nothing. Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth,
but what is the fact? In the place of wealth, a universal pressure for
money was felt--not enough for current expenses--the price of all property
down--the country drooping, and languishing--towns and cities
decaying--and the frugal habits of the people pushed to the verge of
universal self-denial, for the preservation of their family estates. Such
a result is a strange, and wonderful phenomenon. It calls upon statesmen
to inquire into the cause. Under Federal legislation, the exports of the
South have been the basis of the Federal revenue. * * * _Virginia, the two
Carolinas, and Georgia, may be said to defray three-fourths, of the annual
expense of supporting the Federal Government_; and of this great sum,
annually furnished by them, nothing, or next to nothing is returned to
them, in the shape of Government expenditures. That expenditure flows in
an opposite direction--it flows northwardly, in one uniform,
uninterrupted, and perennial stream. _This is the reason why wealth
disappears from the South and rises up in the North. Federal legislation
does all this._ It does it by the simple process of eternally taking from
the South, and returning nothing to it. If it returned to the South the
whole, or even a good part, of what it exacted, the four States south of
the Potomac might stand the action of the system, but the South must be
exhausted of its money, and its property, by a course of legislation,
which is forever taking away, and never returning anything. Every new
tariff increases the force of this action. No tariff has ever yet included
Virginia, the two Carolinas, and Georgia, except to increase the burdens
imposed upon them."

This picture is not overdrawn; it is the literal truth. Before the war the
Northern States, and especially the New England States, exported next to
nothing, and yet they "blossomed as the rose." The picturesque hills of
New England were dotted with costly mansions, erected with money, of which
the Southern planters had been despoiled, by means of the tariffs of which
Mr. Benton spoke. Her harbors frowned with fortifications, constructed by
the same means. Every cove and inlet had its lighthouse, for the benefit
of New England shipping, three fourths of the expense of erecting which
had been paid by the South, and even the cod, and mackerel fisheries of
New England were _bountied_, on the bald pretext, that they were nurseries
for manning the navy.

The South resisted this wholesale robbery, to the best of her ability.
Some few of the more generous of the Northern representatives in Congress
came to her aid, but still she was overborne; and the curious reader, who
will take the pains to consult the "Statutes at Large," of the American
Congress, will find on an average, a tariff for every five years recorded
on their pages; the cormorants increasing in rapacity, the more they
devoured. No wonder that Mr. Lincoln when asked, "why not let the South
go?" replied, "Let the South go! _where then shall we get our revenue?_"

This system of spoliation was commenced in 1816. The doctrine of
protection was not, at first, boldly avowed. A heavy debt had been
contracted during the war of 1812, with Great Britain, just then
terminated. It became necessary to raise revenue to pay this debt, as well
as to defray the current expenses of the government, and for these
laudable purposes, the tariff of 1816 was enacted. The North had not yet
become the overshadowing power, which it has become in our day. It was
comparatively modest, and only asked, that, in adjusting the duties under
the tariff, such _incidental_ protection, as might not be inconsistent
with the main object of the bill, to wit, the raising of revenue, should
be given to Northern manufactures. It was claimed that these manufactures
had sprung up, _sua sponte_, during the war, and had materially aided the
country in prosecuting the war, and that they would languish, and die,
unless protected, in this incidental manner. This seemed but just and
reasonable, and some of the ablest of our Southern men gave their assent
to the proposition; among others, Mr. Calhoun of South Carolina, and Mr.
Clay of Kentucky.

The latter, in particular, then a young member of the House of
Representatives, espoused the Northern side of the controversy, and
subsequently became known, as we have seen, as the father of the system.
Much undeserved obloquy has been thrown upon Mr. Clay, for this supposed
abandonment of his section. The most that he claimed, was that a temporary
protection, of a few years' duration only, should be given to these infant
manufactures, until they should become self-sustaining. In later life,
when he saw the extent to which the measure was pushed, he did, indeed
recoil from it, as Mr. Calhoun, with keener intellect, had done, years
before. The wedge, being thus entered, was driven home by the insatiable

In less than twenty years, or during the early part of General Jackson's
administration, the public debt was paid off, and it became necessary to
reduce the tariffs, to prevent a plethora in the public treasury; but the
North, by this time, had "waxed fat," and like the ox in the scriptures,
began to kick. From incidental protection, it advanced, boldly, to the
doctrine of "_protection, for the sake of protection_"--thus avowing the
unjust doctrine, that it was right to rob one section, for the benefit of
the other; the pretence being the general good--the "general welfare"
clause of the Constitution as well as the expression "We, the people," in
the Preamble, being invoked to cover the enormity. Under the wholesale
system of spoliation, which was now practised, the South was becoming
poorer, and poorer. Whilst her abundant cotton crops supplied all the
exchanges of the country, and put in motion, throughout the North, every
species of manufacturing industry, from the cut-nail, which the planter
put in the weather-boarding of his house, to the coach in which his wife,
and daughters took an airing, it was found, that, from year to year,
mortgages were increasing on her plantations, and that the planter was
fast becoming little better, than the overseer of the Northern
manufacturer, and the Northern merchant. A statesman of England once
declared, that "not so much as a hob-nail should be manufactured, in
America." The colonial dependence, and vassalage meant to be proclaimed by
this expression, was now strictly true, as between the North, and the
South. The South was compelled to purchase her hob-nails, in the North,
being excluded by the Northern tariffs, from all other markets.

South Carolina, taking the alarm at this state of things, resorted as we
have seen, to nullification, in 1832. The quarrel was compromised in 1833,
by the passage of a more moderate tariff, but the North still growing, in
strength, and wealth, disregarded the compromise, in 1842, and enacted a
more oppressive tariff than ever. From this time onward, no attempt was
made to conciliate the South, by the practice of forbearance, and justice,
and the latter sank, hopelessly, into the condition of a tributary
province to her more powerful rival.

All this was done under a federal compact, formed by sovereign States, for
their common benefit! Thus was the prophecy of Patrick Henry verified,
when he said: "But I am sure, that the dangers of this system [the Federal
Constitution] are real, when those who have no similar interest with the
people of this country [the South] are to legislate for us--when our
dearest rights are to be left, in the hands of those, whose advantage it
will be to infringe them." And thus also, was verified the declaration of
Charles Cotesworth Pinkney, of South Carolina: "If they [the Southern
States] are to form so considerable a minority, and the regulation of
trade is to be given to the general Government, they will be nothing more
than overseers of the Northern States."



Great pains have been taken, by the North, to make it appear to the world,
that the war was a sort of moral, and religious crusade against slavery.
Such was not the fact. The people of the North were, indeed, opposed to
slavery, but merely because they thought it stood in the way of their
struggle for empire. I think it safe to affirm, that if the question had
stood upon moral, and religious grounds alone, the institution would never
have been interfered with.

The Republican party, which finally brought on the war, took its rise, as
is well known, on the question of extending slavery to the
Territories--those inchoate States, which were finally to decide the vexed
question of the balance of power, between the two sections. It did not
propose to disturb the institution in the States; in fact, the institution
could do no harm there, for the States, in which it existed, were already
in a hopeless minority. The fat, Southern goose could not resist being
plucked, as things stood, but it was feared that if slavery was permitted
to go into the Territories, the goose might become strong enough to resist
being plucked. If proof were wanted of this, we have it, in the resolution
passed by the Federal Congress, after the first battle of Manassas, in the
first year of the war, as follows: "_Resolved_, That the war is not waged
on our part, in any spirit of oppression, or for any purpose of conquest,
or for interfering with the rights, or _established institutions of these
States_, but to defend, and maintain the supremacy of the Constitution,
and to preserve the Union, _with all the dignity and rights of the several
States unimpaired_."

In 1820, in the admission of Missouri into the Union, the North and the
South had entered into a compromise, which provided, that slavery should
not be carried into any of the Territories, north of a given geographical
line. This compromise was clearly violative of the rights of the South,
for the Territories were common property, which had been acquired, by the
blood, and treasure, of the North and the South alike, and no
discrimination could justly be made between the sections, as to emigration
to those Territories; but discrimination would be made, if the Northern
man could emigrate to all of them, and the Southern man to those of them
only that lay South of the given line. By the passage of the
Kansas-Nebraska bill, introduced into the House of Representatives, in
1854 by Mr. Stephen A. Douglas, this unjust compromise was repealed; the
repealing clause declaring, that the Missouri Compromise "being
inconsistent with the principles of non-intervention, by Congress, with
slavery in the States, and Territories, as recognized by the legislation
of 1850, commonly called the Compromise Measures, is hereby declared
inoperative, and void; it being the true intent, and meaning of this act,
not to legislate slavery into any Territory, or State, nor to exclude it
therefrom, but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form, and
regulate their domestic institutions, subject only to the Constitution of
the United States."

Nothing would seem more just, than the passage of this act, which removed
the restriction which had been put upon a portion of the States, threw
open the Territories to immigration from all the States, alike, and left
the question of local government, the question of slavery included, to be
decided by the inhabitants of the Territories themselves. But this act of
justice, which Mr. Douglas had had the address and ability to cause to be
passed, was highly distasteful to the Northern people. It was not
consistent with their views of empire that there should be any more
Southern Slave States admitted into the Union. The Republican party,
which, up to that time, had made but little headway, now suddenly sprang
into importance, and at the next elections in the North, swept every thing
before it. The Northern Democratic members of Congress who had voted for
the hated measure, were beaten by overwhelming majorities, and Republicans
sent in their places; and the Republican Convention which assembled at
Chicago in 1860, to nominate a candidate for the Presidency, adopted as
one of the "planks of its platform"--to use a slang political phrase of
the day--the principle that slavery should thereafter be excluded from the
Territories; not only from the Territories North of the geographical line,
of the Missouri Compromise, but from all the Territories! The gauntlet of
defiance was thus boldly thrown at the feet of the Southern States.

From 1816 to 1860, these States had been plundered by tariffs, which had
enriched the North, and now they were told without any circumlocution,
that they should no longer have any share in the Territories. I have said
that this controversy, on the subject of slavery, did not rest, in the
North, on any question of morals or religion. The end aimed at, in
restricting slavery to the States, was purely political; but this end was
to be accomplished by means, and the Northern leaders had the sagacity to
see, that it was all-important to mix up the controversy, _as a means_,
with moral, and religious questions. Hence they enlisted the clergy in
their crusade against the South; the pulpit becoming a rostrum, from which
to inflame the Northern mind against the un-Godly slave-holder; religious
papers were established, which fulminated their weekly diatribes against
the institution; magazine literature, fiction, lectures, by paid
itinerants, were all employed, with powerful effect, in a community where
every man sets himself up as a teacher, and considers himself responsible
for the morals of his neighbor. The contumely and insult thus heaped upon
the South were, of themselves, almost past endurance, to say nothing of
the wrongs, under which she suffered. The sectional animosity which was
engendered by these means, in the North, soon became intense, and hurried
on the catastrophe with railroad speed.

Whilst the dispute about slavery in the Territories was drawing to a
focus, another, and if possible, a still more exciting question, had been
occupying the public mind--the rendition of fugitive slaves to their
owners. Our ancestors, in the Convention of 1787, foreseeing the
difficulty that was likely to arise on this subject, insisted that the
following positive provision, for their protection, should be inserted in
the Constitution: "No person held to service, or labor, in one State,
under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of
any law, or regulation therein, be discharged from such service, or labor;
but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service, or
labor may be due."

In 1793, a law, called the fugitive slave law, had been passed, for the
purpose of carrying out this provision of the Constitution. This law was
re-enacted, with some alterations, the better to secure the object in
question, in 1850. Neither of those laws was ever properly executed in the
North. It soon became unsafe, indeed, for a Southern man to venture into
the North, in pursuit of his fugitive slave. Mr. Webster sought, in vain,
in the latter part of his life, when he seemed to be actuated by a sense
of returning justice to the South, to induce his countrymen to execute
those laws, and he lost much of his popularity, in consequence. The laws
were not only positively disobeyed, but they were formally nullified by
the Legislatures of fourteen of the Northern States; and penalties were
annexed to any attempt to execute them. Mr. Webster, in speaking on this
subject, says: "These States passed acts defeating the law of Congress, as
far as it was in their power to defeat it. Those of them to whom I refer,
not all, but several, nullified the law of 1793. They said in effect, 'We
will not execute it. No runaway slave shall be restored.' Thus the law
became a dead letter. But here was the Constitution, and compact still
binding; here was the stipulation, as solemn as words could form it, and
which every member of Congress, every officer of the General Government,
every officer of the State government, from governors down to constables,
is sworn to support. It has been said in the States of New York,
Massachusetts, and Ohio, over and over again, that the law shall not be
executed. That was the language in conventions, in Worcester,
Massachusetts; in Syracuse, New York, and elsewhere. And for this they
pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors. Now,
gentlemen, these proceedings, I say it upon my professional reputation,
are distinctly treasonable. And the act of taking Shadrick [a fugitive
slave] from the public authorities, in Boston, and sending him off, was an
act of clear treason." Great outcry was raised against South Carolina when
she nullified the tariff law of 1830, passed in clear violation of the
spirit of the Constitution; here we see fourteen States nullifying an
act, passed to carry out an express provision of the same instrument,
about which there was not, and could not be any dispute.

Let us again put Mr. Webster on the witness stand, and hear what he says,
was the effect of this wholesale nullification by the Northern States of
this provision of the Constitution. "I do not hesitate," says he, "to say,
and repeat, that if the Northern States refuse wilfully, and deliberately
to carry into effect that part of the Constitution, which respects the
restoration of fugitive slaves, the South would be no longer bound to keep
the compact. _A bargain broken on one side is broken on all sides._" That
was spoken like Daniel Webster, the able jurist, and just man, and not
like the Daniel Webster, whom I have before quoted, in these pages, as the
casuist, and the sophist. The reader cannot fail to see what a full
recantation we have here, of Mr. Webster's heresy, of 1833, when he
contended that the Constitution had been "ordained and established," by
the people of the United States, in the aggregate, as one nation.

Mr. Webster now calls the States, the parties to the instrument, and
claims that the infraction of it, by some of the States, releases the
others from their obligations under it. It is then, after all, it seems, a
_federal compact_; and if it be such, we have the authority of Mr.
Webster, himself, for saying that the States may withdraw from it, at
pleasure, without waiting for an infringement of it, by their co-States.

But the Southern States did not desire to withdraw from it, without
reason. They were sincerely attached to the Union, and were willing to
suffer, and endure much rather than that it should be destroyed. They had
stood, shoulder to shoulder, with the North in two wars against the mother
country, and had freely spent their wealth, and shed their blood in
defence of the common rights. They had rushed to the defence of New
England, in the war of the Revolution, and had equally responded to her
call in 1812, in defence of her shipping interest.

Mr. Madison relied much upon these ties, as a common bond of union. When
Patrick Henry and other Southern patriots were warning their people
against the new alliance, proposed to them in the Federal Constitution,
he spoke the following fervid language in reply to them, in one of the
numbers of the "Federalist." "Hearken not to the unnatural voice, which
tells you, that the people of America, knit together, as they are, by so
many natural cords of affection, can no longer live together as members of
the same family; can no longer continue mutual guardians of their mutual
happiness. * * * No, my countrymen, shut your ears against this unhallowed
language. Shut your hearts against the poison which it conveys. The
kindred blood which flows in the veins of American citizens, the mingled
blood which they have shed in defence of their sacred rights, consecrate
their union, and excite horror at the idea of their becoming aliens,
rivals, enemies." Much of this feeling still lingered in the bosoms of
Southern men. They were slow to awaken from this dream of delusion. A rude
and rough hand had been necessary to disenchant them. But they were
compelled, in spite of themselves, to realize the fact at last, that they
had been deceived, and betrayed into the federal compact, that they might
be made slaves. Like an unhappy bride, upon whose brow the orange-wreath
had been placed, by hands that promised tenderness, and protection, the
South had been rudely scorned, and repelled, and forced, in tears, and
bitter lamentation, to retract the faith which she had plighted. To carry
still further our simile; like the deceived, and betrayed bride, the least
show of relenting, and tenderness was sufficient to induce the South to
forgive, and to endeavor to forget.

The history of our unhappy connection with the North is full of
compromises, and apparent reconciliations--prominent among which was the
compromise of 1833, growing out of the nullification of South Carolina, on
the tariff question; and the compromise of 1850, in which it was promised,
that Congress should not interfere with the question of slavery, either in
the States, or Territories. The South, like the too credulous bride,
accepted these evidences of returning tenderness, in good faith; the
North, like the coarse and brutal husband, whose selfishness was superior
to his sense of justice, withdrew them, almost as soon as made. The
obnoxious laws which had been modified, or repealed, under these
compromises, were re-enacted with additional provocations, and

So loth was the South to abandon the Union, that she made strenuous
efforts to remain in it, even after Mr. Lincoln had been elected
President, in 1860. In this election, that dreaded sectional line against
which President Washington had warned his countrymen, in his Farewell
Address, had at last been drawn; in it,--"the fire-bell of the
night,"--which had so disturbed the last days of Jefferson, had been
sounded. There had, at last, arisen a united North, against a united
South. Mr. Lincoln had been placed by the Chicago Convention on a platform
so purely sectional, that no Southern State voted, or could vote for him.
His election was purely geographical; it was tantamount to a denial of the
co-equality of the Southern States, with the Northern States, in the
Union, since it drove the former out of the common Territories. This had
not been a mere party squabble--the questions involved had been _federal_,
and _fundamental_. Notwithstanding which, some of the Southern States were
not without hope, that the North might be induced to revoke its verdict.
Mr. Crittenden, of Kentucky, introduced into the Senate, a series of
resolutions, which he hoped would have the effect of restoring harmony;
the chief feature of which was, the restoration of the Missouri
Compromise, giving the Southern States access to the Territories south of
a geographical line. Although this compromise was a partial abandonment of
the rights of the South, many of the ablest, and most influential
statesmen of that section, gave in their adhesion to it; among others, Mr.
Jefferson Davis. The measure failed.

Various other resolutions, looking to pacification, were introduced into
both houses of Congress; but they failed, in like manner. The border Slave
States aroused to a sense of their danger--for by this time, several of
the Gulf States had seceded--called a Convention in the city of
Washington, to endeavor to allay the storm. A full representation
attended, composed of men, venerable for their years, and renowned for
their patriotic services, but their labors ended also in failure; Congress
scarcely deigned to notice them. In both houses of Congress the Northern
faction, which had so recently triumphed in the election of their
President, was arrayed in a solid phalanx of hostility to the South, and
could not be moved an inch. The Puritan leaven had at last "leavened the
whole loaf," and the descendants of those immigrants who had come over to
America, in the _May Flower_, feeling that they had the power to crush a
race of men, who had dared to differ with them in opinion, and to have
interests separate and apart from them, were resolved to use that power in
a way to do no discredit to their ancestry. Rebels, when in a minority,
they had become tyrants, now that they were in a majority.

Nothing remained to the South, but to raise the gantlet which had been
thrown at her feet. The Federal Government which had been established by
our ancestors had failed of its object. Instead of binding the States
together, in peace, and amity, it had, in the hands of one portion of the
States, become an engine of oppression of the other portion. It so
happened, that the slavery question was the issue which finally tore them
asunder, but, as the reader has seen, this question was a mere means, to
an end. The end was empire, and we were about to repeat, in this
hemisphere, the drama which had so often been enacted in the other, of a
more powerful nation crushing out a weaker.

The war of the American sections was but the prototype of many other wars,
which had occurred among the human race. It had its origin in the
unregenerated nature of man, who is only an intellectual wild beast, whose
rapacity has never yet been restrained, by a sense of justice. The
American people thought, when they framed the Constitution, that they were
to be an exception to mankind, in general. History had instructed them
that all other peoples, who had gone before them, had torn up paper
governments, when paper was the only bulwark that protected such
governments, but then they were the _American_ people, and no such fate
could await them. The events which I have recorded, and am about to
record, have taught them, that they are no better--and perhaps they are no
worse--than other people. It is to be hoped that they will profit by their
dear-bought experience, and that when they shall have come to their
senses, and undertake to lay the foundation of a new government, they
will, if they design to essay another republic, eliminate all discordant
materials. The experiment of trusting to human honesty having failed, they
must next trust to human interests--the great regulator, as all philosophy
teaches, of human nature. They must listen rather to the philosophy of
Patrick Henry, than to that of James Madison, and never attempt again to
bind up in one sheaf, with a withe of straw, materials so discordant as
were the people of the North, and the people of the South.



As I am not writing a history of the war, but only of a very small portion
of the war, it cannot be expected that I will follow events in a connected
train. I have detained the reader, so far, as to give him a continuous,
though hasty glance, of the causes of the war, but having brought him down
to the final rupture of the sections, I must leave him to supply for
himself many a link, here and there, in the broken chain, as we proceed.
Let him imagine then that the Southern States have seceded--the gallant
little State of South Carolina setting her larger, and more powerful
sisters, the example, on the 20th December, 1860--and that they have met
at Montgomery, in Alabama, by their delegates in Congress, to form a new
Confederacy; that a Provisional Government has been formed and that Mr.
Jefferson Davis has been elected President, and Mr. Alexander H. Stephens

The time had now come for the officers of the old Army, and Navy to make
their election, as to which of the two Governments they would give their
adhesion. There were no such questions then, as rebellion, and treason in
the public mind. This was a Federal after-thought, when that Government
began to get the better of us in the war. The Puritan, if he had been
whipped, would have been a capital secessionist, and as meek, and humble
as we could have desired. He would have been the first to make a
"perpetual" alliance with us, and to offer us inducements to give him the
benefits of our trade. After the first drubbing we gave him, at Manassas,
he was disposed to be quite reasonable, and the Federal Congress passed
the conciliatory resolution I have quoted in a previous chapter,
intimating to us, that if we would come back, slavery should be secure in
the States, and our "rights and dignity" remain unimpaired. But as he
gained strength, he gained courage, and as the war progressed, and it
became evident that we should be beaten, he began to talk of traitors, and

As a general rule, the officers both of the Army, and the Navy sided with
their respective States; especially those of them who were cultivated, and
knew something of the form of government, under which they had been
living. But even the profession of arms is not free from sordid natures,
and many of these had found their way into both branches of the public
service. Men were found capable of drawing their swords against their own
firesides, as it were, and surrendering their neighbors, and friends to
the vengeance of a government, which paid them for their fealty. Some,
with cunning duplicity, even encouraged their former messmates, and
companions who occupied places above them, to resign, and afterward held
back themselves. Some were mere soldiers, and sailors of fortune, and
seemed devoid of all sensibility on the subject, looking only to rank and
pay. They were open to the highest bidder, and the Federal Government was
in a condition to make the highest bids. Some of the Southern men of this
latter class remained with the North, because they could not obtain the
positions they desired in the South; and afterward, as is the fashion with
renegades, became more bitter against their own people than even the
Northern men.

Civil war is a terrible crucible through which to pass character; the
dross drops away from the pure metal at the first touch of the fire. It
must be admitted, indeed, that there was some little nerve required, on
the part of an officer of the regular Army, or Navy, to elect to go with
his State. His profession was his only fortune; he depended upon it, for
the means of subsisting himself and family. If he remained where he was, a
competency for life, and promotion, and honors probably awaited him; if he
went with the South, a dark, and uncertain future was before him; he could
not possibly better his condition, and if the South failed, he would have
thrown away the labor of a life-time. The struggle was hard in other
respects. All professions are clannish. Men naturally cling together, who
have been bred to a common pursuit; and this remark is particularly
applicable to the Army, and the Navy. West Point, and Annapolis were
powerful bonds to knit together the hearts of young men. Friendships were
there formed, which it was difficult to sever, especially when
strengthened by years of after-association, in common toils, common
pleasures, and common dangers. Naval officers, in particular, who had been
rocked together in the same storm, and had escaped perhaps from the same
shipwreck, found it very difficult to draw their swords against each
other. The flag, too, had a charm which it was difficult to resist. It had
long been the emblem of the principle that all just governments are
founded on the consent of the governed, vindicated against our British
ancestors, in the War of the Revolution, and it was difficult to realize
the fact that it no longer represented this principle, but had become the
emblem of its opposite; that of coercing unwilling States, to remain under
a Government, which they deemed unjust and oppressive.

Sentiment had almost as much to do with the matter, as principle, for
there clustered around the "old flag," a great many hallowed memories, of
sacrifices made, and victories won.

The cadet at West Point had marched and countermarched under its folds,
dreaming of future battle-fields, and future honors to be gained in
upholding and defending it; and the midshipman, as he gazed upon it, in
some foreign port, flying proudly from the gaff-end of his ship, had drunk
in new inspiration to do and to dare, for his country. Many bearded men
were affected almost to tears, as they saw this once hallowed emblem
hauled down from the flag-staves, of Southern forts, and arsenals. They
were in the condition of one who had been forced, in spite of himself, to
realize the perfidy of a friend, and to be obliged to give him up, as no
longer worthy of his confidence or affection. General Robert E. Lee has so
happily expressed all these various emotions, in a couple of letters,
which he wrote, contemporaneously, with his resignation from the Federal
Army, that I give them to the reader. One of these letters is addressed to
General Winfield Scott, and the other to General Lee's sister.

     ARLINGTON, VA., April 20, 1861.

     GENERAL:--Since my interview with you on the 18th instant, I have
     felt that I ought not longer to retain my commission in the army. I
     therefore tender my resignation, which I request you will recommend
     for acceptance. It would have been presented at once, but for the
     struggle which it has cost me to separate myself from a service, to
     which I have devoted all the best years of my life, and all the
     ability I possessed. During the whole of that time--more than a
     quarter of a century--I have experienced nothing but kindness from my
     superiors, and the most cordial friendship from my comrades. To no
     one, General, have I been as much indebted as yourself, for uniform
     kindness and consideration, and it has always been my ardent desire
     to merit your approbation. I shall carry to the grave the most
     grateful recollection of your kind consideration, and your name and
     fame will always be dear to me.

     Save in defence of my native State, I never desire to draw my sword.
     Be pleased to accept my most earnest wishes for the continuance of
     your happiness and prosperity, and believe me most truly yours,

        R. E. LEE.

     _Lieutenant-General_ WINFIELD SCOTT,
     _Commanding United States Army_.

     ARLINGTON, VA., April 20, 1861.

     MY DEAR SISTER:--I am grieved at my inability to see you * * * I have
     been waiting "for a more convenient season," which has brought to
     many before me deep and lasting regrets. Now we are in a state of war
     which will yield to nothing. The whole South is in a state of
     revolution, into which Virginia after a long struggle, has been
     drawn, and _though I recognize no necessity for this state of
     things_, and would have forborne and pleaded to the end, for redress
     of grievances, real or supposed, yet in my own person I had to meet
     the question, _whether I should take part against my native State_.
     With all my devotion to the Union, and the feeling of loyalty, and
     duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind
     to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have
     therefore resigned my commission in the army, and save in defence of
     my native State, with the sincere hope that my services may never be
     needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.

     I know you will blame me, but you must think as kindly of me as you
     can, and believe that I have endeavored to do what I thought right.
     To show you the feeling and struggle it has cost me, I send a copy of
     my letter to General Scott, which accompanied my letter of
     resignation. I have no time for more. * * * May God guard and protect
     you, and yours, and shower upon you every blessing is the prayer of
     your devoted brother.

        R. E. LEE.

In the winter of 1860, I was stationed in the city of Washington, as the
Secretary of the Lighthouse Board, being then a commander in the United
States Navy, and was an observer of many of the events I have described. I
had long abandoned all hope of reconciliation between the sections. The
public mind, North and South, was in an angry mood, and the day of
compromises was evidently at an end. I had made up my mind to retire from
the Federal service, at the proper moment, and was only waiting for that
moment to arrive.

Although I had been born in the State of Maryland, and was reared on the
banks of the Potomac, I had been, for many years, a resident citizen of
Alabama, having removed to this State, in the year 1841, and settled with
my family, on the west bank of the Perdido; removing thence, in a few
years, to Mobile. My intention of retiring from the Federal Navy, and
taking service with the South, in the coming struggle, had been made known
to the delegation in the Federal Congress from Alabama, early in the
session of 1860-1. I did not doubt that Maryland would follow the lead of
her more Southern sisters, as the cause of quarrel was common with all the
Southern States, but whether she did or not, could make no difference with
me now, since my allegiance, and my services had become due to another

The month of February, 1861, found me still at the city of Washington. The
following extract from a letter written by me to a Southern member of the
Federal Congress, temporarily absent from his post, will show the state of
mind in which I was looking upon passing events. "I am still at my post at
the Light-House Board, performing my routine duties, but listening with an
aching ear and beating heart, for the first sounds of the great disruption
which is at hand." On the 14th of that month, whilst sitting quietly with
my family, after the labors of the day, a messenger brought me the
following telegram:--

     MONTGOMERY, Feb. 14, 1861.

     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_.

     _Commander_ RAPHAEL SEMMES, _Washington, D. C._

Here was the sound for which I had been so anxiously listening. Secession
was now indeed a reality, and the time had come for me to arouse myself to
action. The telegram threw my small family-circle into great commotion. My
wife, with the instincts of a woman, a wife, and a mother, seemed to
realize, as by intuition, all the dangers and difficulties that lay before
me. She had been hoping without hope, that I would not be subjected to the
bitter ordeal, but the die was now cast, and with a few tears, and many
prayers she nerved herself for the sacrifices, and trials that she knew
were before her. Her children were to be withdrawn from school, her
comfortable home broken up, and she was to return, penniless, to her
people, to abide with them the fortunes of a bloody, and a doubtful war.
The heroism of woman! how infinitely it surpasses that of man. With all
her gentleness, and tenderness, and natural timidity, in nine cases in
ten, she has more nerve than the other sex, in times of great emergency.
With a bleeding and bursting heart, she is capable of putting on the
composure, and lovely serenity of an angel, binding up the wounds of a
husband or son, and when he is restored to health and vigor, buckling on
his sword anew, and returning him to the battle-field. Glorious women of
the South! what an ordeal you have passed through, and how heroically you
have stood the trying test. You lost the liberty which your husbands,
sires, and sons struggled for, but only for a period. The blood which you
will have infused into the veins of future generations will yet rise up to
vindicate you, and "call you blessed."

The telegram reached me about four o'clock, P. M., and I responded to it,
on the same evening as follows:

     WASHINGTON, Feb. 14, 1861.

     Hon. C. M. CONRAD, Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs,
     Congress of the Confederate States:--Despatch received; I will be
     with you immediately.

        Respectfully, &c.,
          R. SEMMES.

The next morning, I repaired, as usual, to the office of the Light House
Board, in the Treasury building, General John A. Dix being then the
Secretary of the Treasury, and _ex officio_ President of the Board, and
wrote the following resignation of my commission, as a Commander in the
United States Navy:

     WASHINGTON, D. C., Feb. 15, 1861.

     SIR:--I respectfully tender through you, to the President of the
     United States, this, the resignation of the commission which I have
     the honor to hold as a Commander in the Navy of the United States. In
     severing my connection with the Government of the United States, and
     with the Department over which you preside, I pray you to accept my
     thanks for the kindness which has characterized your official
     deportment towards me.

     I have the honor to be very respectfully your obedient servant,

          _Commander U. S. Navy_.

     _Hon._ ISAAC TOUCEY, _Secretary of the Navy_,
     _Washington, D. C._

On the same day, I received the following acceptance of my resignation:--

     Navy Department, Feb. 15, 1861.

     SIR:--Your resignation as a Commander in the Navy of the United
     States, tendered in your letter of this date, is hereby accepted.

        I am respectfully your obedient servant,
          I. TOUCEY.

     RAPHAEL SEMMES, Esq., _late Commander_
     _U. S. Navy, Washington_.

A few days previously to my resignation, by the death of a lamented member
of the Light-House Board, I had been promoted from the Secretaryship, to a
Membership of that Board, and it now became necessary for me to inform the
Board officially, of my being no longer a member of it, which I did in the
following communication:--

     WASHINGTON, D. C., Feb. 16, 1861.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform you, that I have resigned my
     commission, as a Commander in the Navy of the United States, and
     that, as a consequence, I am no longer a member of the Light-House
     Board. In severing thus my connection with the Board, at which I have
     had the honor to hold a seat, since the 17th of November, 1858, I
     desire to say to the members, individually, and collectively, that I
     shall carry with me to my home in the South, a grateful recollection
     of the amenities, and courtesies which have characterized, on their
     part, our official intercourse.

        I am very respectfully your obedient servant,

     _Commander_ T. A. JENKINS, _U. S. N._,
     _Secretary Light-House Board, Washington_.

I left in the Light-House Board, a South Carolinian, and a Virginian, both
of whom were too loyal to their places, to follow the lead of their
States. The South Carolinian has been rewarded with the commission of a
Rear-Admiral, and the Virginian with that of a Commodore. The presence of
these gentlemen in the Board may account for the fact, that my letter was
not even honored with an acknowledgment of its receipt.

I have said that there was no talk at this time, about traitors, and
treason. The reader will observe how openly, and as a matter of course,
all these transactions were conducted. The seceded States had been several
months in getting their Conventions together, and repealing, with all due
form, and ceremony, the ordinances by which the Federal Constitution had
been accepted. Senators, and members of the House of Representatives of
the Federal Congress had withdrawn from their seats, under circumstances
unusually solemn, and impressive, which had attracted the attention of the
whole country. Mr. Jefferson Davis, in particular, had taken leave of a
full Senate, with crowded galleries, in a speech of great dignity and
power, in the course of which he said: "We will invoke the God of our
Fathers, who delivered them from the power of the Lion, to protect us from
the ravages of the Bear; and thus putting our trust in God, and in our own
firm hearts, and strong arms, we will vindicate the right as best we may."

As the resignation of each officer of the Army, and Navy went in, it was
well understood what his object was, and yet we have seen, that up to this
period, the Government accepted them all, and permitted the officers to
depart to their respective States. It was not known, as yet, to what
extent the disintegration might go, and it was not safe therefore to talk
of treason. "The wayward sisters" might decide to go in a body, in which
event it would not have been _policy_ to attempt to prevent them, or to
discuss questions of treason with them. The Secretary of the Navy did not
think of arresting me, for telegraphing to the Congress of the Confederate
States, that I would be with it, immediately; nor did he, though he knew
my purpose of drawing my sword against the Federal Government, if
necessary, refuse to accept my resignation. Nay, President Buchanan had
decided that he had no power under the Federal Constitution, to coerce a
State; though, like a weak old man as he had now become, he involved
himself afterward in the inconsistency of attempting to hold possession of
the ceded places within the limits of the States which had withdrawn from
the Union. It could not but follow, logically, from the premise, that
there was no power in the Federal Constitution to coerce a State, that the
State had the right to secede; for clearly any one may do that which no
one has the right to prevent him from doing.

It was under such circumstances as these, that I dissolved my connection
with the Federal Government, and returned to the condition of a private
citizen, with no more obligation resting upon me, than upon any other
citizen. The Federal Government, itself, had formally released me from the
contract of service I had entered into with it, and, as a matter of
course, from the binding obligation of any oath I had taken in connection
with that contract. All this was done, as the reader has seen, before I
moved a step from the city of Washington; and yet a subsequent Secretary
of the Navy, Mr. Gideon Welles, has had the hardihood and indecency of
accusing me of having been a "deserter from the service." He has
deliberately put this false accusation on record, in a public document, in
face of the facts I have stated--all of which were recorded upon the rolls
of his office. I do not speak here of the clap-trap he has used about
"treason to the flag," and the other stale nonsense which he has uttered
in connection with my name, for this was common enough among his
countrymen, and was perhaps to have been expected from men smarting under
the castigation I had given them, but of the more definite and explicit
charge, of "_deserting from the service_," when the service, itself, as he
well knew, had released me from all my obligations to it.

Another charge, with as little foundation, has been made against myself,
and other officers of the Army and Navy, who resigned their commissions,
and came South. It has been said that we were in the condition of _élèves_
of the Federal Government, inasmuch as we had received our education at
the military schools, and that we were guilty of ingratitude to that
Government, when we withdrew from its service. This slander has no doubt
had its effect, with the ignorant masses, but it can scarcely have been
entertained by any one who has a just conception of the nature of our
federal system of government. It loses sight of the fact, that the States
are the creators, and the Federal Government the creature; that not only
the military schools, but the Federal Government itself belongs to the
States. Whence came the fund for the establishment of these schools? From
the States. In what proportion did the States contribute it? Mr. Benton
has answered this question, as the reader has seen, when he was discussing
the effect of the tariffs under which the South had so long been depleted.
He has told us, that four States alone, Virginia, the two Carolinas and
Georgia, defrayed three fourths of the expenses of the General Government;
and taking the whole South into view, this proportion had even increased
since his day, up to the breaking out of the war.

Of every appropriation, then, that was made by Congress for the support of
the military schools, three fourths of the money belonged to the Southern
States. Did these States send three fourths of the students to those
schools? Of course not--this would have been something like justice to
them; but justice to the Southern States was no part of the scheme of the
Federal Government. With the exception of a few cadets, and midshipmen "at
large," whom the President was authorized to appoint--the intention being
that he should appoint the sons of deceased officers of the Army and Navy,
but the fact being that he generally gave the appointment to his political
friends--the appointments to these schools were made from the several
States, in proportion to population, and as a matter of course, the North
got the lion's share. But supposing the States to have been equally
represented in those schools, what would have been the result? Why, simply
that the South not only educated her own boys, but educated three fourths
of the Northern boys, to boot. Virginia, for instance, at the same time
that she sent young Robert E. Lee to West Point, to be educated, put in
the public treasury not only money enough to pay for his education, and
maintenance, but for the education and maintenance of three Massachusetts
boys! How ungrateful of Lee, afterward, being thus a charity scholar of
the North, to draw his sword against her.



On the evening of the 16th of February, the day after I had resigned my
commission, I took a sorrowful leave of my family, and departed for
Montgomery, by the way of Fredericksburg and Richmond. Virginia and North
Carolina had not yet seceded, and anxious debates were going on, on the
all-absorbing question, in each town and village in these two States,
through which I passed. It was easy to see, that the great majority of the
people were with the extreme South, in this her hour of need, but there
were some time-servers and trimmers, who still talked of conciliation, and
of guarantees. They inquired eagerly after news from Washington, at all
the stations at which the train stopped, and seemed disappointed when they
found we had nothing more to tell them, than they had already learned
through the telegraph.

On the evening of the 18th, I entered the level tract of pine lands
between West Point, and Montgomery. The air had become soft, and balmy,
though I had left a region of frosts, and snow, only two days before. The
pine woods were on fire as we passed through them, the flames now and then
running up a lightwood tree, and throwing a weird and fitful glare upon
the passing train. The scene was peculiarly Southern, and reminded me that
I was drawing near my home, and my people, and I mechanically repeated to
myself the words of the poet:

  "Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
  Who never to himself hath said,
  This is my own, my native land!"

And my heart, which up to that moment, had felt as though a heavy weight
were pressing upon it, began to give more vigorous beats, and send a more
inspiring current through my veins. Under this happy influence I sank, as
the night advanced, and the train thundered on, into the first sound sleep
which had visited my weary eyelids, since I had resigned my commission,
and read at the foot of the letter accepting my resignation, my name
inscribed as plain "Esq." This night-ride, through the burning pine woods
of Alabama, afterward stood as a great gulf in my memory, forming an
impassable barrier, as it were, between my past, and my future life. It
had cost me pain to cross the gulf, but once crossed, I never turned to
look back. When I washed and dressed for breakfast, in Montgomery, the
next morning, I had put off the old man, and put on the new. The labors,
and associations of a lifetime had been inscribed in a volume, which had
been closed, and a new book, whose pages were as yet all blank, had been

My first duty was to put myself in communication with Mr. Conrad, the
chairman of the Committee of Naval Affairs. Several naval officers had
preceded me to the seat of the new government, and others were arriving.
It was agreed that there should be a special meeting on the next day, in
joint session, of the two committees--on military and naval affairs.

The Confederate Congress was in session in the State Capitol, and about
noon, I repaired thither to witness the spectacle. They did me the honor
to admit me to the floor, and upon casting my eyes over the august
assembly, I recognized a number of familiar faces. General Howell Cobb of
Georgia was the President; Toombs, Crawford, and other distinguished men
were there from the same State. Curry, McRae, Robert H. Smith and other
able men were there from Alabama. In short the Congress was full of the
best talent of the South. It was by far the best Congress that ever
assembled under the new government. It was a convention as well as a
Congress, since it was charged with the establishment of a Provisional
Government. Every one realized the greatness of the crisis that was upon
us, and hence the very best men in the community had been selected to meet
the emergency. The harmony of the body was equal to its ability, for, in
the course of a few weeks, it had put the complicated machinery of a
government in motion, and was already taking active measures for defence,
in case the Federal power should decide upon making war upon us.

Mr. Davis, the Provisional President, had preceded me to the capital, only
a few days, and my next step was to call upon him. I had known him in the
city of Washington. He received me kindly, and almost the first question
which he asked me, was whether I had disembarrassed myself of my Federal
commission. I replied to him that I had done so, as a matter of course,
before leaving Washington, and that my allegiance henceforth belonged to
the new government, and to the Southern people. He seemed gratified at
this declaration, and entered into a free, and frank conversation with me,
on the subject of the want of preparation for defence, in which he found
our States, and the great labor that lay before us, to prepare for
emergencies. Congress, he said, has not yet had time to organize a navy,
but he designed to make immediate use of me, if I had no objection. I told
him that my services were at his command, in any capacity he thought fit
to employ them. He then explained to me his plan of sending me back to the
city of Washington, and thence into the Northern States, to gather
together, with as much haste as possible, such persons, and materials of
war as might be of most pressing necessity.

The persons alluded to, were to be mechanics skilled in the manufacture,
and use of ordnance, and rifle machinery, the preparation of fixed
ammunition, percussion caps, &c. So exclusively had the manufacture of all
these articles for the use of the United States, been confined to the
North, under "the best government the world ever saw," that we had not
even percussion caps enough to enable us to fight a battle, or the
machines with which to make them, although we had captured all the forts,
and arsenals within our limits, except Fort Sumter and Fort McRae. The
President was as calm and unmoved as I had ever seen him, and was living
in a very simple, and unpretending style at the Exchange Hotel. He had not
yet selected all his Cabinet; nor indeed had he so much as a private
secretary at his command, as the letter of instructions which he afterward
presented me, for my guidance, was written with his own hand. This letter
was very full, and precise, frequently descending into detail, and
manifesting an acquaintance with bureau duties, scarcely to have been
expected from one who had occupied his exalted positions.

On the next day, I attended the joint-session of the two committees above
named. These committees were composed, as was to have been expected, of
some of the best men of the Congress. Conrad, Crawford, Curry, and the
brilliant young Bartow of Georgia were present, among others whose names I
do not now recall. But few naval officers of any rank had as yet withdrawn
from the old service; Rousseau, Tattnall, Ingraham, and Randolph were all
the captains; and Farrand, Brent, Semmes, and Hartstone were all the
commanders. Of these there were present before the committees, besides
myself, Rousseau, Ingraham, and Randolph; Major Wm. H. Chase, late of the
engineers of the Federal Army, was also present. Randolph commanded the
Navy Yard at Pensacola, and Chase the military defences. We discussed the
military and naval resources of the country, and devised such means of
defence as were within our reach--which were not many--to enable us to
meet the most pressing exigences of our situation, and separated after a
session of several hours. I can do no more, of course, than briefly glance
at these things, as I am not writing, as before remarked, the history of
the war.

The next morning I called again on the President, received my
instructions, and departed Northward on the mission which had been
assigned me. I will be brief in the description of this mission also. I
stopped a day at Richmond, and examined the State Arsenal, in charge of
Capt. Dimmock, and the Tredegar Iron Works; having been especially
enjoined to report upon the present, and future capacity of these works
for the casting of cannon, shot, shells, &c. The establishment had already
turned its attention in this direction, and I was gratified to find that
it was capable of almost indefinite enlargement, and that it could be made
a most valuable auxiliary to us. The reader will see how confidently we
already reckoned upon the support of Virginia.

Reaching Washington again, I visited the Arsenal, and inspected such of
its machinery as I thought worth my notice, particularly an improved
percussion-cap machine which I found in operation. I also held conferences
with some mechanics, whom I desired to induce to go South. Whilst I was
in Washington Mr. Abraham Lincoln, the newly elected President of the
United States, arrived, for the purpose of being inaugurated. Being purely
a sectional President, and feeling probably that he had no just right to
rule over the South, he had come into the city by night, and in disguise,
afraid to trust himself among a people of whom he claimed to be Chief
Magistrate. Poor old General Winfield Scott was then verging toward
senility, and second childhood, and had contributed no little, perhaps, to
Mr. Lincoln's alarm. He had been gathering together troops for some days,
in the Federal capital, for the purpose of inaugurating, amid bayonets, a
President of the United States. It had been the boast of the American
people, heretofore, that their Presidents did not need guards, but trusted
wholly for their security, to the love, and confidence of their
constituents, but the reign of peace, and good will was at an end, and the
reign of the bayonet was to ensue. The rumbling of artillery through the
streets of Washington, and the ring of grounded arms on the pavements, had
sounded the death-knell of liberty in these States for generations. Swarms
of visitors from far and near, in the North and West, had flocked to
Washington, to see _their_ President inaugurated, and were proud of this
spectacle of arms; too stupid to see its fearful significance.

The auspicious day, the 4th of March, at length arrived, and whilst the
glorious pageant is being prepared; whilst the windows and the house-tops
along Pennsylvania Avenue are being thronged with a motley population of
men and women, come to see the show; whilst the President elect, in a
hollow square of bayonets, is marching toward the Capitol, the writer of
these pages, having again taken leave of his family, was hurrying away
from the desecration of a capital, which had been ceded by a too credulous
Maryland, and Virginia, and which had been laid out by Washington. As I
left the Baltimore depot, extra trains were still pouring their thousands
into the streets of Washington. I arrived in New York, the next day, and
during the next three weeks, visited the West Point Academy, whither I
went to see a son, who was a cadet at the Institution, and who afterward
became a major of light artillery, in the Confederate service; and made a
tour through the principal work-shops of New York, Connecticut, and

I found the people everywhere, not only willing, but anxious to contract
with me. I purchased large quantities of percussion caps in the city of
New York, and sent them by express without any disguise, to Montgomery. I
made contracts for batteries of light artillery, powder, and other
munitions, and succeeded in getting large quantities of the powder
shipped. It was agreed between the contractors and myself, that when I
should have occasion to use the telegraph, certain other words were to be
substituted, for those of military import, to avoid suspicion.

I made a contract, conditioned upon the approval of my Government, for the
removal to the Southern States, of a complete set of machinery for rifling
cannon, with the requisite skilled workmen to put it in operation. Some of
these men, who would thus have sold body, and soul to me, for a sufficient
consideration, occupied high social positions, and were men of wealth. I
dined with them, at their comfortable residences near their factories,
where the music of boring out cannon, accompanied the clatter of the
dishes, and the popping of champagne-corks; and I had more than one
business interview with gentlemen, who occupied the most costly suites of
apartments at the Astor House in New York City. Many of these gentlemen,
being unable to carry out their contracts with the Confederate States
because of the prompt breaking out of the war, afterward obtained
lucrative contracts from the Federal Government, and became, in
consequence, intensely _loyal_. It would be a _quasi_ breach of honor to
disclose their names, as they dealt with me, pretty much as conspirators
against their government are wont to deal with the enemies of their
government, secretly, and with an implied confidence that I would keep
their secret. It is accordingly safe.

In the mean time, the great revolution was progressing. Abraham Lincoln
had delivered his inaugural address, with triple rows of bayonets between
him, and the people to whom he was speaking, in which address he had
puzzled his hearers, and was no doubt puzzled himself, as to what he
really meant. He was like President Buchanan; now he saw it, and now he
didn't. He would not coerce the States, but he would hold on to the ceded
places within their limits, and collect the public revenue. Texas, and
Arkansas went out whilst I was in New York. The bulletin-boards at the
different newspaper offices were daily thronged by an unwashed multitude,
in search of some new excitement. The Northern public was evidently
puzzled. It had at first rather treated secession as a joke. They did not
think it possible that the Southern people could be in earnest, in
dissolving their connection with a people, so eminently proper as
themselves; but they now began to waver in this opinion. Still they
forbore any decided demonstration. Like sensible men they preferred
waiting until they could see how large a bull they were required to take
by the horns.

Toward the latter part of my stay in New York I received the following
letter from the Hon. Stephen R. Mallory, who had been appointed Secretary
of the Navy, which branch of the public service had been organized since I
had left Montgomery:

     NAVY DEPT., MONTGOMERY, ALA., March 13, 1861.


     SIR:--With the sanction of the President, I am constrained to impose
     upon you duties connected with this Department, in addition to the
     important trusts with which you are charged; but I do so, upon the
     express understanding, that they are not to interfere with the
     performance of your special duties. I have received reliable
     information, that two, or more steamers, of a class desired for
     immediate service, may be purchased at, or near New York; steamers of
     speed, light draught, and strength sufficient for at least one heavy
     gun. When I say to you, that they 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
     defence; that their speed should be sufficient to give them, at all
     times, the ability to engage, or evade an engagement; and that eight
     or ten-inch guns, with perhaps two thirty-twos, or if not, two of
     smaller calibre should constitute their battery, your judgment will
     need no further guide. Be pleased, should your other important
     engagements permit, to make inquiries, in such manner as may not
     excite special attention, and give me such details as to cost,
     character, &c., as you may deem important.

Under these instructions I made diligent search in the waters of New York,
for such steamers as were wanted, but none could be found. The river, and
Long Island Sound boats were mere shells, entirely unfit for the purposes
of war, and it was difficult to find any of the sea-going steamers, which
combined the requisite lightness of draught, with the other qualities

March was now drawing to a close, the war-cloud was assuming darker, and
more portentous hues, and it soon became evident that my usefulness in the
North was about to end. Men were becoming more shy of making engagements
with me, and the Federal Government was becoming more watchful. The New
York, and Savannah steamers were still running, curiously enough carrying
the Federal flag at the peak, and the Confederate flag at the fore; and in
the last days of March, I embarked on board one of them, arriving in
Montgomery on the 4th of April, just eight days before fire was opened
upon Fort Sumter. During the short interval that elapsed between my
arrival, and my going afloat, I was put in charge of the Light-House
Bureau; the Confederate Congress having, upon my recommendation,
established a Bureau, with a single naval officer at its head, instead of
the complicated machinery of a Board, which existed in the old Government.
I had barely time to appoint the necessary clerks, and open a set of
books, before Fort Sumter was fired upon, and the tocsin of war was



Fort Sumter surrendered on the 13th of April. The next day was a gala day
in Montgomery. We had driven an insolent enemy from one of the strongest
positions in the South, and the people were all agog to hear the news. A
large Confederate flag was displayed from a balcony of the War Office, and
the Hon. L. P. Walker, the Secretary of War, announced in a brief speech,
to the assembled multitude below, amid repeated cheering, and the waving
of hats, and handkerchiefs, the welcome tidings. The Union men, who have
become so numerous since the war, had, if any of them were in the city,
slunk to their holes, and corners, and the air was redolent, alone, of
Southern patriotism, and Southern enthusiasm.

The driving of the enemy from Charleston harbor, decided the fate of
Virginia, which had been trembling in the balance for some days. The grand
old State could no longer resist her generous impulses. Under a
proclamation of President Lincoln the martial hosts of an enraged and
vindictive North were assembling, to make war upon her sisters, and this
was enough--her ordinance of secession was passed, by a very gratifying
majority. Patrick Henry had become a prophet, and the beautiful, and
touching apostrophe of James Madison to the "kindred blood," and the
"mingled blood" of the American people, which was given to the reader a
few pages back, had proved to be the mere chimera of an excited

The effect of the surrender of Sumter in the North was beyond conception.
A prominent leader of the public press of that section had said of the
American flag:--

  "Tear down that flaunting lie,
  Half-mast the starry flag,
  Insult no sunny sky
  With hate's polluted rag."

Instantly, and as if by the touch of a magician's wand, the polluted rag
became the rallying cry of the whole Northern people, and of none more so,
than of the very men who had thus denounced it. But there was method in
this madness; the rag had only been polluted whilst it was the emblem of
good faith between the North, and the South; whilst, in other words, it
prevented the mad fanatics of the North from violating that slave
property, which _their_ ancestors had promised _our_ ancestors, in the
solemn league and covenant of the Constitution, should forever remain

But now that the rag, instead of being an obstacle, might be made the
means of accomplishing their designs, it was no longer necessary to pull
it down. The moment it was fired upon, it became, in their eyes, a new
flag, and the symbol of a new faith. It was no longer to represent the
federative principle, or to protect the rights of States; it was
henceforth to wave over yelling, and maddened majorities, whose will was
to be both Constitution, and law. Strange that the thinking portion of the
Northern people did not see this; strange that the hitherto conservative
Democratic party did not see it. Or was it that the whole North had been
wearing a mask, and that the mask was now no longer available, or
desirable, to hide their treachery?

Perhaps the future historian, in calmer moments, when the waves of passion
engendered by the late storm shall have sunk to rest, will be better able
to answer this question. For the present it is sufficient to record the
fact, mortifying, it must be confessed, to poor human nature, that all our
quondam friends, without so many as half a dozen exceptions in a whole
nation--I speak, of course, of prominent men--went over to the common
enemy. The very men who had stood, shoulder to shoulder, with us, in
resisting Northern aggression, who had encouraged us with pen, and voice,
to resist, if need be, unto the death, who promised in case of secession,
to stand between us, and the march of Northern armies of invasion,
instantly, and without even the salvo to their consciences of
circumlocution, changed their political faith of a life-time, and became,
if not straight-out Republicans, at least blatant War Democrats.

The reader cannot be at a loss to account for this change. It was caused
by the purest, and most refined selfishness. Next to the love of wealth,
the love of office may be said to be the distinguishing passion of the
American people. In the hands of a skilful office-seeker, patriotism is a
mere word with which to delude the ignorant masses, and not a sentiment,
or a creed, to be really entertained. Our allies in the North were very
patriotic, whilst there were still hopes of preserving the Union, and
along with it the prospect of office, by the aid of the Southern people,
but the moment the Southern States went out, and it became evident that
they would be politically dead, unless they recanted their political
faith, it was seen that they had no intention of becoming martyrs. Their
motto, on the contrary, became _sauve qui peut_, and the d----l take the
hindmost; and the banks of the new political Jordan were at once crowded
with a multitude anxious to be dipped in its regenerating waters!

As the tidings of these doings in the North were flashed to us, over the
wires, in Montgomery, it became evident to me, that the Light-House Bureau
was no longer to be thought of. It had become necessary for every man, who
could wield a sword, to draw it in defence of his country, thus threatened
by the swarming hordes of the North, and to leave the things of peace to
the future.

I had already passed the prime of life, and was going gently down that
declivity, at whose base we all arrive, sooner or later, but _I thanked
God_, that I had still a few years before me, and vigor enough of
constitution left, to strike in defence of the right. I at once sought an
interview with the Secretary of the Navy, and explained to him my desire
to go afloat. We had, as yet, nothing that could be called a navy; not a
ship indeed, if we except a few river steamers, that had been hastily
armed by some of the States, and turned over, by them, to the Navy
Department. The naval officers, who had come South, had brought with them
nothing but their poverty, and their swords; all of them who had been in
command of ships, at the secession of their respective States, having,
from a sense of honor, delivered them back to the Federal Government.

If a sense of justice had presided at the separation of the States, a
large portion of the ships of the Navy would have been turned over to the
South; and this failing to be done, it may be questionable whether the
Southern naval officers, in command, would not have been justified in
bringing their ships with them, which it would have been easy for them to
do. But, on the other hand, they had been personally intrusted with their
commands, by the Federal Government, and it would have been treason to a
military principle, if not to those great principles which guide
revolutions, to deliver those commands to a different government. Perhaps
they decided correctly--at all events, a military, or naval man, cannot go
very far astray, who abides by the point of honor.

Shortly before the war-cloud had arisen so ominously above the political
horizon, I had written a letter to a distinguished member of the Federal
Congress from the South, in reply to one from himself, giving him my views
as to the naval policy of our section, in case things should come to a
crisis. I make no apology to the reader for presenting him with the
following extract from that letter, bearing upon the subject, which we
have now in hand. "You ask me to explain what I mean, by an irregular
naval force. I mean a well-organized system of private armed ships, called
privateers. If you are warred upon at all, it will be by a commercial
people, whose ability to do you harm will consist chiefly in ships, and
shipping. It is at ships and shipping, therefore, that you must strike;
and the most effectual way to do this, is, by means of the irregular force
of which I speak. Private cupidity will always furnish the means for this
description of warfare, and all that will be required of you will be to
put it under sufficient legal restraints, to prevent it from degenerating
into piracy, and becoming an abuse. Even New England ships, and New
England capital would be at your service, in abundance. The system of
privateering would be analogous to the militia system on the land. You
could have a large irregular sea force, to act in aid of the regular naval
force, so long as the war lasted, and which could be disbanded, without
further care or expense, at the end of the war."

Wealth is necessary to the conduct of all modern wars, and I naturally
turned my eyes, as indicated in the above letter, to the enemy's chief
source of wealth. The ingenuity, enterprise, and natural adaptation of the
Northern people to the sea, and seafaring pursuits, had enabled them,
aided by the vast resources, which they had filched, under pretence of
legislation, from the South, to build up, in the course of a very few
years, a commercial marine that was second only to that of Great Britain,
in magnitude and importance.

The first decked vessel that had been built in the United States, was
built by one Adrian Block, a Dutch skipper, on the banks of the Hudson, in
1614, and in 1860, or in less than two centuries and a half, the great
Republic was competing with England, the history of whose maritime
enterprise extended back a thousand years, for the carrying trade of the
world! This trade, if permitted to continue, would be a powerful means of
sustaining the credit of the enemy, and enabling him to carry on the war.
Hence it became an object of the first necessity with the Confederate
States, to strike at his commerce. I enlarged upon this necessity, in the
interview I was now holding with Mr. Mallory, and I was gratified to find
that that able officer agreed with me fully in opinion.

A Board of naval officers was already in session at New Orleans, charged
with the duty of procuring, as speedily as possible, some light and fast
steamers to be let loose against the enemy's commercial marine, but their
reports up to this time, had been but little satisfactory. They had
examined a number of vessels, and found some defects in all of them. The
Secretary, speaking of the discouragement presented by these reports,
handed me one of them, which he had received that morning, from the Board.
I read it, and found that it described a small propeller steamer, of five
hundred tons burden, sea-going, with a low-pressure engine, sound, and
capable of being so strengthened as to be enabled to carry an ordinary
battery of four, or five guns. Her speed was reported to be between nine,
and ten knots, but unfortunately, said the Board, she carries but five
days' fuel, and has no accommodations for the crew of a ship of war. She
was, accordingly, condemned. When I had finished reading the report, I
turned to the Secretary, and said, "Give me that ship; I think I can make
her answer the purpose." My request was at once acceded to, the Secretary
telegraphed to the Board, to receive the ship, and the clerks of the
Department were set at work, to hunt up the necessary officers, to
accompany me, and make out the proper orders. And this is the way in which
the Confederate States' steamer _Sumter_, which was to have the honor of
being the first ship of war to throw the new Confederate flag to the
breeze, was commissioned. I had accepted a stone which had been rejected
of the builders, and which, though, it did not afterward become the "chief
corner-stone of the temple," I endeavored to work into the building which
the Confederates were then rearing, to remind their posterity that they
had struggled, as Patrick Henry and his contemporaries had struggled
before them, "in defence of their liberties."

The next day, the chief clerk of the Navy Department handed me the
following order:


     SIR:--You are hereby detached from duty as Chief of the Light-House
     Bureau, and will proceed to New Orleans, and take command of the
     steamer _Sumter_ (named in honor of our recent victory over Fort
     Sumter). The following officers have been ordered to report to you,
     for duty: Lieutenants John M. Kell, R. T. Chapman, John M. Stribling,
     and Wm. E. Evans; Paymaster Henry Myers; Surgeon Francis L. Galt;
     Midshipmen, Wm. A. Hicks, Richard F. Armstrong, Albert G. Hudgins,
     John F. Holden, and Jos. D. Wilson. I am respectfully your obedient

        S. R. MALLORY, _Secretary of the Navy_.

     _Commander_ RAPHAEL SEMMES.

The reader will observe that I am addressed as a "commander," the rank
which I held in the old service. The Navy Department, in consultation with
the President, had adopted the rule of accepting all the officers who
chose to come to us from the old Navy--as the Federal Navy began now to be
called--without increase of rank; and in arranging them on the Navy-list,
their old _relative_ rank was also preserved. This rule had two good
effects; it did not tempt any officer to come to us, moved by the hope of
immediate promotion, and it put us all on an equal footing, in the future
race for honors.

I had been living in Montgomery as a bachelor, at the house of Mr. Wm.
Knox, an old friend--my family having gone to spend some time with a
beloved brother, in Maryland, until I could see, by the light of events,
what final disposition to make of it. It did not occupy me long,
therefore, to make my preparations for departure, in obedience to my
orders. I took a respectful, and affectionate leave of the officers of the
government, with whom I had been associated, and embarked on the afternoon
of the same day on which I had received my orders, on board the steamer
_Southern Republic_ for Mobile. At Mobile I fell in with Lieutenant
Chapman, one of the officers who had been detailed to report to me, and
he, being a minute-man like myself, took a hasty leave of a young wife,
and we continued our journey together.

I found Mobile, like the rest of the Confederacy, in a great state of
excitement. Always one of the truest of Southern cities, it was boiling
over with enthusiasm; the young merchants had dropped their daybooks and
ledgers, and were forming, and drilling companies, by night and by day,
whilst the older ones were discussing questions of finance, and anxiously
casting about them, to see how the Confederate Treasury could be
supported. The Battle House, at which I stopped for a few hours, previous
to taking the steamer for New Orleans, was thronged with young men in
military costume, and all seemed going "as merrily as a marriage-bell."
Alas! my poor young countrymen, how many of you had disappeared from the
scene, when I next returned among you, near the close of the war, and how
many poor mothers there were, weeping for the sons that were not. But your
gallant and glorious record!--that, at least, remains, and must remain
forever; for you have inscribed your names so high on the scroll of fame,
that the slanderous breath of an ungenerous foe can never reach them.

I arrived in New Orleans, on Monday, the 22d of April, and at once put
myself in communication with the commanding naval officer, the venerable
Lawrence Rousseau, since gone to his long home, full of years, and full of
honors. Like a true son of the South he had obeyed the first call of his
fatherland, the State of Louisiana, and torn off the seal from the
commission of a Federal captain, which he had honored for forty years. I
will not say, "peace to his ashes," for the spirit of a Christian
gentleman, which animated his frame during life, has doubtless received
its appropriate reward; nor will I say aught of his name, or fame, for
these are embalmed in the memories of his countrymen. He was my friend,
and in that name "friend" I pronounce his eulogy. On the same day of my
arrival, in company with Lieutenant Chapman, I inspected, and took
possession of my new ship. I found her only a dismantled packet-ship, full
of upper cabins, and other top-hamper, furniture, and crockery, but as
unlike a ship of war as possible. Still, I was pleased with her general
appearance. Her lines were easy, and graceful, and she had a sort of saucy
air about her, which seemed to say, that she was not averse to the service
on which she was about to be employed.



A great change was apparent in New Orleans since I had last visited it.
The levée in front of the city was no longer a great mart of commerce,
piled with cotton bales, and supplies going back to the planter; densely
packed with steamers, and thronged with a busy multitude. The long lines
of shipping above the city had been greatly thinned, and a general air of
desolation hung over the river front. It seemed as though a pestilence
brooded over the doomed city, and that its inhabitants had fled before the
fell destroyer. The _Sumter_ lay on the opposite side of the river, at
Algiers, and I crossed over every morning to superintend her refitment. I
was sometimes detained at the ferry-house, waiting for the ferry-boat, and
on these occasions, casting my eyes up and down the late busy river, it
was not unfrequent to see it without so much as a skiff in motion on its

But this first simoon of the desert which had swept over the city, as a
foretaste of what was to come, had by no means discouraged its patriotic
inhabitants. The activity of commerce had ceased, it is true, but another
description of activity had taken its place. War now occupied the thoughts
of the multitude, and the sound of the drum, and the tramp of armed men
were heard in the streets. The balconies were crowded with lovely women in
gay attire, to witness the military processions, and the Confederate flag
in miniature was pinned on almost every bosom. The enthusiasm of the
Frenchman had been most easily and gracefully blended with the stern
determination of the Southern man of English descent; the consequence of
which was, that there was more demonstrative patriotism in New Orleans,
than in any other of our Southern cities. Nor was this patriotism
demonstrative only, it was deep and real, and was afterward sealed with
some of the best Creole blood of the land, poured out, freely, on many a
desperate battle-field. Alas! poor Louisiana. Once the seat of wealth, and
of a gay and refined hospitality, thy manorial residences are deserted,
and in decay, or have been levelled by the torch of the incendiary; thy
fruitful fields, that were cultivated by the contented laborer, who
whistled his merriment to his lazy plow, have been given to the jungle;
thy fair daughters have been insulted, by the coarse, and rude Vandal; and
even thy liberties have been given in charge of thy freedmen; and all
this, because thou wouldst thyself be free!

I now took my ship actively in hand, and set gangs of mechanics at work to
remove her upper cabins, and other top-hamper, preparatory to making the
necessary alterations. These latter were considerable, and I soon found
that I had a tedious job on my hands. It was no longer the case, as it had
been in former years, when I had had occasion to fit out a ship, that I
could go into a navy-yard, with well-provided workshops, and skilled
workmen ready with all the requisite materials at hand to execute my
orders. Everything had to be improvised, from the manufacture of a
water-tank, to the "kids, and cans" of the berth-deck messes, and from a
gun-carriage to a friction-primer. I had not only to devise all the
alterations but to make plans, and drawings of them, before they could be
comprehended. The main deck was strengthened, by the addition of heavy
beams to enable it to support the battery; a berth-deck was laid for the
accommodation of the crew; the engine, which was partly above the
water-line, was protected by a system of wood-work, and iron bars; the
ship's rig was altered so as to convert her into a barkentine, with
square-sails on her fore and main-masts; the officers' quarters, including
my own cabin, were re-arranged; new suits of sails were made, and new
boats constructed; hammocks and bedding were procured for the crew, and
guns, gun-carriages, and ammunition ordered. Two long, tedious months were
consumed in making these various alterations, and additions. My battery
was to consist of an eight-inch shell gun, to be pivoted amidships, and
of four light thirty-two pounders, of thirteen cwt. each, in broadside.

The Secretary of the Navy, who was as anxious as myself that I should get
to sea immediately, had given me all the assistance in his power, readily
acceding to my requests, and promptly filling, or causing to be filled,
all my requisitions. With the secession of Virginia we had become
possessed of a valuable depot of naval supplies, in the Norfolk Navy Yard.
It was filled with guns, shot, shell, cordage, and everything that was
useful in the equipment of a ship, but it was far away from New Orleans,
and such was the confusion along the different lines of railroad, that it
was difficult to procure transportation. Commander Terry Sinclair, the
active ordnance officer of the yard, had early dispatched my guns, by
railroad, but weeks elapsed without my being able to hear anything of
them. I was finally obliged to send a lieutenant in search of them, who
picked them up, one by one, as they had been thrown out on the road-side,
to make room for other freight. My gun-carriages I was obliged to have
constructed myself, and I was fortunate enough to obtain the services of a
very ingenious mechanic to assist me in this part of my duties--Mr. Roy, a
former employee of the Custom-House, within whose ample walls he had
established his work-shop. He contrived most ingeniously, and constructed
out of railroad iron, one of the best carriages (or rather, slide and
circle) for a pivot-gun, which I have ever seen. The large foundry of
Leeds & Co. took the contract for casting my shot, and shells, and
executed it to my satisfaction.

Whilst all these various operations are going on, we may conveniently look
around us upon passing events, or at least upon such of them as have a
bearing upon naval operations. President Davis, a few days after the
secession of Virginia, and when war had become imminent, issued a
proclamation for the purpose of raising that irregular naval force, of
which I have spoken in a previous page. Parties were invited to apply for
letters-of-marque and reprisal, with a view to the fitting out of
privateers, to prey upon the enemy's commerce. Under this proclamation
several privateers--generally light-draught river-steamers, with one or
two small guns each--were hastily prepared, in New Orleans, and had
already brought in some prizes captured off the mouths of the Mississippi.
Even this small demonstration seemed to surprise, as well as alarm the
Northern government, for President Lincoln now issued a proclamation
declaring the molestation of Federal vessels, on the high seas, by
Confederate cruisers, _piracy_. He had also issued a proclamation
declaring the ports of the Confederacy in a state of blockade. The mouths
of the Mississippi were to be sealed on the 25th of May.

The European governments, as soon as it became evident, that the two
sections were really at war, took measures accordingly. Great Britain took
the lead, and declared a strict neutrality between the combatants. It was
of the essence of such a declaration, that it should put both belligerents
on the same footing. This was apparently done, and the cruisers of both
sections were prohibited, alike, from taking their prizes into British
ports. I shall have something to say of the unequal operation of this
declaration of neutrality, in a future part of these memoirs; for the
present it is only necessary to state, that it acknowledged us to be in
possession of belligerent rights. This was a point gained certainly, but
it was no more than was to have been expected. Indeed, Great Britain could
do nothing less. In recognizing the war which had broken out between the
sections, as a war, and not as a mere insurrection, she had only followed
the lead of Mr. Lincoln himself. Efforts had been made it is true, both by
Mr. Lincoln, and his Secretary of State, to convince the European
governments that the job which they had on their hands was a small affair;
a mere family quarrel, of no great significance.

But the truth would not be suppressed, and when, at last, it became
necessary to declare the Confederate ports in a state of blockade, and to
send ships of war thither, to enforce the declaration, the sly little game
which they had been playing was all up with them. A blockade was an act of
war, which came under the cognizance of the laws of nations. It concerned
neutrals, as well as belligerents, and foreign nations were bound to take
notice of it. It followed that there could not be a blockade without a
war; and it equally followed, that there could not be a war without at
least two belligerent parties to it. It will thus be seen, that the
declaration of neutrality of Great Britain was a logical sequence of Mr.
Lincoln's, and Mr. Seward's own act. And yet with sullen, and singular
inconsistency, the Northern Government has objected, from that day to
this, to this mere routine act of Great Britain. So much was this act
considered, as a matter of course, at the time, that all the other powers
of the earth, of sufficient dignity to act in the premises, at all,
followed the example set them by Great Britain, and issued similar
declarations; and the four years of bloody war that followed justified the
wisdom of their acts.

We may now return to the equipment of the _Sumter_. A rendezvouz had been
opened, and a crew had been shipped for her, which was temporarily berthed
on board the receiving ship, _Star of the West_, a transport-steamer of
the enemy, which had been gallantly captured by some Texans, and turned
over to the Navy. New Orleans was full of seamen, discharged from ships
that had been laid up, and more men were offering themselves for service,
than I could receive. I had the advantage, therefore, of picking my crew,
an advantage which no one but a seaman can fully appreciate. My
lieutenants, surgeon, paymaster, and marine officer had all arrived, and,
with the consent of the Navy Department, I had appointed my engineers--one
chief, and three assistants--boatswain, carpenter, and sailmaker. My
provisions had been purchased, and were ready to be put on board, and my
funds had already arrived, but we were still waiting on the mechanics,
who, though doing their best, had not yet been able to turn the ship over
to us. From the following letter to the Secretary of the Navy, inclosing a
requisition for funds, it will be seen that my demands upon the department
were quite moderate, and that I expected to make the _Sumter pay her own
expenses_, as soon as she should get to sea.

     NEW ORLEANS, May 14, 1861.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inclose, herewith, a requisition for the
     sum of $10,000, which I request may be remitted to the paymaster of
     the _Sumter_, in specie, for use during my contemplated cruise. I may
     find it necessary to coal several times, and to supply my crew with
     fresh provisions, &c., before I have the opportunity of replenishing
     my military chest from the enemy.

The ammunition remained to be provided, and on the 20th of May, I
dispatched Lieutenant Chapman to the Baton Rouge Arsenal, which had been
captured a short time before, for the purpose of procuring it, under the
following letter of instructions:

     NEW ORLEANS, May 20, 1861.

     SIR:--You will proceed to Baton Rouge, and put yourself in
     communication with the commander of the C. S. Arsenal, at that point,
     for the purpose of receiving the ammunition, arms, shot, shell, &c.,
     that may be required for the supply of the C. S. steamer _Sumter_,
     now fitting for sea at this port. It is presumed that the proper
     orders [which had been requested] have been, or will be dispatched
     from Montgomery, authorizing the issue of all such articles, as we
     may need. Should this not be the case, with regard to any of the
     articles, it is hoped that the ordnance officer in charge will not
     hesitate to deliver them, as it is highly important that the _Sumter_
     should not be detained, because of any oversight, or informality, in
     the orders of the War Department. Be pleased to present the
     accompanying requisition to Captain Booth, the superintendent, and
     ask that it may be filled. The gunner will be directed to report to
     you, to accompany you to Baton Rouge, on this service.

The reader will thus perceive that many difficulties lay in the way of
equipping the _Sumter_; that I was obliged to pick up one material here,
and another there, as I could best find it, and that I was not altogether
free from the routine of the "Circumlocution Office," as my requisitions
had frequently to pass through many hands, before they could be complied

About this time, we met with a sad accident in the loss of one of our
midshipmen, by drowning. He, with other young officers of the _Sumter_,
had been stationed, temporarily, on board the receiving ship, in charge of
the _Sumter's_ crew, whilst the latter ship was still in the hands of the
mechanics. The following letter of condolence to the father of the young
gentleman will sufficiently explain the circumstances of the disaster:

     NEW ORLEANS, May 18, 1861.

     SIR:--It becomes my melancholy duty to inform you, of the death, by
     drowning, yesterday, of your son, Midshipman John F. Holden, of the
     C. S. steamer _Sumter_. Your son was temporarily attached to the
     receiving ship (late _Star of the West_) at this place, whilst the
     _Sumter_ was being prepared for sea, and whilst engaged in carrying
     out an anchor, in a boat belonging to that ship, met his melancholy
     fate, along with three of the crew, by the swamping of the boat, in
     which he was embarked. I offer you, my dear sir, my heartfelt
     condolence on this sad bereavement. You have lost a cherished son,
     and the Government a valuable and promising young officer.

     W. B. HOLDEN, ESQ., _Louisburg, Tenn._

War had begun, thus early, to demand of us our sacrifices. Tennessee had
not yet seceded, and yet this ardent Southern youth had withdrawn from the
Naval Academy, and cast his lot with his section.

A few extracts from my journal will now, perhaps, give the reader a better
idea of the progress of my preparations for sea, and of passing events,
than any other form of narrative. _May 27th._--News received this morning
of the appearance, at Pass à L'Outre, yesterday, of the U. S. steamer
_Brooklyn_, and of the establishment of the blockade. Work is progressing
satisfactorily, and I expect to be ready for sea, by Sunday next.

News of skirmishing in Virginia, and of fresh arrivals of Northern troops,
at Washington, _en route_ for that State. The Federal Government has
crossed the Potomac, in force, and thus inaugurated a bloody, and a bitter
war, by the invasion of our territory. So be it--we but accept the
gantlet, which has been flung in our faces. The future will tell a tale
not unworthy of the South, and her glorious cause.

_Monday, May 30th._ My patience is sorely tried by the mechanics. The
water-tanks for the _Sumter_ are not yet completed. The carriage for the
8-inch gun was finished, to-day, and we are busy laying down the circles
for it, and cutting the holes for the fighting-bolts. The carriages for
the 32-pounders are promised us, by Saturday next, and also the copper
tanks for the magazine. Our ammunition, and small arms arrived, yesterday,
from Baton Rouge. Besides the _Brooklyn_, at the Passes, we learn, to-day,
that the _Niagara_, and _Minnesota_, two of the enemy's fastest, and
heaviest steamships have arrived, to assist in enforcing the blockade, and
to lie in wait for some ships expected to arrive, laden with arms and
ammunition, for the Confederacy. _May 31st._--The tanks are at last
finished, and they have all been delivered, to-day. Leeds & Co. have done
an excellent job, and I shall be enabled to carry three months' water for
my crew. We shall now get on, rapidly, with our preparations.

_Saturday, June 1st_, finds us not yet ready for sea! The tanks have all
been taken on board, and stowed; the gun carriages for the 32s will be
finished on Monday. The circles for the 8-inch gun have been laid down,
and the fighting-bolts are ready for placing. On Monday I shall throw the
crew on board, and by Thursday next, I shall, _without doubt_ be ready for
sea. We are losing a great deal of precious time. The enemy's flag is
being flaunted in our faces, at all our ports by his ships of war, and his
vessels of commerce are passing, and repassing, on the ocean, in defiance,
or in contempt of our power, and, as yet, we have not struck a blow.

At length on the 3d of June, I was enabled to put the _Sumter_, formally,
in commission. On that day her colors were hoisted, for the first
time--the ensign having been presented to me, by some patriotic ladies of
New Orleans--the crew was transferred to her, from the receiving ship, and
the officers were ordered to mess on board. The ship was now hauled off
and anchored in the stream, but we were delayed two long and tedious weeks
yet, before we were finally ready. During these two weeks we made a trial
trip up the river, some ten or twelve miles. Some of the principal
citizens were invited on board, and a bright, and beautiful afternoon was
pleasantly spent, in testing the qualities of the ship, the range of her
guns, and the working of the gun-carriages; the whole ending by a
collation, in partaking of which my guests were kind enough to wish me a
career full of "_blazing_ honors."

I was somewhat disappointed in the speed of my ship, as we did not succeed
in getting more than nine knots out of her. There was another great
disadvantage. With all the space I could allot to my coal-bunkers, she
could be made to carry no more than about eight days' fuel. We had masts,
and sails, it is true, but these could be of but little use, when the coal
was exhausted, as the propeller would remain a drag in the water, there
being no means of hoisting it. It was with such drawbacks, that I was to
take the sea, alone, against a vindictive and relentless enemy, whose Navy
already swarmed on our coasts, and whose means of increasing it were
inexhaustible. But the sailor has a saying, that "Luck is a Lord," and we
trusted to luck.

On the 18th of June, after all the vexatious delays that have been
described, I got up my anchor, and dropped down to the Barracks, below the
city a short distance, to receive my powder on board, which, for safety,
had been placed in the State magazine. At 10.30 P. M. of the same day, we
got up steam, and by the soft and brilliant light of a moon near her full,
threw ourselves into the broad, and swift current of the Father of Waters,
and ran rapidly down to the anchorage, between Fort Jackson, and Fort St.
Philip, where we came to at 4 A. M. In the course of the day, Captain
Brand, an ex-officer of the old Navy, and now second in command of the
forts, came on board to make us the ceremonial visit; and I subsequently
paid my respects to Major Duncan, the officer in chief command, an
ex-officer of the old Army. These gentlemen were both busy, as I found
upon inspecting the forts, in perfecting their batteries, and drilling
their men, for the hot work that was evidently before them. As was
unfortunately the case with our people, generally, at this period, they
were over-confident. They kindly supplied some few deficiencies, that
still remained in our gunner's department, and I received from them a
howitzer, which I mounted on my taffarel, to guard against boat attacks,
by night.

I remained three days at my anchors between the forts, for the purpose of
stationing, and drilling my crew, before venturing into the presence of
the enemy; and I will take advantage of this lull to bring up some matters
connected with the ship, which we have hitherto overlooked. On the 7th of
June, the Secretary of the Navy--the Government having, in the mean time,
removed to Richmond--sent me my sailing orders, and in my letter of the
14th of the same month, acknowledging their receipt, I had said to him: "I
have an excellent set of men on board, though they are nearly all green,
and will require some little practice, and drilling, at the guns, to
enable them to handle them creditably. Should I be fortunate enough to
reach the high seas, you may rely upon my implicit obedience of your
instructions, 'to do the enemy's commerce the greatest injury, in the
shortest time.'"

Here was a model of a letter of instruction--it meant "burn, sink, and
destroy," always, of course, within the limits prescribed by the laws of
nations, and with due attention to the laws of humanity, in the treatment
of prisoners. The reader will see, as we progress, that I gave the
"implicit obedience" which had been promised, to these instructions, and
that if greater results were not accomplished, it was the fault of the
_Sumter_, and not of her commander. In the same letter that brought me my
sailing orders, the Secretary had suggested to me the propriety of
adopting some means of communicating with him, by cipher, so that, my
despatches, if captured by the enemy, would be unintelligible to him. The
following letter in reply to this suggestion, will explain how this was
arranged: "I have the honor to enclose herewith a copy of 'Reid's English
Dictionary,' a duplicate of which I retain, for the purpose mentioned in
your letter of instructions, of the 7th instant. I have not been able to
find in the city of New Orleans, 'Cobb's Miniature Lexicon,' suggested by
you, or any other suitable dictionary, with but a single column on a page.
This need make no difference, however. In my communications to the
Department, should I have occasion to refer to a word in the copy sent, I
will designate the first column on the page, A, and the second column, B.
Thus, if I wish to use the word 'prisoner,' my reference to it would be as
follows: 323, B, 15; the first number referring to the page, the letter to
the column, and the second number to the number of the word from the top
of the column." By means of this simple, and cheap device, I was enabled,
at all times, to keep my dispatches out of the hands of the enemy, or, in
other words, prevent him from interpreting them, when I had anything of
importance to communicate.

Before leaving New Orleans, I had, in obedience to a general order of the
service, transmitted to the Navy Department, a Muster Roll of the
officers, and men, serving on board the _Sumter_. Her crew, as reported by
this roll, consisted of ninety-two persons, exclusive of officers. Twenty
of these ninety-two persons were marines--a larger guard than was usual
for so small a ship. The officers were as follows:

_Commander._--Raphael Semmes.

_Lieutenants._--John M. Kell; Robert T. Chapman; John M. Stribling;
William E. Evans.

_Paymaster._--Henry Myers.

_Surgeon._--Francis L. Galt.

_1st Lieutenant of Marines._--B. Howell.

_Midshipmen._--William A. Hicks; Albert G. Hudgins; Richard F. Armstrong;
Joseph D. Wilson.

_Engineers._--Miles J. Freeman; William P. Brooks; Matthew O'Brien; Simeon
W. Cummings.

_Boatswain._--Benjamin P. Mecasky.

_Gunner._--Thomas C. Cuddy.

_Sailmaker._--W. P. Beaufort.

_Carpenter._--William Robinson.

_Captain's Clerk._--W. Breedlove Smith.

Commissions had been forwarded to all the officers entitled to receive
them, and acting appointments had been given by me to the warrant
officers. It will thus be seen, how formally all these details had been
attended to. These commissions were to be our warrants for what we were to
do, on the high seas.

And now the poor boon will be permitted to human nature, that before we
launch our frail bark, on the wild sea of adventure, before us, we should
turn our thoughts, homeward, for a moment.

  "'And is he gone?'--on sudden solitude
  How oft that fearful question will intrude!
  'Twas but an instant past--and here he stood!
  And now!--without the portal's porch she rushed,
  And then at length her tears in freedom gushed;
  Big, bright, and fast, unknown to her they fell;
  But still her lips refused to send 'farewell!'
  For in that word--that fatal word--howe'er
  We promise--hope--believe--there breathes despair."

Such was the agony of many a fair bosom, as the officers of the _Sumter_
had torn themselves from the embraces of their families, in those scenes
of leave-taking, which more than any other, try the sailor's heart.
Several of them were married men, and it was long years before they
returned to the homes which they had made sad by their absence.



Whilst we were lying at our anchors between the forts, as described in the
last chapter, Governor Moore of Louisiana, who had done good service to
the Confederacy, by seizing the forts, and arsenals in his State, in
advance of secession, and the Hon. John Slidell, lately returned from his
seat in the Federal Senate, and other distinguished gentlemen came down,
on a visit of inspection to the forts. I went on shore to call on them,
and brought them on board the _Sumter_ to lunch with me. My ship was, by
this time, in excellent order, and my crew well accustomed to their
stations, under the judicious management of my first lieutenant, and I
took pleasure in showing these gentlemen how much a little discipline
could accomplish, in the course of a few weeks. Discipline!--what a power
it is everywhere, and under all circumstances; and how much the want of it
lost us, as the war progressed. What a pity the officers of our army did
not have their respective commands, encircled by wooden walls, with but a
"single monarch to walk the peopled deck."

Just at nightfall, on the evening of the 21st of June, I received the
following despatch from the commanding officer of the forts:

     CAPTAIN:--I am desired by the commanding officer to state, that the
     _Ivy_--this was a small tender of the forts, and
     letter-of-marque--reports that the _Powhatan_ has left, in pursuit of
     two ships, and that he has a telegram from Pass à L'Outre, to the
     effect, that a boat from the _Brooklyn_ had put into the river and
     was making for the telegraph station, where she was expected to
     arrive within a few minutes.

The _Powhatan_ was blockading the Southwest Pass, and it was barely
possible that I might get to sea, through this pass, if a pilot could be
at once procured; and so I immediately ordered steam to be raised, and
getting up my anchor, steamed down to the Head of the Passes, where the
river branches into its three principal outlets. Arriving here, at
half-past ten P. M. I dispatched a boat to the light-house, for a pilot;
but the keeper _knew nothing_ of the pilots, and was unwilling to come on
board, himself, though requested. The night wore away, and nothing could
be done.

The telescope revealed to us, the next morning, that the _Powhatan_ had
returned to her station. From the sullen, and unsatisfactory message,
which had been returned to me, by the keeper of the light-house, I began
to suspect that there was something wrong, about the pilots; and it being
quite necessary that I should have one constantly, on board, to enable me
to take advantage of any temporary absence of the enemy's cruisers,
without having to hunt up one for the emergency, I dispatched the _Ivy_,
to the pilots' station, at the Southwest Pass, in search of one. This
active little cruiser returned in the course of a few hours, and reported
that none of the pilots were willing to come on board of me! I received,
about the same time, a telegraphic despatch from the Southwest Pass,
forwarded to me through Major Duncan, which read as follows: "Applied to
the Captain of the Pilots' Association for a pilot for the _Sumter_. He
requested me to state, that there are no pilots on duty now!" "So ho! sits
the wind in that quarter," thought I--I will soon set this matter right.
I, at once, sent Lieutenant Stribling on board the _Ivy_, and directed him
to proceed to the Pilots' Association, and deliver, and see executed the
following written order:

     June 22, 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 disobeys this summons I will not only have his
     Branch taken from him, but I will send an armed force, and arrest,
     and bring him on board.

This order had the desired effect, and in the course of the afternoon,
Lieutenant Stribling returned, bringing with him, the Captain of the
Association, and several of the pilots. I directed them to be brought into
my cabin, and when they were assembled, demanded to know the reason of
their late behavior. Some stammering excuses were offered, which I cut
short, by informing them that one of them must remain on board constantly,
and that they might determine for themselves, who should take the first
week's service; to be relieved at the end of the week, by another, and so
on, as long as I should find it necessary. One of their number being
designated, I dismissed the rest. The reader will see how many faithful
auxiliaries, Admiral Farragut afterward found, in the Pilots' Association
of the mouths of the Mississippi, when he made his famous ascent of the
river, and captured its great seaport. Nor was this defection confined to
New Orleans. The pilots along our whole Southern coast were, with few
exceptions, Northern men, and as a rule they went over to the enemy,
though pretending, in the beginning of our troubles, to be good
secessionists. The same remark may be applied to our steamboat men, of
Northern birth, as a class. Many of them had become domiciled in the
South, and were supposed to be good Southern men, until the crucial test
of self-interest was applied to them, when they, too, deserted us, and
took service with the enemy.

The object of the _Brooklyn's_ boat, which, as we have seen, pulled into
the telegraph station at Pass à L'Outre, just before we got under way from
between the forts, was to cut the wires, and break up the station, to
prevent intelligence being given me of the movements of the blockading
fleet. I now resorted to a little retaliation. I dispatched an officer to
the different light-houses, to stave the oil-casks, and bring away the
lighting apparatus, to prevent the enemy's shipping from using the lights.
They were of great convenience, not only to the ships employed on the
blockade, but to the enemy's transports, and other ships, bound to and
from the coast of Texas. They could be of no use to our own
blockade-runners, as the passes of the Mississippi, by reason of their
long, and tortuous, and frequently shifting channels, were absolutely
closed to them.

The last letter addressed by me to the Secretary of the Navy, before
escaping through the blockade, as hereinafter described, was the

     June 30, 1861.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform the Department that I am still at my
     anchors at the "Head of the Passes"--the enemy closely investing both
     of the practical outlets. At Pass à L'Outre there are three ships,
     the _Brooklyn_, and another propeller, and a large side-wheel
     steamer; and at the Southwest Pass, there is the _Powhatan_, 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 the position--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_, Lieutenant Gwathmey, and the
     _McRae_, Lieutenant Huger--neither of which has, as yet, however,
     dropped down--I could probably hold my position here, until an
     opportunity offers 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 being nightly exhibited. I
     caused them both to be extinguished, so that if bad weather should
     set in--a gale from the south-east, for instance--the blockading
     ships, having nothing to "hold on to," will be obliged to make an
     offing. At present the worst feature of the blockade of Pass à
     L'Outre is, that the _Brooklyn_ has the speed of me; so that even if
     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
     by, both night and day, it will be exceedingly difficult to do. I
     should be quite willing to try speed with the _Powhatan_, if I could
     hope to run the gantlet of her guns, without being crippled; but here
     again, unfortunately, with all the buoys, and other marks removed,
     the bar which she is watching is a perfectly blind bar, except by
     daylight. In the meantime, I am drilling my green crew, to a proper
     use of the great guns, and small arms. With the exception of a
     diarrhoea, which is prevailing, to some extent, brought on by too
     free use of the river water, in the excessive heats which prevail,
     the crew continues healthy.

Nothing in fact surprised me more, during the nine days I lay at the Head
of the Passes, than that the enemy did not attack me with some of his
light-draught, but heavily armed steamers, or by his boats, by night. Here
was the _Sumter_, a small ship, with a crew, all told, of a little over a
hundred men, anchored only ten, or twelve miles from the enemy, without a
gun, or an obstruction between her and him; and yet no offensive movement
was made against her. The enemy watched me closely, day by day, and bent
all his energies toward preventing my escape, but did not seem to think of
the simple expedient of endeavoring to capture me, with a superior force.
In nightly expectation of an assault, I directed the engineer to keep the
water in his boilers, as near the steam-point as possible, without
actually generating the vapor, and sent a patrol of boats some distance
down the Southwest Pass; the boats being relieved every four hours, and
returning to the ship, at the first streaks of dawn. After I went to sea,
the enemy did come in, and take possession of my anchorage, until he was
driven away by Commodore Hollins, in a little nondescript ram; which, by
the way, was the first ram experiment of the war. The reader may imagine
the tedium, and discomforts of our position, if he will reflect that it is
the month of June, and that at this season of the year, the sun comes down
upon the broad, and frequently calm surface of the Father of Waters, with
an African glow, and that clouds of that troublesome little insect the
mosquito tormented us, by night and by day. There was no sleeping at all
without the mosquito bar, and I had accordingly had a supply sent down for
all the crew. Rather than stand the assaults of these little _picadores_,
much longer, I believe my crew would have run the gantlet of the whole
Federal Navy.

My diary will now perhaps give the reader, his clearest conception of the
condition of things on board the _Sumter_, for the remaining few days that
she is to continue at her anchors.

_Tuesday, June 25th._--A sharp thunder-storm at half-past three A. M.,
jarring and shaking the ship with its crashes. The very flood-gates of the
heavens seem open, and the rain is descending on our decks like a
cataract. Clearing toward ten o'clock. Both blockading ships still at
their anchors. The British steam sloop _Jason_ touched at the Southwest
Pass, yesterday, and communicated with the _Powhatan_. We learn by the
newspapers, to-day, that the enemy has taken possession of Ship Island,
and established a blockade of the Sound. The anaconda is drawing his
folds around us. We are filling some shell, and cartridges to-day, and
drilling the crew at the battery.

_Wednesday, June 26th._--Cloudy, with occasional rain squalls, which have
tempered the excessive heats. The _Ivy_ returned from the city to-day, and
brought me eighty barrels of coal. Sent the pilot, in the light-house
keeper's boat, to sound the S. E. bar, an unused and unwatched outlet to
the eastward of the South Pass--in the hope that we may find sufficient
water over it, to permit the egress of the ship. The Federal ships are
keeping close watch, as usual, at both the passes, neither of them having
stirred from her anchor, since we have been at the "Head of the Passes."

_Thursday, June 27th._--Weather sultry, and atmosphere charged with
moisture. Pilot returned this afternoon, and reports ten and a half feet
water on the S. E. bar. Unfortunately the _Sumter_ draws twelve feet; so
we must abandon this hope.

_Saturday, June 29th._--A mistake induced us to expend a little coal,
to-day, uselessly. The pilot having gone aloft, to take his usual
morning's survey of the "situation," reported that the _Brooklyn_ was
nowhere to be seen! Great excitement immediately ensued, on the decks, and
the officer of the watch hurried into my cabin with the information. I
ordered steam to be gotten up with all dispatch, and when, in the course
of a very few minutes, it was reported ready--for we always kept our fires
banked--the anchor was tripped, and the ship was under way, ploughing her
way through the turbid waters, toward Pass à L'Outre. When we had steamed
about four miles down the pass, the _Brooklyn_ was seen riding very
quietly at her anchors, _in her usual berth near the bar_. Explanation:
The _Sumter_ had dragged her anchor during the night, and the alteration
in her position had brought a clump of trees between her, and the enemy's
ship, which had prevented the pilot from seeing the latter! With
disappointed hopes we had nothing to do, but to return to our anchors, and
watch and wait. In half an hour more, the sailors were lounging idly about
the decks, under well-spread awnings; the jest, and banter went round, as
usual, and save the low hissing and singing of the steam, which was still
escaping, there was nothing to remind the beholder of our recent
disappointment. Such is the school of philosophy in which the seaman is
reared. Our patience, however, was soon to be rewarded.

Early on the next morning, which was the 30th of June, the steamer,
_Empire Parish_, came down from the city, and coming alongside of us, put
on board some fresh provisions for the crew, and about one hundred barrels
of coal, which my thoughtful, and attentive friend, Commodore Rousseau,
had sent down to me. Having done this, the steamer shoved off, and
proceeded on her trip, down Pass à L'Outre, to the pilots' station, and
lighthouse. It was a bright Sunday morning, and we were thinking of
nothing but the usual muster, and how we should get through another idle
day. In the course of two or three hours, the steamer returned, and when
she had come near us, she was seen to cast off a boat, which she had been
towing, containing a single boatman--one of the fishermen, or oyster-men
so common in these waters. The boatman pulled rapidly under our stern, and
hailing the officer of the deck, told him, that the _Brooklyn_ had gone
off in chase of a sail, and was no longer in sight. The crew, who had been
"cleaning themselves," for Sunday muster, at once stowed away their bags;
the swinging-booms were gotten alongside, the boats run up, and, in ten
minutes, the steam was again hissing, as if impatient of control. The men
ran round the capstan, in "double-quick," in their eagerness to get up the
anchor, and in a few minutes more, the ship's head swung off gracefully
with the current, and, the propeller being started, she bounded off like a
thing of life, on this new race, which was to decide whether we should
continue to stagnate in midsummer, in the marshes of the Mississippi, or
reach those "glad waters of the dark blue sea," which form as delightful a
picture in the imagination of the sailor, as in that of the poet.

Whilst we were heaving up our anchor, I had noticed the pilot, standing
near me, pale, and apparently nervous, and agitated, but, as yet, he had
said not a word. When we were fairly under way, however, and it seemed
probable, at last, that we should attempt the blockade, the fellow's
courage fairly broke down, and he protested to me that he knew nothing of
the bar of Pass à L'Outre, and durst not attempt to run me over. "I am,"
said he, "a S. W. bar pilot, and know nothing of the other passes."
"What," said I, "did you not know that I was lying at the Head of the
Passes, for the very purpose of taking any one of the outlets through
which an opportunity of escape might present itself, and yet you dare tell
me, that you know but one of them, and have been deceiving me." The fellow
stammered out something in excuse, but I was too impatient to listen to
him, and, turning to the first lieutenant, ordered him to hoist the "Jack"
at the fore, as a signal for a pilot. I had, in fact, resolved to attempt
the passage of the bar, from my own slight acquaintance with it, when I
had been a light-house inspector, rather than forego the opportunity of
escape, and caused the Jack to be hoisted, rather as a matter of course,
than because I hoped for any good result from it. The _Brooklyn_ had not
"chased out of sight," as reported--she had only chased to the westward,
some seven or eight miles, and had been hidden from the boatman, by one of
the spurs of the Delta. She had probably, all the while, had her
telescopes on the _Sumter_, and as soon as she saw the black smoke issuing
from her chimney, and the ship moving rapidly toward the pass, she
abandoned her chase, and commenced to retrace her steps.

We had nearly equal distances to run to the bar, but I had the advantage
of a four-knot current. Several of my officers now collected around me,
and we were discussing the chances of escape. "What think you of our
prospect," said I, turning to one of my lieutenants, who had served a
short time before, on board the _Brooklyn_, and knew well her qualities.
"Prospect, sir! not the least in the world--there is no possible chance of
our escaping that ship. Even if we get over the bar ahead of her, she must
overhaul us, in a very short time. The _Brooklyn_ is good for fourteen
knots an hour, sir." "That was the report," said I, "on her trial trip,
but you know how all such reports are exaggerated; ten to one, she has no
better speed, if so good, as the _Sumter_." "You will see, sir," replied
my lieutenant; "we made a passage in her, only a few months ago, from
Tampico to Pensacola, and averaged about thirteen knots the whole

Here the conversation dropped, for an officer now came to report to me
that a boat had just shoved off from the pilots' station, evidently with a
pilot in her. Casting my eyes in the given direction, I saw a whale-boat
approaching us, pulled by four stout blacks, who were bending like good
fellows to their long ashen oars, and in the stern sheets was seated, sure
enough, the welcome pilot, swaying his body to, and fro, as his boat
leaped under the oft-repeated strokes of the oars, as though he would
hasten her already great speed. But more beautiful still was another
object which presented itself. In the balcony of the pilot's house, which
had been built in the very marsh, on the margin of the river, there stood
a beautiful woman, the pilot's young wife, waving him on to his duty, with
her handkerchief. We could have tossed a biscuit from the _Sumter_ to the
shore, and I uncovered my head gallantly to my fair countrywoman. A few
moments more, and a tow-line had been thrown to the boat, and the gallant
young fellow stood on the horse-block beside me.

As we swept past the light-house wharf, almost close enough to touch it,
there were other petticoats fluttering in the breeze, the owners of which
were also waving handkerchiefs of encouragement to the _Sumter_. I could
see my sailors' eyes brighten at these spectacles, for the sailor's heart
is capacious enough to love the whole sex, and I now felt sure of their
nerves, in case it should become necessary to tax them. Half a mile or so,
from the light-house, and the bar is reached. There was a Bremen ship
lying aground on the bar, and there was just room, and no more, for us to
pass her. She had run out a kedge, and had a warp attached to it that was
lying across the passage-way. The crew considerately slackened the line,
as we approached, and in another bound the _Sumter_ was outside the bar,
and the Confederate flag was upon the high seas! We now slackened our
speed, for an instant--only an instant, for my officers and men all had
their wits about them, and worked like good fellows--to haul the pilot's
boat alongside, that he might return to the shore. As the gallant young
fellow grasped my hand, and shook it warmly, as he descended from the
horse-block, he said, "Now, Captain, you are all clear; give her h--ll,
and let her go!"

We had now nothing to do, but turn our attention to the enemy. The
_Brooklyn_, as we cleared the bar, was about three and a half, or four
miles distant; we were therefore just out of reach of her guns, with
nothing to spare. Thick volumes of smoke could be seen pouring from the
chimneys of both ships; the firemen, and engineers of each evidently doing
their best. I called a lieutenant, and directed him to heave the log. He
reported our speed to be nine, and a half knots. Loth to believe that we
could be making so little way, through the yet turbid waters, which were
rushing past us with great apparent velocity, I directed the officer to
repeat the experiment; but the same result followed, though he had paid
out the line with a free hand. I now sent for the engineer, and, upon
inquiry, found that he was doing his very best--"though," said he, "there
is a little drawback, just now, in the 'foaming' of our boilers, arising
from the suddenness with which we got up steam; when this subsides, we may
be able to add half a knot more."

The _Brooklyn_ soon loosed, and set her sails, bracing them sharp up on
the starboard tack. I loosed and set mine, also. The enemy's ship was a
little on my weather quarter, say a couple of points, and had thus
slightly the weather-gauge of me. As I knew I could lay nearer the wind
than she, being able to brace my yards sharper, and had besides, the
advantage of larger fore-and-aft sails, comparatively, stay-sails,
try-sails, and a very large spanker, I resolved at once to hold my wind,
so closely, as to compel her to furl her sails, though this would carry me
a little athwart her bows, and bring me perhaps a little nearer to her,
for the next half hour, or so. A rain squall now came up, and enveloped
the two ships, hiding each from the other. As the rain blew off to
leeward, and the _Brooklyn_ reappeared, she seemed fearfully near to us,
and I began to fear I should realize the foreboding of my lieutenant. I
could not but admire the majesty of her appearance, with her broad flaring
bows, and clean, and beautiful run, and her masts, and yards, as taunt and
square, as those of an old time sailing frigate. The stars and stripes of
a large ensign flew out from time to time, from under the lee of her
spanker, and we could see an apparently anxious crowd of officers on her
quarter-deck, many of them with telescopes directed toward us. She had,
evidently, I thought, gained upon us, and I expected every moment to hear
the whiz of a shot; but still she did not fire.

I now ordered my paymaster to get his public chest, and papers ready for
throwing overboard, if it should become necessary. At this crisis the
engineer came up from below, bringing the welcome intelligence that the
"foaming" of his boilers had ceased, and that his engine was "working
beautifully," giving the propeller several additional turns per minute.
The breeze, too, favored me, for it had freshened considerably; and what
was still more to the purpose, I began to perceive that I was "eating" the
_Brooklyn_ "out of the wind"; in other words, that she was falling more
and more to leeward. I knew, of course, that as soon as she fell into my
wake, she would be compelled to furl her sails. This she did in half an
hour or so afterward, and I at once began to breathe more freely, for I
could still hold on to my own canvas. I have witnessed many beautiful
sights at sea, but the most beautiful of them all was when the _Brooklyn_
let fly all her sheets, and halliards, at once, and clewed up, and furled,
in man-of-war style, all her sails, from courses to royals. We now began
to gain quite perceptibly on our pursuer, and at half-past three, the
chase was abandoned, the baffled _Brooklyn_ retracing her steps to Pass à
l'Outre, and the _Sumter_ bounding away on her course seaward.

We fired no gun of triumph in the face of the enemy--my powder was too
precious for that--but I sent the crew aloft, to man the rigging, and
three such cheers were given for the Confederate flag, "that little bit of
striped bunting," that had waved from the _Sumter's_ peak during the
exciting chase, as could proceed only from the throats of American seamen,
in the act of defying a tyrant--those cheers were but a repetition of many
such cheers that had been given, by our ancestors, to that other bit of
"striped bunting" which had defied the power of England in that olden war,
of which our war was but the logical sequence. The reader must not suppose
that our anxiety was wholly allayed, as soon as we saw the _Brooklyn_ turn
away from us.

[Illustration: The Sumter running the blockade of Pass à l'Outre by the
enemy's Ship Brooklyn, on the 30th June, 1861.


We were, as yet, only a few miles from the land, and our coast was
swarming with the enemy's cruisers. Ship Island was not a great way
off, and there was a constant passing to and fro, of ships-of-war between
that island and the passes of the Mississippi, and we might stumble upon
one of these at any moment. "Sail ho!" was now shouted from the mast-head.
"Where away!" cried the officer of the deck. "Right ahead," said the
look-out. A few minutes only elapsed, and a second sail was descried,
"broad on the starboard bow." But nothing came of these spectres; we
passed on, seaward, without so much as raising either of them from the
deck, and finally, the friendly robes of night enveloped us. When we at
length realized that we had gained an offing; when we began to feel the
welcome heave of the sea; when we looked upon the changing aspect of its
waters, now darkening into the deepest blue, and breathed the pure air,
fresh from the Gulf, untainted of malaria, and untouched of mosquito's
wing, we felt like so many prisoners who had been turned loose from a long
and painful confinement; and when I reflected upon my mission, to strike
for the right! to endeavor to sweep from the seas the commerce of a
treacherous friend, who had become a cruel and relentless foe, I felt, in
full force, the inspiration of the poet:--

  "Ours the wild life in tumult still to range,
  From toil to rest, and joy in every change.
  Oh, who can tell? Not thou, luxurious slave,
  Whose soul would sicken o'er the heaving wave;
  Not thou, vain lord of wantonness and ease,
  Whom slumber soothes not--pleasures cannot please;
  Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried,
  And danced in triumph o'er the waters wide,
  The exulting sense--the pulse's maddening play,
  That thrills the wanderer of that trackless way?
  *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   Death!
  Come when it will--we snatch the life of life;
  When lost--what recks it--by disease or strife?
  Let him who crawls, enamored of decay,
  Cling to his couch, and sicken years away;
  Heave his thick breath, and shake his palsied head;
  Ours! the fresh turf, and not the feverish bed;
  While gasp by gasp he falters forth his soul,
  Ours, with one pang--one bound--escapes control.
  His corpse may boast its wan and narrow cave,
  And they who loathed his life, may gild his grave:
  Ours are the tears, though few, sincerely shed,
  When ocean shrouds and sepulchres our dead."



Captain Poor, the commander of the _Brooklyn_, was greatly censured by his
Government, for permitting the escape of the _Sumter_. It was even hinted
that there had been treason, in the engine-room of the _Brooklyn_, as one
or more of the engineers had been heard to express sentiments favorable to
the South. There was no truth, of course, in this report. It had its
origin in the brain of a people, who, having become traitors, themselves,
to their former principles, were ready to suspect, and to impute treason
to every one else. The greatest offence which had been committed by
Captain Poor was that he had probably permitted his cupidity to draw him
away from his station. He had chased a prize, in his eagerness to clutch
the prize-money, a little too far--that was all. But in this, he sinned
only in common with his countrymen. The thirst of gain, as well as the
malignity of hate, seemed, from the very first days of the war, to have
seized upon a majority of the Northern people. The Army, and the Navy,
professions hitherto held honorable, did not escape the contamination.
They were soon found, first plundering, and then maliciously burning
private houses. The spectacle of cotton-thieving was more than once
presented by the highest dignitaries of the two services--the Admiral
quarrelling with the General, as ignoble rogues are wont to quarrel, as to
which rightly pertained the booty.

The evening of the escape of the _Sumter_ was one of those Gulf evenings,
which can only be _felt_, and not described. The wind died gently away, as
the sun declined, leaving a calm, and sleeping sea, to reflect a myriad of
stars. The sun had gone down behind a screen of purple, and gold, and to
add to the beauty of the scene, as night set in, a blazing comet, whose
tail spanned nearly a quarter of the heavens, mirrored itself within a
hundred feet of our little bark, as she ploughed her noiseless way through
the waters. As I leaned on the carriage of a howitzer on the poop of my
ship, and cast a glance toward the quarter of the horizon whence the land
had disappeared, memory was busy with the events of the last few months.
How hurried, and confused they had been! It seemed as though I had dreamed
a dream, and found it difficult, upon waking, to unite the discordant
parts. A great government had been broken up, family ties had been
severed, and war--grim, ghastly war--was arraying a household against
itself. A little while back, and I had served under the very flag which I
had that day defied. Strange revolution of feeling, how I now hated that
flag! It had been to me as a mistress to a lover; I had looked upon it
with admiring eyes, had dallied with it in hours of ease, and had had
recourse to it, in hours of trouble, and now I found it false! What wonder
that I felt a lover's resentment?

My first lieutenant now approached me, and touching my elbow, said,
"Captain, had we not better throw this howitzer overboard? it can be of no
further service to us, and is very much in the way." My waking dream was
dissolved, on the instant, and I returned at once to the duties of the
ship. I assented to the lieutenant's proposition, and in a few minutes
more, the poop was cleared of the incumbrance. It was the howitzer--a
heavy, awkward, iron field-piece with huge wheels--which we had received
on board, when we lay between the forts, as a protection against the
enemy's boats. The rest of the night, to a late hour, was devoted to
lashing, and otherwise securing such heavy articles, as were likely to be
thrown from their places, by the rolling of the ship; getting the anchors
in-board and stowing them, and, generally, in making the ship snug. I
turned in after a day of excitement, and slept too soundly to continue the
day-dream from which I had been aroused by my first lieutenant.

The sun rose in an unclouded sky, the next morning, with a gentle breeze
from the south-west, or about abeam; our course being about south-east.
The look-out at the mast-head, after having carefully scanned the horizon
in every direction, informed the officer of the deck, that there was
nothing in sight. The awnings were soon spread, and the usual routine of a
man-of-war, at sea, commenced. The crew was mustered, in clean apparel, at
quarters, at nine o'clock, and a division of guns was exercised, the rest
of the crew being dispersed in idle groups about the deck; the old salts
overhauling their bags, and seeing that their tobacco, and soap, and
needles, and thread were all right for the cruise, and the youngsters
discussing their recent escape. At noon, we found ourselves in latitude
26° 18', and longitude 87° 23'. I had provided myself with two excellent
chronometers, before leaving New Orleans, and having had much experience
as a master, I was always enabled, when the sun was visible, at the proper
hours, to fix my position within from a quarter, to half a mile, or, what
is the same thing, within from one to two seconds of time. I appointed my
junior lieutenant, navigating officer, _pro forma_, but always navigated
my ship, myself. I had every confidence in the ability of my young
lieutenant, but I always found, that I slept better, when surrounded by
danger, after I had fixed the position of my ship, by my own observations.

We held on our course, during the rest of this day, without the least
incident to break in upon the monotony--not so much as a sail having been
descried in any direction; not that we were in want of excitement, for we
had scarcely regained our equilibrium from the excitement of the previous
day. An occasional swash of the sea against the ship's sides, the
monotonous beating of time by her propeller, an occasional order from the
officer of the deck, and the routine "calls" of the boatswain's whistle,
as dinner, or grog was piped, were the only sounds audible, beyond the
usual hum of conversation among the crew.

If the reader will permit me, I will avail myself of this interval of calm
before the storm, to introduce to him some of my officers. This is indeed
but a courtesy due him, as he is to be a passenger in our midst. On the
afternoon of our escape from the _Brooklyn_, the officers of the ward-room
were kind enough to invite me to drink a glass of wine with them, in honor
of our success, and I will avail myself of this occasion, to make the
presentations. I am seated at one end of the long mess-table, and my first
lieutenant at the other. The first lieutenant, as the reader has already
been informed, by an inspection of the _Sumter's_ muster-roll, is from
Georgia. John McIntosh Kell is a descendant from one of the oldest
families in that State, having the blood of the McIntoshes in his veins,
through one branch of his ancestors. He was bred in the old Navy, and my
acquaintance with him commenced when he was in trouble. He was serving as
a passed midshipman, on board the old sailing sloop _Albany_, and being
ordered, on one occasion, to perform what he considered a menial duty, he
resisted the order. Some of his brother passed midshipmen were in the same
category. A court-martial resulted, and, at the request of the young
gentlemen, I defended them. The relation of counsel, and client, as a
matter of course, brought us close together, and I discovered that young
Kell had in him, the making of a man. So far from being a mutineer, he had
a high respect for discipline, and had only resisted obedience to the
order in question, from a refined sense of gentlemanly propriety. The
reader will see these qualities in him, now, as he sits opposite me. He
has developed since the time I speak of, into the tall, well-proportioned
gentleman, of middle age, with brown, wavy hair, and a magnificent beard,
inclining to red. See how scrupulously neat he is dressed, and how suave,
and affable he is, with his associates. His eye is now beaming gentleness,
and kindness. You will scarcely recognize him, as the same man, when you
see him again on deck, arraigning some culprit, "at the mast," for a
breach of discipline. When Georgia seceded, Lieutenant Kell was well on
his way to the commander's list, in the old Navy, but he would have
scorned the commission of an admiral, if it had been tendered him as the
price of treason to his State. To have brought a Federal ship into the
waters of Georgia, and ravaged her coasts, and fired upon her people,
would have been, in his eyes, little less than matricide. He forthwith
resigned his commission, and joined his fortunes with those of his people.
When it was decided, at Montgomery, that I was to have the _Sumter_, I at
once thought of Kell, and, at my request, he was ordered to the
ship--Commodore Tattnall, with whom he had been serving on the Georgia
coast, giving him up very reluctantly.

Seated next to myself, on my right hand, is Lieutenant Robert T. Chapman.
This gentleman is from Alabama; he is several years younger than Kell, not
so tall, but stouter, in proportion. His complexion, as you see, is dark,
and he has jet-black hair, and eyes--the latter remarkable for their
brilliancy, and for a twinkle of fun, and good humor. Chapman is the life
of the mess-table; always in a pleasant mood, and running over with wit
and anecdote. Though he has a fashion, as you see, of wearing his hair
closely cropped, he is the very reverse of a round-head, being a _preux
chevalier_, as ready for the fight as the dance, and having a decided
preference for the music of the band, over that of "Old Hundred." He is
the second lieutenant, and has, consequently, the easiest berth among the
sea lieutenants, being relieved from the drudgery of the first lieutenant,
and exempt from the calls for extra duty, that are sometimes made upon the
junior lieutenant. When his watch is over, and his division drilled, he is
a gentleman at large, for the rest of the day. You see by his build--a
slight inclination to corpulency--that he is fond of his ease, and that he
has fallen as naturally into the place of second lieutenant, as if it had
been cut out for him on purpose. He also was bred in the old Navy, and was
found to be of the pure metal, instead of the dross, when the touchstone
of secession came to be applied to separate the one from the other.

At Lieutenant Kell's right hand, sits Lieutenant John M. Stribling, the
third lieutenant, and a native of the glorious little State of South
Carolina. He is of medium height, somewhat spare in build, with brown
hair, and whiskers, and mild and expressive blue eyes; the mildness of the
eye only dwelling in it, however, in moments of repose. When excited at
the thought of wrong, or oppression, it has a peculiar stare of firmness,
as much as to say,

  "This rock shall fly,
  From its firm base as soon as I."

Stribling was also an _élève_ of the old Navy, and, though tied to it,
by cords that were hard to sever, he put honor above place, in the hour of
trial, and came South.

[Illustration: Kelly, Piet & Co. Baltimore.]

Next to Stribling, sits Lieutenant William E. Evans, the fourth and junior
lieutenant of the ship. He is not more than twenty-four years of age, slim
in person, of medium height, and rather delicate-looking, though not from
ill health. His complexion is dark, and he has black hair, and eyes. He
has a very agreeable, _riante_ expression about his face, and is somewhat
given to casuistry, being fond of an argument, when occasion presents
itself. He is but recently out of the Naval Academy, at Annapolis, and
like all new graduates, feels the freshness of academic honors. He is a
native of South Carolina, and a brother of General Evans of that State,
who so greatly distinguished himself, afterward, at the battle of
Manassas, and on other bloody fields.

If the reader will now cast his eye toward the centre of the table, on my
right hand, he will see two gentlemen, both with black hair and eyes, and
both somewhat under middle size, conversing together. These are Dr.
Francis L. Galt, the Surgeon, and Mr. Henry Myers, the Paymaster, both
from the old service; the former a native of Virginia, and the latter a
native of South Carolina; and opposite these, are the Chief Engineer, and
Marine Officer,--Mr. Miles J. Freeman, and Lieutenant B. Howell, the
latter a brother-in-law of Mr. Jefferson Davis, our honored President. I
have thus gone the circuit of the ward-room. All these officers, courteous
reader, will make the cruise with us, and if you will inspect the
adjoining engraving, and are a judge of character, after the rules of
Lavater and Spurzheim, you will perceive in advance, how much reason I
shall have to be proud of them.

We may now take up our narrative, from the point at which it was
interrupted, for the purpose of these introductions. Day passed into
night, and with the night came the brilliant comet again, lighting us on
our way over the waste of waters. The morning of the second of July, our
second day out, dawned clear, and beautiful, the _Sumter_ still steaming
in an almost calm sea, with nothing to impede her progress. At eight A. M.
we struck the north-east trade-wind, and made sail in aid of steam, giving
orders to the engineer, to make the most of his fuel, by carrying only a
moderate head of steam. Toward noon, a few trade squalls passed over us,
with light and refreshing showers of rain; just enough to cause me to take
shelter, for a few moments, under the lee of the spanker. At noon, we
observed in latitude 23° 4' showing that we had crossed the tropic--the
longitude being 86° 13'. The reader has seen that we have been steering to
the S. E., diminishing both latitude, and longitude, and if he will look
upon the chart of the Caribbean Sea, he will perceive, that we are
approaching Cape San Antonio, the south end of the island of Cuba; but he
can scarcely conjecture what sort of a cruise I had marked out for myself.
The Secretary of the Navy, in those curt sailing orders which we have
already seen, had considerately left me _carte blanche_ as to
cruising-ground, but as I was "to do the greatest injury to the enemy's
commerce, in the shortest time," the implication was, that I should, at
once, throw myself into some one of the chief thoroughfares of his trade.
I accordingly set my eye on Cape St. Roque, in Brazil, which may be said
to be the great turning-point of the commerce of the world. My intention
was to make a dash, of a few days, at the enemy's ships on the south side
of Cuba, coal at some convenient point, stretch over to Barbadoes, coal
again, and then strike for the Brazilian coast. It is with this view, that
the _Sumter_ is now running for the narrow outlet, that issues from the
Gulf of Mexico, between Cape Antonio, and the opposite coast of Yucatan. I
shaped my course for the middle of this passage, but about midnight, made
the light of Cape Antonio right ahead, showing that I had been drifted,
northward, by a current setting, at the rate of from three fourths of a
mile, to a mile per hour. We drew off a little to the southward, doubled
the Cape, with the light still in view, and at nine o'clock, the next
morning, we found ourselves off Cape Corrientes.

The weather had now become cloudy, and we had a fresh trade-wind, veering
from E. to E. S. E., with some sea on. At meridian, we observed in latitude
21° 29', the longitude being 84° 06'. Running along the Cuban coast,
between it and the Isle of Pines, of piratical memory, at about three in
the afternoon, the cry of "Sail ho!" was heard from the mast-head, for the
first time since we had left the mouths of the Mississippi. The look-out,
upon being questioned, said that he saw two sail, and that they were both
right ahead. We came up with them, very rapidly, for they were standing in
our direction, and when we had approached within signal distance, we
showed them the English colors. The nearest sail, which proved to be a
brig, hoisted the Spanish colors, and, upon being boarded, was found to be
from Cadiz, bound for Vera Cruz. She was at once permitted to proceed.
Resuming our course, we now stood for the other sail, which, by this time,
there was no mistaking; she being plainly American, although she had not
yet shown her colors. A gun soon brought these to the peak, when, as I had
expected, the stars and stripes unfolded themselves, gracefully, to the
breeze. Here was our first prize, and a most welcome sight it was. The
capture, I find, upon looking over my notes, was recorded in a few lines,
barren of all incident, or remark, except only that the doomed ship was
from the "Black Republican State of Maine;" but I well recollect the
mingled impressions of joy, and sadness, that were made upon me by the
event. The "old flag," which I had been accustomed to worship, in my
youth, had a criminal look, in my eyes, as it ascended to the peak of that
ship. How strangely we sometimes invest mere inanimate things with the
attributes of life! When I had fired the gun, as a command to the stranger
to heave to, and show his colors, I had hauled down the English, and
hoisted my own flag. The stars and stripes seemed now to look abashed in
the presence of the new banner of the South; pretty much as a burglar
might be supposed to look, who had been caught in the act of breaking into
a gentleman's house; but then the burglar was my relative, and had erst
been my friend--how could I fail to feel some pity for him, along with the
indignation, which his crime had excited? The boarding officer soon
returned from the captured ship, bringing with him the master, with his
papers. There were no knotty points of fact or law to embarrass my
decision. There were the American register, and clearance, and the
American character impressed upon every plank and spar of the ship.
Nothing could exceed the astonishment of the master, who was rather a
mild, amiable-looking gentleman, not at all disposed to go either into
hysterics, or the heroics. "A clap of thunder in a cloudless sky could
not have surprised me more," said he to me as I overhauled his papers,
"than the appearance of the Confederate flag in these seas." "My duty is a
painful one," said I, "to destroy so noble a ship as yours, but I must
discharge it without vain regrets; and as for yourself, you will only have
to do, as so many thousands have done before you, submit to the fortunes
of war--yourself and your crew will be well treated on board my ship." The
prize bore the name of _The Golden Rocket_, was a fine bark, nearly new,
of about seven hundred tons, and was seeking, in ballast, a cargo of sugar
in some one of the Cuban ports. Boats were dispatched to bring off the
crew, and such provisions, cordage, sails, and paints as the different
departments of my ship stood in need of, and at about ten o'clock at
night, the order was given to apply the torch to her.

The wind, by this time, had become very light, and the night was
pitch-dark--the darkness being of that kind, graphically described by old
sailors, when they say, you may cut it with a knife. I regret that I
cannot give to the reader the picture of the burning ship, as it presented
itself to the silent, and solemn watchers on board the _Sumter_ as they
leaned over her hammock rails to witness it. The boat, which had been sent
on this errand of destruction, had pulled out of sight, and her oars
ceasing to resound, we knew that she had reached the doomed ship, but so
impenetrable was the darkness, that no trace of either boat, or ship could
be seen, although the _Sumter_ was distant only a few hundred yards. Not a
sound could be heard on board the _Sumter_, although her deck was crowded
with men. Every one seemed busy with his own thoughts, and gazing eagerly
in the direction of the doomed ship, endeavoring, in vain, to penetrate
the thick darkness. Suddenly, one of the crew exclaimed, "There is the
flame! She is on fire!" The decks of this Maine-built ship were of pine,
calked with old-fashioned oakum, and paid with pitch; the wood-work of the
cabin was like so much tinder, having been seasoned by many voyages to the
tropics, and the forecastle was stowed with paints, and oils. The
consequence was, that the flame was not long in kindling, but leaped,
full-grown, into the air, in a very few minutes after its first faint
glimmer had been seen. The boarding officer, to do his work more
effectually, had applied the torch simultaneously in three places, the
cabin, the mainhold, and the forecastle; and now the devouring flames
rushed up these three apertures, with a fury which nothing could resist.
The burning ship, with the _Sumter's_ boat in the act of shoving off from
her side; the _Sumter_ herself, with her grim, black sides, lying in
repose like some great sea-monster, gloating upon the spectacle, and the
sleeping sea, for there was scarce a ripple upon the water, were all
brilliantly lighted. The indraught into the burning ship's holds, and
cabins, added every moment new fury to the flames, and now they could be
heard roaring like the fires of a hundred furnaces, in full blast. The
prize ship had been laid to, with her main-topsail to the mast, and all
her light sails, though clewed up, were flying loose about the yards. The
forked tongues of the devouring element, leaping into the rigging, newly
tarred, ran rapidly up the shrouds, first into the tops, then to the
topmast-heads, thence to the top-gallant, and royal mast-heads, and in a
moment more to the trucks; and whilst this rapid ascent of the main
current of fire was going on, other currents had run out upon the yards,
and ignited all the sails. A top-gallant sail, all on fire, would now fly
off from the yard, and sailing leisurely in the direction of the light
breeze that was fanning, rather than blowing, break into bright, and
sparkling patches of flame, and settle, or rather silt into the sea. The
yard would then follow, and not being wholly submerged by its descent into
the sea, would retain a portion of its flame, and continue to burn, as a
floating brand, for some minutes. At one time, the intricate net-work of
the cordage of the burning ship was traced, as with a pencil of fire, upon
the black sky beyond, the many threads of flame twisting, and writhing,
like so many serpents that had received their death wounds. The
mizzen-mast now went by the board, then the fore-mast, and in a few
minutes afterward, the great main-mast tottered, reeled, and fell over the
ship's side into the sea, making a noise like that of the sturdy oak of
the forests when it falls by the stroke of the axeman.

By the light of this flambeau, upon the lonely and silent sea, lighted of
the passions of bad men who should have been our brothers, the _Sumter_,
having aroused herself from her dream of vengeance, and run up her boats,
moved forward on her course. The captain of the _Golden Rocket_ watched
the destruction of his ship from the quarter-deck of the _Sumter_,
apparently with the calm eye of a philosopher, though, doubtless, he felt
the emotions which the true sailor always feels, when he looks upon the
dying agonies of his beloved ship, whether she be broken up by the storm,
or perish in any other way.

The flag! what was done with the "old flag"? It was marked with the day,
and the latitude and longitude of the capture, and consigned to the
keeping of the signal quartermaster, who prepared a bag for its reception;
and when this bag was full, he prepared another, and another, as the
cruise progressed, and occasion required. It was the especial pride of
this veteran American seaman to count over his trophies, and when the
weather was fine, he invariably asked permission of the officer of the
deck, under pretence of damage from moths, to "air" his flags; and as he
would bend on his signal-halliards, and throw them out to the breeze, one
by one, his old eye would glisten, and a grim smile of satisfaction would
settle upon his sun-burned, and weather-beaten features. This was our
practice also on board the _Alabama_, and when that ship was sunk in the
British channel, in her engagement with the enemy's ship _Kearsarge_, as
the reader will learn in due time, if he has the patience to follow me in
these memoirs, we committed to the keeping of the guardian spirits of that
famous old battle-ground, a great many bags-full of "old flags," to be
stored away in the caves of the sea, as mementos that a nation once lived
whose naval officers prized liberty more than the false memorial of it,
under which they had once served, and who were capable, when it became

  "Hate's polluted rag,"

of tearing it down.

The prisoners--what did we do with them? The captain was invited to mess
in the ward-room, and when he was afterward landed, the officers
generously made him up a purse to supply his immediate necessities. The
crew was put into a mess by themselves, with their own cook, and was put
on a footing, with regard to rations, with the _Sumter's_ own men. We
were making war upon the enemy's commerce, but not upon his unarmed
seamen. It gave me as much pleasure to treat these with humanity, as it
did to destroy his ships, and one of the most cherished recollections
which I have brought out of a war, which, in some sense, may be said to
have been a civil war, is, that the "pirate," whom the enemy denounced,
with a pen dipped in gall, and with a vocabulary of which decent people
should be ashamed, set that same enemy the example, which he has failed to
follow, _of treating prisoners of war, according to the laws of war_.



We burned the _Golden Rocket_, as has been seen, on the 3d of July. The
next day was the "glorious Fourth"--once glorious, indeed, as the day on
which a people broke the chains of a government which had bound them
against their will, and vindicated the principle of self-government as an
_inalienable_ right; but since desecrated by the same people, who have
scorned, and spat upon the record made by their fathers, and repudiated,
as a heresy fraught with the penalties of treason, the inalienable right
for which their fathers struggled. The grand old day belonged, of right,
to us of the South, for we still venerated it, as hallowed by our fathers,
and were engaged in a _second_ revolution, to uphold, and defend the
doctrines which had been proclaimed in the _first_, but we failed to
celebrate it on board the _Sumter_. We could not help associating it with
the "old flag," which had now become a sham and a deceit; with the
wholesale robberies which had been committed upon our property, and with
the villification and abuse which had been heaped upon our persons by our
late co-partners, for a generation and more. The Declaration of
Independence had proved to be a specious mask, under which our loving
brethren of the North had contrived to draw us into a co-partnership with
them, that they might be the better enabled, in the end, to devour us. How
could we respect it, in such a connection? Accordingly, the Captain of the
_Sumter_ was not invited to dine in the ward-room, on the time-honored
day, nor was there any extra glass of grog served to the crew, as had been
the custom in the old service.

The weather still continued cloudy, with a few rain squalls passing with
the trade wind, during the morning. I had turned into my cot, late on the
previous night, and was still sleeping soundly, when, at daylight, an
officer came below to inform me, that there were two sails in sight from
the mast-head. We were steaming, as before, up the south side of Cuba,
with the land plainly in sight, and soon came close enough to distinguish
that the vessels ahead were both brigantines, and probably Americans.
There being no occasion to resort to _ruse_, or stratagem, as the wind was
light, and there was no possibility of the ships running away from us, we
showed them at once the Confederate colors, and at the same time fired a
blank cartridge to heave them to. They obeyed our signal, promptly, and
came to the wind, with their foretop-sails aback, and the United States
colors at their peaks. When within a few hundred yards, we stopped our
engine, and lowered, and sent a boat on board of them--the boarding
officer remaining only a few minutes on board of each, and bringing back
with him, their respective masters, with their ships' papers. Upon
examination of these, it appeared that one of the brigantines was called
the _Cuba_, and the other the _Machias_; that they were both laden with
sugar and molasses, for English ports, and that they had recently come out
of the port of Trinidad-de-Cuba. Indeed the recency of their sailing was
tested, by the way in which their stern-boats were garlanded, with
festoons of luscious bananas, and pine-apples, and by sundry nets filled
with golden-hued oranges--all of which was very tempting to the eyes and
olfactories of men, who had recently issued from a blockaded port, in
which such luxuries were tabooed. The cargoes of these small vessels being
neutral, as certified by the papers--and indeed of this there could be
little doubt, as they were going from one neutral port to another--I could
not burn the vessels as I had done the _Golden Rocket_, and so after
transferring prize crews to them, which occupied us an hour or two, we
took them both in tow, and steamed away for Cienfuegos--it being my
intention to test the disposition of Spain toward us, in this matter of
taking in prizes. England and France had issued proclamations, prohibiting
both belligerents, alike, from bringing prizes into their ports, but Spain
had not yet spoken, and I had hopes that she might be induced to pursue a
different course.

Nothing worthy of note occurred during the rest of this day; we steamed
leisurely along the coast, making about five knots an hour. Finding our
speed too much diminished, by the towage of two heavily laden vessels, we
cast off one of them--the _Cuba_--during the night and directed the
prize-master to make sail, and follow us into port. The _Cuba_ did not
rejoin us, and we afterward learned through the medium of the enemy's
papers, that she had been recaptured by her crew. I had only sent a
midshipman and four men on board of her as a prize crew; and the
midshipman incautiously going aloft, to look out for the land, as he was
approaching his port, and a portion of his prize crew proving
treacherous--they were not native Americans I am glad to say--he was fired
upon by the master, and crew of the brig, who had gotten possession of the
revolvers of the prize crew, and compelled to surrender, after defending
himself the best he could, and being wounded in one or two places. The
vessel then changed her course and made haste to get out of the Caribbean

The morning of the fifth dawned cloudy, with the usual moderate
trade-wind. It cleared toward noon, and at two P. M. we crossed the shoal
off the east end of the _Jardinillos_ reef, in from seven to five fathoms
of water. The sea, by this time, had become quite smooth, and the rays of
a bright sun penetrated the clear waters to the very bottom of the shoal,
revealing everything to us, as clearly as though the medium through which
we were viewing it were atmosphere instead of water. Every rock,
sea-shell, and pebble lying at the bottom of the sea were distinctly
visible to us, and we could see the little fish darting into their holes,
and hiding-places, as the steamer ploughed her way through their usually
quiet domain. It was quite startling to look over the side, so shallow did
the waters appear. The chart showed that there was no danger, and the
faithful lead line, in the hands of a skilful seaman, gave us several
fathoms of water to spare, and yet one could hardly divest himself of the
belief, that at the next moment the steamer would run aground.

Crossing this shoal, we now hauled up N. E. by N., for the Cienfuegos
lighthouse. As we approached the lights, we descried two more sail in the
south-east, making an offing with all diligence, to which we immediately
gave chase. They were eight or nine miles distant from the land, and to
facilitate our pursuit, we cast off our remaining tow, directing the
prize-master to heave to, off the lighthouse, and await our return. We had
already captured three prizes, in twenty-four hours, and, as here were
probably two more, I could perceive that my crew were becoming enamoured
of their business, pretty much as the veteran fox-hunter does in view of
the chase. They moved about with great alacrity, in obedience to orders;
the seamen springing aloft to furl the sails like so many squirrels, and
the firemen below sending up thick volumes of black smoke, from their
furnaces. The _Sumter_, feeling the renewed impulse of her engines, sprang
forward in pursuit of the doomed craft ahead, as if she too knew what was
going on. We had just daylight enough left to enable us to accomplish our
purpose; an hour or two later, and at least one of the vessels might have
escaped. Coming up, first with one, and then the other, we hove them to,
successively, by "hail," and brought the masters on board. They both
proved to be brigantines, and were American, as we had supposed:--one, the
_Ben. Dunning_, of Maine, and the other, the _Albert Adams_, of
Massachusetts. They had come out of the port of Cienfuegos, only a few
hours before, were both sugar laden, and their cargoes were documented as
Spanish property. We hastily threw prize crews on board of them, and
directed the prize masters to stand in for the light, still in sight,
distant about twelve miles, and hold on to it until daylight. It was now
about ten P. M. Some appeal was made to me by the master of one of the
brigantines, in behalf of his wife and a lady companion of hers, who were
both invalids from the effects of yellow fever, which they had taken in
Cienfuegos, and from which they were just convalescing. I desired him to
assure the ladies, that they should be treated with every tenderness, and
respect, and that if they desired it, I would send my surgeon to visit
them; but I declined to release the captured vessel on this account.

We now stood in for the light ourselves, and letting our steam go down, to
the lowest point consistent with locomotion, lay off, and on, until
daylight. The next morning dawned beautiful, and bright, as a tropic
morning only can dawn. We were close in under the land, and our prizes
were lying around us, moving to and fro, gracefully, to preserve their
positions. The most profuse, and luxuriant vegetation, of that peculiarly
dark green known only to the tropics, ran down to the very water's edge;
the beautiful little stream, on which Cienfuegos lies, disembogued itself
at the foot of the lighthouse perched on a base of blackened limestone
rock; and the neat, white fort, that sat a mile or two up the river, was
now glistening in the rays of the sun, just lifting himself above the
central range of mountains. The sea breeze had died away during the night,
and been replaced by the land breeze, in obedience to certain laws which
prevail in all countries swept by the trade-winds; and this land breeze,
blowing so gently, as scarce to disturb a tress on the brow of beauty,
came laden with the most delicious perfume of shrub and flower.

But, "what smoke is that we perceive, coming down the river?" said I, to
the officer of the deck. "I will see in a moment," said this active young
officer, and springing several ratlines up the rigging, to enable him to
obtain a view over the intervening foliage, he said, "There is a small
steam-tug coming down, with three vessels in tow, two barks and a brig."
"Can you make out the nationality of the ships in tow?" I inquired.
"Plainly," he replied, "they all have the American colors set." Here was a
piece of unlooked-for good fortune. I had not reckoned upon carrying more
than three, or four prizes into port, but here were three others. But to
secure these latter, a little management would be necessary. I could not
molest them, within neutral jurisdiction, and the neutral jurisdiction
extended to a marine league, or three geographical miles from the land. I
immediately hoisted a Spanish jack at the fore, as a signal for a pilot,
and directed the officer of the deck, to disarrange his yards, a little,
cock-billing this one, slightly, in one direction, and that one, in
another, and to send all but about a dozen men below, to give the
strangers the idea that we were a common merchant steamer, instead of a
ship of war. To carry still further the illusion, we hoisted the Spanish
merchant flag. But the real trouble was with the prizes--two of these must
surely be recognized by their companions of only the day before! Luckily
my prize masters took the hint I had given them, and hoisted their
respective flags, at the fore, for a pilot also. This mystified the
new-comers, and they concluded that the two brigantines, though very like,
could not be the same. Besides, there was a third brigantine in company,
and she evidently was a new arrival. And so they came on, quite
unsuspiciously, and when the little steamer had towed them clear of the
mouth of the harbor, she let them go, and they made sail. The fellows
worked very industriously, and soon had their ships under clouds of
canvas, pressing them out to get an offing, before the sea breeze should
come in. The steam-tug, as soon as she had let go her tows, came alongside
the _Sumter_, and a Spanish pilot jumped on board of me, asking me in his
native tongue, if I desired to go up to town; showing that my ruse of the
Spanish flag had even deceived him. I replied in the affirmative, and said
to him, pleasantly, "but I am waiting a little, to take back those ships
you have just towed down." "Diablo!" said he, "how can that be; they are
_Americanos del Norte_, bound to Boston, and _la Nueva York_!" "That is
just what I want," said I, "we are _Confederados_, and we have _la guerra_
with the _Americanos del Norte_!" "_Caramba!_" said he, "that is good;
give her the steam quick, Captain!" "No, no," replied I, "wait a while. I
must pay due respect to your Queen, and the Captain-General; they command
in these waters, within the league, and I must wait until the ships have
passed beyond that." I accordingly waited until the ships had proceeded
some five miles from the coast, as estimated both by the pilot, and
myself, when we turned the _Sumter's_ head seaward, and again removed the
leash. She was not long in pouncing upon the astonished prey. A booming
gun, and the simultaneous descent of the Spanish, and ascent of the
Confederate flag to the _Sumter's_ peak, when we had approached within
about a mile of them, cleared up the mystery of the chase, and brought the
fugitives to the wind. In half an hour more, their papers had been
examined, prize crews had been thrown on board of them, and they were
standing back in company with the _Sumter_, to rejoin the other prizes.

I had now a fleet of six sail, and when the sea breeze set in next
morning, which it did between nine and ten o'clock, I led into the harbor,
the fleet following. The three newly captured vessels were the bark _West
Wind_, of Rhode Island; the bark _Louisa Kilham_, of Massachusetts, and
the brigantine _Naiad_, of New York. They had all cargoes of sugar, which
were covered by certificates of neutral property. When the _Sumter_ came
abreast of the small fort, which has already been noticed, we were
surprised to see the sentinels on post fire a couple of loaded muskets,
the balls of which whistled over our heads, and to observe them making
gestures, indicating that we must come to anchor. This we immediately did;
but the prizes, all of which had the United States colors flying, were
permitted to pass, and they sped on their way to the town, some miles
above, as they had been ordered. When we had let go our anchor, I
dispatched Lieutenant Evans to the fort, to call on the Commandant, and
ask for an explanation of his conduct, in bringing us to. The explanation
was simple enough. He did not know what to make of the new-born
Confederate flag. He had never seen it before. It did not belong to any of
the nations of the earth, of which he had any knowledge, and we might be a
buccaneer for aught he knew. In the afternoon, the Commandant himself came
on board to visit me, and inform me, on the part of the Governor of
Cienfuegos, with whom he had communicated, that I might proceed to the
town, in the _Sumter_, if I desired. We drank a glass of wine together,
and I satisfied him, that I had not come in to carry his fort by
storm--which would have been an easy operation enough, as he had only
about a corporal's guard under his command--or to sack the town of
Cienfuegos, after the fashion of the Drakes, and other English
sea-robbers, who have left so vivid an impression upon Spanish memory, as
to make Spanish commandants of small forts, cautious of all strange craft.

It had only been a week since the _Sumter_ had run the blockade of New
Orleans, and already she was out of fuel! having only coal enough left for
about twenty-four hours steaming. Here was food for reflection. Active
operations which would require the constant use of steam, would never do;
for, by-and-by, when the enemy should get on my track, it would be easy
for him to trace me from port to port, if I went into port once a week. I
must endeavor to reach some cruising-ground, where I could lie in wait for
ships, under sail, and dispense with the use of steam, except for a few
hours, at a time, for the purpose of picking up such prizes, as I could
not decoy within reach of my guns. I was glad to learn from the pilot,
that there was plenty of coal to be had in Cienfuegos, and I dispatched
Lieutenant Chapman to town, in one of the ship's cutters, for the double
purpose of arranging for a supply, and communicating with the Governor, on
the subject of my prizes, and the position which Spain was likely to
occupy, during the war. The following letter addressed by me to his
Excellency will explain the object I had in view in coming into
Cienfuegos, and the hopes I entertained of the conduct of Spain, whose
important island of Cuba lay, as it were, athwart our main gateway to the
sea--the Gulf of Mexico.

     ISLAND OF CUBA, July 6, 1861.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform you, of my arrival at the port of
     Cienfuegos, with seven prizes of war. These vessels are the
     brigantines _Cuba_,[1] _Machias_, _Ben. Dunning_, _Albert Adams_, and
     _Naiad_; and barks _West Wind_, and _Louisa Kilham_, property of
     citizens of the United States, which States, as your Excellency is
     aware, are waging an aggressive and unjust war upon the Confederate
     States, which I have the honor, 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 the 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 neighbor, in the most important of her
     colonial possessions, to receive us with equal and even-handed
     justice, if not with the sympathy which our identity of interests 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, without inclining to the
     side of either; and this should be a substantial and practical
     justice, and not exist in terms merely, which may be deceptive. Now,
     a little reflection will, I think, show your Excellency that the rule
     in question--the exclusion of the prizes of both belligerents from
     neutral ports--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 are a manufacturing
     and commercial people, whilst the Confederate States are an
     agricultural people. The consequence of this dissimilarity of
     pursuits was, that at the breaking out of the war, the former had
     within their limits, and control, almost all the naval force of the
     old government. This naval force they have dishonestly seized, and
     turned against the Confederate States, regardless of the just claims
     of the latter to a large proportion of it, as tax-payers, out of
     whose contributions to the common Treasury it was created. The United
     States, by this disseizin of the property of the Confederate States,
     are enabled, in the first months of the war, to blockade all the
     ports of the latter States. In this condition of things, observe the
     _practical_ working of the rule I am discussing, whatever may be the
     seeming fairness of its terms. It will be admitted that we have equal
     belligerent rights with the enemy. 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, on 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 be condemned, and disposed of? They cannot send them
     into their own ports, for the reason already mentioned, viz.: that
     those ports are hermetically sealed by the agency of their own ships,
     forcibly wrested from them. If they cannot send them into neutral
     ports, where are they to send them? Nowhere. 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 opposite
     belligerent would not be inconvenienced by it, at all, as all his own
     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 if the prizes cannot
     be sent either into the ports of the Confederate States, or into
     neutral ports, how can this verification be made? Further--supposing
     there to be no dispute about the title to the cargo, how is it to be
     unladen, and delivered to the neutral claimant, unless the captured
     ship can make a port? Indeed, one of the motives which influenced me
     in making a Spanish colonial 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, should it be restored to them, by a decree of the
     Confederate Courts. 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 honor to be, &c., &c.,


I did not expect much to grow immediately out of the above communication.
Indeed, as the reader will probably surmise, I had written it more for the
eye of the Spanish Premier, than for that of the Governor of a small
provincial town, who had no diplomatic power, and whom I knew to be timid,
as are all the subordinate officers of absolute governments. I presumed
that the Governor would telegraph it to the Captain-General, at Havana,
and that the latter would hold the subject in abeyance, until he could
hear from the Home Government. Nor was I disappointed in this expectation,
for Lieutenant Chapman returned from Cienfuegos, the next morning, and
brought me intelligence to this effect.

To dispose of the questions raised, without the necessity of again
returning to them, the reader is informed, that Spain, in due time,
followed the lead of England and France, in the matter of excluding prizes
from her ports; and that my prizes were delivered--to whom, do you think,
reader? You will naturally say, to myself, or my duly appointed agent,
with instructions to take them out of the Spanish port. This was the
result to be logically expected. The Captain-General had received them, in
trust, as it were, to abide the decision of his Government. If that
decision should be in favor of receiving the prizes of both belligerents,
well; if not, I expected to be notified to take them away. But nothing was
further, it seems, from the intention of the Captain-General, than this
simple and just proceeding; for as soon as the Queen's proclamation was
received, he deliberately handed back all my prizes to their original
owners! This was so barefaced a proceeding, that it was necessary to
allege some excuse for it, and the excuse given was, that I had violated
the neutral waters of Cuba, and captured my three last prizes within the
marine league--my sympathizing friend, the Spanish pilot, and an English
sailor, on board the tug, being vouched as the respectable witnesses to
the fact! Such was the power of Spanish gold, and Yankee unscrupulousness
in the use of it. When I heard of these transactions a few months
afterward, I planned a very pretty little quarrel between the Confederate
States and Spain, in case the former should be successful in establishing
their independence. Cuba, I thought, would make us a couple of very
respectable States, with her staples of sugar and tobacco, and with her
similar system of labor; and if Spain refused to foot our bill for the
robbery of these vessels, we would foot it ourselves, at her expense. But
poor old Spain! I ought perhaps to forgive thee, for thou wast afterward
kicked, and cuffed by the very Power to which thou didst truckle--the
Federal steamers of war making a free use of thy coast of the "Ever
Faithful Island of Cuba," chasing vessels on shore, and burning them, in
contempt of thy jurisdiction, and in spite of thy remonstrances. And the
day is not far distant, when the school-ma'am and the carpet-bag
missionary will encamp on thy plantations, and hold joint conventicles
with thy freedmen, in the interests of Godliness, and the said ma'am and

Great excitement was produced, as may be supposed, by the arrival of the
_Sumter_, with her six prizes, at the quiet little town of Cienfuegos.
Lieutenant Chapman was met by a host of sympathizers, and carried to their
club, and afterward to the house of one of the principal citizens, who
would not hear of his spending the night at a hotel, and installed as his
honored guest. Neighbors were called in, and the night was made merry, to
a late hour, by the popping of champagne-corks and the story, and the
song; and when the festivities had ceased, my tempest-tossed lieutenant
was laid away in the sweetest and whitest of sheets, to dream of the eyes
of the houries of the household, that had beamed upon him so kindly, that
he was in danger of forgetting that he was a married man. For weeks
afterward, his messmates could get nothing out of him, but something
about Don this, and Doña that. There was a hurrying to and fro, too, of
the stewards, and mess boys, as the cutter in which he returned, came
alongside of the ship, for there were sundry boxes, marked Bordeaux, and
Cette, and sundry baskets branded with anchors; and there were fruits, and
flowers, and squalling chickens to be passed up.

The principal coffee-house of the place had been agog with wonders; the
billiard-players had rested idly on their cues, to listen to Madam Rumor
with her thousand tongues--how the fort had fired into the _Sumter_, and
how the _Sumter_ had fired back at the fort, and how the matter had
finally been settled by the _Pirata_ and the _Commandante_, over a bottle
of champagne. Yankee captains, and consignees, supercargoes, and consuls
passed in, and out, in consultation, like so many ants whose nest had been
trodden upon, and nothing could be talked of but freights, and insurance,
with, and without the war risk; bills of lading, invoices, consul's
certificates to cover cargoes, and last, though not least, where the
d----l all the Federal gunboats were, that this Confederate hawk should be
permitted to make such a flutter in the Yankee dove-cot.



From what has been said in the last chapter, the reader will have observed
how anxious I was to conform my conduct, in all respects, to the laws of
war. My hope was, that _some_ of the nations of the earth, at least, would
give me an asylum for my prizes, so that I might have them formally
condemned by the Confederate States Prize Courts, instead of being obliged
to destroy them. It was with this hope, that I had entered the port of
Cienfuegos, as the reader has seen; and it was in furtherance of this
object, that I now drew up the following appointment of a Prize Agent, who
had come well recommended to me, as a gentleman of integrity and capacity.

     July 6, 1861.

     SIR:--You are hereby appointed Prize Agent, for, and in behalf of the
     Confederate States of America, of the following prizes, to wit: The
     _Cuba_, _Machias_, _Ben. Dunning_, _Albert Adams_, _Naiad_, _West
     Wind_, and _Louisa Kilham_, and their cargoes, until the same can be
     adjudicated, by the Prize Courts of the Confederate States, and
     disposed of by the proper authorities. You will take the necessary
     steps for the safe custody of these prizes, and you will not permit
     anything to be removed from, or disturbed on board of them. You will
     be pleased, also, to take the examinations of the master, and mate of
     each of these vessels, before a notary, touching the property of the
     vessels, and cargoes; and making a copy thereof, to be retained in
     your own possession, you will send, by some safe conveyance, the
     originals, addressed to "The Judge of the Confederate States District
     Court, New Orleans, La."

        I have the honor to be, &c.,

     _Señor Don_ MARIANO DIAS.

During the day, the steam-tug towed down from the town, for me, a couple
of lighters, containing about one hundred tons of coal, five thousand
gallons of water, and some fresh provisions for the crew. It was necessary
that we should prepare for sea, with some dispatch, as there was a line of
telegraph, from Cienfuegos to Havana, where there were always a number of
the enemy's ships of war stationed. As a matter of course, the U. S.
Consul at Cienfuegos had telegraphed to his brother Consul, in Havana, the
arrival of the _Sumter_, in the first ten minutes after she had let go her
anchor; and as another matter of course, there must already be several
fast steamers on their way, to capture this piratical craft, which had
thus so unceremoniously broken in upon the quiet of the Cuban waters, and
the Yankee sugar, and rum trade. I had recourse to the chart, and having
ascertained at what hour these steamers would be enabled to arrive, I
fixed my own departure, a few hours ahead, so as to give them the
satisfaction of finding that the bird, which they were in pursuit of, had
flown. My excellent first lieutenant came up to time, and the ship was
reported ready for sea before sunset, or in a little more than twenty-four
hours, after our arrival.

To avoid the coal dust, which is one of the pests of a steamer, and the
confusion, and noise which necessarily accompany the exceedingly poetic
operation of coaling, I landed, as the sun was approaching the western
horizon, in company with my junior lieutenant and sailing-master, for a
stroll, and to obtain sights for testing my chronometers, as well. Having
disposed of the business part of the operation first, in obedience to the
old maxim; that is to say, having made our observations upon the sun, for
time, we wandered about, for an hour, and more, amid the rich tropical
vegetation of this queen of islands, now passing under the flowering
acacia, and now under the deep-foliaged orange-tree, which charmed two
senses at once--that of smell, by the fragrance of its young flowers, and
that of sight, by the golden hue of its luscious and tempting fruit. We
had landed abreast of our ship, and a few steps sufficed to put us in the
midst of a dense wilderness, of floral beauty, with nothing to commune
with but nature. What a contrast there was between this peaceful, and
lovely scene, and the life we had led for the last week! We almost
loathed to go back to the dingy walls, and close quarters of our little
craft, where everything told us of war, and admonished us that a life of
toil, vexation, and danger lay before us, and that we must bid a long
farewell to rural scenes, and rural pleasures. As we still wandered,
absorbed in such speculations as these, unconscious of the flight of time,
the sound of the evening gun came booming on the ear, to recall us to our
senses, and retracing our steps, we hurriedly re-embarked. That evening's
stroll lingered long in my memory, and was often recalled, amid the
whistling, and surging of the gale, and the tumbling, and discomforts of
the ship.

I had been looking anxiously, for the last few hours, for the arrival of
our prize brigantine, the _Cuba_, but she failed to make her appearance,
and I was forced to abandon the hope of getting back my prize crew from
her. I left with my prize agent, the following letter of instructions for
the midshipman in command of the _Cuba_.

     CIENFUEGOS, July 7, 1861.

     SIR:--Upon your arrival at this place, you will put the master, mate,
     and crew of the _Cuba_ on _parole_, not to serve against the
     Confederate States, during the present war, unless exchanged, and
     release them. You will then deliver the brigantine to the Governor,
     for safe custody, until the orders of the Captain-General can be
     known in regard to her. I regret much that you are not able to arrive
     in time, to rejoin the ship, and you must exercise your judgment, as
     to the mode in which you shall regain your country. You will, no
     doubt, be able to raise sufficient funds for transporting yourself,
     and the four seamen who are with you, to some point in the
     Confederate States, upon a bill of exchange, which you are hereby
     authorized to draw, upon the Secretary of the Navy. Upon your arrival
     within our territory, you will report yourself to that officer. Your
     baggage has been sent you by the pilot.

     _Midshipman_ A. G. HUDGINS.

I did not meet Mr. Hudgins, afterward, until as a rear admiral, I was
ordered to the command of the James River fleet, in the winter of 1864. He
was then attached to one of my ships, as a lieutenant. On the retreat from
Richmond, I made him a captain of light artillery, and he was paroled with
me, at Greensboro', North Carolina, in May 1865. How he has settled with
my friend, the Spanish pilot, who agreed with _me_ that the prizes which
I captured, off Cienfuegos, were _five_ miles from the land, and with the
Northern claimants, and the Captain-General of Cuba, that they were less
than _three_ miles from it, about his baggage, I have never learned.

Everything being in readiness for sea, on board the _Sumter_, and the
officers having all returned from their visits to the town, at eleven P.
M., we got under way, and as the bell struck the midnight hour, we steamed
out of the harbor, the lamps from the light-house throwing a bright glare
upon our deck, as we passed under its shadow, close enough to "have tossed
a biscuit" to the keeper; so bold is the entrance of the little river. The
sea was nearly calm, and the usual land breeze was gently breathing,
rather than blowing. Having given the course to the officer of the deck, I
was glad to go below, and turn in, after the excitement, and confusion of
the last forty-eight hours. When some seven or eight miles from the land,
we lost the land breeze, and were struck by the sea breeze, nearly ahead,
with some force. We steamed on, all the next day, without any incident to
break in upon the monotony, except a short chase which we gave to a
brigantine, which proved, upon our coming up with her, to be Spanish.
Between nine, and ten o'clock in the evening, we passed the small islands
of the _Caymans_, which we found to be laid down in the charts we were
using, some fifteen or sixteen miles too far to the westward. As there is
a current setting in the vicinity of these islands, and as the islands
themselves are so low, as to be seen with difficulty, in a dark
night,--and the night on which we were passing them was dark,--I make this
observation, to put navigators on their guard.

The morning of the ninth of July dawned clear, and beautifully, but as the
sun gained power, the trade-wind increased, until it blew half a gale,
raising considerable sea, and impeding the progress of the ship. Indeed,
so little speed did we make, that the island of Jamaica, which we had
descried with the first streaks of dawn, remained in sight all day; its
blue mountains softened but not obliterated by the distance as the evening
set in. The sea was as blue as the mountains, and the waves seemed almost
as large, to our eyes, as the little steamer plunged into, and struggled
with them, in her vain attempt to make headway. All the force of her
engine was incapable of driving her at a greater speed than five knots.
The next day, and the day after were equally unpropitious. Indeed the
weather went from bad, to worse, for now the sky became densely overcast,
with black, and angry-looking clouds, and the wind began to whistle
through the rigging, with all the symptoms of a gale. We were approaching
the hurricane season, and there was no telling at what moment, one of
those terrible cyclones of the Caribbean Sea might sweep over us. To add
to the gloominess of the prospect, we were comparatively out of the track
of commerce, and had seen no sail, since we had overhauled the Spanish

As explained to the reader, in one of the opening chapters, it was my
intention to proceed from Cuba, to Barbadoes, there recoal, and thence
make the best of my way to Cape St. Roque, in Brazil, where I expected to
reap a rich harvest from the enemy's commerce. I was now obliged to
abandon, or at least to modify this design. It would not be possible for
me to reach Barbadoes, with my present supply of coal, in the teeth of
such trade-winds, as I had been encountering for the last few days. I
therefore determined to bend down toward the Spanish Main; converting the
present head-wind, into a fair wind, for at least a part of the way, and
hoping to find the weather more propitious, on that coast. It was now the
thirteenth of July, and as we had sailed from Cienfuegos, on the seventh,
we had consumed six out of our eight days' supply of fuel. Steaming was no
longer to be thought of, and we must make some port under sail. The Dutch
island of Curaçoa lay under our lee, and we accordingly made sail for that
island. The engineer was ordered to let his fires go down, and uncouple
his propeller that it might not retard the speed of the ship, and the
sailors were sent aloft to loose the topsails.

This was the first time that we were to make use of our sails, unaided by
steam, and the old sailors of the ship, who had not bestridden a yard for
some months, leaped aloft, with a will, to obey the welcome order. The
race of sailors has not yet entirely died out, though the steamship is
fast making sad havoc with it. There is the same difference between the
old-time sailor, who has been bred in the sailing-ship, and the modern
sailor of the steamship, that there is between the well-trained fox-hound,
who chases Reynard all day, and the cur that dodges a rabbit about, for
half an hour or so. The sailing-ship has a romance, and a poetry about
her, which is thoroughly killed by steam. The sailor of the former loves,
for its own sake, the howling of the gale, and there is no music so sweet
to his ear, as the shouting of orders through the trumpet of the officer
of the deck, when he is poised upon the topsail-yard, of the rolling and
tumbling ship, hauling out the "weather ear-ring." It is the _ranz de
vache_, which recalls the memory of his boyhood, and youth, when under the
tutelage of some foster-father of an old salt, he was taking his first
lessons in seamanship.

It used to be beautiful to witness the rivalry of these children of the
deep, when the pitiless hurricane was scourging their beloved ship, and
threatening her with destruction. The greater the danger, the more eager
the contest for the post of honor. Was there a sail to be secured, which
appeared about to be torn into ribbons, by the gale, and the loose gear of
which threatened to whip the sailor from the yard; or was there a topmast
to be climbed, which was bending like a willow wand under the fury of the
blast, threatening to part at every moment, and throw the climber into the
raging, and seething caldron of waters beneath, from which it would be
impossible to rescue him, Jack, noble Jack was ever ready for the service.
I have seen an old naval captain, who had been some years retired from the
sea, almost melt into tears, as he listened to the musical "heaving of the
lead" by an old sailor, in the "chains" of a passing ship of war.

But steam, practical, commonplace, hard-working steam, has well-nigh
changed all this, and cut away the webbing from the foot of the old-time
sailor. Seamanship, evolutions, invention, skill, and ready resource in
times of difficulty, and danger, have nearly all gone out of fashion, and
instead of reefing the topsails, and club-hauling, and box-hauling the
ship, some order is now sent to the engineer, about regulating his fires,
and paying attention to his steam-gauges. Alas! alas! there will be no
more Nelsons, and Collingwoods, and no more such venerable "bulwarks upon
the deep," as the _Victory_, and the _Royal Sovereign_. In future wars
upon the ocean, all combatants will be on the dead level of impenetrable
iron walls, with regard to dash, and courage, and with regard to
seamanship, and evolutions, all the knowledge that will be required of
them, will be to know how to steer a nondescript box toward their enemy.

Our first night under canvas, I find thus described, in my journal: "Heavy
sea all night, and ship rolling, and tumbling about, though doing pretty
well. The propeller revolves freely, and we are making about five knots."
The next day was Sunday, and the weather was somewhat ameliorated. The
wind continued nearly as fresh as before, but as we were now running a
point free, this was no objection, and the black, angry clouds had
disappeared, leaving a bright, and cheerful sky. A sail was seen on the
distant horizon, but it was too rough to chase. This was our usual
muster-day, but the decks were wet, and uncomfortable, and I permitted my
crew to rest, they having scarcely yet recovered from the fatigue of the
last few days.

There is, perhaps, no part of the world where the weather is so uniformly
fine, as on the Spanish Main. The cyclones never bend in that direction,
and even the ordinary gales are unknown. We were already beginning to feel
the influence of this meteorological change; for on Monday, the 15th of
July, the weather was thus described in my journal: "Weather moderating,
and the sea going down, though still rough. Nothing seen. In the
afternoon, pleasant, with a moderate breeze, and the clouds assuming their
usual soft, fleecy, trade-wind appearance." The next day was still clear,
though the wind had freshened, and the ship was making good speed.

At nine A. M. we made the land, on the starboard bow, which proved to be
the island of Oruba, to leeward, a few miles, of Curaçoa. For some hours
past, we had been within the influence of the equatorial current, which
sets westward, along this coast, with considerable velocity, and it had
carried us a little out of our course, though we had made some allowance
for it. We hauled up, a point, or two, and at eleven A. M. we made the
island of Curaçoa, on the port bow. We doubled the north-west end of the
island, at about four P. M. and hauling up on the south side of it we
soon brought the wind ahead, when it became necessary to put the ship
under steam again, and to furl the sails.

The afternoon proved beautifully bright, and clear; the sea was of a deep
indigo-blue, and we were all charmed, even with this barren little island,
as we steamed along its bold, and blackened shores, of limestone rock,
alongside of which the heaviest ship might have run, and throwing out her
bow and stern lines, made herself fast with impunity, so perpendicularly
deep were the waters. Our average distance from the land, as we steamed
along, was not greater than a quarter of a mile. There were a few stunted
trees, only, to be seen, in the little ravines, and some wild shrubbery,
and sickly looking grass, struggling for existence on the hills' sides. A
few goats were browsing about here, and there, and the only evidence of
commerce, or thrift, that we saw, were some piles of salt, that had been
raked up from the lagoons, ready for shipment. And yet the Dutch live, and
thrive here, and have built up quite a pretty little town--that of St.
Anne's, to which we were bound. The explanation of which is, that the
island lies contiguous to the Venezuelan coast, and is a free port, for
the introduction of European, and American goods, in which a considerable
trade is carried on, with the main land.

We arrived off the town, with its imposing battlements frowning on either
side of the harbor, about dusk, and immediately hoisted a jack, and fired
a gun, for a pilot. In the course of half an hour, or so, this
indispensable individual appeared, but it was too late, he said, for us to
attempt the entrance, that night. He would come off, the first thing in
the morning, and take us in. With this assurance we rested satisfied, and
lay off, and on, during the night, under easy steam. But we were not to
gain entrance to this quaint little Dutch town, so easily, as had been
supposed. We were to have here a foretaste of the trouble, that the
Federal Consuls were to give us in the future. We have already commented
on the love of office of the American people. There is no hole, or corner
of the earth, into which a ship can enter, and where there is a dollar to
be made, that has not its American Consul, small or large. The smallest of
salaries are eagerly accepted, and, as a consequence, the smallest of men
are sometimes sent to fill these places. But the smaller the place, the
bigger were the cocked hats and epaulettes the officials wore, and the
more brim-full were they of patriotism.

At the time of which I am writing, they called one Wm. H. Seward, master,
and they had taken Billy's measure to a fraction. They knew his tastes,
and pandered to them, accordingly. His circular letters had admonished
them, that, in their intercourse with foreign nations, they must speak of
our great civil war, as a mere _rebellion_, that would be suppressed, in
from sixty, to ninety days; insist that we were not entitled to
belligerent rights, and call our cruisers, "corsairs," or "pirates."
Accordingly, soon after the pilot had landed, from the _Sumter_, carrying
with him to the shore, the intelligence that she was a Confederate States
cruiser, the Federal Consul made his appearance at the Government-House,
and claimed that the "pirate" should not be permitted to enter the harbor;
informing his Excellency, the Governor, that Mr. Seward would be irate, if
such a thing were permitted, and that he might expect to have the stone,
and mortar of his two forts knocked about his ears, in double quick, by
the ships of war of the Great Republic.

This bold, and defiant tone, of the doughty little Consul, seemed to
stagger his Excellency; it would not be so pleasant to have St. Anne's
demolished, merely because a steamer with a flag that nobody had seen
before, wanted some coal; and so, the next morning, bright and early, he
sent the pilot off, to say to me, that "the Governor could not permit the
_Sumter_ to enter, having received recent orders from Holland to that
effect." Here was a pretty kettle of fish! The _Sumter_ had only one day's
fuel left, and it was some distance from Curaçoa, to any other place,
where coal was to be had. I immediately sent for Lieutenant Chapman, and
directed him to prepare himself for a visit to the shore; and calling my
clerk, caused him to write, after my dictation, the following despatch to
his Excellency:--

     OFF ST. ANNE'S, CURAÇOA, July 17, 1861.


     I was surprised to receive, by the pilot, this morning, a message
     from your Excellency, to the effect that this ship would not be
     permitted to enter the harbor, unless she was in distress, as your
     Excellency had received orders from his 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 most
     respectfully suggest that there must be some mistake here; and I have
     sent to you the bearer, Lieutenant Chapman, of the Confederate States
     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 recognized, 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,
     alike, from bringing prizes into their several jurisdictions; but no
     one of them has made a distinction, either between the respective
     prizes, or the cruisers, themselves, of the two belligerents--the
     cruisers of both governments, unaccompanied by prizes, being admitted
     to the hospitalities of the ports of all these great Powers, on terms
     of perfect equality. In the face of these facts, 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 abetting their enemy? If this be 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.

When this epistle was ready, Chapman shoved off for the shore, and a long
conference ensued. The Governor called around him, as I afterward learned,
all the dignitaries of the island, civil and military, and a grand council
of State was held. These Dutchmen have a ponderous way of doing things,
and I have no doubt, the gravity of this council was equal to that held in
New Amsterdam in colonial days, as described by the renowned historian
Diederick Knickerbocker, at which Woutter Van Twiller, the doubter, was
present. Judging by the time that Chapman was waiting for his answer,
during which he had nothing to do but sip the most delightful mint
juleps--for these islanders seemed to have robbed old Virginia of some of
her famous mint patches--in company with an admiring crowd of friends, the
councillors must have "smoked and talked, and smoked again;" pondered with
true Dutch gravity, all the arguments, _pro_ and _con_, that were
offered, and weighed my despatch, along with the "recent order from
Holland," in a torsion balance, to see which was heaviest.

After the lapse of an hour, or two, becoming impatient, I told my first
lieutenant, that as our men had not been practised at the guns, for some
time, I thought it would be as well to let them burst a few of our
eight-inch shells, at a target. Accordingly the drum beat to quarters, a
great stir was made about the deck, as the guns were cast loose, and
pretty soon, whiz! went a shell, across the windows of the
council-chamber, which overlooked the sea; the shell bursting like a clap
of rather sharp, ragged thunder, a little beyond, in close proximity, to
the target. Sundry heads were seen immediately to pop out of the windows
of the chamber, and then to be withdrawn very suddenly, as though the
owners of them feared that another shell was coming, and that my gunners
might make some mistake in their aim. By the time we had fired three or
four shells, all of which bursted with beautiful precision, Chapman's boat
was seen returning, and thinking that our men had had exercise enough, we
ran out and secured the guns.

My lieutenant came on board, smiling, and looking pleasantly, as men will
do, when they are bearers of good news, and said that the Governor had
given us permission to enter. We were lying close in with the entrance,
and in a few minutes more, the _Sumter_ was gliding gracefully past the
houses, on either side of her, as she ran up the little canal, or river,
that split the town in two. The quays were crowded with a motley gathering
of the townspeople, men, women, and children, to see us pass, and sailors
waved their hats to us, from the shipping in the port. Running through the
town into a land-locked basin, in its rear, the _Sumter_ let go her
anchor, hoisted out her boats, and spread her awnings,--and we were once
more in port.



The _Sumter_ had scarcely swung to her anchors, in the small land-locked
harbor described, before she was surrounded by a fleet of bum-boats, laden
with a profusion of tropical fruits, and filled with men, and women,
indifferently--the women rather preponderating. These bum-boat women are
an institution in Curaçoa; the profession descends from mother to daughter
and time seems to operate no change among them. It had been nearly a
generation since I was last at Curaçoa. I was then a gay, rollicking young
midshipman, in the "old" Navy, and it seemed as though I were looking upon
the same faces, and listening to the same confusion of voices as before.
The individual women had passed away, of course, but the bum-boat women
remained. They wore the same parti-colored handkerchiefs wound gracefully
around their heads, the same gingham or muslin dresses, and exposed
similar, if not the same, bare arms, and unstockinged legs. They were
admitted freely on board, with their stocks in trade, and pretty soon Jack
was on capital terms with them, converting his small change into fragrant
bananas, and blood-red oranges, and replenishing his tobacco-pouch for the
next cruise. As Jack is a gallant fellow, a little flirtation was going on
too with the purchasing, and I was occasionally highly amused at these
joint efforts at trade and love-making. No one but a bum-boat woman is
ever a sailor's _blanchiseuse, et par consequence_ a number of well-filled
clothes'-bags soon made their appearance, on deck, from the different
apartments of the ship, and were passed into the boats alongside.

These people all speak excellent English, though with a drawl, which is
not unmusical, when the speaker is a sprightly young woman. Jack has a
great fondness for pets, and no wonder, poor fellow, debarred, as he is,
from all family ties, and with no place he can call his home, but his
ship; and pretty soon my good-natured first lieutenant had been seduced
into giving him leave to bring sundry monkeys, and parrots on board, the
former of which were now gambolling about the rigging, and the latter
waking the echoes of the harbor with their squalling. Such was the crowd
upon our decks, and so serious was the interruption to business, that we
were soon obliged to lay restrictions upon the bum-boat fleet, by
prohibiting it from coming alongside, except at meal-hours, which we
always designated by hoisting a red pennant, at the mizzen. It was curious
to watch the movements of the fleet, as these hours approached. Some
twenty or thirty boats would be lying upon their oars, a few yards from
the ship, each with from two to half a dozen inmates, eagerly watching the
old quartermaster, whose duty it was to hoist the pennant; the women
chattering, and the parrots squalling, whilst the oarsmen were poising
their oars, that they might get the first stroke over their competitors in
the race. At length, away goes the flag! and then what a rushing and
clattering, and bespattering until the boats are alongside.

In an hour after our anchor had been let go, the business of the ship, for
the next few days, had all been arranged. The first lieutenant had visited
a neighboring ship-yard, and contracted for a new foretop-mast, to supply
the place of the old one which had been sprung; the paymaster had
contracted for a supply of coal, and fresh provisions, daily, for the
crew, and for having the ship watered; the latter no unimportant matter,
in this rainless region, and I had sent an officer to call on the
Governor, _with my card_, being too unwell to make the visit, in person.
Upon visiting the shore the next day, I found that we were in a _quasi_
enemy's territory, for besides the Federal Consul before spoken of, a
Boston man had intrenched himself in the best hotel in the place, as
proprietor, and was doing a thriving business, far away from "war's
alarms," and a New Yorker had the monopoly of taking all the phizes of the
staid old Dutchmen--"John Smith, of New York, Photographer," hanging high
above the artist's windows, on a sign-board that evidently had not been
painted by a Curaçoan. Mr. Smith had already taken an excellent photograph
of the _Sumter_, which he naively enough told me, was intended for the New
York illustrated papers. If I had had ever so much objection, to having
the likeness of my ship hung up in such a "rogues' gallery," I had no
means of preventing it. Besides, it could do us but little damage, in the
way of identification, as we had the art of disguising the _Sumter_ so
that we would not know her, ourselves, at half a dozen miles distance.

I was surprised, one morning, during our stay here, whilst I was lounging,
listlessly, in my cabin, making a vain attempt to read, under the
infliction of the caulkers overhead, who were striking their
caulking-irons with a vigor, and rapidity, that made the tympanum of my
ears ring again, at the announcement that Don somebody or other, the
private secretary of President Castro, desired to see me. The caulkers
were sent away, and his Excellency's private secretary brought below.
President Castro was one of those unfortunate South American chiefs, who
had been beaten in a battle of ragamuffins, and compelled to fly his
country. He was President of Venezuela, and had been deprived of his
office, before the expiration of his term, by some military aspirant, who
had seated himself in the presidential chair, instead, and was now in
exile in Curaçoa, with four of the members of his cabinet. The object of
the visit of his secretary was to propose to me to reinstate the exiled
President, in his lost position, by engaging in a military expedition,
with him, to the mainland.

Here was a chance, now, for an ambitious man! I might become the Warwick
of Venezuela, and put the crown on another's head, if I might not wear it
myself. I might hoist my admiral's flag, on board the _Sumter_, and take
charge of all the piraguas, and canoes, that composed the Venezuelan navy,
whilst my colleague mustered those men in buckram, so graphically
described by Sir John Falstaff, and made an onslaught upon his despoiler.
But unfortunately for friend Castro, I was like one of those damsels who
had already plighted her faith to another, before the new wooer
appeared--I was not in the market. I listened courteously, however, to
what the secretary had to say; told him, that I felt flattered by the
offer of his chief, but that I was unable to accept it. "I cannot," I
continued, "consistently with my obligations to my own country, engage in
any of the revolutionary movements of other countries." "But," said he,
"Señor Castro is the _de jure_ President of Venezuela, and you would be
upholding the right in assisting him;--can you not, at least, land us,
with some arms and ammunition, on the main land?" I replied that, "as a
Confederate States officer, I could not look into _de jure_ claims. These
questions were for the Venezuelans, themselves, to decide. The only
government I could know in Venezuela was the _de facto_ government, for
the time being, and _that_, by his own showing, was in the hands of his
antagonists." Here the conversation closed, and my visitor, who had the
bearing and speech of a cultivated gentleman, departed. The jottings of my
diary for the next few days, will perhaps now inform the reader, of our
movements, better than any other form of narrative.

_July 19th._--Wind unusually blustering this morning, with partial
obscuration of the heavens. The engineers are busy, overhauling and
repairing damages to their engine and boilers; the gunner is at work,
polishing up his battery and ventilating his magazine, and the sailors are
busy renewing ratlines and tarring down their rigging. An English bark
entered the harbor to-day from Liverpool.

_July 20th._--Painting and refitting ship; got off the new fore-topmast
from the shore. It is a good pine stick, evidently from our Southern
States, and has been well fashioned. The monthly packet from the island of
St. Thomas arrived, to-day, bringing newspapers from the enemy's country
as late as the 26th of June. We get nothing new from these papers, except
that the Northern bee-hive is all agog, with the marching and
countermarching of troops.

_July 21st._--Fresh trade-winds, with flying clouds--atmosphere highly
charged with moisture, but no rain. This being Sunday, we mustered and
inspected the crew. The washer-women have decidedly improved the
appearance of the young officers, the glistening of white shirt-bosoms and
collars having been somewhat unusual on board of the _Sumter_, of late.
The crew look improved too, by their change of diet, and the use of
antiscorbutics, which have been supplied to them, at the request of the
surgeon; though some of them, having been on shore, "on liberty," have
brought off a blackened eye. No matter--the more frequently Jack settles
his accounts, on shore, the fewer he will have to settle on board ship, in
breach of discipline. We read, at the muster, to-day, the finding and
sentence of the first court-martial, that has sat on board the _Sumter_,
since she reached the high seas.

_July 22d._--Warped alongside a wharf, in the edge of the town, and
commenced receiving coal on board. Refitting, and repainting ship. In the
afternoon, I took a lonely stroll through the town, mainly in the suburbs.
It is a quaint, picturesque old place, with some few modern houses, but
the general air is that of dilapidation, and a decay of trade. The lower
classes are simple, and primitive in their habits, and but little suffices
to supply their wants. The St. Thomas packet sailed, to-day, and, as a
consequence, the Federal cruisers, in and about that island, will have
intelligence of our whereabouts, in four or five days. To mislead them, I
have told the pilot, and several gentlemen from the shore, _in great
confidence_, that I am going back to cruise on the coast of Cuba. The
packet will of course take that intelligence to St. Thomas.

_July 23d._--Still coaling, refitting and painting. Weather more cloudy,
and wind not so constantly fresh, within the last few days. Having taken
sights for our chronometers, on the morning after our arrival, and again
to-day, I have been enabled to verify their rates. They are running very
well. The chronometer of the _Golden Rocket_ proves to be a good
instrument. We fix the longitude of Curaçoa to be 68° 58' 30", west of

_July 24th._--Sky occasionally obscured, with a moderate trade-wind. Our
men have all returned from their visits to the shore, except one, a simple
lad named Orr, who, as I learn, has been seduced away, by a Yankee
skipper, in port, aided by the Boston hotel-keeper, and our particular
friend, the consul. As these persons have tampered with my whole crew, I
am gratified to know, that there has been but one traitor found among

We had now been a week in Curaçoa, during which time, besides recruiting,
and refreshing my crew, I had made all the necessary preparations for
another cruise. The ship had been thoroughly overhauled, inside and out,
and her coal-bunkers were full of good English coal. It only remained for
us to put to sea. Accordingly, at twelve o'clock precisely, on the day
last above mentioned, as had been previously appointed, the _Sumter_,
bidding farewell to her new-made friends, moved gracefully out of the
harbor--this time, amid the waving of handkerchiefs, in female hands, as
well as of hats in the hands of the males; the quay being lined, as
before, to see us depart. The photographer took a last shot at the ship,
as she glided past his sanctum, and we looked with some little interest to
the future numbers of that "Journal of Civilization," vulgarly yclept
"Harper's Weekly," for the interesting portrait; which came along in due
time, accompanied by a lengthy description, veracious, of course, of the

Curaçoa lies a short distance off the coast of Venezuela, between
Laguayra, and Puerto Cabello, and as both of these places had some
commerce with the United States, I resolved to look into them. The morning
after our departure found us on a smooth sea, with a light breeze off the
land. The mountains, back of Laguayra, loomed up blue, mystic, and
majestic, at a distance of about thirty miles, and the lookout, at the
mast-head, was on the _qui vive_ for strange sails. He had not to wait
long. In the tropics, there is very little of that bewitching portion of
the twenty-four hours, which, in other parts of the world, is called
twilight. Day passes into night, and night into day, almost at a single
bound. The rapidly approaching dawn had scarcely revealed to us the bold
outline of the coast, above mentioned, when sail ho! resounded from the
mast-head. The sail bore on our port-bow, and was standing obliquely
toward us. We at once gave chase, and at half-past six A. M., came up
with, and captured the schooner _Abby Bradford_, from New York, bound for
_Puerto Cabello_.

We knew our prize to be American, long before she showed us her colors.
She was a "down-East," fore-and-aft schooner, and there are no other such
vessels in the world. They are as thoroughly marked, as the Puritans who
build them, and there is no more mistaking the "cut of their jib." The
little schooner was provision laden, and there was no attempt to cover her
cargo. The news of the escape of the _Sumter_ had not reached New York, at
the date of her sailing, and the few privateers that we had put afloat, at
the beginning of the war, had confined their operations to our own, and
the enemy's coasts. Hence the neglect of the owners of the _Bradford_, in
not providing her with some good English, or Spanish certificates,
protesting that her cargo was neutral. The "old flag" was treated very
tenderly on the present occasion. The "flaunting lie," which Mr. Horace
Greeley had told us, should "insult no sunny sky," was hauled down, and
stowed away in the quartermaster's bag described a few pages back.

The _Bradford_ being bound for Puerto Cabello, and that port being but a
short distance, under my lee, I resolved to run down, with the prize, and
try my hand with my friend Castro's opponent, the _de facto_ President of
Venezuela, to see whether I could not prevail upon him, to admit my prizes
into his ports. I thought, surely, an arrangement could be made with some
of these beggarly South American republics, the revenue of which did not
amount to a cargo of provisions, annually, and which were too weak,
besides, to be worth kicking by the stronger powers. What right had
_they_, thought I, to be putting on the airs of nations, and talking about
acknowledging other people, when they had lived a whole generation,
themselves, without the acknowledgment of Spain.

But, as the reader will see, I reckoned without my host. I found that they
had a wholesome fear of the Federal gun-boats, and that even their
cupidity could not tempt them to be just, or generous. If they had
admitted my prizes into their ports, I could, in the course of a few
months, have made those same ports more busy with the hum and thrift of
commerce, than they had ever been before; I could have given a new impulse
to their revolutions, and made them rich enough to indulge in the luxury
of a _pronunciamiento_, once a week. The bait was tempting, but there
stood the great lion in their path--the model Republic. The fact is, I
must do this model Republic the justice to say, that it not only bullied
the little South American republics, but all the world besides. Even old
John Bull, grown rich, and plethoric, and asthmatic and gouty, trembled
when he thought of his rich argosies, and of the possibility of Yankee
privateers chasing them.

Taking the _Bradford_ in tow, then, we squared away for Puerto Cabello,
but darkness came on before we could reach the entrance of the harbor, and
we were compelled to stand off and on, during the night--the schooner
being cast off, and taking care of herself, under sail. The _Sumter_ lay
on the still waters, all night, like a huge monster asleep, with the light
from the light-house, on the battlements of the fort, glaring full upon
her, and in plain hearing of the shrill cry of "_Alerta!_" from the
sentinels. So quietly did she repose, with banked fires, being fanned, but
not moved, by the gentle land-breeze that was blowing, that she scarcely
needed to turn over her propeller during the night, to preserve her
relative position with the light. There was no occasion to be in a hurry
to run in, the next morning, as no business could be transacted before
ten, or eleven o'clock, and so I waited until the sun, with his broad disk
glaring upon us, like an angry furnace, had rolled away the mists of the
morning, and the first lieutenant had holy-stoned his decks, and arranged
his hammock-nettings, with his neat, white hammocks stowed in them, before
we put the ship in motion.

We had, some time before, hoisted the Confederate States flag, and the
Venezuelan colors were flying from the fort in response. The prize
accompanied us in, and we both anchored, within a stone's throw of the
town, the latter looking like some old Moorish city, that had been
transported by magic to the new world, _gallinazos_, and all. Whilst my
clerk was copying my despatch to the Governor, and the lieutenant was
preparing himself, and his boat's crew, to take it on shore, I made a
hasty _reconnoissance_ of the fort, which had a few iron pieces, of small
calibre mounted on it, well eaten by rust, and whose carriages had rotted
from under them. The following is a copy of my letter to his Excellency.

     PUERTO CABELLO, July 26, 1861.


     I have the honor to inform your Excellency of my arrival at this
     place, in this ship, under my command, with the prize schooner, _Abby
     Bradford_, in company, 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 honor 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 Cabello_. Should any claim, however, be given
     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 honor to request, that your Excellency will
     permit me to leave this prize vessel, with her cargo, in the port of
     Puerto Cabello, 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 citizens 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 her neutrality, she may permit both
     belligerents to bring their prizes into her waters; and, of this,
     neither belligerent could complain, since whatever justice is
     extended to its enemy, is extended also to itself. * * * [Here
     follows a repetition of the facts with regard to the seizure of the
     Navy by the Federal authorities, and the establishment of the
     blockade of the Southern ports, already stated in my letter to the
     Governor of Cienfuegos.] * * * Thus, your Excellency sees, that under
     the rule of exclusion, the enemy could enjoy his right of capture, to
     its full extent--all his own ports being open to him--whilst the
     cruisers of the Confederate States could enjoy it, _sub modo_, only;
     that is, for the purpose of destroying their prizes. A rule which
     would produce such unequal results as this, is not 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 could have time to adjudicate the cases, would work equal
     and exact justice to both; and this is all that 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.

When the _Sumter_ entered _Puerto Cabello_, with her prize, she found an
empty harbor, there being only two or three coasting schooners anchored
along the coast; there was a general dearth of business, and the quiet
little city was panting for an excitement. A bomb-shell, thrown into the
midst of the stagnant commercial community, could not have startled them
more, than the rattling of the chain cable of the _Sumter_ through her
hawse-hole, as she let go her anchor; and when my missive was handed to
the Governor, there was a racing, and chasing of bare-footed orderlies,
that indicated a prospective gathering of the clans, similar to the one
which had occurred at Curaçoa. A grand council was held, at which the
Confederate States had not the honor to be represented.

That the reader may understand the odds against which we now had to
struggle, he must recollect, that all these small South American towns
are, more or less, dependent upon American trade. The New England States,
and New York supply them with their domestic cottons, flour, bacon, and
notions; sell them all their worthless old muskets, and damaged
ammunition, and now and then, smuggle out a small craft to them, for naval
purposes. The American Consul, who is also a merchant, represents not only
those "grand moral ideas," that characterize our Northern people, but
Sand's sarsaparilla, and Smith's wooden clocks. He is, _par excellence_,
the big dog of the village. The big dog was present on the present
occasion, looking portentous, and savage, and when he ope'd his mouth, all
the little dogs were silent. Of course, the poor _Sumter_, anchored away
off in the bay, could have no chance before so august an assemblage, and,
pretty soon, an orderly came down to the boat, where my patient lieutenant
was waiting, bearing a most ominous-looking letter, put up in true South
American style, about a foot square, and bearing on it, "_Dios y

When I came to break the seal of this letter, I found it to purport, that
the Governor had not the necessary _funciones_, to reply to me,
diplomatically, but that he would _elevate_ my despatch, to the _Supreme_
Government; and that, in the mean time, I had better take the _Abby
Bradford_ and get out of _Puerto Cabello_, as soon as possible! This was
all said, very politely, for your petty South American chieftain is

  "As mild a mannered man, as ever cut a throat,"

but it was none the less strong for all that. The missive of the Governor
reached me early, in the afternoon, but I paid not the least attention to
it. I sent the paymaster on shore, to purchase some fresh provisions, and
fruits, for the crew, and gave such of the officers "liberty," as desired
it. The next morning I sent a prize crew on board the _Bradford_, and
determined to send her to New Orleans. Being loth to part with any more of
my officers, after the experience I had had, with the prize brig _Cuba_, I
selected an intelligent quartermaster, who had been mate of a merchantman,
as prize-master. My men I could replace--my officers I could not. The
following letter of instructions was prepared for the guidance of the

     OFF PUERTO CABELLO, July 26, 1861.


     You will take charge of the prize schooner, _Abby Bradford_, and
     proceed with her, to New Orleans--making the land to the westward of
     the passes of the Mississippi, and endeavoring to run into Barrataria
     Bay, Berwick's Bay, or some of the other small inlets. Upon your
     arrival, you will proceed to the city of New Orleans, in person, and
     report yourself to Commodore Rousseau, for orders. You will take
     especial care of the accompanying package of papers, as they are the
     papers of the captured schooner, and you will deliver them, with the
     seals unbroken, to the judge of the Prize Court, Judge Moise. You
     will batten down your hatches, and see that no part of the cargo is
     touched, during the voyage, and you will deliver both vessel, and
     cargo, to the proper law officers, in the condition in which you find
     them, as nearly as possible.

I availed myself of this opportunity, to address the following letter to
Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy; having nothing very important to
communicate, I did not resort to the use of the cipher, that had been
established between us.

     PUERTO CABELLO, July 26, 1861.

     SIR:--Having captured a schooner of light draught, which, with her
     cargo, I estimate to be worth some twenty-five thousand dollars, and
     being denied the privilege of leaving her at this port, until she
     could be adjudicated, I have resolved to dispatch her for New
     Orleans, in charge of a prize crew, with the hope that she may be
     able to elude the vigilance of the blockading squadron, of the enemy,
     and run into some one of the shoal passes, to the westward of the
     mouth of the Mississippi, as Barrataria, or Berwick's Bay. In great
     haste, I avail myself of this opportunity to send you my first
     despatch, since leaving New Orleans. I can do no more, for want of
     time, than barely enumerate, without describing events.

     We ran the blockade of Pass à L'Outre, by the _Brooklyn_, on the 30th
     of June, that ship giving us chase. On the morning of the 3d of July,
     I doubled Cape Antonio, the western extremity of Cuba, and, on the
     same day, captured, off the Isle of Pines, the American ship, _Golden
     Rocket_, belonging to parties in Bangor, in Maine. She was a fine
     ship of 600 tons, and worth between thirty and forty thousand
     dollars. I burned her. On the next day, the 4th, I captured the
     brigantines _Cuba_ and _Machias_, both of Maine, also. They were
     laden with sugars. I sent them to Cienfuegos, Cuba. On the 5th of
     July, I captured the brigs _Ben. Dunning_, and _Albert Adams_, owned
     in New York, and Massachusetts. They were laden, also, with sugars. I
     sent them to Cienfuegos. On the next day, the 6th, I captured the
     barks _West Wind_, and _Louisa Kilham_, and the brig _Naiad_, all
     owned in New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. I sent them,
     also, to Cienfuegos.

     On the same day, I ran into that port, myself, reported my captures
     to the authorities, and asked leave for them to remain, until they
     could be adjudicated. The Government took them in charge, until the
     Home Government should give directions concerning them. I coaled
     ship, and sailed, again, on the 7th. On the 17th I arrived at the
     Island of Curaçoa, without having fallen in with any of the enemy's
     ships. I coaled again, here--having had some little difficulty with
     the Governor, about entering--and sailed on the 24th. On the morning
     of the 25th, I captured, off Laguayra, the schooner _Abby Bradford_,
     which is the vessel, by which I send this despatch. I do not deem it
     prudent to speak, here, of my future movements, lest my despatch
     should fall into the hands of the enemy. We are all well, and "doing
     a pretty fair business," in mercantile parlance, having made nine
     captures in twenty-six days.

The _Bradford_ reached the coast of Louisiana, in due time, but
approaching too near to the principal passes of the Mississippi, against
which I had warned her, she was re-captured, by one of the enemy's
steamers, and my prize crew were made prisoners, but soon afterward
released, though they did not rejoin me. I am thus particular, in giving
the reader an account of these, my first transactions, for the purpose of
showing him, that I made every effort to avoid the necessity of destroying
my prizes, at sea; and that I only resorted to this practice, when it
became evident that there was nothing else to be done. Not that I had not
the right to burn them, under the laws of war, when there was no dispute
about the property--as was the case with the _Golden Rocket_, she having
had no cargo on board--but because I desired to avoid all possible
complication with neutrals.

Having dispatched the _Bradford_, we got under way, in the _Sumter_, to
continue our cruise. We had scarcely gotten clear of the harbor, before a
sail was discovered, in plain sight, from the deck. The breeze was light,
and she was running down the coast, with all her studding sails set. Her
taunt and graceful spars, and her whitest of cotton sails, glistening in
the morning's sun, revealed at once the secret of her nationality. We
chased, and, at the distance of full seven miles from the land, came up
with, and captured her. She proved to be the bark _Joseph Maxwell_, of
Philadelphia, last from Laguayra, where she had touched, to land a part of
her cargo. The remainder she was bringing to Puerto Cabello. Upon
inspection of her papers, I ascertained that one-half of the cargo,
remaining on board of her, belonged to a neutral owner, doing business in
Puerto Cabello.

Heaving the bark to, in charge of a prize crew, beyond the marine league,
I took her master on board the _Sumter_, and steaming back into the
harbor, sent Paymaster Myers on shore with him, to see if some arrangement
could not be made, by which the interests of the neutral half-owner of the
cargo could be protected; to see, in other words, whether _this_ prize, in
which a Venezuelan citizen was interested, would not be permitted to
enter, and remain until she could be adjudicated. Much to my surprise,
upon the return of my boat, the paymaster handed me a written _command_
from the Governor, to bring the _Maxwell_ in, and deliver her to him,
until the _Venezuelan courts_ could determine whether she had been
captured within the marine league, or not! This insolence was refreshing.
I scarcely knew whether to laugh, or be angry at it. I believe I indulged
in both emotions. The _Sumter_ had not let go her anchor, but had been
waiting for the return of her boat, under steam. She was lying close under
the guns of the fort, and we could see that the tompions had been taken
out of the guns, and that they were manned by some half-naked soldiers.
Not knowing but the foolish Governor might order his commandant to fire
upon me, in case I should attempt to proceed to sea, in my ship, before I
had sent a boat out to bring in the _Maxwell_, I beat to quarters, and
with my crew standing by my guns, steamed out to rejoin my prize. When I
had a little leisure to converse with my paymaster, he told me, that the
Federal consul had been consulted, on the occasion, and that the nice
little _ruse_ of the Governor's order had been resorted to in the hope of
intimidating me. I would have burned the _Maxwell_, on the spot, but,
unfortunately, as the reader has seen, she had some neutral cargo on
board, and this I had no right to destroy. I resolved, therefore, to send
her in; not to the Confederate States, for she drew too much water to
enter any, except the principal ports, and these being all blockaded, by
steamers, it was useless for her to make the attempt. The following letter
of instructions to her prize-master, will show what disposition was made
of her.

     AT SEA, July 27, 1861.


     You will take charge of the prize bark, _Joseph Maxwell_, and
     proceed, with her, to some port on the south side of the island of
     Cuba, say St. Jago, Trinidad, or Cienfuegos. I think it would be
     safest for you to go into Cienfuegos, as the enemy, from the very
     fact of our having been there, recently, will scarcely be on the look
     for us a second time. The steamers which were probably sent thither
     from Havana in pursuit of the _Sumter_ must, long since, have
     departed, to hunt her in some other quarter.

     Upon your arrival, you will inform the Governor, or Commandant of the
     Port, of the fact, state to him that your vessel is the prize of a
     ship of war, and not of a privateer, and ask leave for her to remain
     in port, in charge of a prize agent, until she can be adjudicated by
     a prize court of the Confederate States. Should he grant you this
     request, you will, if you go into Cienfuegos, put the vessel in
     charge of _Don Mariano Dias_, our agent for the other prizes; but
     should you go into either of the other ports, you will appoint some
     reliable person to take charge of the prize, but without power to
     sell, until further orders--taking from him a bond, with sufficient
     sureties for the faithful performance of his duties.

     Should the Governor decline to permit the prize to remain, you will
     store the cargo, with some responsible person, if permitted to land
     it, taking his receipt therefor, and then take the ship outside the
     port, beyond the marine league, and burn her. Should you need funds
     for the unlading and storage of the cargo, you are authorized to sell
     so much of it as may be necessary for this purpose. You will then
     make the best of your way to the Confederate States, and report
     yourself to the Secretary of the Navy. You will keep in close custody
     the accompanying sealed package of papers, being the papers of the
     captured vessel, and deliver it, in person, to the Judge of the
     Admiralty Court, in New Orleans. The paymaster will hand you the sum
     of one hundred dollars, and you are authorized to draw on the
     Secretary of the Navy for such further sum as you may need, to defray
     the expenses of yourself, and crew, to the Confederate States.

I had not yet seen the proclamation of neutrality by Spain, and the reader
will perceive, from the above letter, that I still clung to the hope that
that Power would dare to be just, even in the face of the truckling of
England and France. The master of the _Maxwell_ had his wife on board, and
the sea being smooth, I made him a present of one of the best of his
boats, and sent him and his wife on shore in her. He repaid my kindness by
stealing the ship's chronometer, which he falsely told the midshipman in
charge of the prize I had given him leave to take with him. At three P.
M., taking a final leave of _Puerto Cabello_, there being neither waving
of hats or handkerchiefs, or regrets on either side, we shaped our course
to the eastward, and put our ship under a full head of steam.



There was a fresh trade-wind blowing, and some sea on, as the _Sumter_
brought her head around to the eastward, and commenced buffeting her way,
again, to windward. She had, in addition, a current to contend with, which
sets along this coast in the direction of the trade-wind, at the rate of
about a knot an hour. We were steaming at a distance of seven or eight
miles from the land, and, as the shades of evening closed in, we descried
a Federal brigantine, running down the coast--probably for the port we had
just left--hugging the bold shore very affectionately, to keep within the
charmed marine league, within which she knew she was safe from capture. We
did not, of course, molest her, as I made it a point always to respect the
jurisdiction of neutrals, though never so weak. I might have offended
against the sovereignty of Venezuela, by capturing this vessel, with
impunity, so far as Venezuela was herself concerned, but then I should
have committed an offence against the laws of nations, and it was these
laws that I was, myself, looking to, for protection. Besides, the
Secretary of the Navy, in preparing my instructions, had been particular
to enjoin upon me, not only to respect the rights of neutrals, but to
conciliate their good will.

As we were running along the land, sufficiently near for its influence to
be felt upon the trade-winds, it became nearly calm during the night, the
land and sea breezes, each struggling for the mastery, and thus
neutralizing each other's forces. The steamer sprang forward with renewed
speed, and when the day dawned the next morning, we were far to windward
of Laguayra. The sun rose in a sky, without a cloud, and the wind did not
freshen, as the day advanced, so much as it had done the day before. The
mountains of Venezuela lay sleeping in the distance, robed in a mantle of
heavenly blue, numerous sea-birds were on the wing, and the sail of a
fishing-boat, here and there, added picturesqueness to the scene. At
half-past nine, we gave chase to a fore-and-aft schooner, which proved to
be a Venezuela coaster.

In the afternoon, we passed sufficiently near the island of Tortuga, to
run over some of its coral banks. The sun was declining behind the yet
visible mountains, and the sea breeze had died away to nearly a calm,
leaving the bright, and sparkling waters, with a mirrored surface. We now
entered upon a scene of transcendent beauty, but the beauty was that of
the deep, and not of the surface landscape. The reader is familiar with
the history of the coral insect, that patient little stone-mason of the
deep, which, though scarcely visible through the microscope, lays the
foundations of islands, and of continents. The little coralline sometimes
commences its work, hundreds of fathoms down in the deep sea, and working
patiently, and laboriously, day and night, night and day, week after week,
month after month, year after year, and century after century, finally
brings its structure to the surface.

When its tiny blocks of lime-stone, which it has secreted from the salts
of the sea, have been piled so high, that the tides now cover the
structure, and now leave it dry, the little toiler of the sea, having
performed the functions prescribed to it by its Creator, dies, and is
entombed in a mausoleum more proud than any that could be reared by human
hands. The winds, and the clouds now take charge of the new island, or
continent, and begin to prepare it for vegetation, and the habitation of
man, and animals. The Pacific Ocean, within the tropics is, _par
excellence_, the coral sea, and the navigator of that ocean is familiar
with the phenomenon, which I am about to describe. In the midst of a clear
sky, the mariner sometimes discovers on the verge of the horizon, a light,
fleecy cloud, and as he sails toward it, he is surprised to find that it
scarcely alters its position. It rises a little, and a little higher, as
he approaches it, pretty much as the land would appear to rise, if he were
sailing toward it, but that is all. He sails on, and on, and when he has
come near the cloud, he is surprised to see under it, a white line of
foam, or, maybe a breaker, if there is any undulation in the sea, in a
spot where all is represented as deep water on his chart. Examining with
his telescope, he now discovers, in the intervals of the foam, caused by
the rising and falling of the long, lazy swell, a coral bank, so white as
scarcely to be distinguished from the seething and boiling foam. He has
discovered the germ of a new island, which in the course of time, and the
decrees of Providence, will be covered with forests, and inhabited by men,
and animals.

The cloud, as a sort of "pillar by day," has conducted him to the spot,
whilst it has, at the same time, warned him of his danger. But the
cloud--how came it there, why does it remain so faithfully at its post,
and what are its functions? One of the most beautiful of the phenomena of
tropical countries is the alternation, with the regularity of clock-work,
of the land and sea breezes; by day, the sea breeze blowing toward the
land, and by night the land breeze blowing toward the sea. The reason of
this is as follows. The land absorbs heat, and radiates it, more rapidly
than the sea. The consequence is, that when the sun has risen, an hour or
two, the land becomes warmer than the surrounding sea, and there is an
in-draught toward it; in other words, the sea breeze begins to blow. When,
on the contrary, the sun has set, and withdrawn his rays from both land
and sea, and radiation begins, the land, parting with its absorbed heat,
more rapidly than the sea, soon becomes cooler than the sea. As a
consequence, there is an out-draught from the land; in other words, the
land breeze has commenced to blow. The reader now sees how it is, that the
"pillar by day" hangs over the little coral island; the bank of coral
absorbing heat by day more rapidly than the surrounding sea, there is an
in-draught setting toward it, and as the lazy trade-winds approach it,
they themselves become heated, and ascend into the upper air. There is
thus a constantly ascending column of heated atmosphere over these banks.
This ascending column of atmosphere, when it reaches a certain point, is
condensed into cumuli of beautiful, fleecy clouds, often piled up in the
most fantastic and gorgeous shapes. It is thus that the cloud becomes
stationary. It is ever forming, and ever passing off; retaining, it may
be, its original form, but its nebulæ constantly changing.

When a cooler blast of trade-wind than usual comes along, the condensation
is more rapid, and perfect, and showers of rain fall. The sea-birds are
already hovering, in clouds, over the inchoate little island, fishing, and
wading in its shallow waters, and roosting on it, when they can get a
sufficient foothold. Vegetation soon ensues, and, in the course of a few
more ages, nature completes her work.

But to return from this digression, into which we were led by a view of
the coral bank over which we were passing. The little insect, which is at
work under our feet, has not yet brought its structure sufficiently near
the surface, to obstruct our passage over it. We are in five or six
fathoms of water, but this water is so clear, that we are enabled to see
the most minute object, quite distinctly. We have "slowed" the engine the
better to enjoy the beautiful sub-marine landscape; and look! we are
passing over a miniature forest, instinct with life. There are beautifully
branching trees of madrepores, whose prongs are from one to two feet in
length, and sometimes curiously interlaced. Each one of the branches, as
well as the trunk, has a number of little notches in it. These are the
cells in which the little stone-mason is at work. Adhering to the branches
of these miniature trees, like mosses, and lichens, you see sundry
formations that you might mistake for leaves. These are also cellular, and
are the workshops of the little masons. Scattered around, among the trees,
are waving the most gorgeous of fans, and, what we might call sea-ferns,
and palms. These are of a variety of brilliant colors, purple

Lying on the smooth, white sand, are boulders of coral in a variety of
shapes--some, like the domes of miniature cathedrals; some, perfectly
spherical; some, cylindrical. These, and the trees, are mostly of a creamy
white, though occasionally, pink, violet, and green are discovered. As the
passage of the steamer gives motion to the otherwise smooth sea, the
fans, ferns, and palms wave, gracefully, changing their tints as the light
flashes upon them, through the pellucid waters. The beholder looks
entranced, as though he were gazing upon a fairy scene, by moonlight; and
to add to the illusion, there is a movement of life, all new to the eye,
in every direction. The beautiful star-fish, with its five points, as
equally, and regularly arranged, as though it had been done by the rule of
the mathematician, with great worm-like molluscs, lie torpid on the white
sand. Jelly-fish, polypi, and other nondescript shapes, float about in the
miniature forest; and darting hither and thither, among the many-tinted
ferns, some apparently in sport, and some in pursuit of their prey, are
hundreds of little fishes, sparkling, and gleaming in silver, and gold,
and green, and scarlet.

The most curious of these is the parrot-fish, whose head is shaped like
the beak of the parrot, and whose color is light green. How wonderfully
full is the sea of animal life! All this picture is animal life; for what
appears to be the vegetable portion of this sub-marine landscape, is
scarcely vegetable at all. The waving ferns, fans, and palms are all
instinct with animal life. The patient little toiler of the sea, the
coralline insect, is busy with them, as he is with his limestone trees. He
is helping on their formation by his secretions, and it is difficult to
say what portion of them is vegetable, what, mineral, and what, animal.

I had been an hour, and more, entranced by the fairy sub-marine forest,
and its denizens, which I have so imperfectly described, when the sun sank
behind the Andes, and night threw her mantle upon the waters, changing all
the sparkling colors of forest, and fish, to sombre gray, and admonishing
me, that it was time to return to every-day life, and the duties of the
ship. "Let her have the steam," said I to the officer of the deck, as I
arose from my bent posture over the ship's rail; and, in a moment more,
the propeller was thundering us along at our usual speed.

At eleven P. M., we were up with the island of Margarita, and as I
designed to run the passage between it, and the main land, I preferred
daylight for the operation; and so, sounding in thirty-two fathoms of
water, I hove the ship to, under her trysails for the night, permitting
her steam to go down. The next day, the weather still continued clear and
pleasant, the trade-wind being sufficiently light not to impede our
headway, for we were steaming, as the reader will recollect, nearly head
to wind. We had experienced but little adverse current during the last
twenty-four hours, and were making very satisfactory progress. I was now
making a passage, rather than cruising, as a sail is a rare sight, in the
part of the ocean I was traversing.

At meridian we passed that singular group of islands called the
Frayles--_Anglice_, friars--jutting up from the sea in cones of different
shapes, and looking, at a distance, not unlike so many hooded monks. With
the exception of a transient fisherman, who now and then hauls up his boat
out of the reach of the surf, on these harborless islands, and pitches his
tent, made of his boat's sail, for a few days of rest and refreshment,
they have no inhabitants.

_July 30th._--"Thick, cloudy weather, with incessant, and heavy rains;
hauling in for the coast of Venezuela, near the entrance to the Gulf of
Paria. So thick is the weather, that to 'hold on to the land,' I am
obliged to run the coast within a mile, and this is close running on a
coast not minutely surveyed." So said my journal. Indeed the day in
question was a memorable one, from its scenery, and surroundings. Few
landscapes present so bold, and imposing a picture as this part of the
South American coast. The Andes here rise abruptly out of the sea, to a
great height. Our little craft running along their base, in the bluest and
deepest of water, looked like a mere cockle-shell, or nautilus. Besides
the torrents of rain, that were coming down upon our decks, and through
which, at times, we could barely catch a glimpse of the majestic, and
sombre-looking mountains, we were blinded by the most vivid flashes of
lightning, simultaneously with which, the rolling and crashing of the
thunder deafened our ears. I had stood on the banks of the Lake of Geneva,
and witnessed a storm in the Alps, during which Byron's celebrated lines
occurred to me. They occurred to me more forcibly here, for literally--

                                  "Far along
  From peak to peak, the rattling crags among,
    Leaps the live thunder! Not from one cloud,
  But every mountain now had found a tongue,
    And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
  Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud!"

That word "joyous" was well chosen by the poet, for the mountains did
indeed seem to rejoice in this grand display of nature. Of wind there was
scarcely any--what little there was, was frequently off the land, and even
blew in the direction opposite to that of the trade-wind. We were in the
rainy season, along this coast, and all the vegetable kingdom was in full
luxuriance. The cocoanut, and other palms, giving an Eastern aspect to the
scenery, waved the greenest of feathery branches, and every shrub, and
almost every tree rejoiced in its flower. It was delightful to inhale the
fragrance, as the whirling aërial current brought us an occasional puff
from the land.

On board the ship, we looked like so many half-drowned rats. The officer
of the deck, trumpet in hand, was ensconced, to his ears, in his
india-rubber pea-jacket, his long beard looking like a wet mop, and little
rills of rain trickling down his neck, and shoulders, from his slouched
"Sou'wester." The midshipman of the watch had taken off his shoes, and
rolled up his trousers, and was paddling about in the pools on deck, as
well pleased as a young duck. And as for the old salt, he was in his
element. There was plenty of fresh water to wash his clothes in, and
accordingly the decks were filled with industrious washers, or rather
scrubbers, each with his scrubbing-brush, and bit of soap, and a little
pile of soiled duck frocks and trousers by his side.

The reader has been informed, that we were running along the coast, within
a mile of it, to enable us to keep sight of the land. The object of this
was to make the proper landfall for running into the Gulf of Paria, on
which is situated the Port of Spain, in the island of Trinidad, to which
we were bound. We opened the gulf as early as nine A. M., and soon
afterward identified the three islands that form the _Bocas del Drago_, or
dragon's mouth. The scenery is remarkably bold and striking at the
entrance of this gulf or bay. The islands rise to the height of
mountains, in abrupt and sheer precipices, out of the now muddy
waters--for the great Orinoco, traversing its thousands of miles of
alluvial soil, disembogues near by. Indeed, we may be said to have been
already within the delta of that great stream.

Memory was busy with me, as the _Sumter_ passed through the Dragon's
Mouth. I had made my first cruise to this identical island of Trinidad,
when a green midshipman in the Federal Navy. A few years before, the elder
Commodore Perry--he of Lake Erie memory--had died of yellow fever, when on
a visit, in one of the small schooners of his squadron, up the Orinoco.
The old sloop-of-war _Lexington_, under the command of Commander, now
Rear-Admiral Shubrick, was sent to the Port of Spain to bring home his
remains. I was one of the midshipmen of that ship. A generation had since
elapsed. An infant people had, in that short space of time, grown old and
decrepid, and its government had broken in twain. But there stood the
everlasting mountains, as I remembered them, unchanged! I could not help
again recurring to the poet:--

  "Man has another day to swell the past,
  And lead him near to little but his last;
  But mighty Nature bounds as from her birth.
  The sun is in the heavens, and life on earth;
  Flowers in the valley, splendor in the beam,
  Health on the gale, and freshness in the stream.
  Immortal man! behold her glories shine,
  And cry, exulting inly, 'they are thine!'
  Gaze on, while yet thy gladdened eye may see;
  A morrow comes when they are not for thee:
  And grieve what may above thy senseless bier,
  Nor earth, nor sky shall yield a single tear;
  Nor cloud shall gather more, nor leaf shall fall,
  Nor gale breathe forth one sigh for thee, for all;
  But creeping things shall revel in their spoil,
  And fit thy clay to fertilize the soil."

We entered through the Huevo passage--named from its egg-shaped
island--and striking soundings, pretty soon afterward, ran up by our chart
and lead-line, there being no pilot-boat in sight. We anchored off the
Port of Spain a little after mid-day--an English merchant brig paying us
the compliment of a salute.

I dispatched a lieutenant to call on the Governor. The orders of
neutrality of the English government had already been received, and his
Excellency informed me that, in accordance therewith, he would extend to
me the same hospitality that he would show, in similar circumstances, to
the enemy; which was nothing more, of course, than I had a right to
expect. The Paymaster was dispatched to the shore, to see about getting a
supply of coal, and send off some fresh provisions and fruit for the crew;
and such of the officers as desired went on liberty.

The first thing to be thought of was the discharge of our prisoners, for,
with the exception of the Captain, whom I had permitted to land in _Puerto
Cabello_, with his wife, I had the crew of the _Joseph Maxwell_,
prize-ship, still on board. I had given these men, eight in number, to
understand that they were hostages, and that their discharge, their close
confinement, or their execution, as the case might be, depended upon the
action of their own Government, in the case of the _Savannah_ prisoners.
The reader will probably recollect the case to which I allude. President
Lincoln, of the Federal States, in issuing his proclamation of the 15th of
April, 1861, calling out 75,000 troops to revenge the disaster of Fort
Sumter, inserted the following paragraph:--

     "And I hereby proclaim, and declare, that, if any person, under the
     pretended authority of said States, or under any other pretence,
     shall molest a vessel of the United States, or the persons, or cargo
     on board of her, such persons will be held amenable to the laws of
     the United States, for the prevention, and punishment of piracy."

On the 6th of May following, the Congress of the Confederate States,
passed the following act, in reply, as it were, to this manifesto of Mr.

     "_Whereas_, The earnest efforts made by this Government, to establish
     friendly relations between the Government of the United States, and
     the Confederate States, and to settle all questions of disagreement
     between the two Governments, upon principles of right, equity,
     justice, and good faith, have proved unavailing, by reason of the
     refusal of the Government of the United States to hold any
     intercourse with the Commissioners appointed by this Government, for
     the purposes aforesaid, or to listen to any proposal they had to
     make, for the peaceful solution of all causes of difficulty between
     the two Governments; and _whereas_, the President of the United
     States of America has issued his proclamation, making requisition
     upon the States of the American Union, for 75,000 men, for the
     purpose, as therein indicated, of capturing forts, and other
     strongholds within the jurisdiction of, and belonging to the
     Confederate States of America, and raised, organized, and equipped a
     large military force, to execute the purpose aforesaid, and has
     issued his other proclamation, announcing his purpose to set on foot
     a blockade of the ports of the Confederate States; and _whereas_, the
     State of Virginia has seceded from the Federal Union, and entered
     into a convention of alliance, offensive and defensive, with the
     Confederate States, and has adopted the Provisional Constitution of
     said States, and the States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee,
     Kentucky, Arkansas and Missouri have refused, and it is believed,
     that the State of Delaware, and the inhabitants of the Territories of
     Arizona, and New Mexico, and the Indian Territory, south of Kansas
     will refuse to co-operate with the Government of the United States,
     in these acts of hostility, and wanton aggression, which are plainly
     intended to overawe, oppress, and finally subjugate the people of the
     Confederate States; and _whereas_, by the acts, and means aforesaid,
     war exists between the Confederate States, and the Government of the
     United States, and the States and Territories thereof, excepting the
     States of Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas,
     Missouri, and Delaware, and the Territories of Arizona, and New
     Mexico, and the Indian Territory south of Kansas: THEREFORE,

     "SEC. 1. _The Congress of the Confederate States of America do
     enact_, That the President of the Confederate States is hereby
     authorized to use the whole land, and naval force of the Confederate
     States, to meet the war thus commenced, and to issue to private armed
     vessels, commissions, or letters-of-marque, and general reprisal, in
     such form, as he shall think proper, under the seal of the
     Confederate States, against the vessels, goods, and effects of the
     Government of the United States, and of the citizens, or inhabitants
     of the States, and Territories thereof, except the States and
     Territories hereinbefore named. _Provided_, however, that the
     property of the enemy, (unless it be contraband of war,) laden on
     board a neutral vessel, shall not be subject to seizure, under this
     Act; and _provided further_, that the vessels of the citizens, or
     inhabitants of the United States, now in the ports of the Confederate
     States, except such as have been since the 15th of April last, or may
     hereafter be, in the service of the Government of the United States,
     shall be allowed thirty days, after the publication of this Act, to
     leave said ports, and reach their destination; and such vessels, and
     their cargoes, excepting articles contraband of war, shall not be
     subject to capture, under this Act, during said period, unless they
     shall previously have reached the destination for which they were
     bound, on leaving said ports."

Among the private armed vessels which took out commissions under this Act,
was the schooner _Savannah_, formerly a pilot-boat out of Charleston. She
carried one small gun, and about twenty men. During the month of June,
this adventurous little cruiser was captured by the U. S. brig
_Bainbridge_, and her crew were hurried off to New York, confined in
cells, like convicted felons, and afterward brought to trial, and
_convicted of piracy_, under Mr. Lincoln's proclamation. I had informed
myself of these proceedings from newspapers captured on board the enemy's
ships, and hence the announcement I had made to the prisoners of the
_Joseph Maxwell_. The reader may imagine the delight of those men, and my
own satisfaction, as well, when my lieutenant brought back with him, from
the shore, after his visit to the Governor, an American newspaper, of late
date, stating that the _Savannah_ prisoners had been released from close
confinement, and were to be treated as _prisoners of war_. I was
stretching a point, in undertaking retaliation of this serious character
without instructions from my Government, but the case was pressing, and we
of the _Sumter_ were _vitally_ interested in the issue. The commission of
the _Savannah_, though she was only a privateer, was as lawful as our own,
and, judging by the abuse that had already been heaped upon us, by the
Northern newspapers, we had no reason to expect any better treatment, at
the hands of well-paid New York District-Attorneys, and well-packed New
York juries.

I was gratified to learn, as I did soon afterward, that my Government had
taken a proper stand on this question. President Davis, as soon as he
heard of the treatment to which the _Savannah_ prisoners had been
subjected, wrote a letter of remonstrance to President Lincoln,
threatening retaliation, if he dared execute his threat of treating them
as pirates. In that letter so worthy of the Christian statesman, and so
opposite to the coarse fulminations of the enemy, Mr. Davis used the
following expressions: "It is the desire of this Government so to conduct
the war, now existing, as to mitigate its horrors, as far as may be
possible; and with this intent, its treatment of the prisoners captured by
its forces has been marked, by the greatest humanity, and leniency,
consistent with public obligation. Some have been permitted to return
home, on _parole_, others to remain at large, under similar conditions,
within the Confederacy, and all have been furnished with rations for their
subsistence, such as are allowed to our own troops. It is only since the
news has been received, of the treatment of the prisoners taken on the
_Savannah_, that I have been compelled to withdraw those indulgences, and
to hold the prisoners taken by us, in strict confinement. A just regard to
humanity, and to the honor of this Government, now requires me to state,
explicitly, that, painful as will be the necessity, this Government will
deal out to the prisoners held by it, the same treatment, and the same
fate, as shall be experienced by those captured on the _Savannah_; and if
driven to the terrible necessity of retaliation, by your execution of any
of the officers, or crew of the _Savannah_, that retaliation will be
extended so far, as shall be requisite to secure the abandonment of a
practice, unknown to the warfare of civilized men, and so barbarous, as to
disgrace the nation which shall be guilty of inaugurating it."

Shortly before the conviction of the _Savannah_ prisoners, a seaman named
Smith, captured on board the privateer _Jefferson Davis_, was tried, and
convicted of piracy, in Philadelphia. There were fourteen of these men, in
all, and the following order from Mr. Benjamin, the Acting Secretary of
War of the Confederate States, to General Winder, in charge of Federal
prisoners, in Richmond, will show how much in earnest President Davis was,
when he wrote the above letter to President Lincoln:--

     "SIR:--You are hereby instructed to choose, by lot, from among the
     prisoners of war, of highest rank, one who is to be confined in a
     cell appropriated to convicted felons, and who is to be treated, in
     all respects, as if such convict, and to be held for execution, in
     the same manner as may be adopted by the enemy for the execution of
     the prisoner of war, Smith, recently condemned to death in

     "You will, also, select thirteen other prisoners of war, the highest
     in rank of those captured by our forces, to be confined in cells,
     reserved for prisoners accused of infamous crimes, and will treat
     them as such, so long as the enemy shall continue so to treat the
     like number of prisoners of war, captured by them at sea, and now
     held for trial in New York as pirates.

     "As these measures are intended to repress the infamous attempt now
     made by the enemy, to commit judicial murder on prisoners of war, you
     will execute them, strictly, as the mode best calculated to prevent
     the commission of so heinous a crime."

The list of hostages, as returned by General Winder, was as follows:
Colonels Corcoran, Lee, Cogswell, Wilcox, Woodruff, and Wood;
Lieutenant-Colonels Bowman, and Neff; Majors Potter, Revere, and Vogdes,
and Captains Ricketts, McQuade, and Rockwood. These measures had the
desired effect; the necessity, that the Federal Government was under of
conciliating the Irish interest, contributing powerfully thereto--Colonel
Corcoran, the first hostage named, being an Irishman of some note and
influence, in New York. President Lincoln was accordingly obliged to take
back his proclamation, and the Savannah prisoners, and Smith, were put on
the footing of prisoners of war. But this recantation of an attempted
barbarism had not been honestly made. It was not the generous taking back
of a wrong principle, by a high-minded people. The tiger, which had come
out of his jungle, in quest of blood, had only been driven back by fear;
his feline, and bloodthirsty disposition would, of course, crop out again,
as soon as he ceased to dread the huntsman's rifle. Whilst we were strong,
but little more was heard of "pirates," and "piracy," except through Mr.
Seward's long-winded and frantic despatches to the British Government, on
the subject of the _Alabama_, but when we became weak, the slogan was
taken up again, and rung, in all its changes, by an infuriated people.

To return now to the _Sumter_. Our decks were crowded with visitors, on
the afternoon of our arrival; some of these coming off to shake us warmly
by the hand, out of genuine sympathy, whilst others had no higher motive
than that of mere curiosity. The officers of the garrison were very civil
to us, but we were amused at their diplomatic precaution, in coming to
visit us in _citizens' dress_. There are no people in the world, perhaps,
who attach so much importance to matters of mere form and ceremony, bluff
and hearty as John Bull is, as the English people. Lord Russell had dubbed
us a "so-called" government, and this expression had become a law to all
his subordinates; no official visits could be exchanged, no salutes
reciprocated, and none other of the thousand and one courtesies of
red-tapedom observed toward us; and, strange to say, whilst all this
nonsense of form was being practised, the substance of nationality, that
is to say, the acknowledgment that we possessed belligerent rights, had
been frankly and freely accorded to us. It was like saying to a man, "I
should like, above all things, to have you come and dine with me, but as
you havn't got the right sort of a dining-dress, you can't come, you
know!" Some ridiculous consequences resulted from this etiquette of
nations. Important matters of business frequently remained unattended to,
because the parties could not address each other officially. An _informal_
note would take the place of an official despatch.

The advent of the _Sumter_ invariably caused more, or less commotion, in
official circles; the small colonial officials fearing lest she might
complicate them with their governments. There was now another important
council to be held. The opinion of the "law-officers of the crown" was to
be taken by his Excellency, upon the question, whether the _Sumter_ was
entitled to be coaled in her Majesty's dominions. The paymaster had found
a lot of indifferent coal, on shore, which could be purchased at about
double its value, but nothing could be done until the "council" moved; and
it is proverbial that large bodies like provincial councils, move slowly.
The Attorney-General of the Colony, and other big wigs got together,
however, after due ceremony, and, thanks to the fact, that the steamer is
an infernal machine of modern invention, they were not very long in coming
to a decision. If there had been anything about a steamer, in Coke upon
Littleton, Bacon, or Bracton, or any other of those old fellows who deal
in black letter, I am afraid the _Sumter_ would have been blockaded by the
enemy, before she could have gotten to sea. The _pros_ and _cons_ being
discussed--I had too much respect for the calibre of certain guns on
shore, to throw any shells across the windows of the council-chamber--it
was decided that coal was not contraband of war, and that the _Sumter_
might purchase the necessary article in the market.

But though she might purchase it, it was not so easy to get it on board.
It was hard to move the good people on shore. The climate was relaxing,
the rainy season had set in, and there was only negro labor to be had,
about the wharves and quays. We were four tedious days in filling our
coal-bunkers. It had rained, off and on, the whole time. I did not visit
the shore, but I amused myself frequently by inspecting the magnificent
scenery by which I was surrounded, through an excellent telescope. The
vegetation of Trinidad is varied, and luxuriant beyond description. As the
clouds would break away, and the sun light up the wilderness of waving
palms, and other tropical trees and plants of strange and rich foliage,
amid which the little town lay embowered, the imagination was enchanted
with the picture.

The emancipation of the slave ruined this, as it did the other West India
islands. As a predial laborer, the freedman was nearly worthless, and the
sugar crop, which is the staple, went down to zero. In despair, the
planters resorted to the introduction of the coolie; large numbers of them
have been imported, and under their skilful and industrious cultivation,
the island is regaining a share of its lost prosperity.

A day or two after my arrival, I had a visit from the master of a
Baltimore brig, lying in the port. He was ready for sea, he said, and had
come on board, to learn whether I would capture him. I told him to make
himself easy, that I should not molest him, and referred him to the act of
the Confederate Congress, declaring that a state of war existed, to show
him that, as yet, we regarded Maryland as a friend. He went away
rejoicing, and sailed the next day.

We had, as usual, some little refitting of the ship to do. Off _Puerto
Cabello_, we had carried away our main yard, by coming in contact with the
_Abby Bradford_ and the first lieutenant having ordered another on our
arrival, it was now towed off, and gotten on board, fitted, and sent

_Sunday, August 4th._--Morning calm and clear. The chimes of the
church-bells fall pleasantly and suggestively on the ear. An American
schooner came in from some point, up the bay, and anchored well in shore,
some distance from us, as though distrustful of our good faith, and of our
respect for British neutrality. Being all ready for sea, at half-past ten
A. M., I gave the order to get up steam; but the paymaster reporting to me
that his vouchers were not all complete, the order was countermanded, and
we remained another day.

Her Majesty's steam-frigate _Cadmus_ having come in, from one of the
neighboring islands, I sent a lieutenant on board to call on her captain.
This was the first foreign ship of war to which I had extended the
courtesy of a visit, and, in a few hours afterward, my visit was returned.
I had, from this time onward, much agreeable intercourse with the naval
officers of the several nations, with whom I came in contact. I found them
much more independent, than the civil, and military officers. They did not
seem to care a straw, about _de factos_, or _de jures_, and had a sailor's
contempt for red tape and unmeaning forms. They invariably received my
officers, and myself, when we visited their ships, with the honors of the
side, appropriate to our rank, without stopping to ask, in the jargon of
Lord Russell, whether we were "So-Called," or Simon Pure. After the usual
courtesies had passed between the lieutenant of the _Cadmus_ and myself, I
invited him into my cabin, when, upon being seated, he said his captain
had desired him to say to me, that, as the _Sumter_ was the first ship of
the Confederate States he had fallen in with, he would take it, as a
favor, if I would show him my commission. I replied, "Certainly, but there
is a little ceremony to be complied with, on your part, first." "What is
that?" said he. "How do I know," I rejoined, "that you have any
_authority_ to demand a sight of my commission--the flag at your peak may
be a cheat, and you may be no better than you take me for, a ship of war
of some hitherto unknown government--you must show me _your_ commission
first." This was said, pleasantly, on my part, for the idea was quite
ludicrous, that a large, and stately steam-frigate, bearing the proud
cross of St. George, could be such as I had hypothetically described her.
But I was right as to the point I had made, to wit, that one ship of war
has no right to demand a sight of the commission of another, without first
showing her own. Indeed, this principle is so well known among naval men,
that the lieutenant had come prepared for my demand, having brought his
commission with him. Smiling, himself, now, in return, he said:
"Certainly, your request is but reasonable; here is her Majesty's
commission," unrolling, at the same time, a large square parchment,
beautifully engraved with nautical devices, and with sundry seals, pendent
therefrom. In return, I handed him a small piece of coarse, and rather
dingy Confederate paper, at the bottom of which was inscribed the name of
Jefferson Davis. He read the commission carefully, and when he had done,
remarked, as he handed it back to me, "Mr. Davis's is a smooth, bold
signature." I replied "You are an observer of signatures, and you have hit
it exactly, in the present instance. I could not describe his character to
you more correctly, if I were to try--our President has all the
smoothness, and polish of the ripe scholar and refined gentleman, with the
boldness of a man, who dares strike for the right, against odds."

_Monday, August 5th._--Weather clear, and fine. Flocks of parrots are
flying overhead, and all nature is rejoicing in the sunshine, after the
long, drenching rains. Far as the eye can reach, there is but one sea of
verdure, giving evidence, at once, of the fruitfulness of the soil, and
the ardor of the sun. At eleven A. M., Captain Hillyar, of the _Cadmus_,
came on board, to visit me, and we had a long and pleasant conversation on
American affairs. He considerately brought me a New York newspaper, of as
late a date, as the 12th of July. "I must confess," said he, as he handed
me this paper, "that your American war puzzles me--it cannot possibly last
long." "You are probably mistaken, as to its duration," I replied; "I fear
it will be long and bloody. As to its being a puzzle, it should puzzle
every honest man. If our late co-partners had practised toward us the most
common rules of honesty, we should not have quarrelled with them; but we
are only defending ourselves against robbers, with knives at our throats."
"You surprise me," rejoined the Captain; "how is that?" "Simply, that the
machinery of the Federal Government, under which we have lived, and which
was designed for the common benefit, has been made the means of despoiling
the South, to enrich the North;" and I explained to him the workings of
the iniquitous tariffs, under the operation of which the South had, in
effect, been reduced to a dependent colonial condition, almost as abject,
as that of the Roman provinces, under their proconsuls; the only
difference being, that smooth-faced hypocrisy had been added to robbery,
inasmuch as we had been plundered under the forms of law.

"All this is new to me, I assure you," replied the Captain; "I thought
that your war had arisen out of the slavery question." "That is a common
mistake of foreigners. The enemy has taken pains to impress foreign
nations with this false view of the case. With the exception of a few
honest zealots, the canting, hypocritical Yankee cares as little for our
slaves, as he does for our draught animals. The war which he has been
making upon slavery, for the last forty years, is only an interlude, or
by-play, to help on the main action of the drama, which is Empire; and it
is a curious coincidence, that it was commenced about the time the North
began to rob the South, by means of its tariffs. When a burglar designs to
enter a dwelling, for the purpose of robbery, he provides himself with the
necessary implements. The slavery question was one of the implements
employed, to help on the robbery of the South. It strengthened the
Northern party, and enabled them to get their tariffs through Congress;
and when, at length, the South, driven to the wall, turned, as even the
crushed worm will turn, it was cunningly perceived by the Northern men,
that 'No Slavery' would be a popular war-cry, and hence they used it. It
is true, we are defending our slave property, but we are defending it no
more than any other species of our property--it is all endangered, under a
general system of robbery. We are, in fact, fighting for independence. Our
forefathers made a great mistake, when they warmed the Puritan serpent in
their bosom; and we, their descendants, are endeavoring to remedy it."

The Captain now rose to depart. I accompanied him on deck, and when he had
shoved off, I ordered the ship to be gotten under way--the fires having
been started some time before, the steam was already up. The _Sumter_, as
she moved out of the harbor of the Port of Spain, looked more like a
comfortable passenger steamer, bound on a voyage, than a ship of war, her
stern nettings, and stern and quarter boats being filled with oranges, and
bananas, and all the other luscious fruits that are produced so abundantly
in this rich tropical island. Other luxuries were added, for Jack had
brought, on board, one or two more sad-looking old monkeys, and a score
more of squalling parrots.



We passed out of the Gulf of Paria, through the eastern, or Mona passage,
a deep strait, not more than a third of a mile in width, with the land
rising, on both sides, to a great height, almost perpendicularly. The
water of the Orinoco here begins to mix with the sea-water, and the two
waters, as they come into unwilling contact, carry on a perpetual
struggle, whirling about in small circles, and writhing and twisting like
a serpent in pain.

We met the first heave of the sea at about two o'clock in the afternoon,
and turning our head again to the eastward, we continued to run along the
mountainous and picturesque coast of Trinidad, until an hour or two after
nightfall. The coast is quite precipitous, but, steep as it is, a number
of negro cabins had climbed the hill-sides, and now revealed their
presence to us by the twinkle of their lights, as the shades of evening
fell over the scene. These cabins were quite invisible, by daylight, so
dense was the foliage of the trees amid which they nestled. This must,
indeed, be the very paradise of the negro. The climate is so genial, that
he requires little or no clothing, and bountiful Nature supplies him with
food, all the year round, almost unasked. In this land of the sun, a
constant succession of fruits is pendent from the trees, and the dwellers
in the huts beneath their sheltering arms, have only to reach out their
hands when hunger presses. I was reminded, by this scene, of a visit I had
once made to the island of St. Domingo, and of the indolence in which the
negro lives in that soft and voluptuous climate. I landed at the bay of
Samana, from the ship of war to which I was attached, and taking a stroll,
one evening, I came upon the hut of an American negress. Some years
before, Boyer, the President of the island, had invited the immigration of
free negroes, from the United States. A colony from the city of Baltimore
had accepted his invitation, and settled at Samana. In the course of a
very few years, all the men of the colony had run off, and found their way
back, in various capacities, on board of trading vessels, to the land of
their birth; leaving their wives and daughters behind to shift for
themselves. The negro woman, whose hut I had stumbled upon, was one of
these grass widows. She had become quite old, but was living without
apparent effort. The cocoanut waved its feathery branches over her humble
domicil, and the juicy mango and fragrant banana hung within tempting
reach. A little plot of ground had been picketed in with crooked sticks,
and in this primitive garden were growing some squashes and watermelons,
barely visible under the rank weeds. I said to her, "My good woman, you
don't seem to have much use for the plough or the hoe in your garden."
"La! master," said she, "no need of much work in this country--we have
only to put in the seed, and the Lord, _he_ gives the increase."

In time, no doubt, all the West India islands will lapse into just such
luxuriant wildernesses, as we were now coasting along, in the _Sumter_.
Amalgamation, by slow, but sure processes, will corrupt what little of
European blood remains in them, until every trace of the white man shall
disappear. The first process will be the mulatto; but the mulatto, as the
name imports, is a mule, and must finally die out; and the mass of the
population will become pure African. This is the fate which England has
prepared, for some of her own blood, in her colonies. I will not stop here
to moralize on it. If we are beaten in this war, what will be our fate in
the Southern States? Shall we, too, become mongrelized, and disappear from
the face of the earth? Can this be the ultimate design of the Yankee? The
night was quite light, and taking a fresh departure, at about ten P. M.,
from the east end of Trinidad, we passed through the strait between it and
the island of Tobago, and soon afterward emerged from the Caribbean Sea,
upon the broad bosom of the South Atlantic. Judging by the tide rips, that
were quite visible in the moonlight there must have been considerable
current setting through this strait, to the westward. The next day the
weather was still fine, and the wind light from about E. N. E., and the
_Sumter_ made good speed through the smooth sea. At about ten A. M. a sail
was descried, some twelve or fourteen miles distant. She was away off on
our port beam, running before the trade-wind, and I forbore to chase. As
before remarked, I was not now cruising, but anxious to make a passage,
and could not afford the fuel to chase, away from the track I was
pursuing, the few straggling sail I might discover in this lonely sea.
Once in the track of commerce, where the sails would come fast and thick,
I could make up for lost time. At noon, we observed in latitude 9° 14';
the longitude, by chronometer, being 59° 10'.

_Wednesday, August 7th._--Weather clear, and delightful, and the sea
smooth. Nothing but the broad expanse of the ocean visible, except,
indeed, numerous flocks of flying-fish, which we are flushing, now and
then like so many flocks of partridges, as we disturb the still waters.
These little creatures have about the flight of the partridge, and it is a
pretty sight to see them skim away over the billows with their transparent
finny wings glistening in the sun, until they drop again into their
"cover," as suddenly as they rose. Our crew having been somewhat broken in
upon, by the sending away of so many prize crews, the first lieutenant is
re-arranging his watch and quarter-bills, and the men are being exercised
at the guns, to accustom them to the changes which have become necessary,
in their stations. Officers and men are enjoying, alike, the fine weather.
With the fore-castle, and quarter-deck awnings spread, we do not feel the
heat, though the sun is nearly perpendicular at noon. Jack is
"overhauling" his clothes'-bag, and busy with his needle and thread,
stopping, now and then, to have a "lark" with his monkey, or to listen to
the prattle of his parrot. The boys of the ship are taking lessons, in
knotting, and splicing, and listening to the "yarn" of some old salt, as
he indoctrinates them in these mysteries. The midshipmen have their books
of navigation spread out before them, and slate in hand, are discussing
sine and tangent, base, and hypothenuse. The only place in which a lounger
is not seen is the quarter-deck. This precinct is always sacred to duty,
and etiquette. No one ever presumes to seat himself upon it, not even the
Commander. Here the officer of the deck is pacing to and fro, swinging his
trumpet idly about, for the want of something to do. But hold a moment! he
has at last found a job. It is seven bells (half-past eleven) and the
ship's cook has come to the mast, to report dinner. The cook is a darkey,
and see how he grins, as the officer of the deck, having tasted of the fat
pork, in his tin pan, and mashed some of his beans, with a spoon, to see
if they are done, tells him, "that will do." The Commander now comes on
deck, with his sextant, having been informed that it is time to "look out
for the sun." See, he gathers the midshipmen around him, each also with
his instrument, and, from time to time, asks them what "altitude they have
on," and compares the altitude which they give him with his own, to see if
they are making satisfactory progress as observers. The latitude being
obtained, and reported to the officer of the deck, that officer now comes
up to the Commander, and touching his hat, reports twelve o'clock, as
though the Commander didn't know it already. The Commander says to him,
sententiously, "make it so," as though the sun could not make it so,
without the Commander's leave. See, now what a stir there is about the
hitherto silent decks. Since we last cast a glance at them, Jack has put
up his clothes'-bag, and the sweepers have "swept down," fore and aft, and
the boatswain having piped to dinner, the cooks of the different messes
are spreading their "mess-cloths" on the deck, and arranging their viands.
The drum has rolled, "to grog," and the master's mate of the spirit-room,
muster-book in hand, is calling over the names of the crew, each man as
his name is called, waddling up to the tub, and taking the "tot" that is
handed to him, by the "Jack-of-the-dust," who is the master-mate's
assistant. Dinner now proceeds with somewhat noisy jest and joke, and the
hands are not "turned to," that is, set to work again, until one o'clock.

We have averaged, in the last twenty-four hours, eight knots and a half,
and have not, as yet, experienced any adverse current, though we are daily
on the lookout for this enemy; latitude 8° 31'; longitude 56° 12'. In the
course of the afternoon, a brigantine passing near us, we hove her to,
with a blank cartridge, when she showed us the Dutch colors. She was from
Dutch Surinam, bound for Europe. Toward nightfall, it became quite calm,
and naught was heard but the thumping of the ship's propeller, as she
urged her ceaseless way through the vast expanse of waters.

_August 8th._--Weather still beautifully clear, with an occasional rain
squall enclosing us as in a gauze veil, and shutting out from view for a
few minutes, at a time, the distant horizon. The wind is light, and
variable, but always from the Eastern board; following the sun as the
chariot follows the steed. We are making good speed through the water, but
we have at length encountered our dreaded enemy, the great equatorial
current, which sets, with such regularity, along this coast. Its set is
about W. N. W., and its drift about one knot per hour. Nothing has been
seen to-day. The water has changed its deep blue color, to green,
indicating that we are on soundings. We are about ninety miles from the
coast of Guiana. The sun went down behind banks, or rather cumuli of pink
and lilac clouds. We are fast sinking the north polar star, and new
constellations arise, nightly, above the southern horizon. Amid other
starry wonders, we had a fine view this evening, of the southern cross;
latitude 7° 19'; longitude 53° 04'.

The next day was cloudy, and the direction of the current was somewhat
changed, for its set was now N. W., half N. This current is proving a
serious drawback, and I begin to fear, that I shall not be able to make
the run to Maranham, as I had hoped. Not only are the elements adverse,
but my engineer tells me, that we were badly cheated, in our coal measure,
at Trinidad, the sharp coal-dealer having failed to put on board of us as
many tons as he had been paid for; for which the said engineer got a
rowing. We observed, to-day, in latitude 6° 01' and longitude 50° 48'.

_August 10th._--Weather clear, with a deep blue sea, and a fresh breeze,
from the south-east. The south-east trade-winds have thus crossed the
equator, and reached us in latitude 5° north, which is our latitude
to-day. I was apprehensive of this, for we are in the middle of August,
and in this month these winds frequently drive back the north-east trades,
and usurp their place, to a considerable extent, until the sun crosses
back into the southern hemisphere. We thus have both wind, and current
ahead; the current alone has retarded us fifty miles, or a fraction over
two knots an hour; which is about equal to the drift of the Gulf Stream
off Cape Hatteras.

Things were beginning now to look decidedly serious. I had but three days
of fuel on board, and, upon consulting my chart, I found that I was still
550 miles from my port, current taken into account. It was not possible
for the dull little _Sumter_ to make this distance, in the given time, if
the wind, and current should continue of the same strength. I resolved to
try her, however, another night, hoping that some change for the better
might take place. My journal tells the tale of that night as follows:--

_August 11th._--"The morning has dawned with a fresh breeze, and rather
rough sea, into which we have been plunging all night, making but little
headway. The genius of the east wind refuses to permit even steam to
invade his domain, and drives us back, with disdain. His ally, the
current, has retarded us sixty miles in the last twenty-four hours!" I now
no longer hesitated, but directing the engineer to let his fires go down,
turned my ship's head, to the westward, and made sail; it being my
intention to run down the coast to Cayenne in French Guiana, with the hope
of obtaining a fresh supply of fuel at that place. We soon had the
studding sails on the ship, and were rolling along to the northward and
westward, with more grace than speed, our rate of sailing being only four
knots. The afternoon proved to be remarkably fine, and we should have
enjoyed this _far niente_ change, but for our disappointment. Our chief
regret was that we were losing so much valuable time, in the midst of the
stirring events of the war.

Hauling in for the coast, in the vicinity of Cape Orange, we struck
soundings about nightfall. The sea now became quite smooth, and the wind
fell very light during the night--the current, however, is hurrying us
on, though its set is not exactly in the right direction. Its tendency is
to drive us too far from the coast. The next day, it became perfectly
calm, and so continued all day. We were in twenty-three fathoms of water,
and could see by the lead line that we were drifting over the bottom at
the rate of about two knots an hour. We got out our fishing-lines, and
caught some deep sea-fish, of the grouper species. The sea was alive with
the nautilus, and the curious sea-nettle, with its warps and hawsers
thrown out, and its semi-transparent, gelatinous disc contracting and
expanding, as the little animal extracted its food from the water. Schools
of fish, large and small, were playing about in every direction, and
flocks of sea-gulls, and other marine birds of prey, were hovering over
them, and making occasional forays in their midst. During the day, a sail
was descried, far in shore, but we were unable to make it out; indeed
sails were of the least importance to us now, as we were unable to chase.
Just before sunset, we had a fine view of the Silver Mountains, some forty
or fifty miles distant, in the south-west.

_August 15th._--During the past night, we made the "Great Constable," a
small island, off the coast, and one of the landmarks for Cayenne. The
night was fine, and moonlit, and we ran in, and anchored about midnight,
in fourteen fathoms of water. At daylight, the next morning, after waiting
for the passage of a rain-squall, we got under way, and proceeding along
the coast, came up with the Remize Islands, in the course of the
afternoon, where we found a French pilot-lugger lying to, waiting for us.
We were off Cayenne, and the lugger had come out to show us the way into
the anchorage. A pilot jumping on board, we ran in, and anchored to the
north-west of the "Child"--a small island--in three and a quarter fathoms
of water. I could scarcely realize, that this was the famous penal
settlement of Cayenne, painted in French history, as the very abode of
death, and fraught with all other human horrors, so beautiful, and
picturesque did it appear. The outlying islands are high, rising,
generally, in a conical form, and are densely wooded, to their very
summits. Sweet little nooks and coves, overhung by the waving foliage of
strange-looking tropical trees, indent their shores, and invite the
fisherman, or pleasure-seeker to explore their recesses. The main land is
equally rich in vegetation, and though the sea-coast is low, distant
ranges of mountains, inland, break in, agreeably, upon the monotony. A
perennial summer prevails, and storms, and hurricanes are unknown. It was
here that some of the most desperate and bloodthirsty of the French
revolutionists of 1790, were banished. Many of them died of yellow fever;
others escaped, and wandered off to find inhospitable graves, in other
countries; few of them ever returned to France. Shortly after we came to
anchor, the batteries of the town, and some small French steamers of war,
that lay in the harbor, fired salutes in honor of the birthday of Louis
Napoleon--this being the 15th of August.

The next morning, at daylight, I dispatched Lieutenant Evans, and
Paymaster Myers, to the town--the former to call on the Governor, and the
latter to see if any coal could be had. Their errand was fruitless. Not
only was there no coal to be purchased, but my officers thought that they
had been received rather ungraciously. The fact is, we found here, as in
Curaçoa, that the enemy was in possession of the neutral territory. There
was a Federal Consul resident in the place, who was the principal
contractor, for supplying the French garrison with fresh beef! and there
were three, or four Yankee schooners in the harbor, whose skippers had a
monopoly of the trade in flour and notions. What could the _Sumter_ effect
against such odds?

In the course of an hour after my boat returned, we were again under way,
running down the coast, in the direction of Surinam, to see if the
Dutchmen would prove more propitious, than the Frenchmen had done. About
six P. M., we passed the "Salut" Islands, three in number, on the summit
of one of which shone the white walls of a French military hospital,
contrasting prettily with the deep-green foliage of the shade-trees around
it. It was surrounded by low walls, on which were mounted some small guns
_en barbette_. Hither are sent all the sick sailors, and soldiers from

_August 17th._--Morning clear, and beautiful, as usual, in this delightful
climate, with a fresh breeze from the south-east. We are now in latitude
6° north, and still the south-east trade-wind is following us--the calm
belt having been pushed farther and farther to the northward. We are
running along in ten fathoms of water, at an average distance of seven, or
eight miles, from the land, with the soundings surprisingly regular.
Passed the mouth of the small river Maroni, at noon. At four P. M., ran
across a bank, in very muddy water, some fifteen miles to the northward
and eastward, of the entrance of this river, with only three fathoms of
water on it; rather close shaving on a strange coast, having but six feet
of water under our keel. Becoming a little nervous, we "hauled out," and
soon deepened into five fathoms. There is little danger of shipwreck, on
this coast, however, owing to the regularity of the soundings, and the
almost perpetual smoothness of the sea. The bars off the mouths of the
rivers, too, are, for the most part, of mud, where a ship _sticks_, rather
than _thumps_. Hence, the temerity with which we ran into shallow waters.

_Sunday, August 18th._--The south-east wind came to us, as softly, and
almost as sweetly, this morning, as if it were "breathing o'er a bed of
violets;" but it freshened as the day advanced, in obedience to the
mandate of its master, the sun, and we had a fresh breeze, toward
nightfall. After passing Post Orange, we ran over another three-fathom
bank, the water deepening beyond, and enabling us to haul in toward the
coast, as we approached Bram's Point, at the mouth of the Surinam River,
off which we anchored, (near the buoy on the bar,) at twenty minutes past
five P. M., in four fathoms of water. This being Sunday, as we were
running along the coast, we had mustered and inspected the crew, and
caused the clerk to read the articles "for the better government of the
Navy" to them--the same old articles, though not read under the same old
flag, as formerly. This was my invariable practice on the Sabbath. It
broke in, pleasantly, and agreeably, upon the routine duties of the week,
pretty much as church-going does, on shore, and had a capital effect,
besides, upon discipline, reminding the sailor of his responsibility to
the laws, and that there were such merciless tribunals, as Courts-Martial,
for their enforcement. The very shaving, and washing, and dressing, of a
Sunday morning, contributed to the sailor's self-respect. The "muster"
gratified, too, one of his passions, as it gave him the opportunity of
displaying all those anchors, and stars, which he had so industriously
embroidered, in floss silk, on his ample shirt-collar, and on the sleeve
of his jacket. We had some dandies on board the _Sumter_, and it was
amusing to witness the self-complacent air, with which these gentlemen
would move around the capstan, with the blackest, and most carefully
polished of pumps, and the whitest, and finest of sinnott hats, from which
would be streaming yards enough of ribbon, to make the ship a pennant.

I had had considerable difficulty in identifying the mouth of the Surinam
River, so low and uniform in appearance was the coast, as seen from the
distance at which we had been compelled to run along it, by the
shallowness of the water. There is great similarity between these shelving
banks, running off to a great distance, at sea, and the banks on the coast
of West Florida. The rule of soundings, on some parts of the latter coast,
is a foot to the mile, so that, when the navigator is in ten feet of
water, he is ten miles from the land. This is not quite the case, on the
coast of Guiana, but on some parts of it, a large ship can scarcely come
within sight of the land. A small craft, drawing but a few feet of water,
has no need of making a harbor, on either coast, for the whole coast is a
harbor--the sea, in bad weather, breaking in from three to five fathoms of
water, miles outside of her, leaving all smooth and calm within. There is
a difference, however, between the two coasts--the Florida coast is
scourged by the hurricane, whilst the Guiana coast is entirely free from

Soon after we came to anchor, as related, we descried a steamer in the
west, steering for the mouth of the river. Nothing was more likely than
that, by this time, the enemy should have sent some of his fast gun-boats
in pursuit of us, and the smoke of a steamer on the horizon, therefore,
caused me some uneasiness. I knew that I had not a chivalrous enemy to
deal with, who would be likely to give me a fair fight. The captures made
by the _Sumter_ had not only touched the Yankee in a very tender spot--his
pocket--they had administered, also, a well-merited rebuke to his
ridiculous self-conceit. It was monstrous, indeed, in his estimation, that
any one should have the audacity, in the face of Mr. Lincoln's
proclamation of prompt vengeance, to molest one of his ships. A malignant
press, from Maine to Maryland, had denounced the _Sumter_ as a pirate, and
no quarter was to be shown her. The steamer, now approaching, having been
descried, at a great distance, by the curling of her black smoke high into
the still air, night set in before she was near enough to be made out. We
could see her form indistinctly, in the darkness, but no certain
conclusion could be arrived at as to her size or nationality. I, at once,
caused my fires to be lighted, and, beating to quarters, prepared my ship
for action. We stood at our guns for some time, but seeing, about ten P.
M., that the strange steamer came to anchor, some three or four miles
outside of us, I permitted the men to leave their quarters, cautioning the
officer of the watch, however, to keep a bright lookout, during the night,
for the approach of boats, and to call me if there should be any cause for
alarm. As I turned in, I thought things looked a little squally. If the
strange vessel were a mail-steamer, she would, of course, be familiar with
the waters in which she plied, and, instead of anchoring outside, would
have run boldly into the river without waiting for daylight. Besides, she
had no lights about her, as she approached, and packet steamers always go
well lighted up. That she was a steamer of war, therefore, appeared quite
certain; but, of course, it was of no use to speculate upon the chances of
her being an enemy; daylight only could reveal that. In the meantime, the
best thing we could do would be to get a good night's rest, so as to rise
refreshed for the morning's work, if work there should be.

At daylight, all hands were again summoned to their quarters; and pretty
soon the strange steamer was observed to be under way, and standing toward
us. We got up our own anchor in a trice--the men running around the
capstan in "double-quick,"--and putting the ship under steam, started to
meet her. Neither of us had, as yet, any colors hoisted. We soon perceived
that the stranger was no heavier than ourselves. This greatly encouraged
me, and I could see a corresponding lighting up of the faces of my crew,
all standing silently at their guns. Desiring to make the stranger reveal
her nationality to me first, I now hoisted the French colors--a fine new
flag, that I had had made in New Orleans. To my astonishment, and no
little perplexity, up went the same colors, on board the stranger! I was
alongside of a French ship of war, pretending to be a Frenchman myself! Of
course, there was but one thing to be done, and that was, to haul down the
French flag and hoist my own, which was done in an instant, when we
mutually hailed. A colloquy ensued, when the names of the two ships were
interchanged, and we ascertained that the stranger was bound into the
Surinam, like ourselves. We now both ran in for the light-ship, and the
Frenchman receiving a pilot on board from her, I permitted him to take the
lead, and we followed him up the long and narrow channel, having sometimes
scarcely a foot of water to spare under our keel.

After we had passed inside of Bram's Point, the tide being out, both ships
anchored to wait for the returning flood. I took advantage of the
opportunity, and sent a lieutenant to visit the French ship. The
_Vulture_, for such was her name, was one of the old-fashioned, side-wheel
steamers, mounting only carronades, and was last from Martinique, with
convicts on board, for Cayenne. Running short of coal, she was putting
into Paramaribo, for a supply. Getting under way again, soon after
mid-day, we continued our course up the river. We were much reminded, by
the scenery of the Surinam, of that of some of our Southern rivers--the
Mississippi, for instance, after the voyager from the Gulf has left the
marshes behind him, and is approaching New Orleans. The bottom lands, near
the river, are cleared, and occupied by sugar, and other plantations, the
back-ground of the picture presenting a dense, and unbroken forest. As we
passed the well-known sugar-house, with its tall chimney, emitting volumes
of black smoke, and saw gangs of slaves, cutting, and hauling in the cane,
the illusion was quite perfect. Nothing can exceed the fertility of these
alluvial lands. They are absolutely inexhaustible, yielding crop after
crop, in continual succession, without rest or interval; there being no
frosts to interfere with vegetation, in this genial climate. Some of the
planters' dwellings were tasteful, and even elegant, surrounded by
galleries whose green Venetian blinds gave promise of coolness within, and
sheltered besides by the umbrageous arms of giant forest-trees. Cattle
wandered over the pasture lands, the negroes were well clothed, and there
was a general air of abundance, and contentment. Slavery is held by a very
precarious tenure, here, and will doubtless soon disappear, there being a
strong party, in Holland, in favor of its abolition. Our consort, the
_Vulture_, and ourselves anchored almost at the same moment, off the town
of Paramaribo, in the middle of the afternoon. There were two, or three
American brigantines in the harbor, and a couple of Dutch ships of war. I
sent a lieutenant to call on the Governor, and to request permission to
coal, and refit; both of which requests were granted, with the usual
conditions, viz.: that I should not increase my crew or armament, or
receive ammunition on board. The Captain of the _Vulture_ now came on
board, to return the visit I had made him, through my lieutenant, and the
commanding Dutch naval officer also called. But, what was more important,
several coal merchants came off to negotiate with my paymaster, about
supplying the ship with the very necessary article in which they dealt.
The successful bidder for our contract was a "_gentleman of color_," that
is to say, a quadroon, who talked freely about whites, and blacks, always
putting himself, of course, in the former category, by the use of the
pronoun "we," and seemed to have no sort of objection to our flag, or the
cause it was supposed to represent. I wined this "gentleman," along with
my other visitors, and though I paid him a remunerative price for his
coal, I am under many obligations to him, for his kindness, and assistance
to us, during our stay. I take great pleasure in contrasting the conduct
and bearing of this person, with those of the Federal Consul, at
Paramaribo. This latter gentleman was a Connecticut man, who had probably
worn white cravats, and delivered quarter-dollar lectures, in his native
village, against slavery, as a means of obtaining an "honest living."
Coming to Paramaribo, he had married a mulatto wife, and through her,
become a slave-holder. This virtuous representative of "great moral
ideas," at once threw himself into the breach, between the _Sumter_, and
the coal-market, and did all he could to prevent her from coaling. He was
one of Mr. Seward's men, and taking up the refrain about "piracy," went
first to the Governor, to see what could be effected, in that quarter.
Being told that Holland had followed the lead of the great powers, and
recognized the Confederates as belligerents, he next went to our quadroon
contractor, and endeavored to bluff him off, by threatening him with the
loss of any Yankee trade, that he might possess. Being equally
unsuccessful here, he next tried to seduce the lightermen, to prevent them
from delivering the coal to us. All would not do, however, the _Sumter_,
or what is more likely, the _Sumter's_ gold--that talisman that works so
many miracles in this virtuous world of ours--was too strong for him, and,
pretty soon, the black diamonds--the most precious of jewels to men in our
condition--came tumbling into our coal-bunkers. Failing to prevent us from
coaling, the little Connecticut official next tampered with the pilot, and
endeavored to prevail on him, to refuse to take us to sea. But the pilot
was a sailor, with all the generous instincts that belong to his class,
and he not only refused to be seduced, but presented me with some local
charts of the coast, which I found very useful.

The Consul had his triumph at last, however. When I was fitting out the
_Sumter_ in New Orleans, a friend, and relative resident in that city, had
kindly permitted me to take with me, as my steward, a valuable slave of
his who had been brought up as a dining-room servant. Ned was as black as
the ace of spades, and being a good-tempered, docile lad, had become my
right-hand man, taking the best of care of my cabin, and keeping my table
supplied with all the delicacies of the different markets, to which we had
had access. He was as happy as the days were long, a great favorite with
the crew, and when there was any fun going on, on the forecastle, he was
sure to be in the midst of it. But the tempter came along. The Connecticut
miscegenist (and slave-holder, at the same time) had seen Ned's shining
and happy face going to market, of mornings, and, like the serpent of old,
whispered in his ear. One morning Ned was missing, but the market-basket
came off, piled up as usual with luxuries for dinner. The lad had been
bred in an honest household, and though his poor brain had been
bewildered, he was still above theft. His market-basket fully balanced his
account. Poor Ned! his after-fate was a sad one. He was taken to the
country, by his Mephistophiles, and set at work, with the slaves of that
pious Puritan, on a small plantation that belonged to his negro wife.
Ned's head was rather too woolly, to enable him to understand much about
the abstractions of freedom and slavery, but he had sense enough to see,
ere long, that he had been beguiled, and cheated, by the smooth Yankee;
and when, in course of time, he saw himself reduced to yam diet, and
ragged clothing, he began, like the prodigal child, to remember the
abundance of his master's house, and to long to return to it. Accordingly,
he was missing, again, one fine morning, and was heard of no more in
Paramaribo. He had embarked on board a vessel bound to Europe, and next
turned up in Southampton. The poor negro had wandered off at a hazard in
quest of the _Sumter_, but hearing nothing of her, and learning that the
Confederate States steamer _Nashville_, Commander Pegram, was at
Southampton, he made his way on board of that ship, and told his tale to
the officers. He afterward found his way to the United States, and died
miserably, of cholera, in some of the negro suburbs of Washington City.

_August 23d._--Weather clear, during the day, but we had some heavy
showers of rain, with thunder, and lightning during the night. We are
receiving coal rather slowly--a small lighter-load at a time. We are
making some changes in the internal arrangements of the ship. Finding, by
experience, that we have more tank-room, for water, than is requisite, we
are landing a couple of our larger tanks, and extending the bulkheads of
the coal-bunkers. By this means, we shall be enabled to increase our
coal-carrying capacity by at least a third, carrying twelve days of fuel,
instead of eight. Still the _Sumter_ remains fundamentally defective, as a
cruiser, in her inability to lift her screw.

_August 24th._--Weather clear, and pleasant, with some passing clouds, and
light showers of rain. The Dutch mail-steamer, from Demerara, arrived,
to-day. We are looking anxiously for news from home, as, at last
accounts--July 20th from New York--a battle near Manassas Junction, seemed
imminent. Demerara papers of the 19th of August contain nothing, except
that some skirmishing had taken place, between the two armies. The French
steamer-of-war _Abeille_ arrived, and anchored near us.

_Sunday, August 25th._--Morning cloudy. At half-past eight I went on
shore to church. The good old Mother has her churches, and clergymen, even
in this remote Dutch colony. The music of her choirs is like the
"drum-beat" of England; it encircles the earth, with its never-ending
melody. As the sun, "keeping company with the hours," lights up, with his
newly risen beams, one degree of longitude after another, he awakens the
priest to the performance of the never-ending mass. The church was a neat,
well-arranged wooden building, of large dimensions, and filled to
overflowing with devout worshippers. All the shades of color, from "snowy
white to sooty" were there, and there did not seem to be any order in the
seating of the congregation, the shades being promiscuously mixed. The
preacher was fluent, and earnest in action, but his sermon, which seemed
to impress the congregation, being in that beautiful and harmonious
language, which we call "low Dutch," was entirely unintelligible to me.
The Latin mass, and ceremonies--which are the same all over the
world--were, of course, quite familiar, and awoke many tender
reminiscences. I had heard, and seen them, in my own country, under the
domes of grand cathedrals, and in the quiet retreat of the country house,
where the good wife herself had improvised the altar. A detachment of the
Government troops was present.

Some Dutch naval lieutenants visited the ship to-day. We learn, by late
papers from Barbadoes, politely brought us by these gentlemen, that the
enemy's steamer, _Keystone State_, was in that island, in search of us, on
the 21st of July. She probably heard, there, of my intention to go back to
cruise off the island of Cuba, which, as the reader has seen, I
_confidentially_ communicated to my friends at Curaçoa, and has turned
back herself. If she were on the right track she should be here before
this. There was great commotion, too, as we learn by these papers, at Key
West, on the 8th of July, when the news reached there of our being at
Cienfuegos. Consul Shufeldt, at Havana, had been prompt, as I had
foreseen. We entered Cienfuegos on the 6th, and on the 8th, he had two
heavy and fast steamers, the _Niagara_ and the _Crusader_, in pursuit of
us. They, too, seem to have lost the trail.

_August 28th._--Bright, elastic morning, with a gentle breeze from the
south-east. There was a grand fandango, on shore, last night, at which
some of my officers were present. The fun grew "fast and furious," as the
night waned, and what with the popping of champagne-corks, and the
flashing of the bright eyes of the waltzers, as they were whirled in the
giddy dance, my young fellows have come off looking a little red about the
eyes, and inclined to be poetical.

Rumors have been rife, for some days past, of a Confederate victory at
Manassas. There seems now to be no longer any doubt about the fact.
Private letters have been received, from Demerara, which state that the
enemy was not only beaten, but shamefully routed, flying in confusion and
dismay from the battle-field, and seeking refuge, pell-mell, in the
Federal capital. With the exception of the Federal Consul, and Yankee
skippers in the port, and a small knot of shop-keepers, interested in the
American trade, all countenances are beaming with joy at this
intelligence. This splendid victory was won by General Beauregard.
McDowell was the commander of the enemy's forces, assisted, as it would
seem, by the poor old superannuated Winfield Scott--this renegade soldier
lending his now feeble intellect to the Northern Vandal, to assist in
stabbing to the heart his mother State--Virginia! Alas! what an ignoble
end of a once proud and honored soldier.

_August 29th._--We have, at length, finished coaling, after a tedious
delay of ten days. A rumor prevailed in the town, yesterday, that there
were two enemy's ships of war off the bar--keeping themselves cunningly
out of sight, to waylay the _Sumter_. The rumor comes with circumstance,
for it is said that the fisherman, who brought the news, supplied one of
the ships with fish, and said that the other ship was getting water on
board from one of the coast plantations. To-day, the rumor dwindles; but
one ship, it seems, has been seen, and she a merchant ship. The story is
probably like that of the three white crows.

_August 30th._--The pilot having come on board, we got under way, at two
P. M., and steamed down to the mouth of the river, where we came to anchor.
A ship, going to sea, is like a woman going on a journey--many last things
remaining to be attended to, at the moment of departure. I have always
found it best, to shove off shore-boats, expel all visitors, "drop down"
out of the influences of the port, and send an officer or two back, to
arrange these last things. A boat was now accordingly dispatched back to
the town, for this purpose, and as she would not return until late in the
night, inviting the surgeon and paymaster, and my clerk to accompany me, I
pulled on shore, in my gig, to make a visit to an adjoining sugar
plantation, that lay close by, tempting us to a stroll under its fine
avenues of cocoanut and acacia trees. We were received very hospitably at
the planter's mansion, where we found some agreeable ladies, and with whom
we stayed late enough, to take tea, at their pressing solicitation. It was
a Hollandese household, but all the inmates spoke excellent English.
Whilst tea was being prepared, we wandered over the premises, the
sugar-house included, where we witnessed all the processes of sugar
making, from the expression of the juice from the cane, to the
crystallization of the syrup. There were crowds of negroes on the place,
old and young, male and female--some at work, and some at play; the
players being rather the more numerous of the two classes. The grounds
around the dwelling were tastefully laid out, in serpentine walks, winding
through a wilderness of rare tropical shrubbery, redolent of the most
exquisite of perfumes. True to the Dutch instinct for the water, the
river, or rather the bay, for the river has now disembogued into an arm of
the sea, washed the very walls of the flower-garden, and the plash, or
rather the monotonous fretting of the tiny waves, at their base, formed no
unmusical accompaniment to the hum of conversation, as the evening wore
away. Among other plants, we noticed the giant maguey, and a great variety
of the cactus, that favorite child of the sun. Our visit being over, we
took a warm leave of our hospitable entertainers, and pulled on board the
_Sumter_, by moonlight, deeply impressed, and softened as well by the
harmonies of nature, and feeling as little like "pirates," as possible.

The next morning, having run up our boats, and taken a final leave of the
waters of the Surinam, we steamed out to sea, crossing the bar about
meridian; the weather being fine, and the wind fresh from the north-east.
Having given it out that we were bound to Barbadoes, to look for the
_Keystone State_, we stood north, until we had run the land out of sight,
to give color to this idea, when we changed our course to E., half S. We
ran along, for the next two or three days, on soundings, with a view to
break the force of the current, doubling Cape Orange, on the 2d of
September, and hauling more to the southward, with the trending of the
coast. On the next day, we had regained the position from which we had
been compelled to bear up, and my journal remarks:--"We have thus lost
three days and a half of steaming, or about fifty tons of coal, but what
is worse, we have lost twenty-three days of valuable time,--but this time
can scarcely be said to have been wholly lost, either, since the display
of the flag of our young republic, in Cayenne and Paramaribo, has had a
most excellent effect."

_Sept. 4th._--Weather fine, with a fresh breeze, from about E. by S.
During most of the day, we have carried fore and aft sails, and have made
an excellent run, for a dull ship--175 miles. We have experienced no
current. We passed the mouths of the great Amazon, to-day, bearing on its
bosom the waters of a continent. We were running along in the deepest and
bluest of sea-water, whilst at no great distance from us, we could plainly
perceive, through our telescopes, the turbid waters of the great stream,
mixing and mingling, by slow degrees, with the ocean. Numerous tide rips
marked the uncongenial meeting of the waters, and the sea gull and penguin
were busy diving in them, as though this neutral ground, or rather I
should say, battle-ground, was a favorite resort for the small fish, on
which they prey. A drift log with sedate water-fowl seated upon it, would
now and then come along, and schools of porpoises were disporting
themselves, now in the blue, now in the muddy waters. Unlike the mouths of
the Mississippi, there were no white sails of commerce dotting the waters,
in the offing, and no giant tow-boats throwing their volumes of black
smoke into the air, and, with their huge side-wheels, beating time to the
pulsations of the steam-engine. All was nature. The giant stream ran
through a wilderness, scarcely yet opened to civilization. It disembogues
a little south of the equator, and runs from west to east, nearly entirely
across the continent.

We crossed the equator in the _Sumter_, on the meridian of 46° 40', and
sounded in twenty fathoms of water, bringing up from the bottom of the
sea, for the first time, some of the sand, and shells of the Southern
Hemisphere. We hoisted the Confederate flag, though there were no eyes to
look upon it outside of our ship, to vindicate, symbolically, our right to
enter this new domain of Neptune, in spite of Abraham Lincoln, and the
Federal gun-boats.

_September 5th._--Wind fresh from E. S. E. Doubled Cape _Garupi_, during
the early morning, and sounded, at meridian, in eight fathoms of water,
_without any land in sight_, though the day was clear. Hauled out from the
coast a little. At half-past three, P. M., made the island of _San Joao_,
for which we had been running, a little on the starboard bow. We now
hauled in close with this island, and running along its white sand beach,
which reminded us much of the Florida coast, about Pensacola, we doubled
its north-eastern end, in six, and seven fathoms of water. Night now set
in, and, shaping our course S. E. by S., we ran into some very broken
ground--the soundings frequently changing, in a single cast of the lead,
from seven to four fathoms. Four fathoms being rather uncomfortably shoal,
on an open coast, we again hauled out, until we deepened our water to
eight fathoms, in which we ran along, still in very equal soundings, until
we made the light on Mount _Itacolomi_, nearly ahead. In half an hour
afterward, we anchored in six and a half fathoms of water, to wait for

When I afterward told some Brazilian officers, who came on board, to visit
me, in Maranham, of this eventful night's run, they held up their hands in
astonishment, telling me that the chances were a hundred to one, that I
had been wrecked, for, many parts of the broken ground over which I had
run, were _almost dry_, at low water. Their steamers never attempt it,
they said, with the best pilots on board. It is a pity this coast is not
better surveyed, for the charts by which I was running, represented it
free from danger. The Brazilian is a coral coast, and, as before remarked,
all coral coasts are dangerous. The inequality of soundings was due to the
greater industry of the little stone-mason, of which we read some pages
back, in some spots than in others. This little worker of the sea will
sometimes pierce a ship's bottom, with a cone, which it has brought near
the surface, from surrounding deep waters. As it is constantly at work,
the bottom of the sea is constantly changing, and hence, on coral coasts,
surveying steamers should be almost always at work. Having anchored in the
open sea, and the sea being a little rough, we found, when we came to
heave up our anchor, the next morning, that we brought up only the ring,
and a small piece of the shank. It had probably been caught in the rocky
bottom, and broken by the force of the windlass, aided by the pitching of
the ship.

There was, much to my regret, no pilot-boat in sight. The entrance to
Maranham is quite difficult, but difficult as it was, I was forced to
attempt it. We rounded safely, the shoals of Mount Itacolomi, and passed
the middle ground of the Meio, and I was already congratulating myself
that the danger was past, when the ship ran plump upon a sand-bank, and
stopped! She went on, at full speed, and the shock, to those standing on
deck, was almost sufficient to throw them off their feet. We had a skilful
leadsman in the chains, and at his last cast, he had found no bottom, with
eight fathoms of line--all that the speed of the ship would allow him to
sink. Here was a catastrophe! Were the bones of the _Sumter_ to be laid to
rest, on the coast of Brazil, and her Commander, and crew to return to the
Confederate States, and report to the Government, that they had lost its
only ship of war! This idea flashed through my mind for an instant, but
only for an instant, for the work of the moment pressed. The engineer on
duty had stopped his engine, without waiting for orders, as soon as he
felt the ship strike, and I now ordered it reversed. In a moment more the
screw was revolving in the opposite direction, and the strong tide, which
was running out, catching the ship, on the port bow, at the same time, she
swung round to starboard, and slid off the almost perpendicular edge of
the bank into deep water, pretty much as a turtle will drop off a log. The
first thing I did was to draw a long breath, and the second was to put on
an air of indifference, as if nothing had happened, and tell the officer
of the deck, in the coolest manner possible, to "let her go ahead." We now
proceeded more cautiously, under low steam, giving the leadsman plenty of
time to get his soundings, accurately. These soon proving very irregular,
and there being some fishermen on the coast, half a mile distant, throwing
up their arms, and gesticulating to us, as though to warn us of danger, we
anchored, and sending a boat on shore, brought one of them off, who
volunteered to pilot us up to the town. Upon sounding the pumps, we found
that the ship had suffered no damage from the concussion. We anchored in
the port of Maranham, in three or four hours afterward, and the
Confederate States flag waved in the Empire of Brazil. The Port Admiral
sent a lieutenant to call on us, soon after anchoring, and I dispatched
one of my own lieutenants, to call on the Governor; returning the
Admiral's visit, myself, in the course of the afternoon, at his place of
business on shore.



The day after our arrival in Maranham, was a day of feasting and rejoicing
by the townspeople--all business being suspended. It was the 7th of
September, the anniversary of the day on which Brazil had severed her
political connection with Portugal--in other words, it was her
Independence-day. The forts and ships of war fired salutes, and the latter
were gayly draped in flags and signals, presenting a very pretty
appearance. It is customary, on such occasions, for the ships of war of
other nations, in the port, to participate in the ceremonies and
merry-making. We abstained from all participation, on board the _Sumter_,
our flag being, as yet, unrecognized, for the purposes of form and
ceremony. In the evening, a grand ball was given, at the Government House,
by the President of the Province, to which all the world, except the
_Sumter_, was invited--the etiquette of nations, before referred to,
requiring that she should be ruled out. The only feeling excited in us, by
this official slight, was one of contempt for the silliness of the
proceeding--a contempt heightened by the reflection that we were a race of
Anglo-Saxons, proud of our lineage, and proud of our strength, frowned
upon by a set of half-breeds. The Government House being situated on the
river bank, near our anchorage, the lights of the brilliantly illuminated
halls and chambers, shone full upon our decks, and the music of the bands,
and even the confused hum of the voices of the merry-makers, and the
muffled shuffling of the dancers' feet, came to us, very distinctly, to a
late hour. The _Sumter_ lay dark, and motionless, and silent, amid this
scene of merriment; the only answer which she sent back to the revellers,
being the sonorous and startling cry, every half hour, of her marine
sentinels on post, of "All's well!"

Having suffered, somewhat, in health, from the fatigue and excitement of
the last few weeks, I removed on shore the next day, and took up my
quarters at the hotel _Porto_, kept by one of those nondescripts one
sometimes meets with in the larger South American cities, whose
nationality it is impossible to guess at, except that he belongs to the
Latin race. My landlord had followed the sea, among his thousand and one
occupations, spoke half a dozen languages, and was "running"--to use a
slang Americanism--a theatre and one or two fashionable restaurants, in
beautifully laid out pleasure-grounds in the suburbs, in addition to his
hotel. He drove a pair of fast horses, was on capital terms with all the
pretty women in the town, smashed champagne-bottles, right and left, and
smoked the best of Havana cigars. The reader will thus see, that being an
invalid, and requiring a little nursing, I had fallen into capital hands.
Whether it was that _Senhor Porto_--for he had given his own name to his
hotel--had chased and captured merchant-ships, in former days, himself, or
from some other motive, I could never tell, but he took quite a fancy to
me at once, and I rode with him daily, during my stay, behind his fast
ponies, and visited all the places of amusement, of which he was the
_padron_. The consequence was, that I visibly improved in health, and at
the end of the week which I spent with him, returned on board the
_Sumter_, quite set up again; in requital whereof, I have permitted the
gallant Captain to sit for his portrait in these pages.

My first duty, after being installed in my new apartments on shore, was,
of course, to call on the President of the Department--the town of
Maranham being the seat of government of the province of the same name.
The President declined to see me then, but appointed noon, the next day,
to receive me. Soon after I had returned to my hotel, _Senhor Porto_
entered my room, to inform me that Captain _Pinto_, of the Brazilian Navy,
the commanding naval officer on the station, accompanied by the Chief of
Police, had called to see me. "What does this mean?" said I, "the Chief of
Police, in our cities, is a very questionable sort of gentleman, and is
usually supposed to be on the scent of malefactors." "Oh! he is a very
respectable gentleman, I assure you," replied _Porto_, "and, as you see,
he has called with the Port Admiral, so that he is in good company, at
least. Indeed he is reputed to be the confidential friend of the
President." Thus reassured, and making a virtue of necessity, I desired
_Porto_, very complacently, to admit the visitors. The Port Admiral had
done me the honor to visit me, immediately upon my arrival, and I had
returned his visit, so that we were not strangers. He introduced the Chief
of Police to me, who proved to be, as _Porto_ had represented him, an
agreeable gentleman, holding military rank, and, after the two had been
seated, they opened their business to me. They had come, they said, on
behalf of the President, to present me with a copy of a paper, which had
been handed him, by the United States Consul, protesting against my being
permitted to coal, or receive any other supplies in the port of Maranham.
Oh ho! thought I, here is another of Mr. Seward's small fry turned up. I
read the paper, and found it full of ignorance and falsehoods--ignorance
of the most common principles of international law, and barefaced
misrepresentations with regard to my ship; the whole composed in such
execrable English, as to be highly creditable to Mr. Seward's Department.
I characterized the paper, as it deserved, and said to the gentlemen, that
as I had made an appointment to call on the President, on the morrow, I
would take that opportunity of replying to the slanderous document. The
conversation then turned on general topics, and my visitors soon after

As I rode out, that afternoon, with Porto, he said, "Never mind! I know
all that is going on, at the palace, and you will get all the coal, and
everything else you want." The pay of the Federal Consul at Maranham, was,
I believe, at the time I visited the town, about twelve hundred dollars,
per annum. As was to be expected, a small man filled the small place. He
was quite young, and with commendable Yankee thrift, was exercising, in
the consular dwelling, the occupation of a dentist; the "old flag" flying
over his files, false teeth, and spittoons. He probably wrote the
despatch, a copy of which had been handed me, in the intervals between
the entrance, and exit of his customers. It was not wonderful, therefore,
that this semi-diplomat, charged with the affairs of the Great Republic,
and with the decayed teeth of the young ladies of Maranham, at one and the
same time, should be a little confused, as to points of international law,
and the rules of Lindley Murray. That he should misrepresent me was both
natural, and Federal.

At the appointed hour, the next day, I called to see his Excellency, the
President, and being ushered, by an orderly in waiting, into a suite of
spacious, and elegantly furnished apartments, I found Captain Pinto, and
his Excellency, both prepared to receive me. We proceeded, at once, to
business. I exhibited to his Excellency the same little piece of brownish
paper, with Mr. Jefferson Davis's signature at the bottom of it, that I
had shown to Captain Hillyer of the _Cadmus_--unasked, however, as no
doubts had been raised as to the verity of the character of my ship. I
then read to his Excellency an extract or two from the letter of
instructions, which had been sent me by the Secretary of the Navy,
directing me to pay all proper respect to the territory, and property of
neutrals. I next read the proclamations of England and France,
acknowledging us to be in the possession of belligerent rights, and said
to his Excellency, that although I had not seen the proclamation of
Brazil, I presumed she had followed the lead of the European powers--to
which he assented. I then "rested my case," as the lawyers say, seeing, by
the expression of his Excellency's countenance, that every lick had told,
and that I had nothing now to fear. "But, what about coal being contraband
of war," said his Excellency, at this stage of the proceeding. "The United
States Consul, in the protest addressed to me, a copy of which I sent you,
yesterday, by Captain Pinto, and the Chief of Police, states that you had
not been permitted to coal, in any of the ports, which you have hitherto
visited." The reader will recollect, that, at the British Island of
Trinidad, the question of my being permitted to coal had been submitted to
the "law officers of the Crown." The newspaper, at that place, had
published a copy of the opinion of these officers, and also a copy of the
decision of the Governor, thereupon. Having brought a copy of this paper,
in my pocket, for the occasion, I now rejoined to his Excellency: "The
United States Consul has made you a false statement. I have coaled,
already, in the colonies of no less than three Powers--Spain, Holland, and
England"--and drawing from my pocket the newspaper, and handing it to him,
I continued, "and your Excellency will find, in this paper, the decision
of the English authorities, upon the point in question--that is to say,
that coal is not contraband of war, and may be supplied by neutrals to
belligerents." Captain Pinto, to whom his Excellency handed the paper,
read aloud the decision, putting it into very good Portuguese, as he went
along, and when he had finished the reading, his Excellency turned again
to me, and said: "I have no longer any doubts on the question. You can
have free access to the markets, and purchase whatsoever you may
desire--munitions of war alone excepted." I have been thus particular in
describing these proceedings to the reader, to show him with what
sleuth-hound perseverance I was followed up, by these small consuls, taken
from the political kennel in the Northern States, who never hesitated to
use the most unblushing falsehoods, if they thought these would serve
their purposes better than the truth. The official portion of my interview
with the President being ended, I ventured upon some general remarks with
regard to the unnatural, and wicked war which was being waged upon us, and
soon afterward took my leave.

In an hour after I had left the President's quarters, my paymaster had
contracted for a supply of coal, and lighters were being prepared to take
it on board. The sailors were now permitted to visit the shore, in
detachments, "on liberty," and the officers wandered about, in twos and
threes, wherever inclination prompted. We soon found that wherever we
moved, we were objects of much curiosity, the people frequently turning to
stare at us; but we were always treated with respect. Nothing was thought,
or talked of, during our stay, but the American war. The Provincial
Congress was in session, and several of its members boarded at the hotel
_Porto_. I found them intelligent, well-informed men. There were political
parties here, as elsewhere, of course; among others as might be expected,
in a slave-holding country, there was an abolition party, and this party
sympathized with the North. It was very small, however, for it was quite
evident, from the popular demonstrations, that the great mass of the
people were with us. This state of the public feeling not only rendered
our stay, very pleasant, but facilitated us in getting off our supplies.
Invitations to the houses of the citizens were frequent, and we had free
access to all the clubs, and other places of public resort.

I must not omit to mention here, a very agreeable fellow-countryman, whom
we met in Maranham--Mr. J. Wetson, from Texas. He had been several years
in Brazil. His profession was that of a steam-engineer, and mill-wright.
This worthy young mechanic, full of love, and enthusiasm for his section,
loaned the paymaster two thousand dollars, on a bill against the Secretary
of the Navy; and during the whole of our stay, his rooms were the
head-quarters of my younger officers, where he dispensed to them true
Southern hospitality. We were gratified to find him a great favorite with
the townspeople, and we took leave of him with regret.

Maranham lies in latitude 2° S. and we visited it, during the dry season;
the sun having carried the equatorial cloud-ring, which gives it rain,
farther north. We had perpetual sunshine, during our stay, but the heat
was tempered by the trade-wind, which blew sometimes half a gale, so that
we did not feel it oppressive. Toward night the sea-breeze would moderate,
and the most heavenly of bright skies, and most balmy of atmospheres would
envelop the landscape. At this witching hour, the beauties of Maranham
made their appearance, at the street-doors, and at open windows, and the
tinkle of the guitar and the gentle hum of conversation would be heard.
Later in the night, there would arise from different parts of the
town--somewhat removed from the haunts of the upper-tendom--the rumbling,
and jingling of the tambourine, and the merry notes of the violin, as the
national fandango was danced, with a vigor, and at the same time with a
poetry of motion unknown to colder climes. The wine flowed freely on these
occasions, and not unfrequently the red knife of the assassin found the
heart's blood of a rival in love; for there are other climes besides
those of which the poet sang, where

  "The rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle
  Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime."

The trade of Maranham is mostly monopolized by Portugal, France, and
Spain, though there is some little carried on with the United States--an
occasional ship from New York, or Boston, bringing a cargo of flour, cheap
but gaudy furniture, clocks, and domestic cottons, and other Yankee
staples, and notions. The shop-keepers are mostly French and Germans. An
excellent staple of cotton is produced in the province of Maranham.

On the 15th of September, the _Sumter_ was ready for sea, having been
refitted, and repainted, besides being coaled, and provisioned; and there
being, as usual, according to rumor, a couple of enemy's ships waiting for
her outside, we received a pilot on board, and getting up steam, took
leave of Maranham, carrying with us many kindly recollections of the
hospitality of the people. We swept the sea horizon, with our glasses, as
we approached the bar, but the enemy's cruisers were nowhere to be seen,
and at three P. M., we were again in blue water; our little craft rising,
and falling gently, to the undulations of the sea, as she ploughed her way
through it.

The question now was, in what direction should we steer? I was within
striking distance of the cruising-ground, for which I had set out--Cape
St. Roque; but we had been so long delayed, that we should reach it, if we
proceeded thither at all, at a most unpropitious season--the sailing, and
steaming qualities of the _Sumter_ considered. The trade-winds were
sweeping round the Cape, blowing half a gale, on the wings of which the
dullest ship would be able to run away from us, if we trusted to sail,
alone; and steam, in the present state of my exchequer, was out of the
question. I had paid $17.50 per ton for the coal I had taken in, at
Maranham, and but for the timely loan of Mr. Wetson, should have exhausted
my treasury entirely. The trade-winds would continue to blow, with equal
force, until some time in December; they would then moderate, and from
that time, onward, until March, we might expect more gentle weather. This,
then, was the only season, in which the _Sumter_ could operate off the
Cape, to advantage.

On the other hand, the calm belt of the equator lay before me--its
southern edge, at this season of the year, being in latitude of about 5°
N. All the homeward-bound trade of the enemy passed through this calm
belt, or used to pass through it before the war, at a well-known crossing.
At that crossing, there would be a calm sea, light, and variable winds,
and rain. In such weather, I could lie in wait for my prey, under sail,
and, if surprise, and stratagem did not effect my purpose, I could, when a
sail appeared, get up steam and chase and capture, without the expenditure
of much fuel. In this way, with the coal I had on board, I could prolong
my cruise, probably, for a couple of months. I did not hesitate long,
therefore, between the two schemes. I turned my ship's head to the
northward, and eastward, for the calm belt, and before sunset, we had run
the coast of Brazil out of sight.

We recrossed the equator, the next day. In five days more, the sun would
have reached the equator, when we should have had the grand spectacle, at
noon, of being able to sweep him, with our instruments, entirely around
the horizon, with his lower limb just touching it, at all points. We could
nearly do this, as it was, and so rapidly did he dip, at noon, that we
were obliged to watch him, with constant vigilance, to ascertain the
precise moment of twelve o'clock.

_September 17th._--The sea is of a deep, indigo blue, and we have a
bright, and exceedingly transparent atmosphere, with a fresh breeze from
the south-east. At half-past eleven A. M., we let the steam go down,
uncoupled the propeller, and put the ship under sail. Observed at noon, in
latitude 2° 19' N.; longitude, 41° 29'.

For the next few days, we encountered a remarkable easterly current--the
current, in this part of the ocean, being almost constantly to the
westward. This current--which we were now stemming, for we were sailing
toward the north-west--retarded us, as much as fifty miles, in a single
day! So remarkable did the phenomenon appear, that if I had noticed it,
for but a single day, I should have been inclined to think that I had made
some mistake in my observations, or that there was some error in my
instrument, but we noticed it, day after day, for four or five days.

Contemporaneously with this phenomenon, another, and even more wonderful
one appeared. This was a succession of tide-rips, so remarkable, that they
deserve special description.

The _Sumter_ lay nearly stationary, during the whole of these
phenomena--the easterly current setting her back, nearly as much as she
gained under sail. She was in the average latitude of 5° N., and average
longitude of 42° W. For the first three days, the rips appeared with
wonderful regularity--there being an interval of just twelve hours between
them. They approached us from the south, and travelled toward the north.
At first, only a line of foam would be seen, on the distant horizon,
approaching the ship very rapidly. As it came nearer, an almost
perpendicular wall of water, extending east and west, as far as the eye
could reach, would be seen, the top of the wall boiling and foaming, like
a breaker rolling over a rocky bottom. As the ridge approached nearer and
nearer, it assumed the form of a series of rough billows, jostling
against, and struggling with each other, producing a scene of the utmost
confusion, the noise resembling that of a distant cataract. Reaching the
ship, these billows would strike her with such force, as to send their
spray to the deck, and cause her to roll and pitch, as though she were
amid breakers. The phenomenon was, indeed, that of breakers, only the
cause was not apparent--there being no shoal water to account for it. The
_Sumter_ sometimes rolled so violently in these breakers, when broadside
to, that we were obliged to keep her off her course, several points, to
bring the sea on her quarter, and thus mitigate the effect. The belt of
rips would not be broad, and as it travelled very rapidly--fifteen or
twenty miles the hour--the ship would not be long within its influence. In
the course of three quarters of an hour, it would disappear, entirely, on
the distant northern horizon. So curious was the whole phenomenon, that
the sailors, as well as the officers, assembled, as if by common consent,
to witness it. "There come the tide rips!" some would exclaim, and, in a
moment there would be a demand for the telescopes, and a rush to the
ship's side, to witness the curious spectacle. These rips have frequently
been noticed by navigators, and discussed by philosophers, but, hitherto,
no satisfactory explanation has been given of them. They are like the
bores, at the mouths of great rivers; as at the mouth of the Amazon, in
the western hemisphere, and of the Ganges, in the eastern; great
breathings, or convulsions of the sea, the causes of which elude our
research. These bores sometimes come in, in great perpendicular walls,
sweeping everything before them, and causing immense destruction of life,
and property. I was, at first, inclined to attribute these tide rips to
the lunar influence, as they appeared twice in twenty-four hours, like the
tides, and each time near the passing of the meridian, by the moon; but,
in a few days, they varied their times of appearance, and came on quite
irregularly, sometimes with an interval of five or six hours, only. And
then the tidal wave, for it is evidently this, and not a current, should
be from east to west, if it were due to lunar influence; and we have seen
that it travelled from south to north. Nor could I connect it with the
easterly current that was prevailing--for it travelled at right angles to
the current, and not with, or against it. It was, evidently, due to some
pretty uniform law, as it always travelled in the same direction.

We reached the calm belt, on the 24th of September, for, on this day,
having lost the south-east trade, we had light and baffling winds from the
south-west, and rain-clouds began to muster overhead. On the next day, the
weather being in its normal condition of cloud, the welcome cry of "sail
ho!" came resounding from the mast-head, with a more prolonged, and
musical cadence than usual--the look-out, with the rest of the crew,
having become tired of the inactivity of the last few days. All was
bustle, immediately, about the decks; and in half an hour, with the sails
snugly furled, and the ship under steam, we were in hot pursuit. The
stranger was a brigantine, and was standing to the north-west, pursuing
the usual crossing of the calm belt, as best he might, in the light winds,
that were blowing, sometimes this way, sometimes that. We came up with him
quite rapidly, there being scarcely a ripple on the surface of the smooth
sea, to impede our progress, and when we had come sufficiently near to
enable him to make it out, distinctly, we showed him the enemy's flag. He
was evidently prepared with his own flag, for, in less than a minute, the
lazy breeze was toying and playing with it, and presently blew it out
sufficiently, to enable us to make out the well-known and welcome stars
and stripes. We hove him to, by "hail," and hauling down the false colors,
and hoisting our own, we sent a boat on board of him, and captured him. He
proved to be the _Joseph Parke_, of Boston, last from Pernambuco, and six
days out, _in ballast_. The _Parke_ had been unable to procure a return
cargo; the merchants of Pernambuco having heard of the arrival of the
_Sumter_, at Maranham, in rather uncomfortable proximity.

We transferred the crew of the captured vessel to the _Sumter_, replacing
it with a prize crew, and got on board from her such articles of
provisions, cordage, and sails as we required; but instead of burning her,
we transformed her, for the present, into a scout vessel, to assist us in
discovering other prizes. I sent Lieutenant Evans on board to command her,
and gave him a couple of midshipmen, as watch officers. The following was
his commission:--

     "SIR:--You will take charge of the prize-brig _Joseph Parke_, and
     cruise in company with this vessel, until further orders. During the
     day, you will keep from seven to eight miles, to the westward, and to
     windward, and keep a bright look-out, from your top-gallant yard, for
     sails--signalling to us, such as you may descry. Toward evening,
     every day, you will draw in toward this vessel, so as to be within
     three, or four miles of her, at dark; and, during the night you will
     keep close company with her, to guard against the possibility of
     separation. Should you, however, be separated from her, by any
     accident, you will make the best of your way to latitude 8° N., and
     longitude 45° W., where you will await her a reasonable time. Should
     you not join her again, you will make the best of your way to some
     port in the Confederate States."

In obedience to these instructions, the _Parke_ drew off to her station,
and letting our fires go down on board the _Sumter_, we put her under
sail, again. Long before night, the excitement of the chase and capture
had died away, and things had resumed their wonted course. The two ships
hovered about the "crossing," for several days, keeping a bright look-out,
but nothing more appeared; and on the 29th of September, the _Parke_
having been called alongside, by signal, her prize crew was taken out,
and the ship burned, after having been made a target, for a few hours, for
the practice of the crew. It was evidently no longer of any use to bother
ourselves about the crossing of the calm-belt, for, instead of falling in
with a constant stream of the enemy's ships, returning home, from
different parts of the world, we had been cruising in it, some ten days,
and had sighted but a single sail! We had kept ourselves between the
parallels of 2° 30' N., and 9° 30' N., and between the meridians of 41°
30' W., and 47° 30' W.; and if the reader have any curiosity on the
subject, by referring to the map, he will perceive, that the north-western
diagonal of the quadrilateral figure, formed by these parallels, and
meridians, is the direct course between Cape St. Roque, and New York. But
the wary sea-birds had, evidently, all taken the alarm, and winged their
way, home, by other routes. I was the more convinced of this, by an
intercepted letter which I captured in the letter-bag of the _Parke_,
which was written by the master of the ship, _Asteroid_, to his owner, and
which ran as follows:--

     "The _Asteroid_ arrived off this port [Pernambuco], last evening,
     seventy-five days from Baker's Island, and came to anchor in the
     outer roads, this morning. I found yours of August 9th, and noted the
     contents, which, I must say, have made me rather _blue_. I think you
     had better _insure_, even at the extra premium, as the _Asteroid_ is
     not a _clipper_, and will be a _bon_ prize for the Southerners. I
     shall sail this evening [September 16th, three days before the
     _Joseph Parke_] and take a _new_ route, for Hampton Roads."

The _Asteroid_ escaped us, as no doubt many more had done, by avoiding the
"beaten track," and taking a new road home; thus verifying, in a very
pointed manner, the old adage, that "the longest way round is the shortest
way home."

We now made sail for the West India Islands, designing, after a short
cruise among them, to run into the French island of Martinique, and coal.
We still kept along on the beaten track of homeward-bound ships, but with
little expectation of making any prizes, and for some days overhauled none
but neutral ships. Many of these had cargoes for the United States, but
not having the same motive to avoid me, that the enemy's ships had, they
were content to travel the usual highway. Although many of them had
enemy's property, on board, they were perfectly safe from
molestation--the Confederate States' Government having adopted, as the
reader has seen, in its Act declaring, that, by the conduct of the enemy,
a state of war existed, the liberal principle, that "Free ships make free

Among the neutrals overhauled by us, was an English brig called the
_Spartan_, from Rio Janeiro, for St. Thomas, in the West Indies. We had an
exciting chase after this fellow. We pursued him, under United States
colors, and as the wind was blowing fresh, and the chase was a
"stern-chase," it proved, as usual, to be a long one, although the
_Sumter_ was doing her best, under both steam and sail. John Bull
evidently mistook us for the Yankee we pretended to be, and seemed
determined to prevent us from overhauling him, if possible. His brig, as
we soon discovered, had light heels, and he made the best possible use of
them, by giving her every inch of canvas he could spread. Still, we gained
on him, and as we came sufficiently near, we gave him a blank cartridge,
to make him show his colors, and heave to. He showed his colors--the
English red--but refused to heave to. The unprofessional reader may be
informed, that when a merchant-ship is under full sail, and especially
when she is running before a fresh breeze, as the _Spartan_ was, it puts
her to no little inconvenience, to come to the wind. She has to take in
her sails, one by one, owing to her being short-handed, and "the clewing
up," and "hauling down" occupy some minutes. The captain of the Spartan
was loth to subject himself to this inconvenience, especially at the
command of the hated Yankee. Coming up a little nearer, we now fired a
shotted gun at him, taking care not to strike him, but throwing the shot
so near as to give him the benefit of its rather ominous music, as it
whistled past. As soon as the smoke from the gun, which obscured him for a
moment, rolled away before the breeze, we could see him starting his
"sheets," and "halliards," and pretty soon the saucy little _Spartan_
rounded to, with her main top-sail to the mast. The reader may be curious
to know, why I had been so persistent in heaving to a neutral. The answer
is, that I was not sure she was neutral. The jaunty little brig looked
rather more American, than English, in all but the flag that was flying
at her peak. She had not only the grace and beauty of hull that
characterize our American-built ships, but the long, tapering spars on
which American ship-masters especially pride themselves. She did, indeed,
prove to be American, in a certain sense, as we found her to hail from
Halifax, in Nova Scotia. The master of the _Spartan_ was in an ill-humor
when my boarding-officer jumped on board of him. It was difficult to
extract a civil answer from him. "What is the news?" said the
boarding-officer. "Capital news!" replied the master; "you Yankees are
getting whipped like h--ll; you beat the Derby boys at the Manassas
races." "But what's the news from Rio?" now inquired the supposed Yankee
boarding-officer. "Well, there's good news from that quarter too--all the
Yankee ships are laid up, for want of freights." "You are rather hard upon
us, my friend," now rejoined the boarding-officer; "why should you take
such an interest in the Confederate cause?" "Simply, because there is a
little man fighting against an overgrown bully, and I like pluck."

The _Spartan_ being bound to St. Thomas, and we ourselves intending to go,
soon, into the West Indies, it was highly important that we should
preserve our _incognito_, to which end, I had charged the
boarding-officer, to represent his ship as a Federal cruiser, in search of
the _Sumter_. The boarding-officer having done this, found the master of
the _Spartan_ complimentary to the last; for as he was stepping over the
brig's side, into his boat, the master said, "I hope you will find the
_Sumter_, but I rather think you will hunt for her, as the man did for the
tax-collector, hoping all the time he mightn't find him."

The weather now, again, became calm, and we had "cat's-paws" from all the
points of the compass. The breeze, with which we had chased the _Spartan_,
was a mere spasmodic effort of Nature, for we were still in the calm-belt,
or, as the sailors expressively call it, the "doldrums." For the next few
days, it rained almost incessantly, the heavily charged clouds sometimes
settling so low, as scarcely to sweep clear of our mast-heads. It did not
simply rain; the water fell in torrents, and the lightning flashed, and
the thunder rolled, with a magnificence and grandeur that were truly
wonderful to witness. In the intervals of these drenching rains, the
clouds, like so many half-wrung sponges, would lift themselves, and move
about with great rapidity, in every direction--now toward, and now from,
each other--convolving, in the most curious disorder, as though they were
so many huge, black serpents, writhing and twisting in the powerful grasp
of some invisible hand. Anon, a water-spout would appear upon the scene,
with its inverted cone, sometimes travelling rapidly, but more frequently
at rest. At times, so ominous, and threatening would be the aspect of the
heavens, with its armies of black clouds in battle-array, its forked
lightning, and crashing thunder, the perfect stillness of the atmosphere,
and the rapid flight of scared water-fowl, that a hurricane would seem
imminent, until we would cast our eyes upon the barometer, standing
unmoved, at near the marking of thirty inches, amid all the signs, and
portents around it. In half an hour, sometimes, all this paraphernalia of
clouds would break in twain, and retreat, in opposite directions, to the
horizon, and the sun would throw down a flood of golden light, and
scalding heat upon our decks; on which would be paddling about the
half-drowned sailors. The first lieutenant took advantage of these rains,
to fill, anew, his water-tanks, "tenting" his awnings, during the heaviest
of the showers, and catching more water than he needed; and the sailors
had another such jubilee of washing, as they had had, when we were running
along the Venezuelan coast.

_Sunday, September 29th._--Beautiful, clear morning, with a gentle breeze
from the south-east, and a smooth sea. At eleven A. M., mustered the crew,
and inspected the ship. Latitude, 6° 55' N.; longitude, 45° 08' W. Evening
set in, squally, and rainy. Running along to the north-west, under

_October 2d._--This morning, when I took my seat, at the breakfast-table,
I was surprised to find a very tempting-looking dish of fried fish set out
before me, and upon inquiring of my faithful steward, John, (a Malayan,
who had taken the place of Ned,) to what good fortune he was indebted, for
the prize, his little black eyes twinkled, as he said, "Him jump aboard,
last night!" Upon further inquiry, I found that it was a small sword-fish,
that had honored us with a visit; the active little creature having leaped
no less than fifteen feet, to reach the deck of the _Sumter_. It was lucky
that its keen spear did not come in contact with any of the crew during
the leap--a loss of life might have been the consequence. The full-grown
sword-fish has been known to pierce a ship's bottom, floor-timber and all,
with its most formidable weapon.

_October 4th._--Weather clear, and beautiful, with trade-clouds, white and
fleecy, and a light breeze from the eastward. The bosom of the gently
heaving sea is scarcely ruffled. Schools of fish are playing around us,
and the sailors have just hauled, on board, a large shark, which they have
caught with hook and line. The sailor has a great antipathy to the shark,
regarding him as his hereditary enemy. Accordingly, the monster receives
no mercy when he falls into Jack's hands. See how Jack is tormenting him
now! and how fiercely the monster is snapping, and grinding his teeth
together, and beating the deck with his powerful tail, as though he would
crush in the planks. He is tenacious of life, and will be a long time in
dying, and, during all this time, Jack will be cutting, and slashing him,
without mercy, with his long sheath-knife. The comparatively calm sea is
covered, in every direction, for miles, with a golden or straw-colored
dust. Whence comes it? We are four hundred miles from any land! It has,
doubtless, been dropped by the trade-winds, as they have been neutralized
over our heads, in this calm belt of the equator, and, in a future page,
we shall have further occasion to refer to it. We have observed, to-day,
in latitude 8°; the longitude being 46° 58'.

_October 11th._--Morning clear and calm, after a couple of days of
tempestuous weather, during which the barometer settled a little. Toward
noon it clouded up again, and there were squally appearances in the
south-east. The phenomenon of the tide-rips has reappeared. Malay John was
in luck, again, this morning, a covey of flying-fish having fallen on the
deck, last night, during the storm. He has served me a plate full of them
for breakfast. The largest of them are about the size of a half-grown
Potomac herring, and they are somewhat similar in taste--being a delicate,
but not highly flavored fish.

_October 14th._--At noon, to-day, we plotted precisely upon the diagonal
between St. Roque and New York; our latitude being 8° 31', and longitude
45° 56'. We now made more sail, and on the 17th of October we had reached
the latitude of 11° 37'. From this time, until the 22d, we had a constant
series of bad weather, the barometer settling to 29.80, and the wind
blowing half a gale, most of the time. Sometimes the wind would go all
around the compass, and the weather would change half a dozen times, in
twenty-four hours. On the last-mentioned day, the weather became again
settled, and being now in latitude 14°, we had passed out of the calm
belt, and began to receive the first breathings of the north-east

On the 24th, we chased and hove to a French brig, called _La Mouche
Noire_, from Nantes, bound for Martinique. She had been out forty-two
days, had no newspapers on board, and had no news to communicate. We
boarded her under the United States flag, and when the boarding-officer
apologized to the master for the trouble we had given him, in heaving him
to, in the exercise of our belligerent right of search, he said, with an
admirable _naiveté_, he had _heard_ the United States were at war, but he
did not recollect with whom! Admirable Frenchman! wonderful simplicity, to
care nothing about newspapers, and to know nothing about wars!

On the 25th, we overhauled that _rara avis in mare_, a Prussian ship. The
27th was Sunday; we had a gentle breeze from the north-east, with a smooth
sea, and were enjoying the fine morning, with our awnings spread, scarcely
expecting to be disturbed, when the cry of "Sail ho!" again rang from the
mast-head. We had been making preparations for Sunday muster; Jack having
already taken down from its hiding-place his Sunday hat, and adjusted its
ribbons, and now being in the act of "overhauling" his bag, for the
"mustering-shirt and trousers." All these preparations were at once
suspended, the firemen were ordered below, there was a passing to and fro
of engineers, and in a few minutes more the welcome black smoke came
pouring out of the _Sumter's_ chimney. Bounding away over the sea, we soon
began to raise the strange sail from the deck. She was a fore-and-aft
schooner of that peculiar model and rig already described as belonging to
the New Englander, and nobody else, and we felt certain, at once, that we
had flushed the enemy. The little craft was "close-hauled," or, may be,
she had the wind a point free, which was her best point of sailing, had
the whitest kind of cotton canvas, and carried very taunt gaff-topsails.
We found her exceedingly fast, and came up with her very slowly. The chase
commenced at nine A. M., and it was three P. M. before we were near enough
to heave her to with the accustomed blank cartridge. At the report of our
gun--the Confederate States flag being at our peak--the little craft,
which had probably been in an agony of apprehension, for some hours past,
saw that her fate was sealed, and without further ado, put her helm down,
lowered her foresail, hauled down her flying-jib, drew her jib-sheet over
to windward--and was hove to; the stars and stripes streaming out from her
main-topmast head. Upon being boarded, she proved to be the _Daniel
Trowbridge_, of New Haven, Connecticut, last from New York, and bound to
Demerara, in British Guiana.

This was a most opportune capture for us, for the little craft was laden
with an assorted cargo of provisions, and our own provisions had been
nearly exhausted. With true Yankee thrift, she had economized even the
available space on her deck, and had a number of sheep, geese, and pigs,
on board, for the Demerara market. Another sail being discovered, almost
at the moment of this capture, we hastily threw a prize crew on board the
_Trowbridge_, and directing her to follow us, sped off in pursuit of the
newly discovered sail. It was dark before we came up with this second
chase. She proved to be an English brigantine, from Nova Scotia, for
Demerara. We now stood back to rejoin our prize, and banking our fires,
and hoisting a light at the peak, the better to enable the prize to keep
sight of us, during the night, we lay to, until daylight. The next day,
and the day after, were busy days, on board the _Sumter_, for we devoted
both of them, to getting on board provisions, from the prize. The weather
proved propitious, the breeze being gentle, and the sea smooth. We hoisted
out the _Tallapoosa_--our launch--and employed her, and the
quarter-boats--the gig included, for war admits of little ceremony--in
transporting barrels, bales, boxes, and every other conceivable kind of
package, to the _Sumter_. The paymaster was in ecstasy, for, upon
examination, he found the _Trowbridge's_ cargo to be all that he could
desire--the beef, pork, canvased hams, ship-bread, fancy crackers, cheese,
flour, everything being of the very best quality. We were, indeed, under
many obligations to our Connecticut friends. To get at the cargo, we were
obliged to throw overboard many articles, that we had no use for, and
treated old Ocean to a gayly painted fleet of Connecticut woodenware,
buckets, foot-tubs, bath-tubs, wash-tubs, churns. We found the sheep,
pigs, and poultry in excellent condition; and sending the butcher on board
each evening, we caused those innocents to be slaughtered, in sufficient
numbers to supply all hands. Jack was in his glory. He had passed
suddenly, from mouldy and worm-eaten bread, and the toughest and leanest
of "old horse," to the enjoyment of all these luxuries. My Malayan
steward's eyes fairly danced, as he stowed away in the cabin lockers,
sundry cans of preserved meats, lobster, milk, and fruits. John was a real
artist, in his line, and knew the value of such things; and as he busied
himself, arranging his luxuries, on the different shelves, I could hear
him muttering to himself, "Dem Connecticut mans, bery good mans--me wish
we find him often." We laid in, from the _Trowbridge_, full five months'
provisions, and getting on board, from her, besides, as much of the live
stock, as we could manage to take care of, we delivered her to the flames,
on the morning of the 30th of October. On the same day, we chased, and
boarded the Danish brig, _Una_, from Copenhagen, bound to Santa Cruz.
Being sixty-six days out, she had no news to communicate. We showed her
the United States colors, and when she arrived, at Santa Cruz, she
reported that she had fallen in with a Federal cruiser. The brig
_Spartan_, which we boarded, a few pages back, made the same report, at
St. Thomas; so that the enemy's cruisers, that were in pursuit of us, had
not, as yet, the least idea that we had returned to the West Indies.

For the next few days, we chased and overhauled a number of ships, but
they were all neutral. The enemy's West India trade seemed to have
disappeared almost entirely. Many of his ships had been laid up, in alarm,
in his own ports, and a number of others had found it more to their
advantage, to enter the public service, as transports. The Federal
Government had already entered upon that career of corrupt, and reckless
expenditure which has resulted in the most gigantic national debt of
modern times. The entire value of a ship was often paid to her owners, for
a charter-party, of a few months only; the quartermasters, commissaries,
and other public swindlers frequently dividing the spoils, with the lucky
ship-owners. Many indifferent vessels were sold to the Federal Navy
Department, at double, and treble their value, and agencies to purchase
such ships were conferred, by the Secretary, upon relatives, and other
inexperienced favorites. The corruptions of the war, soon made the war
popular, with the great mass of the people. As has been remarked, in a
former page, many of these _nouveau-riche_ men, whose love of country, and
hatred of "rebels" boiled over, in proportion as their pockets became
filled, had offered to sell themselves, and all they possessed, to the
writer, when he was in the New England States, as a Confederate States
agent. Powder-mills, manufactories of arms and accoutrements, foundries
for the casting and boring of cannon, machines for rifling cannon--all
were put at his disposal, by patriotic Yankees, on the very eve of the
war--for a consideration.

_November 2d._--Morning, heavy clouds, with rain, breaking away partially,
toward noon, and giving us some fitful sunshine. Sail ho! at early dawn.
Got up steam, and chased, and at 7 A. M. came up with, and sent a boat on
board of the English brigantine, _Falcon_, from Halifax, for Barbadoes.
Banked fires. Latitude 16° 32'; longitude 56° 55'. Wore ship to the
northward, at meridian. Received some newspapers, by the _Falcon_, from
which we learn, that the enemy's cruiser _Keystone State_, which, when
last heard from, was at Barbadoes, had gone to Trinidad, in pursuit of us.
At Trinidad, she lost the trail, and, instead of pursuing us to
Paramaribo, and Maranham, turned back to the westward. We learn from the
same papers, that the enemy's steam-frigate, _Powhatan_, Lieutenant
Porter, with more sagacity, pursued us to Maranham, arriving just one week
after our departure. At a subsequent date, Lieutenant--now
Admiral--Porter's official report fell into my hands, and, plotting his
track, I found that, on one occasion, we had been within forty miles of
each other; almost near enough, on a still day, to see each other's

_November 3d._--Weather fine, with a smooth sea, and a light breeze from
the north-east. A sail being reported from the mast-head, we got up steam,
and chased, and upon coming near enough to make out the chase, found her
to be a large steamer. We approached her, very warily, of course, until it
was discovered that she was English, when we altered our course, and
banked fires. Our live-stock still gives us fresh provisions, and the
abundant supply of Irish potatoes, that we received on board, at the same
time, is beginning to have a very beneficial effect, upon the health of
the crew--some scorbutic symptoms having previously appeared.

_Nov. 5th._--Weather fine, with the wind light from the eastward, and a
smooth sea. At daylight, a sail was descried in the north-east, to which
we immediately gave chase. Coming up with her, about nine A. M., we sent a
boat on board of her. She proved to be the English brigantine, _Rothsay_,
from Berbice, on the coast of Guiana, bound for Liverpool. Whilst we had
been pursuing the _Rothsay_, a second sail had been reported. We now
pursued this second sail, and, coming up with her, found her to be a
French brigantine, called _Le Pauvre Orphelin_, from St. Pierre (in
France) bound for Martinique. We had scarcely turned away from the
_Orphelin_, before a third sail was announced. This latter sail was a
large ship, standing, close-hauled, to the N. N. W., and we chased her
rather reluctantly, as she led us away from our intended course. She, too,
proved to be neutral, being the _Plover_, from Barbadoes, for London. The
_Sumter_ being, by this time out of breath, and no more sails being
reported, we let the steam go down, and gave her a little rest. We
observed, to-day, in latitude 17° 10' N.; the longitude being 59° 06' W.
We had shown the United States colors to all these ships to preserve our
_incognito_, as long as possible. We found them all impatient, at being
"hove to," and no doubt many curses escaped, _sotto voce_, against the
d----d Yankee, as our boats shoved off, from their sides. We observed that
none of them saluted the venerable "old flag," which was flying at our
peak, whereas, whenever we had shown the Confederate flag to neutrals,
down went, at once, the neutral flag, in compliment--showing the estimate,
which generous seamen, the world over, put upon this ruthless war, which
the strong were waging against the weak.

The 6th of November passed without incident. On the 7th, we overhauled
three more neutral ships--the English schooner _Weymouth_, from Weymouth,
in Nova Scotia, for Martinique; an English barque, which we refrained from
boarding, as there was no mistaking her bluff English bows, and stump
top-gallant masts; and a French brig, called the _Fleur de Bois_, last
from Martinique, and bound for Bordeaux. In the afternoon of the same day,
we made the islands, first of Marie Galante, and then of Guadeloupe, and
the Saints. At ten P. M., we doubled the north end of the island of
Dominica, and, banking our fires, ran off some thirty or forty miles to
the south-west, to throw ourselves in the track of the enemy's vessels,
homeward bound from the Windward Islands. The next day, after overhauling
an English brigantine, from Demerara, for Yarmouth, we got up steam, and
ran for the island of Martinique approaching the town of St. Pierre near
enough, by eight P. M., to hear the evening gun-fire. A number of small
schooners and sail-boats were plying along the coast, and as night threw
her mantle over the scene, the twinkling lights of the town appeared, one
by one, until there was quite an illumination, relieved by the sombre
back-ground of the mountain. The _Sumter_, as was usual with her, when she
had no work in hand, lay off, and on, under sail, all night. The next
morning at daylight, we again got up steam, and drawing in with the coast,
ran along down it, near enough to enjoy its beautiful scenery, with its
waving palms, fields of sugar-cane, and picturesque country houses, until
we reached the quiet little town of Fort de France, where we anchored.



The _Sumter_ having sailed from Maranham, on the 15th of September, and
arrived at Martinique, on the 9th of November, had been nearly two months
at sea, during all of which time, she had been actively cruising in the
track of the enemy's commerce. She had overhauled a great many vessels,
but, for reasons already explained, most of these were neutral. But the
damage which she did the enemy's commerce, must not be estimated by the
amount of property actually destroyed. She had caused consternation, and
alarm among the enemy's ship-masters, and they were making, as we have
seen, long and circuitous voyages, to avoid her. Insurance had risen to a
high rate, and, for want of freights, the enemy's ships--such of them, at
least, as could not purchase those lucrative contracts from the
Government, of which I have spoken in a former page--were beginning to be
tied up, at his wharves, where they must rot, unless they could be sold,
at a sacrifice, to neutrals. As a consequence, the little _Sumter_ was
denounced, without stint, by the Yankee press. She was called a "pirate,"
and other hard names, and the most summary vengeance was denounced against
her commander, and all who served under him. Venal scribblers asserted all
kinds of falsehoods concerning him, and the elegant pages of "Journals of
Civilization" pandered to the taste of the "b'hoys," in the work-shops, by
publishing malicious caricatures of him. Even the Federal Government
denounced him, in grave state papers; Mr. Welles, the Federal Secretary
of the Navy, forgetting his international law, if he ever knew any, and
the courtesies, and proprieties of official speech, and taking up in his
"annual reports," the refrain of "pirate." This was all very natural,
however. Men will cry aloud, when they are in pain, and, on such
occasions, above all others, they will be very apt to use the language
that is most natural to them--be it gentle, or ungentle. Unfortunately for
the Great Republic, political power has descended so low, that the public
officer, however high his station, must, of necessity, be little better
than the b'hoy, from whom he receives his power of attorney. When mobs
rule, gentlemen must retire to private life. Accordingly, the Commander of
the _Sumter_, who had witnessed the _facile descensus_ of which he has
spoken, was not at all surprised, when he received a batch of late
Northern newspapers, at seeing himself called hard names--whether by the
mob or officials. Knowing his late fellow-citizens well, he knew that it
was of no use for them to

  "Strive to expel strong nature, 'tis in vain;
  With redoubled force, she will return again."

Immediately after anchoring, in Fort de France, I sent a lieutenant on
shore, to call on the Governor, report our arrival, and ask for the usual
hospitalities of the port,--these hospitalities being, as the reader is
aware, such as Goldsmith described as welcoming him at his inn, the more
cheerfully rendered, for being paid for. I directed my lieutenant to use
rather the language of demand--courteously, of course--than of petition,
for I had seen the French proclamation of neutrality, and knew that I was
entitled, under the orders of the Emperor, to the same treatment, that a
Federal cruiser might receive. I called, the next day, on the Governor
myself. I found him a very affable, and agreeable gentleman. He was a rear
admiral, in the French Navy, and bore the aristocratic name of Condé.
Having observed a large supply of excellent coal in the government
dock-yard, as I pulled in to the landing, I proposed to his Excellency
that he should supply me from that source, upon my paying cost, and
expenses. He declined doing this, but said that I might have free access
to the market, for this and other supplies. Mentioning that I had a
number of prisoners on board, he at once gave me permission to land them,
provided the United States Consul, who lived at St. Pierre, the commercial
metropolis of the island, would consent to become responsible for their
maintenance during their stay in the island. There being no difference of
opinion between the Governor and myself, as to our respective rights and
duties, our business-matters were soon arranged, and an agreeable chat of
half an hour ensued, on general topics, when I withdrew, much pleased with
my visit.

Returning on board the _Sumter_, I dispatched the paymaster to St.
Pierre--there was a small passenger-steamer plying between the two
ports--to contract for coal and some articles of clothing for the crew. Of
provisions we had plenty, as the reader has seen. Lieutenant Chapman
accompanied him, and I sent up, also, the masters of the two captured
ships, that were on board, that they might see their Consul and arrange
for their release.

The next day was Sunday, and I went on shore, with Mr. Guerin, a French
gentleman, who had been educated in the United States, and who had called
on board to see me, to the Governor's mass. In this burning climate the
church-hours are early, and we found ourselves comfortably seated in our
pews as early as eight o'clock. The building was spacious and well
ventilated. The Governor and his staff entered punctually at the hour, as
did, also, a detachment of troops--the latter taking their stations, in
double lines, in the main aisle. A military band gave us excellent sacred
music from the choir. The whole service was concluded in three-quarters of
an hour. The whites and blacks occupied pews promiscuously, as at
Paramaribo, though there was no social admixture of races visible. I mean
to say that the pews were mixed, though the people were not--each pew was
all white or all black; the mulattoes, and others of mixed blood, being
counted as blacks. I returned on board for "muster," which took place at
the usual hour of eleven o'clock. Already the ship was full of visitors,
and I was struck with the absorbed attention with which they witnessed the
calling of the names of the crew, and the reading of the articles of war
by the clerk. They were evidently not prepared for so interesting a
spectacle. The officers were all dressed in bright and new uniforms of
navy blue--we had not yet been put in gray along with the army--the
gorgeous epaulettes of the lieutenants flashing in the sun, and the
midshipmen rejoicing in their gold-embroidered anchors and stars. The men
attracted no less attention than the officers, with their lithe and active
forms and bronzed countenances, heavy, well-kept beards, and whitest of
duck frocks and trousers. One of my visitors, turning to me, after the
muster was over, said, pleasantly, in allusion to the denunciations of us
by the Yankee newspapers, which he had been reading, "_Ces hommes sont des
pirates bien polis, Monsieur Capitaine_."

In the afternoon, one watch of the crew was permitted to visit the shore,
on liberty. To each seaman was given a sovereign, for pocket-money. They
waked up the echoes of the quaint old town, drank dry all the grog-shops,
fagged out the fiddlers, with the constant music that was demanded of
them, and "turned up Jack" generally; coming off, the next morning,
looking rather solemn and seedy, and not quite so polis as when the
Frenchman had seen them the day before. The United States Consul having
come down from St. Pierre to receive his imprisoned countrymen, himself, I
caused them all--except three of them, who had signed articles for service
on board the _Sumter_--to be parolled and sent on shore to him. Before
landing them, I caused them to be mustered on the quarter-deck, and
questioned them, in person, as to the treatment they had received on
board--addressing myself, especially, to the two masters. They replied,
without exception, that they had been well treated, and thanked me for my
kindness. From the next batch of Northern newspapers I captured, I learned
that some of these fellows had been telling wonderful stories, about the
hardships they had endured on board the "pirate" _Sumter_. It will not be
very difficult for the reader, if he have any knowledge of the
sailor-character, to imagine how these falsehoods had been wheedled out of
them. The whole country of the enemy was on the _qui vive_ for excitement.
The Yankee was more greedy for news than the old Athenian. The war had
been a god-send for newspaperdom. The more extraordinary were the stories
that were told by the venal and corrupt newspapers, the more greedily were
they devoured by the craving and prurient multitude. The consequence was,
a race between the newspaper reporters after the sensational, without the
least regard to the truth. The moment a sailor landed, who had been a
prisoner on board the _Sumter_, he was surrounded by these vampires of the
press, who drank him and greenbacked him until parturition was
comparatively easy. The next morning, the cry of "NEWS FROM THE PIRATE
SUMTER" rang sharp and clear upon the streets, from the throats of the
newsboys, and Jack found himself a hero and in print! He had actually been
on board the "pirate," and escaped to tell the tale! More drinks, and more
greenbacks now followed from his admiring countrymen. Your old salt has an
eye to fun, as well as drinks, and when it was noised about, among the
sailors, that some cock-and-a-bull story or other, about the _Sumter_, was
as good as "fractional" for drinks, the thing ran like wildfire, and every
sailor who landed, thereafter, from that famous craft, made his way
straight to a newspaper office, in quest of a reporter, drinks, and
greenbacks. Such is the stuff out of which a good deal of the Yankee
histories of the late war will be made.

My paymaster, and lieutenant returned, in good time, from St. Pierre, and
reported that they had found an abundance of excellent coal, at reasonable
rates, in the market, but that the Collector of the Customs had
interposed, to prevent it from being sold to them. Knowing that this
officer had acted without authority, I addressed a note to the Governor,
reminding him of the conversation we had had the day before, and asking
him for the necessary order to overrule the action of his subordinate. My
messenger brought back with him the following reply:--

     FORT DE FRANCE, November 12, 1861.


     I have the honor 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. * * *

     With the expression of my highest regard for the Captain,


I remained a few days longer, at Fort de France, for the convenience of
watering ship, from the public reservoir, and to enable the rest of my
crew to have their run on shore. Unless Jack has his periodical frolic, he
is very apt to become moody, and discontented; and my sailors had now been
cooped up, in their ship, a couple of months. This giving of "liberty" to
them is a little troublesome, to be sure, as some of them will come off
drunk, and noisy, and others, overstaying their time, have to be hunted
up, in the grog-shops, and other sailor haunts, and brought off by force.
My men behaved tolerably well, on the present occasion. No complaint came
to me from the shore, though a good many "bills," for "nights' lodgings,"
and "drinks," followed them on board. Poor Jack! how strong upon him is
the thirst for drink! We had an illustration of this, whilst we were lying
at Fort de France. It was about nine P. M., and I was below in my cabin,
making preparations to retire. Presently, I heard a plunge into the water,
a hail, and almost simultaneously, a shot fired from one of the sentinels'
rifles. The boatswain's-mate's whistle now sounded, as a boat "was called
away," and a rapid shuffling of feet was heard overhead, as the boat was
being lowered. Upon reaching the deck, I found that one of the firemen,
who had come off from "liberty," a little tight, had jumped overboard,
and, in defiance of the hail, and shot of the sentinel, struck out,
lustily, for the shore. The moon was shining brightly, and an amusing
scene now occurred. The boat was in hot pursuit, and soon came upon the
swimmer; but the latter, who dived like a duck, had no notion of being
taken. As the boat would come up with him, and "back all," for the purpose
of picking him up, he would dive under her bottom, and presently would be
seen, either abeam, or astern, "striking out," like a good fellow, again.
By the time the boat could turn, and get headway once more, the swimmer
would have some yards the start of her, and when she again came up with
him, the same tactics would follow. The crew, hearing what was going on,
had all turned out of their hammocks, and come on deck to witness the fun;
and fun it really was for some minutes, as the doubling, and diving, and
twisting, and turning went on--the boat now being sure she had him, and
now sure she hadn't. The fellow finally escaped, and probably a more
chop-fallen boat's crew never returned alongside of a ship, than was the
_Sumter's_ that night. An officer was now sent on shore in pursuit of the
fugitive. He had no difficulty in finding him. In half an hour after the
performance of his clever feat, the fireman was lying--dead drunk--in one
of the _cabarets_, in the sailor quarter of the town. He had had no
intention of deserting, but had braved the sentinel's bullet, the
shark--which abounds in these waters--and discipline--all for the sake of
a glass of grog!

Our time was made remarkably pleasant, during our stay; the inhabitants
showing us every mark of respect and politeness, and the officers of the
garrison, and of a couple of small French vessels of war, in the port,
extending to us the courtesies of their clubs, and mess-rooms. I declined
all invitations, myself, but my officers frequently dined on shore; and on
the evening before our departure, they returned the hospitalities of their
friends, by an elegant supper in the ward-room, at which the festivities
were kept up to a late hour. Riding, and breakfast-parties, in the
country, were frequent, and bright eyes, peeping out of pretty French
bonnets, shone benignantly upon my young "pirates." The war was frequently
the topic of conversation, when such expressions as "_les barbares du
Nord!_" would escape, not unmusically, from the prettiest of pouting lips.
I passed several agreeable evenings, at the hospitable mansion of my
friend, Mr. Guerin, the ladies of whose family were accomplished
musicians. The sailor is, above all others of his sex, susceptible of
female influences. The difference arises, naturally, out of his mode of
life, which removes him so often, and so long, from the affections, and
refinements of home. After roughing it, for months, upon the deep, in
contact only with coarse male creatures, how delightful I found it to sink
into a luxurious seat, by the side of a pretty woman, and listen to the
sweet notes of her guitar, accompanied by the sweeter notes, still, of her
voice, as she warbled, rather than sang some lay of the sea.

In these delightful tropical climates, night is turned into day. The sun,
beating down his fierce rays upon heated walls and streets, drives all but
the busy merchant and the laborer in-doors during the day. Windows are
raised, blinds closed and all the members of the household, not compelled
to exertion, betake themselves to their _fauteuils_, and luxurious
hammocks. Dinner is partaken of at five or six o'clock, in the afternoon.
When the sun goes down, and the shades of evening begin to fall, and the
first gentle stirring of the trees and shrubbery, by the land breeze
begins to awaken the katydid, and the myriads of other insects, which have
been dozing in the heat, the human world is also awakened. The lazy beauty
now arises from her couch, and seeking her bath-room, and tire-woman,
begins to prepare for the _duties of the day_. She is coiffed, and
arranged for conquest, and sallies forth to the _Place d'Armes_, to listen
to the music of the military bands, if there be no other special
entertainment on hand. The _Place d'Armes_ of Fort de France is charmingly
situated, on the very margin of the bay, where, in the intervals of the
music, or of the hum of conversation, the ripple of the tide beats time,
as it breaks upon the smooth, pebbly beach. Ships are anchored in front,
and far away to the left, rises a range of blue, and misty hills, which
are pointed out to the stranger, as the birth-place of the Empress
Josephine. The statue of the Empress also adorns the grounds, and the
inhabitants are fond of referring to her history. I was quite surprised at
the throng that the quiet little town of Fort de France was capable of
turning out, upon the _Place d'Armes_; and even more at the quality, than
the quantity of the throng. What with military and naval officers, in
their gay uniforms, the multitudes of well-dressed men and women, the
ecclesiastics in the habits of their several orders, the flower-girls, the
venders of fruits, sherbets, and ice-creams--for the universal Yankee has
invaded the colony with his ice-ships--and the delightful music of the
bands, it would be difficult to find a more delightful place, in which to
while away an hour.

Whilst we were still at Fort de France, a rather startling piece of
intelligence reached us. A vessel came in, from St. Thomas, and brought
the news, that the English mail-steamer, _Trent_, had arrived there from
Havana, and reported that Messrs. Mason and Slidell had been forcibly
taken out of her, by the United States steamer, _San Jacinto_, Captain
Wilkes. A few days afterward, I received a French newspaper, giving a
detailed account of the affair. It was indeed a very extraordinary
proceeding, and could not fail to attract much attention. I had known
friend Wilkes, in former years, and gave him credit for more sagacity,
than this act of his seemed to indicate. "A little learning is a dangerous
thing," and the Federal Captain had read, it would seem, just enough of
international law to get himself into trouble, instead of keeping himself
out of it. He had read of "contraband persons," and of "enemy's
despatches," and how it was prohibited to neutrals, to carry either; but
he had failed to take notice of a very important distinction, to wit, that
the neutral vessel, on the present occasion, was bound from one neutral
port to another; and that, as between neutral ports, there is no such
thing as contraband of war; for the simple reason that contraband of war
is a person, or thing, going to, or from an enemy's country. I was glad to
hear this news, of course. The Great Republic would have to stand up to
its work, and Great Britain would be no less bound to demand a retraxit.
If things came to a deadlock, we might have an ally, in the war, sooner
than we expected. It would be a curious revolution of the wheel of fortune
I thought, to have John Bull helping us to beat the Yankee, on a point--to
wit, the right of self-government--on which we had helped the Yankee to
beat Bull, less than a century before. I will ask the reader's permission,
to dispose of this little quarrel between Bull and the Yankee, to avoid
the necessity of again recurring to it; although at the expense of a
slight anachronism.

When the news of Wilkes' exploit reached the United States, the b'hoys
went into ecstasies. Such a shouting, and throwing up of caps had never
been heard of before. The multitude, who were, of course, incapable of
reasoning upon the act, only knew that England had been bearded and
insulted; but that was enough. Their national antipathies, and their
ridiculous self-conceit had both been pandered to. The newspapers were
filled with laudatory editorials, and "plate," and "resolutions," were
showered upon unfortunate friend Wilkes, without mercy. If he had been an
American Nelson, returning from an American Nile, or Trafalgar, he could
not have been received with more honor. State legislatures bowed down
before him, and even the American Congress--the House of Representatives;
the Senate had not quite lost its wits--gave him a vote of thanks. It was
not, perhaps, so much to be wondered at, that the multitude should go mad,
with joy, for multitudes, everywhere, are composed of unreasoning animals,
but men, who should have known better, permitted themselves to be carried
away by the popular hallucination. The Executive Government approved of
Captain Wilkes' conduct--the Secretary of the Navy, whose insane hatred of
England was quite remarkable, making haste to write the Captain a
congratulatory letter. But an awful collapse was at hand. Mr. Seward, as
though he already heard the ominous rumbling of the distant English
thunder, which was, anon, to break over his head, in tones that would
startle him, on the 30th of November--the outrage had been committed on
the 7th,--wrote, as follows, to his faithful sentinel, at the Court of
London, Mr. Charles Francis Adams.

     "We have done nothing, on the subject, to anticipate the discussion,
     and we have not furnished you with any explanation. We adhere to that
     course now, because we think it more prudent, that the ground taken
     by the British Government should be first made known to us, here. It
     is proper, however, that you should know one fact, in the case,
     without indicating that we attach much importance to it, namely, that
     in the capture of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, on board a British
     vessel, Captain Wilkes having acted without any instructions from the
     Government, the subject is therefore free from the embarrassment,
     which might have resulted, if the act had been especially directed by

If no "explanation" had been thought of by Mr. Seward, up to this time, it
was high time that he was getting one ready, for, on the same day, on
which the above despatch was written, Lord John Russell, then charged with
the duties of the foreign office, in England, under the administration of
Lord Palmerston, wrote as follows, to Lord Lyons, his Minister at

     "Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the friendly relations
     which have long subsisted between Great Britain, and the United
     States, are willing to believe, that the United States naval officer
     who committed the aggression, was not acting in compliance with any
     authority from his Government, or that, if he conceived himself to be
     so authorized, he greatly misunderstood the instructions, which he
     had received. For the Government of the United States must be fully
     aware, that the British Government could not allow such an affront to
     the national honor, to pass without _full reparation_, and her
     Majesty's Government are unwilling to believe that it could be the
     deliberate intention of the Government of the United States,
     unnecessarily to force into discussion, between the two Governments,
     a question of so grave a character, and with regard to which, the
     whole British nation would be sure to entertain such unanimity of
     feeling. Her Majesty's Government, therefore, trust that, when this
     matter shall have been brought under the consideration of the
     Government of the United States, that Government will, of its own
     accord, offer to the British Government such redress as alone, could
     satisfy the British nation, namely, the liberation, of the four
     gentlemen [the two Secretaries of Legation were also captured], and
     their delivery to your lordship, in order that they may again be
     placed under British protection, and a suitable apology for the
     aggression, which has been committed. Should these terms not be
     offered, by Mr. Seward, you will propose them to him."

Mr. Seward had no notion of proposing any terms to Lord Lyons. The shouts
of the b'hoys had scarcely yet ceased to ring in his ears, and it would be
an awkward step to take. Besides, he could have no terms to offer, for the
Government had, in fact, approved of Captain Wilkes' act, through its
Secretary of the Navy. The back door, which Mr. Seward intimated to Mr.
Adams was open for retreat, when he told him, that Captain Wilkes' act had
not been _authorized_ by the Government, was not _honorably_ open, for the
act had afterward been _approved_ by the Government, and this amounted to
the same thing. Later on the same day on which Earl Russell wrote his
despatch to Lord Lyons he added a postscript to it, as follows:--

     "In my previous despatch of this date, I have instructed you, by
     command of her Majesty, to make certain demands of the Government of
     the United States. Should Mr. Seward ask for delay, in order that
     this grave and painful matter should be deliberately considered, you
     will consent to a delay, _not exceeding seven days_. If, at the end
     of that time, no answer is given, or if any other answer is given,
     except that of a compliance with the demands of her Majesty's
     Government, your lordship is instructed to leave Washington, with all
     the members of your legation, bringing with you the archives of the
     legation, and to repair immediately to London. If, however, you
     should be of opinion that the requirements of her Majesty's
     Government are substantially complied with, you may report the facts
     to her Majesty's Government, for their consideration, and remain at
     your post, until you receive further orders."

This was indeed bringing matters to a focus. Mr. Seward was required to
liberate the prisoners, and make an apology, and that _within seven days_.
This was putting it rather offensively. It is bad enough to make a man
apologize, especially, if he has been "blowing" a short while before, but
to tell him that he must do it _at once_, that was, indeed, rubbing the
humiliation in. And then, where was the Congress, and the Massachusetts
legislature, and Mr. Secretary Welles, and all the "plate," and all the
"resolutions"? Posterity will wonder, when it comes to read the elaborate,
and lengthy despatch, which Mr. Seward prepared on this occasion, how it
was possible for him to prepare it in _seven days_. But it will wonder
still more, after having patiently waded through it, to find how little it
contains. I cannot deny myself the pleasure of giving a few of its
choicest paragraphs to the reader. Do not start! gentle reader, the
paragraphs will be short; but short as they are, you shall have the _gist_
of this seven days' labor, of the American diplomatist. David wrote seven
penitential psalms. I wonder if Lord John Russell had a little fun in his
eye, when he gave Mr. Seward just _seven_ days for _his_ penitential
performance. But to the paragraphs. Mr. Seward is addressing himself, the
reader will observe, to Lord Lyons. After stating the case, he proceeds:--

     "Your lordship will now perceive, that the case before us, instead of
     presenting a merely flagrant act of violence, on the part of Captain
     Wilkes, as might well be inferred, from the incomplete statement of
     it, that went up to the British Government, was undertaken as a
     simple, legal, and customary belligerent proceeding, by Captain
     Wilkes, to arrest and capture a neutral vessel, engaged in carrying
     contraband of war, for the uses and benefit of the insurgents."

This point was so utterly untenable, that it is astonishing that Mr.
Seward should have thought of defending it. If it were defensible, he
ought not to have given up the prisoners, or made an apology; for the law
is clear, that contraband of war may be seized, and _taken out of a
neutral vessel_, on the high seas. It was not because contraband of war
had been taken out of one of their vessels, that Great Britain demanded an
apology, but because persons, and things, _not contraband of war_, under
the circumstances under which they were found, had been taken out. If the
_Trent_ had been overhauled in the act of sailing from one of the
Confederate ports, blockaded or not blockaded, with Messrs. Mason and
Slidell, and their despatches on board, and the _San Jancinto_ had taken
them out of her, permitting the ship to proceed on her voyage, Great
Britain would never have thought of complaining--waiving, for the sake of
the present argument, the diplomatic character of the passengers. And why
would she not have complained? Simply, because one of her ships had been
found with contraband of war, on board, and the least penalty, namely, the
seizure of the contraband, that the laws of war imposed upon her, had been
exacted. But her ship the _Trent_, neither having sailed from, or being
bound for a Confederate port, it matters not whom, or what she might have
on board, the question of contraband could not arise, at all; for, as we
have seen, it is of the essence of contraband, that the person, or thing
should be going to, or from an enemy's port. Wilkes' act being utterly and
entirely indefensible, the Federal Government should have saved its honor,
the moment the affair came to its notice, by a frank disavowal of it. But,
as we have seen, the b'hoys had shouted; Mr. Welles had spoken
approvingly; Congress had resolved that their officer was deserving of
thanks, and even Mr. Seward, himself, had gloried over the capture of
"rebels," and "traitors;" the said "rebels," and "traitors" having
frequently, in former years, snubbed, and humbled him in the Senate of the
United States. Hence the indecent language, in which he now spoke of them.
The reader, having seen that Mr. Seward justified Captain Wilkes' conduct,
as a "simple, legal, and customary belligerent proceeding, to arrest and
capture a neutral vessel engaged in carrying contraband of war, for the
use and benefit of the insurgents," he will be curious to know, on what
ground it was, that Mr. Seward based his apology. This ground was curious
enough. It was, not that Captain Wilkes had gone too far, but that he had
not gone far enough. If, said he, Captain Wilkes had taken the _Trent_
into port, for adjudication, instead of letting her go, his justification
would be complete, and there would be no apology to make. Adjudication
presupposes something to adjudicate; but if there was no contraband of
war, on board the _Trent_, what was there to adjudicate? The British
Government did not complain, that the question had not been presented for
adjudication to the proper prize tribunals, but that their vessel had been
boarded, and outraged, without there being any grounds for adjudication,
at all. If the _Trent_ had been taken into port, a prize-court must have
liberated the prisoners. It would then, if not before, have been apparent,
that there was no ground for the seizure. The act still remaining to be
atoned for, what was there to be gained, by sending the vessel in? It is
not denied that, as a rule, neutrals are entitled to have their vessels,
when captured, sent in for adjudication, but Mr. Seward knew, very well,
that no question of this nature had arisen, between the British Government
and himself, and he was only trifling with the common sense of mankind,
when he endeavored to turn the issue in this direction.

One cannot help sympathizing with a diplomatist, who being required to eat
a certain amount of dirt, gags at it, so painfully, and yet pretends, all
the while, that he really likes it, as Mr. Seward does in the following

     "I have not been unaware that, in examining this question, I have
     fallen into an argument, for what seems to be the British side of it,
     against my own country [what a deal of humiliation it would have
     saved his country, if he had fallen into this train of argument,
     before the dirt-pie had been presented to him]. But I am relieved
     from all embarrassment, on that subject. I had hardly fallen into
     that line of argument, when I discovered, that I was really defending
     and maintaining, not an exclusively British interest, but an old,
     honored, and cherished American cause, not upon British authorities,
     but upon principles that constitute a large portion of the
     distinctive policy, by which the United States have developed the
     resources of a continent, and thus becoming a considerable maritime
     power, have won the respect and confidence of many nations."

Like an adroit circus-man, the venerable Federal Secretary of State has
now gotten upon the backs of two ponies. He continues:--

     "These principles were laid down, for us, by James Madison, in 1804;
     when Secretary of State, in the administration of Thomas Jefferson,
     in instructions given to James Monroe, our minister to England."

These instructions had relation to the old dispute, between the two
Governments, about the impressment of seamen from American ships, and were
as follows:--

     "Whenever property found in a neutral vessel is supposed to be
     liable, on any ground, to capture and condemnation, the rule in all
     cases, is, that the question shall not be decided by the captor, but
     be carried before a legal tribunal, where a regular trial may be had,
     and where the captor himself is liable for damages, for an abuse of
     his power. Can it be reasonable then, or just, that a belligerent
     commander, who is thus restricted, and thus responsible, in a case of
     mere property, of trivial amount, should be permitted, without
     recurring to any tribunal, whatever, to examine the crew of a neutral
     vessel, to decide the important question of their respective
     allegiances, and to carry that decision into execution, by forcing
     every individual, he may choose, into a service abhorrent to his
     feelings, cutting him off from his most tender connections, exposing
     his mind and person to the most humiliating discipline, and his life,
     itself, to the greatest danger. Reason, justice, and humanity unite
     in protesting against so extravagant a proceeding."

Mr. Seward after thus quoting, continues:--

     "If I decide this case in favor of my own Government, I must disavow
     its most cherished principles, and reverse, and forever abandon its
     essential policy. The country cannot afford the sacrifice. If I
     maintain these principles, and adhere to that policy, I must
     surrender the case itself. It will be seen, therefore, that this
     Government could not deny the justice of the claim presented to us,
     in this respect, upon its merits. We are asked to do to the British
     nation, just what we have always insisted, all nations ought to do to

That is "coming down with the corn," now, handsomely, but in view of the
antecedents of the question, and of the "seven days'" pressure under which
Mr. Seward's despatch was written, one cannot help pitying Mr. Seward. We
not only pity him, but he absolutely surprises us by the fertility of his
imagination, in discovering any resemblance between the Madison precedent,
and the case he had in hand. The British Government was not insisting that
Mr. Seward should send the _Trent_ in for adjudication. It did not mean
that there should be any adjudication about the matter, except such as it
had itself already passed upon the case. Had it not said to its minister,
at Washington, "If, at the end of that time, no answer is given, or, _if
any other answer_ is given, _except that of a compliance with the demands
of her Majesty's Government_, your lordship is instructed to leave
Washington, &c."? To be logical, Mr. Seward should have said, "Our officer
having made a mistake, by doing a right thing, in a wrong way, namely, by
seizing contraband of war, on board a neutral ship, without sending the
ship in, for adjudication, we will send the prisoners back to the _Trent_,
if you will send the _Trent_ into one of our ports for adjudication." But
Mr. Seward knew better than to say any such thing, for the simple reason,
that this was not the thing which was demanded of him, although he had
written a lengthy despatch to prove that it was.

I was in Europe when Mr. Seward's despatch arrived there. Every one was
astonished, both at the paper, and the act of humiliation performed by it.
The act needed not to be humiliating. A great wrong had been done a
neutral. It could be neither justified, nor palliated. A _statesman_, at
the head of the Federal State Department, would have made haste to atone
for it, before any demand for reparation could be made. To pander to a
vitiated public taste, and gain a little temporary _eclat_, by appearing
to beard the British lion, hoping that the lion would submit, in silence
to the indignity, Mr. Seward committed one of those blunders which was
equivalent to a great crime, since it humiliated an entire people, and put
on record against them one of those damaging pages that historians cannot,
if they would, forget. The following were the closing lines of this famous

     "The four persons in question are now held in military custody, at
     Fort Warren, in the State of Massachusetts. They will be cheerfully
     liberated. Your lordship will please indicate a time, and place, for
     receiving them."

When I read this paragraph, I experienced two sensations--one, of
disappointment at the loss of an ally, with whose aid we would be sure to
gain the independence for which we were struggling, and one, of
mortification, that an American nation had been so greatly humbled, before
an European Power; for though the Federal States were my enemies, as
between them and foreign nations, I could not but feel something like
family attachment. Whilst I would humble them, and whip them into a sense
of justice and decent behavior, myself, I was loth to see strangers kick
them, and themselves submit to the kicking.

So very one-sided was the question, which Mr. Seward had permitted himself
to argue, with so much zeal, and so little discrimination, that all the
principal nations of Europe rallied, as if by common consent, to the side
of Great Britain. Russia, France, Spain, and other Powers, all took the
same view of the case that Earl Russell had done, and made haste, through
their respective ministers at Washington, so to express themselves. I will
let France speak for them all. The reasons which influenced the action of
the French Government are thus assigned:--

     "The desire to contribute to prevent a conflict, perhaps imminent,
     between two Powers, for which the French Government is animated with
     sentiments equally friendly, and the duty to uphold, for the purpose
     of placing the right of its own flag under shelter from any attack,
     certain principles essential to the security of neutrals, have, after
     mature reflection, convinced it, that it could not, under the
     circumstances, remain entirely silent."

The French Minister for Foreign Affairs then goes on to examine the
arguments which could be set up in defence of the Federal Captain,
concluding as follows:--

     "There remains, therefore, to invoke, in explanation of their
     capture, only the pretext that they were the bearers of official
     despatches from the enemy; but this is the moment to recall a
     circumstance, that governs all this affair, and which renders the
     conduct of the American cruiser unjustifiable. The _Trent_ was not
     destined to a point belonging to one of the belligerents. She was
     carrying to a neutral country her cargo and her passengers; and
     moreover, it was in a neutral port that they were taken. The Cabinet
     at Washington could not, without striking a blow at principles, which
     all neutral nations are alike interested in holding in respect, nor
     without taking the attitude of contradiction to its own course, up to
     this time, give its approbation to the proceedings of the commander
     of the _San Jacinto_. In this state of things, it evidently should
     not, according to our views, hesitate about the determination to be

The excuse which I have to offer to the reader, for permitting so much of
my space to be occupied with this "affair," is, that it deeply interested
every Confederate States naval officer, afloat at the time. I, myself,
made several passages, in neutral vessels, between neutral ports, and
might have been captured with as much propriety, even when passing from
Dover to Calais, as Messrs. Mason and Slidell had been.

On the 13th of November, my water-tanks being full, and my crew having all
returned from "liberty"--none of them having shown any disposition to
desert--we got up steam, and proceeded to the town of St. Pierre, for the
purpose of coaling; arriving at the early hour of 8 A. M., and anchoring
at the man-of-war anchorage, south of the town. I immediately dispatched a
lieutenant to call on the military commandant, accompanied by the
paymaster, to make the necessary arrangements for coaling. St. Pierre was
quite a different place, from the quiet old town we had left. A number of
merchant-ships were anchored in the harbor, and there was quite an air of
stir, and thrift, about the quays. Busy commerce was carrying on her
exchanges, and with commerce there is always life. There were not so many
idle people here, to be awakened from their noon-tide slumbers, by the
katydid, as in Fort de France. A number of visitors came off, at once, to
see us; rumor having preceded us, and blown the trumpet of our fame, much
more than we deserved. Among the rest, there were several custom-house
officers, but if these had any office of espionage to perform, they
performed it, so delicately, as not to give offence. Indeed they took
pains to explain to us, that they had only come on board out of civility,
and as a mere matter of curiosity. I never permit myself to be out-done in
politeness, and treated them with all consideration.

The Collector of the Customs gave prompt obedience to the Governor's
despatch--commanding him not to throw any obstacle in the way of our
coaling--by withdrawing the interdict of sale which he had put upon the
coal-merchants; and the paymaster returning, after a short absence, with
news that he had made satisfactory arrangements with the said merchants,
the ship was warped up to the coal-depot, and some thirty tons of coal
received, on board, the same afternoon. This was very satisfactory
progress. We sent down the fore-yard, for repairs, and the engineer
finding some good machinists on shore, with more facilities in the way of
shop, and tools, than he had expected, took some of his own jobs, of which
there are always more or less, in a steamer, on shore.

As the sun dipped his broad red disk into the sea, I landed with my clerk,
and we took a delightful evening stroll, along one of the country roads,
leading to the northern end of the island, and winding, occasionally,
within a stone's throw of the beach. The air was soft, and filled with
perfume, and we were much interested in inspecting the low-roofed and
red-tiled country houses, and their half-naked inmates, of all colors,
that presented themselves, from time to time, as we strolled on. We were
here, as we had been in Maranham, objects of much curiosity, and the
curiosity was evinced in the same way, respectfully. Wherever we stopped
for water--for walking in this sultry climate produces constant
thirst--the coolest "monkeys"--a sort of porous jug, or jar--and
calabashes, were handed us, often accompanied by fruits and an invitation
to be seated. Fields of sugar-cane stretched away on either hand, and an
elaborate cultivation seemed everywhere to prevail. The island of
Martinique is mountainous, and all mountainous countries are beautiful,
where vegetation abounds. Within the tropics, when the soil is good,
vegetation runs riot in very wantonness; and so it did here. The eye was
constantly charmed with a great variety of shade and forest trees, of new
and beautiful foliage, and with shrubs, and flowers, without number, ever
forming new combinations, and new groups, as the road meandered now
through a plane, and now through a rocky ravine, up whose precipitous
sides a goat could scarcely clamber.

  "As the shades of eve came slowly down,
  The hills were clothed with deeper brown,"

and the twinkle of the lantern at the _Sumter's_ peak denoting that her
Captain was out of the ship, caught my eye, at one of the turnings of the
road, and reminded me, that we had wandered far enough. We retraced our
steps just in time to escape a shower, and sat down, upon our arrival on
board, to the evening's repast, which John had prepared for us, with
appetites much invigorated by the exercise. We found the market-place,
situated near the ship, both upon landing and returning, filled with a
curious throng, gazing eagerly upon the _Sumter_. This throng seemed never
to abate during our stay--it was the first thing seen in the morning, and
the last thing at night. The next morning, John brought me off a French
newspaper; for St. Pierre is sufficiently large, and prosperous, to
indulge in a tri-weekly. With true island marvel, a column was devoted to
the _Sumter_, predicating of her, many curious exploits, and cunning
devices by means of which she had escaped from the enemy, of which the
little craft had never heard, and affirming, as a fact beyond dispute,
that her Commander was a Frenchman, he having served, in former years, as
a lieutenant on board of the French brig-of-war _Mercure_! I felt duly
grateful for the compliment, for a compliment indeed it was, to be claimed
as a Frenchman, _by_ a Frenchman--the little foible of Gallic vanity



Many rumors were now afloat as to the prospective presence, at Martinique,
of the enemy's ships of war. It was known that the enemy's steam-sloop,
_Iroquois_, Captain James S. Palmer, had been at the island of Trinidad,
on the second of the then current month of November, whence she had
returned to St. Thomas--this neutral island being unscrupulously used by
the enemy, as a regular naval station, at which there was always at anchor
one or more of his ships of war, and where he had a coal-depot. St. Thomas
was a free port, and an important centre of trade, both for the West India
Islands and the Spanish Main, and had the advantage, besides, of being a
general rendezvous of the mail-steamers that plied in those seas. One of
these steamers, bound to St. Thomas, had touched at Martinique, soon after
the _Sumter's_ arrival there, and, as a matter of course, we might expect
the presence of the enemy very soon. I used every possible diligence to
avoid being blockaded by the enemy, and twenty-four hours more would have
enabled me to accomplish my purpose, but the Fates would have it
otherwise; for at about two P. M., on the very next day after the
delightful evening's stroll described in the last chapter, the _Iroquois_
appeared off the north end of the island. She had purposely approached the
island on the side opposite to that on which the town of St. Pierre lies,
the better to keep herself out of sight, until the last moment; and when
she did come in sight, it was ludicrous to witness her appearance. Her
commander's idea seemingly was, that the moment the _Sumter_ caught sight
of him, she would, if he were recognized, immediately attempt to escape.
Hence it was necessary to surprise her; and to this end, he had made some
most ludicrous attempts to disguise his ship. The Danish colors were
flying from his peak, his yards were hanging, some this way, some that,
and his guns had all been run in, and his ports closed. But the finely
proportioned, taunt, saucy-looking _Iroquois_, looked no more like a
merchant-ship, for this disguise, than a gay Lothario would look like a
saint, by donning a cassock. The very disguise only made the cheat more
apparent. We caught sight of the enemy first. He was crawling slowly from
behind the land, which had hidden him from view, and we could see a number
of curious human forms, above his rail, bending eagerly in our direction.
The quarter-deck, in particular, was filled with officers, and we were
near enough to see that some of these had telescopes in their hands, with
which they were scanning the shipping in the harbor. We had a small
Confederate States flag flying, and it was amusing to witness the
movements on board the _Iroquois_, the moment this was discovered. A rapid
passing to and fro of officers was observable, as if orders were being
carried, in a great hurry, and the steamer, which had been hitherto
cautiously creeping along, as a stealthy tiger might be supposed to skirt
a jungle, in which he had scented, but not yet seen a human victim, sprang
forward under a full head of steam. At the same moment, down came the
Danish and up went the United States flag. "There she comes, with a bone
in her mouth!" said the old quartermaster on the look-out; and, no doubt,
Captain Palmer thought to see, every moment, the little _Sumter_ flying
from her anchors. But the _Sumter_ went on coaling, and receiving on board
some rum and sugar, as though no enemy were in sight, and at nine P. M.
was ready for sea. The men were given their hammocks, as usual, and I
turned in, myself, at my usual hour, not dreaming that the _Iroquois_
would cut up such antics during the night as she did.

During the afternoon, she had run into the harbor,--without anchoring,
however,--and sent a boat on shore to communicate, probably, with her
consul, and receive any intelligence he might have to communicate. She
then steamed off, seaward, a mile, or two, and moved to and fro, in front
of the port until dark. At half-past one o'clock, the officer of the deck
came down in great haste, to say, that the _Iroquois_ had again entered
the harbor, and was steaming directly for us. I ordered him to get the men
immediately to their quarters, and followed him on deck, as soon as I
could throw on a necessary garment or two. In a very few minutes, the
battery had been cast loose, the decks lighted, and the other preparations
usual for battle made. It was moonlight, and the movements of the enemy
could be distinctly seen. He came along, under low steam, but, so
steadily, and aiming so directly for us, that I could not doubt it was his
intention to board us. The men were called to "repel boarders;" and for a
moment or two, a pin might have been heard to drop, on the _Sumter's_
deck, so silent was the harbor, and so still was the scene on board both
ships. Presently, however, a couple of strokes on the enemy's steam gong
were heard, and, in a moment more, he sheered a little, and lay off our
quarter, motionless. It was as though a great sea-monster had crawled in
under cover of the night, and was eying its prey, and licking its chops,
in anticipation of a delicious repast. After a few minutes of apparent
hesitation, and doubt, the gong was again struck, and the leviathan--for
such the _Iroquois_ appeared alongside the little _Sumter_--moving in a
slow, and graceful curve, turned, and went back whence it came. This
operation, much to my astonishment, was repeated several times during the
night. Captain Palmer was evidently in great tribulation. He had found the
hated "pirate" at last--so called by his own Secretary of the Navy, and by
his own Secretary of State. Captain Wilkes had just set him a glorious
example of a disregard of neutral rights; and the seven days' penitential
psalms had not yet been ordered to be written. If a ship might be
violated, why not territory? Besides, the press, the press! a rabid, and
infuriate press was thundering in the ears of the luckless Federal
Captain. Honors were before him, terrors behind him! But there loomed up,
high above the _Sumter_, the mountains of the _French_ island of
Martinique. Nations, like individuals, sometimes know whom to kick--though
they have occasionally to take the kicking back, as we have just seen. It
might do, doubtless thought Captain Palmer, to kick some small power, but
France! there was the rub. If the _Sumter_ were only in Bahia, where the
_Florida_ afterward was, how easily and securely the kicking might be
done? A gallant captain, with a heavy ship, might run into her, cut her
down to the water's edge, fire into her crew, struggling in the water,
killing, and wounding, and drowning a great many of them, and bear off his
prize in triumph! And then, Mr. Seward, if he should be called upon, not
by Brazil alone, but by the sentiment of all mankind, to make restitution
of the ship, could he not have her run into, by _accident_, in Hampton
Roads, and sunk; and would not this be another feather in his diplomatic
cap--Yankee feather though it might be? What is a diplomat fit for, unless
he can be a little cunning, upon occasion? The b'hoys will shout for him,
if history does not. The reader need no longer wonder at the "backing and
filling" of the _Iroquois_, around the little _Sumter_; or at the
sleepless night passed by Captain Palmer.

The next morning, the Governor having heard of what had been done; how the
neutral waters of France had been violated by manoeuvre and by menace,
though the actual attack had been withheld, sent up from Fort de France
the steamer-of-war _Acheron_, Captain Duchatel, with orders to Captain
Palmer, either to anchor, if he desired to enter the harbor, or to
withdraw beyond the marine league, if it was his object to blockade the
_Sumter_; annexing to his anchoring, if he should choose this alternative,
the condition imposed by the laws of nations, of giving the _Sumter_
twenty-four hours the start, in case she should desire to proceed to sea.
Soon after the _Acheron_ came to anchor, the _Iroquois_ herself ran in and
anchored. The French boat then communicated with her, when she immediately
hove up her anchor again! She had committed herself to the twenty-four
hours' rule the moment she dropped her anchor; but being ignorant of the
rule, she had not hesitated to get her anchor again, the moment that she
was informed of it, and to claim that she was not bound by her mistake. I
did not insist upon the point. The _Iroquois_ now withdrew beyond the
marine league, by day, but, by night, invariably crept in, a mile or two
nearer, fearing that she might lose sight of me, and that I might thus be
enabled to escape. She kept up a constant communication, too, with the
shore, both by means of her own boats, and those from the shore, in
violation of the restraints imposed upon her by the laws of nations--these
laws requiring, that if she would communicate, she must anchor; when, of
course, the twenty-four hours' rule would attach. I had written a letter
to the Governor, informing him of the conduct of Captain Palmer, on the
first night after his arrival, and claiming the neutral protection to
which I was entitled. His Excellency having replied to this letter,
through Captain Duchatel, in a manner but little satisfactory to me. I
addressed him, through that officer, the following, in rejoinder:--

     ST. PIERRE, November 22, 1861.

     SIR:--I have had the honor 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 toward the _Iroquois_, either by night, or by day, so active
     a _surveillance_ as you [I] desire"; and you tell me, that I 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 me the 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 by you, from that enemy, that he
     will keep himself without the marine league, 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 violations of
     neutrality reported 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 blue
     clothing, with the caps usually worn by the sailors of the Federal
     Navy, pulling quietly in toward the beach; and that he distinctly
     heard a conversation, in English, between them--one of them saying to
     the other, "Look Harry! there she is, I see her,"--in allusion,
     doubtless, to this ship. These boats are neither more nor less than
     scout, or sentinel boats, sent to watch the movements, within neutral
     waters, of their enemy. Now, with all due deference to his
     Excellency, 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 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.

     It is an act of war for the enemy to approach me, with his boats, for
     the purpose of reconnoissance, or watch, 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. If France owes me protection, it is
     her duty to accord it to me, herself, and not remit me to the good
     faith, or bad faith, of my enemy; in other words, I respectfully
     suggest, that it is her _duty_, to exercise _surveillance_ over her
     own waters, both "by night, and by day," when one belligerent is
     blockading another, in those waters. I have, therefore, respectfully
     to request, that you will keep a watch, by means of guard boats, at
     both points of the harbor, to prevent a repetition of the hostile
     act, which was committed against me last night; or if you will not do
     this, 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 anchors, 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 reconnoitring, me
     closely, by means of his boats, and 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 shall be brought to a
     bloody conflict, with an enemy, of twice my force, by means of
     signals given to 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 of Martinique,
     that 'it does not enter into his intentions, to exercise toward the
     _Iroquois_, either by night, or by day, so active a surveillance as
     you [I] desire.'

     MR. DUCHATEL, _commanding H. I. F. M.'s steamer Acheron_.

As the lawyers say, "I took nothing by my motion," with Governor Condé.
The United States were strong at sea, and the Confederate States weak, and
this difference was sufficient to insure the ruling against me of all but
the plainest points, about which there could be no dispute, either of
principle, or of fact. Whilst the Governor would probably have protected
me, by force, if necessary, against an actual assault, by the _Iroquois_,
he had not the moral courage to risk the ire of his master, by offending
the Great Republic, on a point about which there could be any question.

The _Iroquois_ was very much in earnest in endeavoring to capture me, and
Captain Palmer spent many sleepless nights, and labored very zealously to
accomplish his object; notwithstanding which, when my escape became known
to his countrymen, he had all Yankeeland down on him. It was charged,
among other things, by one indignant Yankee captain, that Palmer and
myself had been school-mates, and that treachery had done the work. I must
do my late opponent the justice to say, that he did all that vigilance and
skill could do, and a great deal more, than the laws of war authorized him
to do. He made a free use of the neutral territory, and of his own
merchant-ships that were within its waters. He had left St. Thomas in a
great hurry, upon getting news of the _Sumter_, without waiting to coal.
In a day or two after his arrival at St. Pierre, he chartered a Yankee
schooner, and sent her to St. Thomas, for a supply of coal; and taking
virtual possession of another--a small lumber schooner, from Maine, that
lay discharging her cargo, a short distance from the _Sumter_--he used her
as a signal, and look-out ship. Sending his pilot on shore, he arranged
with the Yankee master--one of your long, lean, slab-sided fellows, that
looked like the planks he handled--a set of signals, by which the _Sumter_
was to be circumvented.

The anchorage of St. Pierre is a wide, open bay, with an exit around half
the points of the compass. The _Iroquois_, as she kept watch and ward over
the _Sumter_, generally lay off the centre of this sheet of water. As the
_Sumter_ might run out either north of her, or south of her, it was highly
important that the _Iroquois_ should know, as promptly as possible, which
of the passages the little craft intended to take. To this end, the
signals were arranged. Certain lights were to be exhibited, in certain
positions, on board the Yankee schooner, to indicate to her consort, that
the _Sumter_ was under way, and the course she was running. I knew
nothing, positively, of this arrangement. I only knew that the pilot of
the _Iroquois_ had frequently been seen on board the Yankee. To the mind
of a seaman, the rest followed, as a matter of course. I could not know
what the precise signals were, but I knew what signals I should require to
be made to me, if I were in Captain Palmer's place. As the sequel will
prove, I judged correctly.

I now communicated my suspicions to the Governor, and requested him to
have a guard stationed near the schooner, to prevent this contemplated
breach of neutrality. But the Governor paid no more attention to this
complaint, than to the others I had made. It was quite evident that I must
expect to take care of myself, without the exercise of any _surveillance_,
"by night or by day," by Monsieur Condé. This being the case, I bethought
myself of turning the enemy's signals to my own account, and the reader
will see, by and by, how this was accomplished.

In the meantime, the plot was thickening, and becoming very interesting,
as well to the islanders, as to ourselves. Not only was the town agog, but
the simple country people, having heard what was going on, and that a
naval combat was expected, came in, in great numbers, to see the show. The
crowd increased, daily, in the market-place, and it was wonderful to
witness the patience of these people. They would come down to the beach,
and gaze at us for hours, together, seeming never to grow weary of the
sight. Two parties were formed, the _Sumter_ party, and the _Iroquois_
party; the former composed of the whites, with a small sprinkling of
blacks; the latter of the blacks, with a small sprinkling of whites. The
Governor, himself, came up from Fort de France, in a little sail-schooner
of war, which he used as a yacht. The Mayor, and sundry councilmen, came
off to see me, and talk over the crisis. The young men boarded me in
scores, and volunteered to help me whip the _barbare_. I had no thought of
fighting, but of running; but of course I did not tell _them_ so--I should
have lost the French nationality, they had conferred upon me.

The _Iroquois_ had arrived, on the 14th of November. It was now the 23d,
and I had waited all this time, for a dark night; the moon not only
persisting in shining, but the stars looking, we thought, unusually
bright. Venus was still three hours high, at sunset, and looked
provokingly beautiful, and brilliant, shedding as much light as a
miniature moon. To-night--the 23d--the moon would not rise until seven
minutes past eleven, and this would be ample time, in which to escape, or
be captured. I had some anxiety about the weather, however, independently
of the phase of the moon, as in this climate of the gods, there is no such
thing as a dark night, if the sky be clear. The morning of the 23d of
November dawned provokingly clear. It clouded a little toward noon, but,
long before sunset, the clouds had blown off, and the afternoon became as
bright, and beautiful, as the most ardent lover of nature in her smiling
moods, could desire. But time pressed, and it was absolutely necessary to
be moving. Messengers had been sent hither, and thither, by the enemy, to
hunt up a reinforcement of gun-boats, and if several of these should
arrive, escape would be almost out of the question. Fortune had favored
us, thus far, but we must now help ourselves. The _Iroquois_ was not only
twice as heavy as the _Sumter_, in men, and metal, as the reader has seen,
but she had as much as two or three knots, the hour, the speed of her. We
must escape, if at all, unseen of the enemy, and as the latter drew close
in with the harbor, every night, in fraud of the promise he had made, and
in violation of the laws of war, this would be difficult to do. Running
all these reasons rapidly through my mind, I resolved to make the attempt,
without further delay.

I gave orders to the first lieutenant, to see that every person belonging
to the ship was on board, at sundown, and directed him to make all the
necessary preparations for getting his anchor, and putting the ship under
steam, at eight P. M.--the hour of gun-fire; the gun at the garrison to be
the signal for moving. The ship was put in her best sailing trim, by
removing some barrels of wet provisions aft, on the quarter-deck; useless
spars were sent down from aloft, and the sails all "mended," that is,
snugly furled. Every man was assigned his station, and the crew were all
to be at quarters, a few minutes before the appointed hour of moving. I
well recollect the _tout ensemble_ of that scene. The waters of the bay
were of glassy smoothness. The sun had gone down in a sky so clear, that
there was not a cloud to make a bank of violets, or a golden pyramid of.
Twilight had come and gone; the insects were in full chorus--we were lying
within a hundred yards of the shore--and night, friendly, and at the same
time unfriendly, had thrown no more than a semi-transparent mantle over
the face of nature.

The market-place, as though it had some secret sympathy with what was to
happen, was more densely thronged than ever, the hum of voices being quite
audible. The muffled windlass on board the _Sumter_ was quietly heaving up
her anchor. It is already up, and the "cat hooked," and the men "walking
away with the cat." The engineer is standing, lever in hand, ready to
start the engine, and a seaman, with an uplifted axe, is standing near the
taffarel, to cut the sternfast. One minute more and the gun will fire!
Every one is listening eagerly for the sound. The _Iroquois_ is quite
visible, through our glasses, watching for the _Sumter_, like the spider
for the fly. A flash! and the almost simultaneous boom of the eight
o'clock gun, and, without one word being uttered on board the _Sumter_,
the axe descends upon the fast, the engineer's lever is turned, and the
ship bounds forward, under a full head of steam.

A prolonged, and deafening cheer at once arose from the assembled
multitude, in the market-place. Skilful and trusty helmsmen, under the
direction of the "master," bring the _Sumter's_ head around to the south,
where they hold it, so steadily, that she does not swerve a hair's
breadth. There is not a light visible on board. The lantern in the
captain's cabin has a jacket on it, and even the binnacle is screened, so
that no one but the old quartermaster at the "con" can see the light, or
the compass. The French steamer-of-war, _Acheron_, lay almost directly in
our course, and, as we bounded past her, nearly grazing her guns, officers
and men rushed to the side, and in momentary forgetfulness of their
neutrality, waved hats and hands at us. As the reader may suppose, I had
stationed a quick-sighted and active young officer, to look out for the
signals, which I knew the Yankee schooner was to make. This young officer
now came running aft to me, and said, "I see them, sir! I see them!--look,
sir, there are two red lights, one above the other, at the Yankee
schooner's mast-head." Sure enough, there were the lights; and I knew as
well as the exhibitor of them, what they meant to say to the _Iroquois_,
viz.: "Look out for the _Sumter_, she is under way, standing south!"

I ran a few hundred yards farther, on my present course, and then stopped.
The island of Martinique is mountainous, and near the south end of the
town, where I now was, the mountains run abruptly into the sea, and cast
quite a shadow upon the waters, for some distance out. I had the advantage
of operating within this shadow. I now directed my glass toward the
_Iroquois_. I have said that Captain Palmer was anxious to catch me, and
judging by the speed which the _Iroquois_ was now making, toward the
south, in obedience to her signals, his anxiety had not been at all abated
by his patient watching of nine days. I now did, what poor Reynard
sometimes does, when he is hard pressed by the hounds--I doubled. Whilst
the _Iroquois_ was driving, like mad, under all steam, for the south,
wondering, no doubt, at every step, what the d----l had become of the
_Sumter_, this little craft was doing her level-best, for the north end of
the island. It is safe to say, that, the next morning, the two vessels
were one hundred and fifty miles apart! Poor Palmer! he, no doubt, looked
haggard and careworn, when his steward handed him his dressing-gown, and
called him for breakfast on the 24th of November; the yell of Actæon's
hounds must have sounded awfully distinct in his ears. I was duly thankful
to the slab-sided lumberman, and to Governor Condé--the one for violating,
and the other for permitting the violation of the neutral waters of
France--the signals were of vast service to me.

Various little _contre-temps_ occurred on board the _Sumter_, on this
night's run. We were obliged to stop some fifteen or twenty precious
minutes, opposite the very town, as we were retracing our steps to the
northward, to permit the engineer to cool the bearings of his shaft, which
had become heated by a little eccentricity of movement. And poor D., a
hitherto-favorite quartermaster, lost his _prestige_, entirely, with the
crew, on this night. D. had been famous for his sharp sight. It was,
indeed, wonderful. When nobody else in the ship could "make out" a distant
sail, D. was always sent aloft, glass in hand, to tell us all about
her. As a matter of course, when the question came to be discussed, as to
who the look-out should be, on the occasion of running by the enemy, I
thought of D. He was, accordingly, stationed on the forecastle, with the
best night-glass in the ship. Poor D.! if he saw one _Iroquois_, that
night, he must have seen fifty. Once, he reported her lying right "athwart
our fore-foot," and I even stopped the engine, on his report, and went
forward, myself, to look for her. She was nowhere to be seen. Now she was
bearing down upon our bow, and now upon our quarter. I was obliged to
degrade him, in the first ten minutes of the run; and, from that time,
onward, he never heard the last of the _Iroquois_. The young foretop-men,
in particular, whose duty it was to take the regular look-out aloft, and
who had become jealous of his being sent up to their stations, so often,
to make out sails, which they could give no account of, were never tired
of poking fun at him, and asking him about the _Iroquois_.

[Illustration: The Sumter running the Blockade of St. Pierre, Martinique,
by the enemy's ship, "Iroquois" on the 23d Nov. 1861.


The first half hour's run was a very anxious one for us, as the reader may
suppose. We could not know, of course, at what moment the _Iroquois_,
becoming sensible of her error, might retrace her steps. It was a marvel,
indeed, that she had not seen us. Our chimney was vomiting forth dense
volumes of black smoke, that ought to have betrayed us, even if our hull
had been invisible. I was quite relieved, therefore, as I saw the lights
of the town fading, gradually, in the distance, and no pursuer near; and
when a friendly rain squall overtook us, and enveloping us in its folds,
travelled along with us, for some distance, I felt assured that our run
had been a success. Coming up with the south end of the island of
Dominica, we hauled in for the coast, and ran along it, at a distance of
four or five miles. It was now half-past eleven, and the moon had risen.
The sea continued smooth, and nothing could exceed the beauty of that
night-scene, as we ran along this picturesque coast. The chief feature of
the landscape was its weird-like expression, and aspect of most profound
repose. Mountain, hill, and valley lay slumbering in the moonlight; no
living thing, except ourselves, and now and then, a coasting vessel close
in with the land, that seemed also to be asleep, being seen. Even the town
of Rousseau, whose white walls we could see shimmering in the moonlight,
seemed more like a city of the dead, than of the living. Not a solitary
light twinkled from a window. To add to the illusion, wreaths of mist lay
upon the mountain-sides, and overhung the valleys, almost as white, and
solemn looking as winding-sheets.

We came up with the north end of Dominica, at about two A. M., and a
notable change now took place, in the weather. Dense, black clouds rolled
up, from every direction, and amid the crashing, and rattling of thunder,
and rapid, and blinding lightning, the rain began to fall in torrents. I
desired to double the north end of the island, and to enable me to do
this, I endeavored, in sea phrase, to "hold on to the land." The weather
was so thick, and dark, at times, that we could scarcely see the length of
the ship, and we were obliged often to slow down, and even stop the
engine. For an hour or two, we literally groped our way, like a blind man;
an occasional flash of lightning being our only guide. Presently the water
began to whiten, and we were startled to find that we were running on
shore, in Prince Rupert's Bay, instead of having doubled the end of the
island, as we had supposed. We hauled out in a hurry. It was broad
daylight, before we were through the passage, when we were struck by a
strong northeaster, blowing almost a gale. I now drew aft the try-sail
sheets, and heading the ship to the N. N. W., went below and turned in,
after, as the reader has seen, an eventful night. The sailor has one
advantage over the soldier. He has always a dry hammock, and a comfortable
roof over his head; and the reader may imagine how I enjoyed both of these
luxuries, as stripping off my wet clothing, I consigned my weary head to
my pillow, and permitted myself to be sung to sleep by the lullaby chanted
by the storm.

We learned from the Yankee papers, subsequently captured, that the
_Dacotah_, one of the enemy's fast steam-sloops, of the class of the
_Iroquois_, arrived at St. Pierre, the day after we "left"--time enough to
condole with her consort, on the untoward event. In due time, Captain
Palmer was deprived of his command--the Naval Department of the Federal
Government obeying the insane clamors of the "unwashed," as often as heads
were called for.

The day after our escape from Martinique was Sunday, and we made it,
emphatically, a day of rest--even the Sunday muster being omitted, in
consideration of the crew having been kept up nearly all the preceding
night. I slept late, nothing having been seen to render it necessary to
call me. When I came on deck, the weather still looked angry, with a dense
bank of rain-clouds hanging over the islands we had left, and the stiff
northeaster blowing as freshly as before. We were now running by the
island of Deseada, distant about ten miles. At noon we observed in
latitude 16° 12', and, during the day, we showed the French colors to a
French bark, running for Guadeloupe, and to a Swedish brig standing in for
the islands. Being in the track of commerce, and the night being dark, we
carried, for the first time, our side-lights, to guard against collision.
It was a delightful sensation to breathe the free air of heaven, and to
feel the roll of the sea once more; and as I sat that evening, in the
midst of my officers, and smoked my accustomed cigar, I realized the sense
of freedom, expressed by the poet, in the couplet,--

  "Far as the breeze can bear, the billow foam,
  Survey our empire, and behold our home!"

We had no occasion, here, to discuss jurisdictions, or talk about marine
leagues; or be bothered by _Iroquois_, or bamboozled by French governors.

_Monday, November 25th._--Morning clear, with trade-clouds and a fresh
breeze. We are still holding on to our steam, and are pushing our way to
the eastward; my intention being to cross the Atlantic, and see what can
be accomplished in European waters. We may be able to exchange the
_Sumter_ for a better ship. At seven, this morning, we gave chase to a
Yankee-looking hermaphrodite brig. We showed her the United States colors,
and were disappointed to see her hoist the English red in reply. In the
afternoon, a large ship was descried running down in our direction. When
she approached sufficiently near, we hoisted again the United States
colors, and hove her to with a gun. As she rounded to the wind, in
obedience to the signal, the stars and stripes were run up to her peak.
The wind was blowing quite fresh, but the master and his papers were soon
brought on board, when it appeared that our prize was the ship
_Montmorency_, of Bath, Maine, from Newport, in Wales, and bound to St.
Thomas, with a cargo of coal, for the English mail-steamers rendezvousing
at that island. Her cargo being properly documented, as English property,
we could not destroy her, but put her under a ransom bond, for her
supposed value, and released her. We received on board from her, however,
some cordage and paints; and Captain Brown was civil enough to send me on
board, with his compliments, some bottles of port wine and a box of
excellent cigars. The master and crew were parolled, not to serve against
the Confederate States during the war, unless exchanged.

I began, now, to find that the Yankee masters, mates, and sailors rather
liked being parolled; they would sometimes remind us of it, if they
thought we were in danger of forgetting it. It saved them from being
conscripted, unless the enemy was willing first to exchange them; and
nothing went so hard with the enemy as to exchange a prisoner. With
cold-blooded cruelty, the enemy had already counted his chances of
success, as based upon the relative numbers of the two combatants, and
found that, by killing a given number of our prisoners by long
confinement--the same number of his being killed by us, by the same
process--he could beat us! In pursuance of this diabolical policy, he
threw every possible difficulty in the way of exchanges, and toward the
latter part of the war put a stop to them nearly entirely. Our prisons
were crowded with his captured soldiers. We were hard pressed for
provisions, and found it difficult to feed them, and we were even
destitute of medicines and hospital stores, owing to the barbarous nature
of the war that was being made upon us. Not even a bottle of quinine or an
ounce of calomel was allowed to cross the border, if the enemy could
prevent it. With a full knowledge of these facts, he permitted his
soldiers to sigh and weep away their lives in a hopeless captivity--coolly
"calculating," that one Confederate life was worth, when weighed in the
balance of final success, from three to four of the lives of his own men!

The enemy, since the war, has become alarmed at the atrocity of his
conduct, and at the judgment which posterity will be likely to pass upon
it, and has set himself at work, to falsify history, with his usual
disregard of truth. Committees have been raised, in the Federal Congress,
composed of unscrupulous partisans, whose sole object it was, to prepare
the false material, with which to mislead the future historian. Perjured
witnesses have been brought before these committees, and their testimony
recorded as truth. To show the partisan nature of these committees, when
it was moved by some member--Northern member, of course, for there are no
Southern members, at this present writing, in the Rump Parliament--to
extend the inquiry, so as to embrace the treatment of Southern prisoners,
in Northern prisons, the amendment was rejected! It was not the truth, but
falsehood that was wanted. Fortunately for the Southern people, there is
one little record which it is impossible to obliterate. _More men perished
in Northern prisons, where food and medicines were abundant, than in
Southern prisons, where they were deficient--and this, too, though the
South held the greater number of prisoners. See report of Secretary



The morning of the 26th of November dawned clear, with the wind more
moderate, and a smoother sea. A ship of war being seen to windward,
running down in our direction, we beat to quarters, and hoisted the U. S.
colors. She was a heavy ship, but being a sailing vessel, we had nothing
to fear, even if she should prove to be an enemy. Indeed, it would have
been only sport for us, to fall in with one of the enemy's old time
sailing-frigates. Our agile little steamer, with her single long-range
gun, could have knocked her into pie, as the printers say, before the
majestic old thing could turn round. It was in the morning watch, when
holystones and sand, and scrubbing-brushes and soap were the order of the
hour, and we surprised the stranger, consequently, in her morning
dishabille, for her rigging was filled with scrubbed hammocks, and a
number of well-filled clothes-lines were stretched between her main and
mizzen shrouds. She proved to be Spanish; and was steering apparently for
the island of Cuba. We observed to-day in latitude 20° 7'; the longitude,
as told by our faithful chronometer, being 57° 12'.

By the way, one of my amusements, now, was to wind and compare a number of
chronometers, daily. The nautical instruments were almost the only things,
except provisions, and clothing for the crew, that we could remove from
our prizes. I never permitted any other species of property to be brought
on board. We had no room for it, and could not have disposed of it, except
by violating the laws of neutral nations, and converting our ship into a
trader; neither one of which comported with the duties which I had in
hand, viz., the rapid destruction of the enemy's commerce. I should have
had no objection to receiving, on deposit, for safe keeping, any funds
that I might have found on board the said prizes, but the beggarly Yankee
masters never carried any. A few hundred dollars for ship's expenses was
all that was ever found, and sometimes not even this--the master having,
generally, an order on his consignee, for what moneys he might need. I
sometimes captured these orders, and a stray bill of exchange for a small
amount, but of course I could make no use of them. The steamship has not
only revolutionized commerce, and war, but exchanges. Long before the
arrival of the tardy sailing-ship, at her destined port, with her
ponderous cargo, the nimble mail-steamer deposits a duplicate of her
invoice, and bill of lading, with the merchant to whom she is consigned;
and when the ship has landed her cargo, the same, or another steamer,
takes back a bill of exchange, for the payment of the freight.

The masters of my prizes frequently remonstrated against my capturing
their chronometers; in some instances claiming them as their own
individual property. When they would talk to me about private property, I
would ask to whom their ships belonged--whether to a private person, or
the Government? They at once saw the drift of the question, and there was
an end of the argument. I was making war upon the enemy's commerce--and
especially upon the ship, the vehicle of commerce, and the means and
appliances by which she was navigated. If her chronometers, sextants,
telescopes, and charts were left in possession of the master, they would
be transferred to, and used in the navigation of some other ship. The fact
that these instruments belonged to other parties, than the ship-owners,
could not make the least difference--ship and instruments were all private
property, alike, and alike subject to capture. Silly newspaper editors
have published a good deal of nonsense, mixed with a good deal of malice,
on this subject. It is only their nonsense that I propose to
correct--their abuse was something to be expected under the circumstances.
Being dependent upon the patronage of ship-owners and ship-masters, for
the prosperity of their papers, abuse of the _Sumter_, during the war,
came as naturally to them, as whittling a stick.

No prisoner of mine was ever disturbed in the possession of his strictly
personal effects. Under this head were included his watch, and his
jewelry, as well as his wardrobe. Every boarding-officer had orders to
respect these, nor do I believe that the orders were ever violated. I will
not detain the reader to contrast this conduct, with the shameful
house-burnings, robberies, and pilferings, by both officers and men, that
accompanied the march of the enemy's armies, through the Southern States.
It would be well for human nature, if the record made by these men, lost
to every sense of manliness and shame, could be obliterated; but as the
wicked deeds of men live after them, our common history, and our common
race will long have to bear the disgrace of their acts.

Soon after passing the Spanish ship, sail ho! was cried from the
mast-head, in a sharp, energetic voice, as though the look-out had, this
time, scented real game. The chase was one of those well-known schooners,
twice before described in these pages, as being unmistakable--hence the
energy that had been thrown into the voice of the look-out. She soon came
in sight from the deck, when we gave chase. In a couple of hours we had
come up with, and hove her to, with a gun. She proved to be the _Arcade_,
from Portland, Me., with a load of staves, bound to Guadeloupe, where she
intended to exchange her staves for rum and sugar. The owner of the staves
had not thought it worth while to certify, that his property was neutral,
and so we had no difficulty with the papers. We had not made much of a
prize. The little craft was sailed too economically to afford us even a
spare barrel of provisions. The number of mouths on board were few, and
the rations had been carefully adjusted to the mouths. And so, having
nothing to transfer to the _Sumter_, except the master and crew, we
applied the torch to her, in a very few minutes. The staves being well
seasoned, she made a beautiful bonfire, and lighted us over the seas, some
hours after dark.

During the night, the wind lulled, and became variable, and we hauled down
the fore and aft sails, and brought the ship's head to the north-east. The
prize had no newspapers on board, but we learned from the master, that the
great naval expedition, which the enemy had been sometime in preparing,
and about which there had been no little mystery, had at last struck at
Port Royal, in South Carolina. An immense fleet of ships of war, with
thirty-three transports, and an army of 15,000 men, had been sent to
capture a couple of mud forts, armed with 24 and 32-pounders, and
garrisoned with three or four hundred raw troops. Our next batch of
newspapers from New York, brought us the despatches of Commodore Dupont,
the commander of this expedition, exceeding in volume anything that Nelson
or Collingwood had ever written. Plates, and diagrams showed how the
approaches had been buoyed, and the order of battle was described, with
minute prolixity. I cannot forbear giving to the reader, the names of the
ships, that participated in this great naval victory, with their loss in
killed and wounded, after an engagement that lasted four mortal hours. The
ships were the _Wabash_, the _Susquehanna_, the _Mohican_, the _Seminole_,
the _Pawnee_, the _Unadilla_, the _Ottawa_, the _Pembina_, the _Isaac
Smith_, the _Bienville_, the _Seneca_, the _Curlew_, the _Penguin_, the
_Augusta_, the _R. B. Forbes_, the _Pocahontas_, the _Mercury_, the
_Vandalia_, and the _Vixen_--total 19. The killed were 8--not quite half a
man apiece; and the seriously wounded 6!

_November 27th._--Morning thick, with heavy clouds and rain, clearing as
the day advanced. Afternoon clear, bright weather, with a deep blue sea,
and the trade-wind blowing half a gale from the north-east. At six P. M.,
put all sail on the ship, and let the steam go down. We had already
consumed half our fuel, and it became necessary to make the rest of our
way to Europe under sail. Our boilers had been leaking for several days,
and the engineer availed himself of the opportunity to repair them. The
weather is sensibly changing in temperature. We are in latitude 22° 22',
and the thermometer has gone down to 78°--for the first time, in five
months. We have crossed, to-day, the track of the homeward-bound ships,
both from the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Horn, but have seen no sail. We
cannot delay to cruise in this track, as we have barely water enough, on
board, to last us across the Atlantic.

_November 28th._--Weather changeable, and squally--wind frequently
shifting during the day, giving indications of our approach to the
northern limit Of the trade-wind, crossing which we shall pass into the

_November 29th._--Thick, ugly weather--this term ugly being very
expressive in the seaman's vocabulary. The wind is veering, as before,
blowing half a gale, all the time, and a cold rain is pouring down, at
intervals, causing the sailors to haul on their woollen jackets, and hunt
up their long-neglected sou'westers. We observed in latitude 25° 51'
to-day; the longitude being 57° 36'.

_November 30th._--The morning has dawned bright, and beautiful, with a
perfectly clear sky. The boisterous wind of yesterday has disappeared, and
we have nearly a calm--the sea wearing its darkest tint of azure. We are,
in fact, in the calm-belt of Cancer, and having no fuel to spare, we must
be content to creep through it under sail, as best we may. A sail has been
reported from aloft. It is a long way off, and we forbear to chase.

_December 1st._--Another beautiful, bright, morning, with a glassy sea,
and a calm. This being the first of the month, the sailors are drawing
their clothing, and "small stores" from the paymaster, under the
supervision of the officers of the different divisions. The paymaster's
steward is the shopman, on the occasion, and he is "serving" a jacket to
one, a shirt to another, and a pair of shoes to a third. His assortment is
quite varied, for besides the requisite clothing, he has tobacco, and
pepper, and mustard; needles, thimbles, tape, thread, and spool-cotton;
ribbons, buttons, jack-knives, &c. Jack is not allowed to indulge in all
these luxuries, _ad lib._ He is like a school-boy, under the care of his
preceptor; he must have his wants approved by the officer of the division
to which he belongs. To enable this officer to act understandingly, Jack
spreads out his wardrobe before him, every month. If he is deficient a
shirt, or a pair of trousers, he is permitted to draw them; if he has
plenty, and still desires more, his extravagance is checked. These
articles are all charged to him, at cost, with the addition of a small
percentage, to save the Government from loss. When the monthly
requisitions are all complete, they are taken to the Captain, for his
approval, who occasionally runs his pencil through a _third_, or a
_fourth_ pound of tobacco, when an inveterate old chewer, or smoker is
using the weed to excess; he rarely interferes in other respects. On the
present occasion, woollen garments are in demand; Jack, with a prudent
forethought, preparing himself for the approaching change in the climate.
Much of the clothing, which the sailor wears, is made up with his own
hands. He is entirely independent of the other sex, in this respect, and
soon becomes very expert with the needle.

The 3d of December brought us another prize. The wind was light from the
south-east, and the stranger was standing in our direction. This was
fortunate, as we might hope to capture him by stratagem, without the use
of steam. The _Sumter_, when not under steam, and with her smoke-stack
lowered, might be taken for a clumsy-looking bark. Throwing a spare sail
over the lowered smoke-stack, to prevent it from betraying us, we hoisted
the French flag, and stood on our course, apparently unconscious of the
approaching stranger. We were running free, with the starboard
studding-sails set, and when the stranger, who, by this time, had hoisted
the United States colors, crossed our bows, we suddenly took in all the
studding-sails, braced sharp up, tacked, and fired a gun, at the same
moment. The stranger at once hauled up his courses, and backed his
main-topsail. He was already under our guns. The clumsy appearance of the
_Sumter_, and the French flag had deceived him. The prize proved to be the
_Vigilant_, a fine new ship, from Bath, Maine, bound to the guano island
of Sombrero, in the West Indies; some New Yorkers having made a lodgment
on this barren little island, and being then engaged in working it for
certain phosphates of lime, which they called mineral guano. We captured a
rifled 9-pounder gun, with a supply of fixed ammunition, on board the
_Vigilant_, and some small arms. We fired the ship at three P. M., and
made sail on our course. The most welcome part of this capture was a large
batch of New York newspapers, as late as the 21st of November. The Yankees
of that ilk had heard of the blockade of the "Pirate _Sumter_," by the
_Iroquois_, but they hadn't heard of Captain Palmer's rueful breakfast on
the morning of the 24th of November.

These papers brought us a graphic description of the gallant ram exploit,
of Commodore Hollins, of the Confederate Navy, at the mouth of the
Mississippi, on the 12th of October. This exploit is remarkable as being
the first practical application of the iron-clad ram to the purposes of
war. Some ingenious steamboat-men, in New Orleans, with the consent of the
Navy Department, had converted the hull of a steam-tug into an iron-clad,
by means of bars of railroad iron fastened to the hull of the boat, and to
a frame-work above the deck fitted to receive them; a stout iron prow
being secured to the bow of the boat, several feet below the water-line.
In this curious nondescript, which the enemy likened to a smoking
mud-turtle, the gallant Commodore assaulted the enemy's fleet, lying at
the old anchorage of the _Sumter_, at the "Head of the Passes," consisting
of the _Richmond_, _Vincennes_, _Preble_, and _Water Witch_. The assault
was made at four o'clock in the morning, and caused great consternation
and alarm among the enemy. The _Richmond_, lying higher up the Pass than
the other ships, was first assaulted--some of her planks being started,
below the water-line, by the concussion of the ram, though the blow was
broken by a coal-schooner, which, fortunately for her, was lying
alongside. As the ram drew off, a broadside of the _Richmond's_ guns was
fired into her, without effect. After this harmless broadside, the ships
all got under way, in great haste, and fled down the Pass, the ram
pursuing them, but Hollins was unable, from the effect of the current, and
the speed of the fleeing ships, to get another blow at them. The
_Richmond_ and the _Vincennes_ grounded, for a short time, on the bar, in
their hurry to get out, but the former was soon got afloat again. In the
confusion and panic of the moment, the _Vincennes_ was abandoned by her
captain, who left a slow match burning. Commodore Hollins, finding that
nothing more could be accomplished, threw a few shells at the alarmed
fleet, and withdrew. The _Vincennes_, not blowing up, and the enemy
recovering from his panic, her captain was ordered to return to her, and
she was finally saved with the rest of the fleet. This little experiment
was the _avant courier_ of a great change, in naval warfare--especially
for harbor and coast defence. The enemy, with his abundant resources,
greatly improved upon it, and his "monitor" system was the result.

_December 4th._--Weather clear, and becoming cool--thermometer, 76°. We
have run some 140 miles to the eastward, during the last twenty-four
hours, under sail, and as we are dragging our propeller through the water,
I need not tell the reader what a smacking breeze we have had. It is
delightful to be making so much easting, under sail, after having been
buffeted so spitefully, by the east wind, for the last five months,
whenever we have turned our head in that direction. Ten of the crew of the
_Vigilant_ are blacks, and as our ship is leaking so badly that the
constant pumping is fagging to the crew, I have set the blacks at the
pumps, with their own consent. The fact is, some of these fellows, who are
runaway slaves, have already recognized "master," and whenever I pass
them, grin pleasantly, and show the whites of their eyes. They are
agreeably disappointed, that they are not "drawn, hung, and quartered,"
and rather enjoy the change to the _Sumter_, where they have plenty of
time to bask in the sun, and the greasiest of pork and beans without
stint. In arranging the _Vigilant's_ crew into messes, a white bean and a
black bean have been placed, side by side, at the mess-cloth, my first
lieutenant naturally concluding, that the white sailors of the Yankee ship
would like to be near their colored brethren. Cæsar and Pompey, having an
eye to fun, enjoy this arrangement hugely, and my own crew are not a
little amused, as the boatswain pipes to dinner, to see the gravity with
which the darkies take their seats by the side of their white comrades.
This was the only mark of "citizenship," however, which I bestowed upon
these sons of Ham. I never regarded them as prisoners of war--always
discharging them, when the other prisoners were discharged, without
putting them under parole.

_December 5th._--Weather thick and ugly--the wind hauling to the north,
and blowing very fresh for a while. Reefed the topsails. At noon, the
weather was so thick, that no observations could be had for fixing the
position of the ship--latitude, by dead reckoning, 30° 19'; longitude 53°
02'. During the afternoon and night, it blew a gale from N. E. to E. N. E.
Furled the mainsail, and set the reefed trysail instead; and the wind
still increasing, before morning we hauled up and furled the foresail. For
the next two or three days, we had a series of easterly gales, compelling
me to run somewhat farther north than I had intended. We carried very
short sail, and most of the time we were shut down below--that is, such of
the crew as were not on watch--with tarpaulin-covered hatches, and a cold,
driving rain falling almost incessantly. What with the howling of the
gale, as it tears through the rigging, the rolling and pitching of the
ship, in the confused, irregular sea, and the jog, jog, jog of the pumps,
through half the night, I have had but little rest.

_December 8th._--This is an anniversary with me. On this day, fifteen
years ago, the United States brig-of-war _Somers_, of which I was the
commander, was capsized and sunk, off Vera Cruz, having half her crew, of
120 officers and men, drowned. It occurred during the Mexican war. I was
left alone to blockade the port of Vera Cruz--Commodore Connor, the
commander of the squadron, having gone with his other ships on an
expedition to Tampico. There being every appearance of a norther on that
eventful morning, I was still at my anchors, under _Isla Verde_, or Green
Island, where I had sought refuge the preceding night. Suddenly a sail was
reported, running down the northern coast, as though she would force the
blockade. It would never do to permit this; and so the little
_Somers_--these ten-gun brigs were called coffins in that day--was gotten
under way, and under her topsails and courses, commenced beating up the
coast, to intercept the stranger. I had gone below, for a moment, when the
officer of the deck, coming to the companion-way, called to me, and said
that "the water looked black and roughened ahead, as though more wind than
usual was coming." I sprang upon deck, and saw, at the first glance, that
a norther was upon us. I immediately ordered everything clewed down and
brailed up, but before the order could be executed, the gale came sweeping
on with the fury of a whirlwind, and in less time than I have been
describing the event, the little craft was thrown on her beam-ends, her
masts and sails lying flat upon the surface of the sea, and the water
pouring in at every hatchway and scuttle. I clambered to the weather side
of the ship, and seeing that she must go down in a few minutes, set my
first lieutenant at work to extricate the only boat that was
available--the weather-quarter boat, all the others being submerged--from
her fastenings, to save as much life as possible. This was fortunately
done, and the boat being put in charge of a midshipman, the non-combatant
officers, as the surgeon and paymaster; the midshipmen, and such of the
boys of the ship as could not swim, were permitted to get into her. So
perfect was the discipline, though death, within the next ten minutes,
stared every man in the face, that there was no rush for this boat. A
large man was even ordered out of her, to make room for two lads, who
could not swim, and he obeyed the order as a matter of course! This boat
having shoved off from the sinking ship, the order was given, "Every man
save himself, who can!" whereupon there was a simultaneous plunge into the
now raging sea, of a hundred men and more, each struggling for his life.
The ship sank out of sight in a moment afterward. We were in twenty
fathoms of water. Divesting myself of all my clothing, except my shirt and
drawers, I plunged into the sea with the rest, and, being a good swimmer,
struck out for and reached a piece of grating, which had floated away from
the ship as she went down. Swimming along, with one arm resting on this
grating, I felt one of my feet touch something, and, at the same moment,
heard a voice exclaiming, "It is I, Captain; it is Parker, the second
lieutenant--give me a part of your grating, I am a good swimmer, and we
shall get along the better together." I, accordingly, shared my grating
with Parker, and we both struck out, manfully, for the shore, distant no
more than about a mile; but, unfortunately, the now raging gale was
sweeping down parallel with the coast, and we were compelled to swim at
right angles with the waves and the wind, if we would save ourselves; for
once swept past the coast of the island, and the open sea lay before us,
whence there was no rescue!

As we would rise upon the top of a wave, and get a view of the "promised
land," the reader may imagine how anxious our consultations were, as to
whether we were gaining, or losing ground! In the meantime, the boat,
which had shoved off from the ship, as described, had reached the island,
half-swamped, and discharging her passengers, and freeing herself from
water as soon as possible, pushed out again into the raging caldron of
waters, under the gallant midshipman, who had charge of her, in the
endeavor to rescue some of the drowning crew. She came, by the merest
accident, upon Parker and myself! We were hauled into her more dead than
alive, and after she had picked up two, or three others--all that could
now be seen--she again returned to the shore. My first lieutenant, Mr. G.
L. Claiborne, was saved, as by a miracle, being dashed on shore--he having
struck out, in the opposite direction, for the mainland--between two
ledges of rock, separated only by a span of sand beach. If he had been
driven upon the rocks, instead of the beach, he must have been instantly
dashed in pieces. The reader will, perhaps, pardon me, for having
remembered these eventful scenes of my life, as I wrote in my journal, on
board the leaky little _Sumter_, amid the howling of another gale, _the_
"_eighth day of December_."

On _this_ eighth day of December, 1861, however, the record is very
different, it being as follows: "At ten A. M. descried a sail from the
deck, startlingly close to; so thick has been the weather. The stranger
being a bark, taunt-rigged, with sky-sail poles, and under top-sails, we
mistook him at first for a cruiser, and raised our smoke-stack, and
started the fires in the furnaces. Having done this, we approached him
somewhat cautiously, keeping the weather-gauge of him, and showed him the
United States colors. He soon hoisted the same. Getting a nearer view of
him, we now discovered him to be a whaler. The engineer at once
discontinued his "firing up," and the smoke-stack was again lowered, to
its accustomed place. Upon being boarded, the bark proved to be the _Eben.
Dodge_, twelve days out, from New Bedford, and bound on a whaling voyage
to the Pacific Ocean. She had experienced a heavy gale, had sprung some of
her spars, and was leaking badly--hence the easy sail she had been under.
Although the sea was still very rough, and the weather lowering, we got on
board from the prize, some water, and provisions, clothing, and small
stores. The supply of pea-jackets, whalers' boots, and flannel
over-shirts, which our paymaster had been unable to procure in the West
Indies, was particularly acceptable to us, battling, as we now were, with
the gales of the North Atlantic, in the month of December. We brought
away from her, also, two of her fine whale-boats, so valuable in rough
weather; making room for them on deck, by the side of the _Sumter's_
launch. The crew of the _Dodge_, consisting of twenty-two persons, made a
considerable addition to our small community. We fired the prize at
half-past six, P. M., as the shades of evening were closing in, and made
sail on our course. The flames burned red and lurid in the murky
atmosphere, like some Jack-o'-lantern; now appearing, and now
disappearing, as the doomed ship rose upon the top, or descended into the
abyss of the waves.

Having now forty-three prisoners on board, and there never being, at one
time, so many of the _Sumter's_ crew on watch, it became necessary for me
to think of precautions. It would be easy for forty-three courageous men,
to rise upon a smaller number, sleeping carelessly about the decks, and
wrest from them the command of the ship. Hitherto I had given the
prisoners the run of the ship, putting no more restrictions upon them,
than upon my own men, but this could no longer be. I therefore directed my
first lieutenant to put one-half of the prisoners in single irons--that
is, with manacles on the wrists only--alternately, for twenty-four hours
at a time. The prisoners, themselves, seeing the necessity of this
precaution, submitted cheerfully to the restraint--for as such only they
viewed it--and not as an indignity.

We received another supply of late newspapers, by the _Dodge_. They were
still filled with jubilations over Dupont's great naval victory. We
learned, too, that New England had been keeping, with more than usual
piety and pomp, the great National festival of "Thanksgiving," which the
Puritan has substituted for the Christian Christmas. The pulpit thundered
war and glory, the press dilated upon the wealth and resources of the
Universal Yankee _Nation_, and hecatombs of fat pigs and turkeys fed the
hungry multitudes--pulpit, press, pig, and turkey, all thanking God, that
the Puritan is "not like unto other men."

_December 10th._--The weather remains still unsettled. The wind, during
the last five or six days, has gone twice around the compass, never
stopping in the west, but lingering in the east. The barometer has been in
a constant state of fluctuation, and there will, doubtless, be a grand
climax before the atmosphere regains its equilibrium. These easterly
winds are retarding our passage very much, and taxing our patience.
Observed, to-day, in latitude 32° 39'; the longitude being 49° 57'.

The next day, the weather culminated, sure enough, in a gale. The
barometer began to settle, in the morning watch, and dense black clouds,
looking ragged and windy, soon obscured the sun, and spread an ominous
pall over the entire heavens. I at once put the ship under easy sail; that
is to say, clewed up everything but the topsails and trysails, and awaited
the further progress of the storm. The wind was as yet light, but the
barometer, which had stood at 29° 70' at eight o'clock, had fallen to 29°
59' by two P. M. The dense canopy of clouds now settled lower and lower,
circumscribing more and more our horizon, and presently fitful gusts of
wind would strike the sails, pressing the ship over a little. It was time
to reef. All hands were turned up, and the close reefs were taken, both in
topsails and trysails; the jib hauled down and stowed, and the top-gallant
yards sent down from aloft. The squalls increasing in frequency and force,
the gale became fully developed by three P. M. The wind, which we first
took from about E. S. E., backed to the N. E., but did not remain long in
that quarter, returning to east. It now began to blow furiously from this
latter quarter, the squalls being accompanied by a driving, blinding rain;
the barometer going down, ominously down, all the while.

As the night closed in, an awful scene presented itself. The aspect of the
heavens was terrific. The black clouds overhead were advancing and
retreating like squadrons of opposing armies, whilst loud peals of
thunder, and blinding flashes of lightning that would now and then run
down the conductor, and hiss as they leaped into the sea, added to the
elemental strife. A streaming scud, which you could almost touch with your
hand, was meanwhile hurrying past, screeching and screaming, like so many
demons, as it rushed through the rigging. The sea was mountainous, and
would now and then strike the little _Sumter_ with such force as to make
her tremble in every fibre of her frame. I had remained on deck during
most of the first watch, looking anxiously on, to see what sort of weather
we were going to make. The ship behaved nobly, but I had no confidence in
her strength. Her upper works, in particular, were very defective. Her
bends, above the main deck, were composed of light pine stanchions and
inch plank, somewhat strengthened in the bows. Seeing the fury of the
gale, and that the barometer was still settling, I went below about
midnight, and turned in to get a little rest, with many misgivings. I had
scarcely fallen into an uneasy slumber, when an old quartermaster, looking
himself like the demon of the storm, with his dishevelled hair and beard
dripping water, and his eyes blinking in the light of his lantern, shook
my cot, and said, "We've stove in the starboard bow-port, sir, and the
gun-deck is all afloat with water!" Here was what I had feared; unless we
could keep the water out of the between-decks, all the upper works, and
the masts along with them, would be gone in a trice. I hurried at once to
the scene of disaster, but before I could reach it, my energetic and
skilful first lieutenant had already, by the aid of some planks and spare
spars, erected a barricade that would be likely to answer our purpose.

The gale lulled somewhat in an hour or two afterward, and I now got some
sleep. I was on deck again, however, at daylight. The same thick gloom
overspread the heavens, the scud was flying as furiously, and as low as
before, and the gale was raging as fiercely as ever. But we had one great
comfort, and that was _daylight_. We could see the ship and the
heavens--there was nothing else visible--and this alone divested the gale
of half its terrors. At last, at six A. M., the barometer reached its
lowest point, 29.32, which, in the latitude we were in, was a very low
barometer. Any one who has watched a barometer under similar
circumstances, will understand the satisfaction with which I saw the
little tell-tale begin to rise. It whispered to me as intelligibly as if
it had been a living thing, "the gale is broken!" We had been lying to,
all this time, under a close-reefed main-topsail. We now bore up under a
reefed foresail, and kept the ship on her course, east by south. She
scudded as beautifully as she had lain to, darting ahead like an arrow, on
the tops of the huge waves that followed her like so many hungry wolves,
and shaking the foam and spray from her bows, as if in disdain and
contempt of the lately howling storm.

_December 13th._--Weather clear, with passing clouds. Wind fresh from the
south-west, but abating, with a rapidly rising barometer. The cyclone, for
such evidently the late gale was, had a diameter of from three hundred and
fifty to four hundred miles. We took it in its northern hemisphere--the
gale travelling north. Hence it passed over us in nearly its entire
diameter--the vortex at no great distance from us. Observed in latitude
33° 28'; the longitude being 47° 03'. Repairing damages. The ship leaks so
badly as to require to be pumped out twice in each watch. During the
heaviest of the gale, the masters and mates of the captured ships offered
their services, like gallant men, to assist in taking care of the ship. We
thanked them, but were sufficiently strong-handed ourselves.

_December 14th._--We had an alarm of fire on the berth deck last night.
The fire-bell, sounded suddenly in a sleeping city, has a startling effect
upon the aroused sleepers, but he who has not heard it, can have no
conception of the knell-like sound of the cry of fire! shouted from the
lungs of an alarmed sailor on board a ship, hundreds of miles away from
any land. It is the suddenness with which the idea of danger presents
itself, quite as much as the extent of the danger, which intimidates.
Hence the panics which often ensue, when a ship is discovered to be on
fire. Ships of war, as a rule, are not the subjects of panics. Discipline
keeps all the passions and emotions under control, as well those which
arise from fear, as from lawlessness. We had no panic on board the
_Sumter_, although appearances were sufficiently alarming for a few
moments. A smoke was suddenly seen arising through one of the ventilators
forward, in the dead hour of the night, when except the sentry's lantern
and the lamp in the binnacle, there should be no other fire in the ship.
The midshipman of the watch, upon rushing below, found one of the
prisoners' mattresses on fire. The flames were soon smothered, and the
whole danger was over before the ship's crew were fairly aroused. Some
prisoner, in violation of orders, had lighted his pipe for a smoke, after
hours, and probably gone to sleep with it in his mouth. The prisoner could
not be identified, but there were two sentinels on post, and these in due
time paid the penalty of their neglect.



The punishment administered to the two delinquent sentinels mentioned in
the last chapter, had the most salutary effect. Seamen are very much like
children, requiring the reins to be tightened upon them from time to time.
I made it a rule on board the _Sumter_, that punishment should follow the
offence, with _promptitude_, and _certainty_, rather than severity; and
this excellent rule had already performed marvels, in the matter of
disciplining my ship.

_Sunday, December 15th._--A fine bright morning, with a moderate breeze
from the north-west, and the weather just cool enough to be delightfully
bracing. We mustered the crew this morning, and read the articles of war
for the first time in three weeks, owing to the bad weather. I did not
inspect the ship below, according to custom, the sea being still rough,
and the water ankle-deep on the gun-deck in consequence. Our new prisoners
always looked upon the muster ceremonies on board the _Sumter_, with
curiosity, as though they were surprised to find so much order and
discipline, and so much attention to dress and ceremony, on board the
"pirate" of which they had read, and whose "cut" they had so often
admired, in their truth-loving and truth-telling newspapers. The latitude,
to-day, is 34°, and the longitude 42° 05'.

We were quite surprised to find so much bad weather in the parallel, on
which we were crossing the Atlantic. I had purposely chosen this parallel,
that my little cock-boat of a ship might not be knocked in pieces, by the
storms of the North Atlantic, and yet the reader has seen how roughly we
have been handled. Nor were the fates more propitious for the next few
days. Gale followed gale, with angry skies, and cloud and rain; there
sometimes being lightning around the entire horizon, with now rolling, now
crashing thunder. I had intended when I left the West Indies to touch at
Fayal, in the Azores, for coal and water, but I found these islands so
guarded and defended, by the Genius of the storm, that it would require
several days of patience and toil, to enable me to reach an anchorage in
one of them. I therefore determined to pass them, and haul up for the
southern coast of Spain, running finally into Cadiz.

Christmas day was passed by us on the lonely sea, in as doleful a manner
as can well be conceived. The weather is thus described in my journal.
"Thermometer 63°; barometer 29.80. Heavy rain squalls--weather dirty, with
lightning all around the horizon, indicating a change of wind at any
moment. Under short sail during the night." The only other record of the
day was that we "spliced the main brace;" that is, gave Jack an extra
glass of grog. Groups of idle sailors lay about the decks, "overhauling a
range of their memories;" how they had spent the last Christmas-day, in
some "Wapping," or "Wide Water street," with the brimming goblet in hand,
and the merry music of the dance sounding in their ears. Nor were the
memories of the officers idle. They clasped in fancy their loved ones, now
sad and lonely, to their bosoms once more, and listened to the prattle of
the little ones they had left behind. Not the least curious of the changes
that had taken place since the last Christmas day, was the change in their
own official positions. They were, most of them, on that day, afloat under
the "old flag." That flag now looked to them strange and foreign. They had
some of their own countrymen on board; not, as of yore, as welcome
visitors, but as prisoners. These, too, wore a changed aspect--enemy,
instead of friend, being written upon their faces. The two "rival
nations," spoken of by De Tocqueville, stood face to face. Nature is
stronger than man. She will not permit her laws to be violated with
impunity, and if this war does not separate these _two nations_, other
wars will. If we succeed in preserving the principle of State
sovereignty--the only principle which can save this whole country, North
and South, from utter wreck and ruin--all will be well, whatever
combinations of particular States may be made, from time to time. The
States being free, liberty will be saved, and they will gravitate
naturally, like unto like--the Puritan clinging to the Puritan, and the
Cavalier to the Cavalier. But if this principle be overthrown, if the mad
idea be carried out, that all the American people must be moulded into a
common mass, and form one consolidated government, under the rule of a
_majority_--for no constitution will then restrain them--Constitutional
liberty will disappear, and no man can predict the future--except in so
far, that it is impossible for the Puritan, and the Cavalier to live
together in peace.

On the next day, we witnessed a curious natural illusion. The look-out
called land ho! from the mast-head. The officer of the watch saw the land
at the same time from the deck, and sent a midshipman below to inform me
that we had made "high land, right ahead." I came at once upon deck, and
there, sure enough, was the land--a beautiful island, with its blue
mountains, its plains, its wood-lands, its coast, all perfect. It was
afternoon. The weather had been stormy, but had partially cleared. The sun
was near his setting, and threw his departing rays full upon the newly
discovered island, hanging over it, as a symbol that, for a time, there
was to be a truce with the storm, a magnificent rainbow. So beautiful was
the scene, and so perfect the illusion--there being no land within a
couple of hundred miles of us--that all the crew had come on deck to
witness it; and there was not one of them who would not have bet a month's
pay that what he looked upon was a reality.

The chief engineer was standing by me looking upon the supposed landscape,
with perfect rapture. Lowering the telescope through which I had been
viewing it, I said to him, "You see, now, Mr. F., how often men are
deceived. You would no doubt swear that that is land." "Why should I not,
sir?" said he. "Simply," rejoined I, "because it is Cape Fly-away." He
turned and looked at me with astonishment, as though I were quizzing him,
and said, "You surely do not mean to say, Captain, that that is not land;
it is not possible that one's senses can be so much deceived." "Like
yourself, I should have sworn it was land, if I did not know, from the
position of the ship, that there is no land within a couple of hundred
miles of us." Reaching out his hand for my glass, I gave it to him, and as
he viewed the island through it, I was much amused at his ejaculations of
admiration, now at this beauty, and now at that. "Why," said he, "there is
the very coast, sand beach and all, with beautiful bays and indentations,
as though inviting the _Sumter_ to run in and anchor." As the sun sank
lower and lower, withdrawing now one ray, and now another, first the
rainbow began to disappear, and then the lower strata of the island to
grow a little gray, and then the upper, until, as the sun dipped, the
whole gorgeous fabric, of mountain, woodland, plain, and coast, was
converted into a leaden-colored cloud-bank. The engineer handing me my
glass, said, "Captain, I will be a cautious witness hereafter, in a court
of justice, when I am questioned as to a fact, which has only been
revealed to me through a single sense." "I see," I replied, "that you are
becoming a philosopher. Many metaphysicians have maintained that all
nature is a mere phantasmagoria, so far as our senses are capable of
informing us."

For the last two weeks, we had been crossing a desert tract of the ocean,
where a sail is seldom seen. We now began to approach one of the beaten
highways, over which a constant stream of travel is passing--the road
leading from the various ports of Europe to the equator and the coast of
Brazil, and thence east and west, as may be the destination of the

_December 28th._--A fine, bright day, with the wind light from the
south-west. At daylight, "Sail ho!" came ringing from the mast-head. The
sail crossing our bows, we took in our studding-sails, hauled up
south-east, to intercept her, and got up steam. Our latitude being 35°
17', and longitude 20° 53', we were within striking distance of Cadiz or
Gibraltar, and could afford now to use a little steam. The chase did not
reward us, however, as she proved to be English--being the ship
_Richibucto_, from Liverpool, for Vera Cruz, laden with salt. We received
from her some English newspapers, which gave us several items of
interesting intelligence. All England was in mourning for the death of
Prince Albert. The _Trent_ affair was causing great excitement, and the
Confederate States steamer _Nashville_, Captain Pegram, had arrived at
Southampton, having burned a large Yankee ship, the _Harvey Birch_. This
ship having been burned in the English Channel, much attention was
attracted to the act; especially as the ship was tea-laden, and supposed
to be worth near half a million of dollars.

The next day was rainy, with a light wind from the south-east. Only two
sails were seen, and to neither of them did we give chase; but on the
morning of the 30th of December, we fell in with a perfect stream of
ships. "Sail ho!" was shouted at daylight from the mast-head, and repeated
at short intervals, until as many as twenty-five were reported. We at once
got up steam, and commenced chasing; but though we chased diligently, one
ship after another, from eight o'clock in the morning until four in the
afternoon, we did not overhaul a single ship of the enemy! We actually
boarded sixteen sail, a number of others showing us their colors. The
ships boarded were of the following nationalities:--Four Dutch, seven
English, two French, one Swedish, one Prussian, one Hamburg. Here was
quite a representation of the nations of Europe, and I amused myself
taking the vote of these ships, according to our American fashion, upon
the war. Their sentiments were elicited as follows:--I would first show
them the United States colors, pretending to be a Federal cruiser; I would
then haul down these colors, and show them the Confederate flag. The
result was that but one ship--the Prussian--saluted the United States
flag, and that all the other ships, with one or two exceptions, saluted
the Confederate States flag. We were then beating the enemy, and the
nations of the earth were worshipping success.

So large a fleet of ships--not being a convoy--so far out at sea, was
quite a curiosity, and may serve to show the landsman how accurately we
have mapped out, upon the ocean, the principal highways of commerce.
There were no mile-posts on the road these ships were travelling, it is
true, but the road was none the less "blazed" out, for all that--the
blazes being on the wind and current charts. The night succeeding this
busy day set in cloudy and ugly, with a fresh breeze blowing from the
eastward; and so continuous was the stream of ships, all sailing in the
contrary direction from ourselves, that we had serious apprehensions of
being run over. To guard against this, we set our side-lights, and
stationed extra look-outs. Several ships passed us during the night,
hurrying forward on the wings of the wind, at a rapid rate, and sometimes
coming so close, in the darkness, as almost to make one's hair stand on
end. The next morning the weather became clear and beautiful, and the
stream of ships had ceased.

The reader may be curious to know the explanation of this current of
ships. It is simple enough. They were all Mediterranean ships. At the
strait of Gibraltar there is a constant current setting into the
Mediterranean. This current is of considerable strength, and the
consequence is, that when the wind also sets into the strait--that is to
say, when it is from the westward--it is impossible for a sailing-ship to
get out of the strait into the Atlantic. She is obliged to come to anchor
in the bay of Gibraltar, and wait for a change of wind. This is sometimes
a long time in coming--the westerly winds continuing here, not
unfrequently, two and three weeks at a time. As a matter of course, a
large number of ships collect in the bay, waiting for an opportunity of
exit. I have seen as many as a hundred sail at one time. In a few hours
after a change of wind takes place, this immense fleet will all be under
way, and such of them as are bound to the equator and the coast of Brazil,
the United States, West Indies, and South America, will be found
travelling the blazed road of which I have spoken; some taking the forks
of the road, at their respective branching-off places, and others keeping
the main track to the equator. Hence the exodus the reader has witnessed.

Perhaps the reader needs another explanation--how it was, that amid all
that fleet of ships, there was not one Yankee. This explanation is almost
as easy as the other. Commerce is a sensitive plant, and at the rude
touch of war it had contracted its branches. The enemy was fast losing his
Mediterranean trade, under the operation of high premiums for war risks.

We began now to observe a notable change in the weather, as affected by
the winds. Along the entire length of the American coast, the clear winds
are the west winds, the rain-winds being the east winds. Here the rule is
reversed; the west winds bringing us rains, and the east winds clear
weather. The reason is quite obvious. The east winds, sweeping over the
continent of Europe, have nearly all of their moisture wrung out of them
before they reach the sea; hence the dryness of these winds, when they
salute the mariner cruising along the European coasts. Starting now from
the European seas as dry winds, they traverse a large extent of water
before they reach the coasts of the United States. During the whole of
this travel, these thirsty winds are drinking their fill from the sea, and
by the time they reach Portland or Boston, they are heavily laden with
moisture, which they now begin to let down again upon the land. Hence,
those long, gloomy, rainy, rheumatic, easterly storms, that prevail along
our coast in the fall and winter months. The reader has now only to take
up the west wind, as it leaves the Pacific Ocean, as a wet wind, and
follow it across the American continent, and see how dry the mountains
wring it before it reaches the Atlantic, to see why it should bring us
fair weather. The change was very curious to us at first, until we became
a little used to it.

Another change was quite remarkable, and that was the great difference in
temperature which we experienced with reference to latitude. Here we were,
in midwinter, or near it, off the south coast of Spain, in latitude 36°,
nearly that of Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay, and
unless the weather was wet, we had not felt the necessity of a pea-jacket.
Whence this difference? The cause, or causes, whatever they are, must, of
course, be local; for other things being equal, the heat should be the
same, on the same parallel of latitude, all around the globe which we
inhabit. Captain Matthew F. Maury, of the late Confederate States' Navy,
to whom all nations accord, as by common consent, the title of
Philosopher of the Seas, accounts for this difference of temperature in
the following manner: "Modern ingenuity has suggested a beautiful mode of
warming houses in winter. It is done by means of hot water. The furnace
and the caldron are sometimes placed at a distance from the apartment to
be warmed. It is so at the Observatory. In this case, pipes are used to
conduct the heated water from the caldron under the Superintendent's
dwelling, over into one of the basement rooms of the Observatory, a
distance of one hundred feet. These pipes are then flared out, so as to
present a large cooling surface; after which they are united into one
again, through which the water, being now cooled, returns of its own
accord to the caldron. Thus, cool water is returning all the time, and
flowing in at the bottom of the caldron, while hot water is continually
flowing out at the top. The ventilation of the Observatory is so arranged
that the circulation of the atmosphere through it is led from this
basement room, where the pipes are, to all parts of the building; and in
the process of this circulation, the warmth conveyed by the water to the
basement, is taken thence by the air; and distributed all over the rooms.

"Now, to compare small things with great, we have, in the warm waters
which are confined in the Gulf of Mexico, just such a heating apparatus
for Great Britain, the North Atlantic, and Western Europe. The furnace is
the torrid zone; the Mexican Gulf and Caribbean Sea are the caldrons; the
Gulf Stream is the conducting-pipe. From the Grand Banks of New Foundland
to the shores of Europe is the basement--the hot-air chambers--in which
this pipe is flared out so as to present a large cooling surface. Here the
circulation of the atmosphere is arranged by nature, and it is such that
the warmth conveyed into this warm-air chamber of mid-ocean is taken up by
the genial west winds, and dispensed in the most benign manner, throughout
Great Britain and the west of Europe. The maximum temperature of the
water-heated air-chamber of the Observatory, is about 90°. The maximum
temperature of the Gulf Stream is 86°, or about 9° in excess of the ocean
temperature due the latitude. Increasing its latitude, 10°, it loses but
2° of temperature; and after having run three thousand miles toward the
north, it still preserves, even in winter, the heat of summer.

"With this temperature it crosses the 40th degree of North latitude, and
there, overflowing its liquid banks, it spreads itself out for thousands
of square leagues over the cold waters around, and covers the ocean with a
mantle of warmth that serves so much to mitigate in Europe, the rigors of
winter. Moving now slowly, but dispensing its genial influences more
freely, it finally meets the British Islands. By these it is divided, one
part going into the polar basin of Spitzbergen, the other entering the Bay
of Biscay, but each with a warmth considerably above the ocean
temperature. Such an immense volume of heated water cannot fail to carry
with it beyond the seas a mild and moist atmosphere. And this it is which
so much softens climates there. We know not, except approximately in one
or two places, what the depth or the under temperature of the Gulf Stream
may be; but assuming the temperature and velocity, at the depth of two
hundred fathoms to be those of the surface, and taking the well-known
difference between the capacity of air, and of water for specific heat as
the argument, a simple calculation will show that the quantity of heat
discharged over the Atlantic from the waters of the Gulf Stream in a
winter's day would be sufficient to raise the whole column of atmosphere
that rests upon France, and the British Islands from the freezing-point to
summer heat. Every west wind that blows, crosses the stream on its way to
Europe, and carries with it a portion of this heat to temper there the
northern winds of winter. It is the influence of this stream upon
climates, that makes Erin the 'Emerald Isle of the Sea,' and that clothes
the shores of Albion in evergreen robes; while in the same latitude on
this side, the coasts of Labrador are fast bound in fetters of ice."

To pursue Captain Maury's theory a little farther: the flow of tepid
waters does not cease at the Bay of Biscay, but continues along the coasts
of Spain and Portugal, thence along the coast of Africa, past Madeira and
the Canaries, to the Cape de Verdes; where it joins the great equatorial
current flowing westward, with which it returns again into the Gulf of
Mexico. The _Sumter_, being between Madeira and the coast of Spain, was
within its influence. One word before I part with my friend Maury. In
common with thousands of mariners all over the world, I owe him a debt of
gratitude, for his gigantic labors in the scientific fields of our
profession; for the sailor may claim the philosophy of the seas as a part
of his profession. A knowledge of the winds and the waves, and the laws
which govern their motions is as necessary to the seaman as is the art of
handling his ship, and to no man so much as to Maury is he indebted for a
knowledge of these laws. Other distinguished co-laborers, as Reid,
Redfield, Espy, have contributed to the science, but none in so eminent a
degree. They dealt in specialties--as, for instance, the storm--but he has
grasped the whole science of meteorology--dealing as well in the
meteorology of the water, if I may use the expression, as in that of the

A Tennesseean by birth, he did not hesitate when the hour came, "that
tried men's souls." Poor, and with a large family, he gave up the
comfortable position of Superintendent of the National Observatory, which
he held under the Federal Government, and cast his fortunes with the
people of his State. He had not the courage to be a traitor, and sell
himself for gold. The State of Tennessee gave him birth; she carried him
into the Federal Union, and she brought him out of it. Scarcely any man
who withdrew from the old service has been so vindictively, and furiously
assailed as Maury. The nationalists of the North,--and I mean by
nationalists, the whole body of the Northern people, who ignored the
rights of the States, and claimed that the Federal Government was
paramount,--had taken especial pride in Maury and his labors. He, as well
as the country at large, belonged to them. They petted and caressed him,
and pitted him against the philosophers of the world, with true Yankee
conceit. They had the biggest country, and the cleverest men in the world,
and Maury was one of these.

But Maury, resisting all these blandishments, showed, to their horror,
when the hour of trial came, that he was a Southern gentleman, and not a
Puritan. The change of sentiment was instantaneous and ludicrous. Their
self-conceit had received an awful blow, and there is no wound so damaging
as that which has been given to self-conceit. Almost everything else may
be forgiven, but this never can. Maury became at once a "rebel" and a
"traitor," and everything else that was vile. He was not even a
philosopher any longer, but a humbug and a cheat. In science, as in other
pursuits, there are rivalries and jealousies. The writer of these pages,
having been stationed at the seat of the Federal Government for a year or
two preceding the war, was witness of some of the rivalries and jealousies
of Maury, on the part of certain small philosophers, who thought the world
had not done justice to themselves. These now opened upon the dethroned
monarch of the seas, as live asses will kick at dead lions, and there was
no end to the partisan abuse that was heaped upon the late Chief of the
National Observatory.

Maury had been a Federal naval officer, as well as philosopher, and some
of his late _confrères_ of the Federal service, who, in former years, had
picked up intellectual crumbs from the table of the philosopher, and were
content to move in orbits at a very respectful distance from him; now,
raised by capricious fortune to _place_, joined in the malignant outcry
against him. Philosopher of the Seas! Thou mayest afford to smile at these
vain attempts to humble thee. Science, which can never be appreciated by
small natures, has no nationality. Thou art a citizen of the world, and
thy historic fame does not depend upon the vile traducers of whom I have
spoken. These creatures, in the course of a few short years, will rot in
unknown graves; thy fame will be immortal! Thou hast revealed to us the
secrets of the depths of the ocean, traced its currents, discoursed to us
of its storms and its calms, and taught us which of its roads to travel,
and which to avoid. Every mariner, for countless ages to come, as he takes
down his chart, to shape his course across the seas, will think of thee!
He will think of thee as he casts his lead into the deep sea; he will
think of thee, as he draws a bucket of water from it, to examine its
animalculæ; he will think of thee as he sees the storm gathering thick and
ominous; he will think of thee as he approaches the calm-belts, and
especially the calm-belt of the equator, with its mysterious cloud-ring;
he will think of thee as he is scudding before the "brave west winds" of
the Southern hemisphere; in short, there is no phenomenon of the sea that
will not recall to him thine image. This is the living monument which
thou hast constructed for thyself; and which all the rage of the Puritan
cannot shake.

_December 31st._--The last day of the year, as though it would atone to us
for some of the bad weather its previous days had given us, is charming.
There is not a cloud, as big as a man's hat, anywhere to be seen, and the
air is so elastic that it is a positive pleasure to breathe it. The
temperature is just cool enough to be comfortable, though the wind is from
the north. At daylight, a couple of sail were reported from aloft, but, as
they were at a great distance, and out of our course, we did not chase.
Indeed, we have become quite discouraged since our experience of
yesterday. A third sail was seen at noon, also at a great distance. These
are probably the laggards of the great Mediterranean wind-bound fleet. We
observed, to-day, in latitude 35° 22'; the longitude being 16° 27'. It
becoming quite calm at eight P. M., I put the ship under steam; being about
490 miles from Cadiz.

_January 1st_, 1862.--Nearly calm; wind light from the south-west, and sky
partially overcast. The sea is smooth, and we are making nine knots, the
hour. We made an excellent run during the past night, and are approaching
the Spanish coast very rapidly. Nothing seen during the day. At nine P. M.
a sail passed us, a gleam of whose light we caught for a moment in the
darkness. The light being lost almost as soon as seen, we did not attempt
to chase. Latitude 35° 53'; longitude 13° 14'.

On the next day we overhauled a French, and a Spanish ship. It had been my
intention, when leaving Martinique, to cruise a few days off Cadiz, before
entering the port, and for this purpose I had reserved a three days'
supply of fuel; but, unfortunately, the day before our arrival we took
another gale of wind, which shook us so severely, that the ship's leak
increased very rapidly; the engineer reporting that it was as much as he
could do to keep her free, with the bilge pumps, under short steam. The
leak was evidently through the sleeve of the propeller, and was becoming
alarming. I therefore abandoned the idea of cruising, and ran directly for
the land. Night set in before anything could be seen, but having every
confidence in my chronometers, I ran without any hesitation for the
Light, although we had been forty-one days at sea, without testing our
instruments by a sight of land. We made the light--a fine Fresnel, with a
red flash--during the mid-watch, and soon afterward got soundings. We now
slowed down the engine, and ran in by the lead, until we judged ourselves
four or five miles distant from the light, when we hove to. The next
morning revealed Cadiz, fraught with so many ancient, and modern memories,
in all its glory, though the weather was gloomy and the clouds dripping

  "Fair Cadiz, rising o'er the dark blue sea!"

as Byron calls thee, thou art indeed lovely! with thy white
Moresque-looking houses, and gayly curtained balconies, thy church-domes
which carry us back in architecture a thousand years, and thy harbor
thronged with shipping. Once the Gades of the Phoenician, now the Cadiz
of the nineteenth century, thou art perhaps the only living city that can
run thy record back so far into the past.

We fired a gun, and hoisted a jack for a pilot, and one boarding us soon
afterward, we steamed into the harbor. The Confederate States' flag was
flying from our peak, and we could see that there were many curious
telescopes turned upon us, as we passed successively the forts and the
different quays lined with shipping. As the harbor opened upon us, a
magnificent spectacle presented itself. On our left was the somewhat
distant coast of Andalusia, whose name is synonymous with all that is
lovely in scenery, or beautiful in woman. One almost fancies as he looks
upon it, that he hears the amorous tinkle of the guitar, and inhales the
fragrance of the orange grove. Seville is its chief city, and who has not
read the couplet,

  "_Quien no ha visto Sevilla
  No ha visto maravilla_,"

which may be rendered into the vernacular thus:

  "He who hath not Seville seen,
  Hath not seen wonders, I ween."

The landscape, still green in mid-winter, was dotted with villas and
villages, all white, contrasting prettily with the groves in which they
were embowered. Casting the eye forward, it rested upon the picturesque
hills of the far-famed wine district of Xeres, with its vineyards,
wine-presses, and pack-mules. Some famous old wine estates were pointed
out to us by the pilot.

We ran through a fleet of shipping before reaching our anchorage off the
main quay, the latter lined on both sides with market-boats; and as much
more shipping lay beyond us. I was, indeed, quite surprised to find the
harbor, which is spacious, so thronged. It spoke well for the reviving
industry of Spain. With a little fancy one might imagine her still the
mistress of the "Indies," and that these were her galleons come to pour
the mineral treasures of half a world in her lap. All nations were
represented, though the Spanish flag predominated. Wearing this flag there
were many fine specimens of naval architecture--especially lines of
steamships plying between Cadiz, the West Indies, and South America. A
number of the merchant-ships of different nations hoisted their flags in
honor of the _Sumter_ as she passed; and one Yankee ship--there being
three or four of them in the harbor--hoisted hers, as much as to say, "You
see we are not afraid to show it."



The Spanish officials began to annoy us even before we let go our
anchor--a health officer boarding us, and telling us that he should have
to quarantine us for three days, unless we could show him a clean bill of
health. We told him that our health was clean enough, but that we had no
bill to establish the fact, whereupon he went on shore to consult his
superiors. I sent by him, the following communication to the United States
Consul, whose name was Eggleston:--

     CADIZ, January 4, 1862.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform you, that I have on board this ship
     forty-three prisoners of war--late the crews of a ship, a bark, and a
     schooner, property of citizens of the United States, burned by me on
     the high seas. These men having elected to be discharged on _parole_,
     I am ready to deliver them to you.

Mr. Eggleston, proving to be quite a diplomat, refused to give me my
official title, in replying to my note; and of course, I could have no
further communication with him. In the afternoon, the Health Officer again
came off to inform us that the important questions, of the cleanness of
our health, and the discharge of our prisoners, had been telegraphed to
Madrid, and that we might soon expect a reply from her Majesty, the

The next morning I received, by the hands of the same officer, a
peremptory order, from the Military Governor, to proceed to sea, within
twenty-four hours! I sat down and wrote him the following reply:--

     CADIZ, January 5, 1862.

     SIR:--I have had the honor to receive through the health officer of
     the port, an order purporting to come 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 formally recognized by Spain, as a _de jure_ government, it
     has been declared to be possessed of the rights of a belligerent, in
     the war in which it is engaged, and it is the duty of Spain to extend
     to my ship the same hospitality that she would extend to a ship of
     war of the opposite belligerent. It can make no difference that one
     of the belligerents is a _de jure_ nation, and the other a _de facto_
     nation, since it is only war rights, or such as pertain to
     belligerents, which we are discussing.

     I am aware of the rule adopted by Spain, in common with the other
     great powers, prohibiting belligerents from bringing their prizes
     into her ports, but this rule I have not violated. I have entered the
     harbor of Cadiz, with my single ship, and I demand only the
     hospitality to which I am entitled by the laws 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, 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.

Again, the telegraphic wires were put in operation, and my reply to the
Military Commandant went up to Madrid. In a few hours a reply came down,
giving me permission to land my prisoners, and to remain a sufficient time
to put the necessary repairs upon my ship. In the meantime the most
offensive espionage was exercised toward me. A guard-boat was anchored
near by, which overhauled all shore-boats which passed between the
_Sumter_ and the shore; and on the evening of my arrival, a Spanish
frigate came down from the dock-yard, and anchored near my ship. There are
no private docks in Cadiz, and I was obliged, therefore, to go into one of
the government docks for repairs. Charles Dickens has given us an amusing
account of an English Circumlocution Office, but English red tape dwindles
into insignificance by the side of Spanish red tape. Getting into the
hands of the Spanish officials was like getting into a Chancery suit. I
thought I should never get out. The Military Commandant referred me to the
Captain of the Port, and the Captain of the Port referred me back to the
Military Commandant; until finally they both together referred me to the
Admiral of the Dock-Yard; to whom I should have been referred at first. In
the meantime, engineers and sub-engineers, and other officials whose
titles it were tedious to enumerate, came on board, to measure the length
of the ship and the breadth of the ship, calculate her tonnage, inspect
her boilers, examine into the quantity of water she made during the
twenty-four hours, and to determine generally whether we were really in
the condition we had represented ourselves to be in, or whether we were
deceiving her Majesty and the Minister of the Universal Yankee Nation at
Madrid, for some sinister purpose.

The permission came for me, at length, to go into dock, and landing our
prisoners, we got up steam and proceeded to Carraca, where the docks lie,
distant some eight miles east of the city. The Navy Yard at Carraca is an
important building-yard; it lies at the head of the bay of Cadiz, and is
approached by a long, narrow, and somewhat tortuous channel, well buoyed.
The waters are deep and still, and the Yard is, in every other respect,
admirably situated. It reminded us much, in its general aspect and
surroundings, of the Norfolk Navy Yard, in Virginia. We were not long
delayed in entering the dock. A ship which had occupied the basin assigned
to us--there were several of them--was just being let out as we
approached, and in the course of an hour afterward, the _Sumter_ was high
and dry; so rapidly had the operation been performed. We examined her
bottom with much curiosity, after the thumping she had had on the bar at
Maranham, and were gratified to find that she had received no material
damage. A small portion of her copper had been rubbed off, and one of her
planks indented, rather than fractured. She was as sound and tight as a
bottle, in every part of her, except in her propeller sleeve. It was here
where the leak had been, as we had conjectured.

To the delight both of the Spanish officials, who were exceedingly anxious
to get rid of us, lest we should compromise them in some way with the
Great Republic, of whom they seemed to be exceedingly afraid, and
ourselves, we found that the needed repairs would be slight. The boilers
were a good deal out of condition, it is true, but as they were capable of
bearing a low pressure of steam, sufficient to take us to sea, the
officials would not listen to my proposals to repair them. I had one or
two interviews, whilst I lay here, with the Dock-Admiral, whom I found to
be a very different man from the Military Commandant. He was a polite and
refined gentleman, expressed much sympathy for our people, and regretted
that his orders were such that he could not make my repairs more thorough.
He expressed some surprise at the backdown of the Federal Government, in
the _Trent_ affair, the news of which had just arrived, and said that he
had fully reckoned upon our having Great Britain as an ally in the war.
"Great Britain seems, herself, to have been of this opinion," said he, "as
she has withdrawn all her ships of war from the Mediterranean station, for
service on the American coast, and sent ten thousand troops to Canada."

From the moment my ship entered within the precinct of the Spanish Navy
Yard, the very d----l seemed to have broken loose among my crew. With rare
exceptions, a common sailor has no sense of nationality. He commences his
sea-going career at so tender an age, is so constantly at sea, and sails
under so many different flags, that he becomes eminently a citizen of the
world. Although I had sailed out of a Southern port, I had not half a
dozen Southern-born men among the rank and file of my crew. They were
mostly foreigners--English and Irish preponderating. I had two or three
Yankees on board, who had pretended to be very good Southern men, but who,
having failed to reap the rich harvest of prize-money, which they had
proposed to themselves, were now about to develop their true characters.
Some of my boats' crews had visited the shore on duty, and whilst their
boats were lying at the pier waiting for the officers to transact their
business, the tempter had come along. Sundry Jack-Tars, emissaries of the
_diplomatic_ Mr. Eggleston, the Federal Consul, had rolled along down the
pier, hitching up their trousers, and replenishing their tobacco quids as
they came along. "Cadiz is a nice place," said they to my boats' crews,
"with plenty of grog, and lots of fun. We have gotten tired of our ships,
and are living at free quarters at the Consul's. Come with us, and let us
have a jolly good time together." And they did come, or rather go, for, on
one single night, nine of my rascals deserted. This was whilst we were
still in dock. Being let out of dock, we dropped down to the city, and
being afloat again, we were enabled to prevent a general stampede, by the
exercise of firmness and vigilance. I directed an officer to be sent in
each boat, whenever one should have occasion to communicate with the
shore, armed with a revolver, and with orders to shoot down any one who
should attempt to desert. Two or three other sailors slipped away,
notwithstanding these precautions, but there the matter ended. Hearing
that my deserters were harbored by the United States Consul, I addressed
the following letter on the subject to the Governor of the city:--

     CADIZ, January 16, 1862.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform you, that whilst my ship was in dock
     at Carraca, nine 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 up
     to me; and to disembarrass this demand of any difficulty that may
     seem to attend it, permit me to make the following observations.

     _1st._ In the first place, my Government has been acknowledged as a
     _de facto_ government by Spain, and as such it is entitled to all the
     rights of a belligerent, in its war with the Government of the United

     _2d._ All the rights and privileges, therefore, which would attach to
     the flag of the United States, should one of the ships of that
     country enter this harbor, equally attach to the flag of the
     Confederate States, mere ceremonial excepted.

     _3d._ It has been and is the uniform custom of all nations to arrest,
     upon request, and to hand over to their proper officers, deserters
     from ships of war, and this without stopping to inquire into the
     nationality of the deserter.

     _4th._ If this be the practice in peace, much more necessary does
     such a practice become in war, since otherwise the operations of war
     might be tolerated in a neutral territory, as will be seen from my
     next position.

     _5th._ Without a violation of neutrality, an enemy's consul in a
     neutral territory cannot be permitted to entice away seamen, from a
     ship of the opposite belligerent, or to shelter or protect the same:
     for if he be permitted to do this, then his domicil becomes an
     enemy's camp in a neutral territory.

     _6th._ 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 decide, as between the
     United States Consul and myself, to which of us the deserters in
     question more properly belong. In other words, she has no right to
     look into any plea set up by a deserter, that he is a citizen of the
     United States, and not of the Confederate States.

     _7th._ I might, perhaps, 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 force, either without contract, or in
     violation of contract, 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 recapitulate: the
     case which I present is simply this. Several of the crew serving on
     board this 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 them, would in
     effect convert the Consulate into a camp, and enable the Consul to
     exercise the rights of a belligerent in neutral territory. He might
     cripple me as effectually by this indirect means, as if he were to
     assault me by means of an armed expedition.

I took precisely what I expected by this remonstrance, that is to say,
nothing. I was fighting here, as I had been in so many other places,
against odds--the odds being the stationed agents, spies, and pimps of a
recognized government. Our Southern movement, in the eyes of Spain, was a
mere political revolution, and like all absolute governments, she had no
sympathy with revolutionists. It was on this principle that the Czar of
Russia had fraternized so warmly with the Federal President.

Another difficulty now awaited the _Sumter_. I had run the blockade of New
Orleans, as the reader has seen, with a very slim exchequer; that
exchequer was now exhausted, and we had no means with which to purchase
coal. I had telegraphed to Mr. Yancey, in London, immediately upon my
arrival, for funds, but none, as yet, had reached me, although I had been
here two weeks. In the meantime, the authorities, under the perpetual
goading of the United States Chargé in Madrid, Mr. Perry, and of Mr.
Consul Eggleston, were becoming very restive, and were constantly sending
me invitations to go to sea. Before I had turned out on the morning of the
17th of January, an aide-de-camp of the Governor came on board, to bring
me a peremptory order from his chief, to depart _within six hours_. I went
on shore, for the first time, to have an official interview with the
blockhead. I found him, contrary to all Spanish rule, a large, thick-set,
bull-necked fellow, with whom, I saw at the first glance, it would be of
but little use to reason. I endeavored to make him understand the nature
of the case; how it was that a steamer could no more go to sea without
fuel, than a sailing-ship without a mast; but he was inexorable. He was,
in short, one of those dunder-headed military men, who never look, or care
to look, beyond the orders of their superiors. The most that he would
undertake to do, was to telegraph to Madrid my statement, that I was out
of fuel, but expected momentarily to be supplied with funds to purchase
it. He added, however, "but if no reply comes _within the six hours_, you
must go to sea." I had retained enough coal on board from my last cruise,
to run me around to Gibraltar--a run of a few hours only--and I now
resolved to have nothing more to do with Spain, or her surly officials.

I returned on board, without further delay, and gave orders to get up
steam, and make all the other necessary preparations for sea. As we were
weighing our anchor, an aide-de-camp of the Governor came off in great
haste to say, that his Excellency had heard from Madrid in reply to his
telegram, and that her Majesty had graciously given me permission to
remain another twenty-four hours; but that at the end of that time I must
depart without fail. The aide-de-camp added that his Excellency, seeing
that we were getting up steam, had sent him off to communicate the
intelligence to me verbally, in advance of the official communication of
it by letter, which he was preparing. I directed the aide to say to his
chief that he needn't bother himself with the preparation of any letter,
as I should not avail myself of her Majesty's gracious permission--she
having been a little too ungracious in meting out the hours to me. He
departed, and we got under way. As we passed abreast of the Government
House, a boat shoved off in a great hurry, and came pulling out to us,
with a man standing up in the bow, shaking a letter at us with great
vehemence. It was the letter the aide-de-camp had spoken of. We paid no
attention whatever to the signal, and the boat finding, after some
vigorous pulling, that she could not overtake us, turned back. In half an
hour afterward, we were outside the Cadiz bar, and had discharged the

This was the second Spanish experiment we had made in the _Sumter_. I
never afterward troubled her Majesty, either in her home ports, or those
of any of her colonies. I had learned by experience that all the weak
powers were timid, and henceforth, I rarely entered any but an English or
a French port. We should have had, during all this controversy, a
Commissioner at the Court of Madrid, one having been dispatched thither at
the same time that Mr. Yancey was sent to London, and Mr. Mann to
Brussels, but if there was one there, I did not receive a line from him.
The Federal Chargé seemed to have had it all his own way. There is no
proposition of international law clearer, than that a disabled belligerent
cruiser--and a steamer without coal is disabled--cannot be expelled from a
neutral port, and yet the _Sumter_ was, in fact, expelled from Cadiz. As
remarked some pages back, the Demos, and the Carpet-bagger will revenge us
in good time.

We did enjoy some good things in the harbor of Cadiz, however. One was a
superb dinner, given us at the principal hotel by an English admirer, and
another was the market. The latter is unexcelled in any part of the world.
Fine beef and mutton from Andalusia, fish from the sea, and fruits and
wines from all parts of Spain, were present in profusion. Although we were
in midwinter, there were a variety of vegetables, and luscious oranges and
bananas that had ripened in the open air--all produced by the agency of
that Mexican Gulf heating-apparatus, of which we spoke through the lips of
Professor Maury, a few pages back. Before leaving Cadiz I saw the first
annual report of the Federal Secretary of the Navy since the breaking out
of the war. Old gentleman Welles was eloquent, and denunciatory when he
came to speak of the _Sumter_. The vessel was a "pirate," and her
commander everything that was odious. The latter "was courageously
capturing unarmed merchant-ships, and cowardly fleeing from the Federal
steamers sent in pursuit of him." There were six of these ships in full
hue and cry after the little _Sumter_, any one of which could have hoisted
her in upon deck. At the same time that these denunciations were hurled
against the Captain of the _Sumter_, gallant naval officers, wearing Mr.
Welles' shoulder-straps, and commanding Mr. Welles' ships, were capturing
little coasting-schooners laden with firewood, plundering the houses and
hen-roosts of non-combatant citizens along the Southern coast, destroying
salt-works, and intercepting medicines going in to our hospitals. But I
must be charitable. Mr. Welles was but rehearsing the lesson which he had
learned from Mr. Seward. What could _he_ know about "pirates" and the laws
of nations, who had been one half of his life editing a small newspaper,
in a small town in Connecticut, and the other half "serving out" to Jack
his frocks and trousers, and weighing out to him his sugar and tea, as
Chief of the Bureau of Provisions and Clothing? It was late in life before
the old gentleman, on the rising tide of the Demos, had been promoted, and
allowance must be made for the defects of his early training.



The afternoon was bright and beautiful as the _Sumter_, emerging from the
harbor of Cadiz, felt once more the familiar heave of the sea. There was
no sail in sight over the vast expanse of waters, except a few small
coasting-craft, and yet what fleets had floated on the bosom of these
romantic waters! The names of Nelson, Collingwood, Jervis, and others,
came thronging upon the memory. Cape St. Vincent and Trafalgar were both
in the vicinity. The sun, as he approached his setting, was lighting up a
scene of beauty, peace, and tranquillity, and it was difficult to conjure
those other scenes of the storm, and the flying ships, and the belching
cannon, so inseparably connected with those great names.

It was too late to attempt the run to Gibraltar that night, with the hope
of arriving at a seasonable hour, and so we "held on," in nautical phrase,
to the light--that beautiful red flash which I have before
described--until midnight, when we gave the ship her steam, and turned her
head in the direction of the famous Strait, or Gut, as the sailors
sometimes less euphoniously call it. The weather, in the meantime, had
changed, the wind had died entirely away, and the sea was calm, but rifts
of cloud were passing over the moon, indicating an upper current in the
higher atmosphere, that might portend storm or rain on the morrow. We
steamed along the bold Spanish coast, at a distance of only a few miles,
and entered the Strait before daylight, passing the Tarifa light at about
five A. M.

The Pillars of Hercules, that for so many centuries bounded the voyages of
the ancient mariners, rose abruptly and majestically on either hand of us,
softened and beautified by the moonlight. We had the Strait all to
ourselves, there being no sail visible. The Genius of the ancient time
seemed to hover over the scene, so solemn and mysterious did everything
appear. But no! the Genius of the ancient time could not be there, for the
quiet waters were broken by the prow of the _steamship_, from a hemisphere
of which the Genius had not conceived. And that steamship, what flag did
she bear? A flag that neither Phoenician, nor Carthaginian, nor Roman
had dreamed of. It had arisen amid the wreck and ruin of a new empire,
that had decayed before its time, was floating above a thousand dead
nationalities, and was struggling, as the polished Greek had struggled,
long centuries before, against the "long-haired" barbarian of the North,
who was repeating history by overrunning the fair lands of the South.

We made the light at Gibraltar just as the day was dawning, and, hurried
on by the current, moved rapidly up the Strait. Several sail that were
coming down the Mediterranean became plainly visible from the deck as the
twilight developed into day. We could not think of running into Gibraltar
before overhauling these sails; we might, perchance, find an enemy among
them, and so we altered our course and gave chase; as so many barks,
ancient and modern, heathen, Christian, and Moor had done before us, in
this famous old Strait. The telescope soon revealed the secret of the
nationality of two of the sails; they being, as plainly as symmetry and
beauty of outline, the taper and grace of spars, and whiteness of
canvas--produced upon our own cotton-fields--could speak, American. To
these, therefore, we directed our attention. It was a couple of hours
before we came up with the first of these ships. She was standing over
toward the African side of the Strait, though still distant from the land,
some six or seven miles. We hoisted our own colors, and fired the usual
gun. She hauled up her courses, and backed her maintopsail at once, and
in a moment more, we could see the brightest of stars and stripes
fluttering in the breeze, and glittering, in very joyousness, as it were,
in the rays of the morning's sun; for the captain of the prize had
evidently treated himself to a new ensign. The cat ran close enough to
parley with the mouse, before she put her paw upon it. The bark, for such
the prize was, proved to be the _Neapolitan_, of Kingston, Mass., from
Messina, in the island of Sicily, bound for Boston, with a cargo of fruit,
dried and fresh, and _fifty tons of sulphur_. She had been freshly
painted, with that old robber, the bald eagle, surrounded by stars, gilded
on her stern; her decks looked white and sweet after the morning's
ablution which she had just undergone; her sails were well hoisted, and
her sheets well home; in short, she was a picture to look at, and the cat
looked at her, as a cat only can look at a sleek mouse. And then only to
think, that the sly little mouse, looking so pretty and so innocent,
should have so much of that villanous material called sulphur in its
little pouch!

The master stated in his deposition, that the entire cargo belonged to the
British house of Baring Bros., it being consigned to an agent of theirs in
Boston. The object of so wording the deposition was, of course, to save
the cargo as neutral property, but as I happened to know that the Boston
house of the Barings, instead of being an agent merely, was a partner of
the London house, the master took nothing by his deposition. Besides, if
there had been no doubt as to the British ownership, sulphur going to an
enemy's country is contraband of war; and in this case the contraband of
war was not only condemnable of itself, but it tainted all the rest of the
cargo, which belonged to the same owner. The master, who was as strongly
marked in his Puritan nationality, as the Israelite is in the seed of
Abraham, feeling himself securely intrenched behind the Baring Bros., was
a little surprised when I told him that I should burn his ship, and began
to expostulate. But I had no time for parley, for there was another ship
demanding my attention; and so, transferring the prisoners from the doomed
ship to the _Sumter_, as speedily as possible, the _Neapolitan_ was
burned; burned in the sight of Europe and Africa, with the turbaned Moor
looking upon the conflagration, on one hand, and the garrison of
Gibraltar and the Spaniard on the other. Previously to applying the torch,
we took a small liberty with some of the excellent fruit of the Barings,
transferring a number of drums of figs, boxes of raisins and oranges, to
the cooks and stewards of the different messes.

We now steamed off in pursuit of the other sail. This second sail proved
also to be American, as we had supposed. She was the bark _Investigator_,
of Searsport, Maine, from one of the small ports of Spain, bound for
Newport, in Wales, with a cargo of iron ore. The cargo being properly
documented as British property, we could not destroy her, but were
compelled to release her under ransom bond. The capturing and disposing of
these two ships had occupied us several hours, during which the in-draught
of the Strait had set us some miles to the eastward of the Rock. We now,
at half-past two P. M., turned our head in the direction of Gibraltar, and
gave the ship all steam. By this time the portent of last night had been
verified, and we had an overcast sky, with a strong northwester blowing in
our teeth. With the wind and current both ahead, we had quite a struggle
to gain the anchorage.

It was half-past seven P. M., or some time after dark, that we finally
passed under the shadow of the historical rock, with the brilliant light
on Europa Point throwing its beams upon our deck; and it was a few minutes
past eight o'clock, or evening gun-fire, when we ran up to the man-of-war
anchorage, and came to. We had no occasion to tell the people of Gibraltar
who we were. They were familiar with our Cadiz troubles, and had been
expecting us for some days; and accordingly, when the signal-man on the
top of the Rock announced the appearance of a Confederate States' steamer
in the Strait, every one knew that it was the _Sumter_. And when, a short
time afterward, it was announced that the little steamer was in chase of a
Yankee, the excitement became intense. Half the town rushed to Europa
Point and the signal-station, to watch the chase and the capture; and when
the flames were seen ascending from the doomed _Neapolitan_, sketch-books
and pencils were produced, and all the artists in the crowd went busily to
work to sketch the extraordinary spectacle; extraordinary in any age, but
still more extraordinary in this.

Here were two civilized nations at war, at the door of a third, and that
third nation, instead of mitigating and softening, as much as possible,
the barbarities of war, had, by her timidity, caution, or unfriendliness,
whichever to the reader may seem more probable, ordered, directed, and
decreed that one of the parties should burn all the ships of the other
that it should capture! The spectacle of the burning ship which the
inhabitants of Gibraltar had witnessed from the top of their renowned
rock, was indirectly the work of their own Government. Why might not this
Federal ship, when captured, have been taken into Gibraltar, there to
await the disposition which a prize-court should make of her, instead of
being burned? Because Great Britain would not permit it. Why might she not
have been taken into some other neutral port, for this purpose? Because
all the world had followed the lead of Great Britain, the chief maritime
power of the earth. Great Britain knew when she issued her orders in
council, prohibiting both the belligerents in the American war, from
bringing their prizes into her ports, precisely what would be the effect
of those orders. She knew that the stronger belligerent would shut out the
weaker belligerent from his own ports, by means of a blockade. She knew
that if she denied this weaker belligerent access to her ports, with his
prizes, all the other nations of the earth would follow her lead. And she
knew that if this same weaker belligerent should have no ports whatever
into which to carry his prizes, he must burn them. Hence the spectacle her
people had witnessed from the top of her rock of Gibraltar.

In a few minutes after anchoring, we were boarded by a boat from the
English frigate, which had the guard for the day. The officer made us the
usual "tender of service" from the Port Admiral. We sent a boat ourselves
to report our arrival on board the health ship, and to inquire if there
would be any quarantine; and after a _long_ day of excitement and
fatigue,--for I had not turned in since I left the Cadiz light, the night
before--I sought my berth, and slept soundly, neither dreaming of Moor or
Christian, Yankee or Confederate. John spread me the next morning a
sumptuous breakfast, and brought me off glowing accounts of the Gibraltar
market, filled with all the delicacies both of Spain and Morocco. The
prize which we had liberated on ransom-bond, followed us in, and was
anchored not far from us. There was another large American ship at anchor.

At an early hour a number of English officers, of the garrison and navy,
and citizens called on board to see us; and at ten o'clock I went on board
the frigate whose boat had boarded us the previous night, to return the
commanding naval officer's visit. He was not living on board, but at his
quarters on shore, whither I proceeded at two P. M. Landing at the Navy
Yard, an orderly conducted me thence to his neat little cottage, perched
half way up the rock, and embowered by shade trees, in the most charming
little nook possible. I found Captain--now Rear-Admiral--Sir Frederic
Warden a very clever specimen of an English naval officer; and we had a
pleasant conversation of half an hour together. Having lost one of my
anchors, I asked the loan of one from him until I could supply myself in
the market. He replied that he had every disposition to oblige me, but
that he must first submit the question to the "law officers of the Crown."
I said to him playfully, "these 'law officers of the Crown' of yours must
be sturdy fellows, for they have some heavy burdens to carry; when I was
at Trinidad the Governor put a whole cargo of coal on their shoulders, and
now you propose to saddle them with an anchor!" He said pleasantly, in
return, "I have not the least doubt of the propriety of your request, but
we must walk according to rule, you know." The next morning, bright and
early, a boat came alongside, bringing me an anchor.

From Captain Warden's, I proceeded to the residence of the Governor and
Military Commander of the Rock, Sir William J. Codrington, K. C. B. His
house was in the centre of the town, and I had a very pleasant walk
through shaded avenues and streets, thronged with a gayly dressed
population, every third man of which was a soldier, to reach it. The same
orderly still accompanied me. I was in uniform, and all the sentinels
saluted me as I passed; and I may as well mention here, that during the
whole of my stay at this military and naval station, my officers and
myself received all the honors and courtesies due to our rank. No
distinction whatever was drawn, that I am aware of, between the _Sumter_,
and any of the enemy's ships of war that visited the station, except in
the matter of the national salute. Our flag not being yet recognized,
except for belligerent purposes, this honor was withheld. We dined at the
officers' messes, and they dined on board our ship; the club and reading
rooms were thrown open to us, and both military and citizens were
particular in inviting us to partake of all the festivities that took
place during our stay.

My conductor, the orderly, stopped before a large stone mansion on the
principal street, where there was a sentinel walking in front of the door,
and in a few minutes I was led to a suite of large, airy, well-furnished
rooms on the second floor, to await his Excellency. It was Sunday, and he
had just returned from church. He entered, however, almost immediately. I
had seen him a hundred times, in the portraits of half the English
generals I had ever looked upon, so peculiarly was he _English_ and
_military_. He was a polite gentleman of the old school, though not a very
old man, his age being not more than about fifty-five. Governor Codrington
was a son of the Admiral of the same name, who, as the commander-in-chief
of the combined English, French, and Russian fleets, had gained so signal
a victory over the Turkish fleet, in the Mediterranean, in 1827, which
resulted in the independence of Greece, and the transfer of Prince Otho of
Bavaria to the throne of that country. His rank was that of a
lieutenant-general in the British army. I reported my arrival to his
Excellency, and stated that my object in visiting Gibraltar was to repair,
and coal my ship, and that I should expect to have the same facilities
extended to me, that he would extend to an enemy's cruiser under similar
circumstances. He assented at once to my proposition, saying that her
Majesty was exceedingly anxious to preserve a strict neutrality in our
unhappy war, without leaning to the one side or the other. "There is one
thing, however," continued he, "that I must exact of you during your stay,
and that is, that you will not make Gibraltar, a station, from which to
watch for the approach of your enemy, and sally out in pursuit of him." I
replied, "Certainly not; no belligerent has the right to make this use of
the territory of a neutral. Your own distinguished admiralty judge, Sir
William Scott, settled this point half a century and more ago, and his
decisions are implicitly followed in the American States."

The Governor gave me permission to land my prisoners, and they were
paroled and sent on shore the same afternoon. We could do nothing in the
way of preparing the _Sumter_ for another cruise, until our funds should
arrive, and these did not reach us until the 3d of February, when Mr.
Mason, who had by this time relieved Mr. Yancey, as our Commissioner at
the Court of London, telegraphed me that I could draw on the house of
Frazer, Trenholm & Co., of Liverpool, for the sum I needed. In the mean
time, we had made ourselves very much at home at Gibraltar, quite an
intimacy springing up between the naval and military officers and
ourselves; whereas, as far as we could learn, the Yankee officers of the
several Federal ships of war, which by this time had arrived, were kept at
arm's-length, no other than the customary official courtesies being
extended to them. We certainly did not meet any of them at the "club," or
other public places. I had visited Gibraltar when a young officer in the
"old service," and I had often read, and laughed over Marryatt's humorous
description of the "Mess" of the garrison in his day; how, after one of
their roistering dinners, the naval officers who had been present, would
be wheeled down to the "sally-port," where their boats were waiting to
take them on board their ships, on wheel-barrows--the following colloquy
taking place between the sally-port sentinel (it being now some hours
after dark), and the wheeler of the wheel-barrow. Sentinel:--"Who comes
there?" Wheeler of wheel-barrow:--"Officer drunk on a wheel-barrow!"
Sentinel:--"Pass Officer drunk on a wheel-barrow."

The wheel-barrow days had passed, in the general improvement which had
taken place in military and naval habits, but in other respects, I did not
find the "Mess" much changed. The military "Mess" of a regiment is like
the king; it never dies. There is a constant change of persons, but the
"Mess" is ever the same, with its history of this "field," and of that;
its traditions, and its anecdotes. Every person who has been in England
knows how emphatically dinner is an institution with the English people;
with its orthodox hour, the punctual attendance of the guests, the
scrupulous attention they pay to dress, and the quantity of wine which
they are capable of putting under their vests, without losing sight of the
gentlemanly proprieties.

It is still more an institution, if possible, with the garrisons of the
colonies. There they do the thing in a business-like way, and the reader
will perhaps be curious to know how the young fellows stand such constant
wear and tear upon their constitutions. It is done in the simplest manner
possible. After a late carouse over night, during which these fellows
would drink two bottles to my young men's one, the latter would get up
next morning on board the _Sumter_ feeling seedy, and dry, and go on shore
in quest of "hock and soda-water." Meeting their late companions, they
would be surprised to see them looking so fresh and rosy, with an air so
jaunty, and a step so elastic. The secret, upon explanation, would prove
to be, that the debauchee of the night was the early bird of the morning.
Whilst my officers were still lying in uneasy slumbers, with Queen Mab
playing pranks with their imaginations, the officer of the "Mess" would be
up, have taken his cold shower-bath, have mounted his "hunter," sometimes
with, and sometimes without dogs, and would be off scouring the country,
and drinking in the fresh morning air, miles away. Not a fume of the
liquor of the overnight's debauch would be left by the time the rider got
back to breakfast.

On the day after my visit to the Governor, Colonel Freemantle, of the
Coldstream Guards, the Governor's aide-de-camp and military secretary,
came off to call on me on behalf of the Governor, and to read to me a
memorandum, which the latter had made of my conversation with him. There
were but two points in this memorandum:--"First: It is agreed that the
_Sumter_ shall have free access to the work-shops and markets, to make
necessary repairs and supply herself with necessary articles, contraband
of war excepted. Secondly: The _Sumter_ shall not make Gibraltar a
_station_, from which to sally out from the Strait, for the purposes of
war." I assented to the correctness of the conversation as recorded, and
there the official portion of the interview ended. I could not but be
amused here, as I had been at other places, at the exceeding
scrupulousness of the authorities, lest they should compromise themselves
in some way with the belligerents.

I found Colonel Freemantle to be an ardent Confederate, expressing himself
without any reserve, and lauding in the highest terms our people and
cause. He had many questions to ask me, which I took great pleasure in
answering, and our interview ended by a very cordial invitation from him
to visit, in his company, the curiosities of the Rock. This is the same
Colonel Freemantle, who afterward visited our Southern States during the
war, and made the acquaintance of some of our principal military men;
writing and publishing a very interesting account of his tour. I met him
afterward in London, more of a Confederate than ever. Freemantle was not
an exception. The army and navy of Great Britain were with us, almost to a
man, and many a hearty denunciation have I heard from British military and
naval lips, of the coldness and selfishness of the Palmerston-Russell

Gibraltar, being a station for several steam-lines, was quite a
thoroughfare of travel. The mixed character of its resident population,
too, was quite curious. All the nations of the earth seemed to have
assembled upon the Rock, for the purposes of traffic, and as each
nationality preserved its costume and its language, the quay,
market-place, streets and shops presented a picture witnessed in few, if
in any other towns of the globe. The attractions for traffic were twofold:
first, Gibraltar was a free port, and, secondly, there were seven thousand
troops stationed there. The consequence was, that Christian, Moor, and
Turk, Jew and Gentile, had assembled here from all the four quarters of
the earth, bringing with them their respective commodities. The London
tailor had his shop alongside that of the Moor or Turk, and if, after
having been measured for a coat, to be made of cloth a few days only from
a Manchester loom, you desired Moorish slippers, or otto of roses, or
Turkish embroidery, you had only to step into the next door.

Even the shopmen and products of the far East were there; a few days of
travel only sufficing to bring from India, China, and Japan, the turbaned
and sandalled Hindoo, the close-shaved and long-queued Chinaman, and the
small-statured, deep-brown Japanese, with their curious stuffs and wares,
wrought with as much ingenuity as taste. The market was indeed a
curiosity. Its beef and mutton, both of which are very fine, are brought
from the opposite Morocco coast, to and from which small steamers ply
regularly. But it is the fruits and vegetables that more especially
astonish the beholder. Here the horn of plenty seems literally to have
been emptied. The south of Spain, and Morocco, both fine agricultural
countries, have one of those genial climates which enables them to produce
all the known fruits and vegetables of the earth. Whatever you desire,
that you can have, whether it be the apple, the pear, or the cherry of the
North, or the orange, the banana, or the date of the South. The Spaniards
and Moors are the chief market people.

Nor must we forget the fishermen, with their picturesque boats, rigged
with their long, graceful latteen yards and pointed sails, that come in
laden with the contributions of the sea from the shores of half a dozen
kingdoms. Fleets of these little craft crowd the quay day and night, and
there is a perfect Babel of voices in their vicinity, as the chaffering
goes on for the disposal of their precious freight, much of it still
"alive and kicking." By the way, one of the curiosities of this quay,
whilst the _Sumter_ lay in Gibraltar, was the frequent proximity of the
Confederate and the Federal flag. When landing I often ran my boat into
the quay-steps, alongside of a boat from a Federal ship of war; the
_Kearsarge_ and the _Tuscarora_ taking turns in watching my movements--one
of them being generally anchored in the Bay of Gibraltar, and the other in
the Bay of Algeziras, a Spanish anchorage opposite. No breach of the peace
ever occurred; the sailors of the two services seemed rather inclined to
fraternize. They would have fought each other like devils outside of the
marine league, but the neutral port was a powerful sedative, and made them
temporarily friends. They talked, and laughed and smoked, and peeled
oranges together, as though there was no war going on. But the sailor is a
cosmopolite, as remarked a few pages back, and these boats' crews could
probably have been exchanged, without much detriment to each other's flag.

_Sunday, January 26th._--A charming, balmy day, after the several days of
storm and rain that we have had. At ten A. M., I went on shore to the
Catholic church. The military attendance, especially of the rank and file,
was very large. I should judge that, at least, two thirds of the troops
stationed here are Irish, and there is no distinction, that I can
discover, made between creeds. Each soldier attends whatever church he
pleases. It is but a few years back, that no officer could serve in the
British army without subscribing to the Thirty-Nine Articles--the creed of
the "Established Church." After church, I took a stroll "up the Rock," and
was astonished to find so much arable soil on its surface. The Rock runs
north and south. Its western face is an inclined plane, lying at an angle
of about thirty degrees with the sea-level. Ascending gradually from the
water, it rises to the height of fifteen hundred feet. From this height, a
plummet-line let down from its eastern face would reach the sea without
obstruction, so perpendicular is the Rock in this direction. This face is
of solid rock.

On the western face, up which I was now walking, is situated near the
base, and extending up about half a mile, the town. The town is walled,
and after you have passed through a massive gateway in the southern wall,
you are in the country. As you approach the Rock from the sea, it matters
not from what direction, you get the idea that it is nothing but a barren
rock. I now found it diversified with fields, full of clover and fragrant
grasses, long, well-shaded avenues, of sufficiently gentle ascent for
carriage-drives, beautifully laid-out pleasure-grounds, and
well-cultivated gardens. The parade-ground is a level space just outside
the southern wall, of sufficient capacity for the manoeuvre and review
of five thousand men; and rising just south of this is the Alameda,
consisting of a series of parterres of flowers, with shade-trees and
shrubbery, among which wind a number of serpentine walks. Here seats are
arranged for visitors, from which the exercise of the troops in the
parade-ground below may be conveniently witnessed. A colossal statue of
General Elliot, who defended the Rock in the famous siege that was laid to
it in the middle of the last century by the Spaniards, is here erected.

The review of the troops, which takes place, I believe, monthly, is _par
excellence_, the grand spectacle of Gibraltar. I had the good fortune to
witness one of these reviews, and the spectacle dwells vividly, still, in
my imagination. Drill of the soldiers, singly, and in squads, is the chief
labor of the garrison. Skilful drill-sergeants, for the most part young,
active, intelligent men, having the port and bearing of gentlemen, are
constantly at work, morning and afternoon, breaking in the raw material as
it arrives, and rendering it fit to be moulded into the common mass.
Company officers move their companies, to and fro, unceasingly, lest the
men should forget what the drill-sergeant has taught them. Battalion and
regimental drills occur less frequently.

These are the labors of the garrison; now comes the pastime, viz., the
monthly drill, when the Governor turns out, and inspects the troops. All
is agog, on the Rock of Gibraltar, on review days. There is no end to the
pipe-claying, and brushing, and burnishing, in the different barracks, on
the morning of this day. The officers get out their new uniforms, and
horses are groomed with more than ordinary care. The citizens turn out, as
well as the military, and all the beauty and fashion of the town are
collected on the Alameda. On the occasion of the review which I witnessed,
the troops--nearly all young, fine-looking men--presented, indeed, a
splendid appearance. All the corps of the British army were there,
represented save only the cavalry; and they were moved hither and thither,
at will; long lines of them now being tied into what seemed the most
inextricable knots, and now untied again, with an ease, grace, and skill,
which called forth my constant admiration.

But it was not so much the movements of the military that attracted my
attention, as the _tout ensemble_ of the crowd. The eye wandered over
almost all the nationalities of the earth, in their holiday costumes. The
red fez cap of the Greek, the white turban of the Moor and Turk, and the
hat of the Christian, all waved in a common sea of male humanity, and,
when the eye turned to the female portion of the crowd, there was
confusion worse confounded, for the fashions of Paris and London, Athens
and Constantinople, the isles and the continents, all were there! What
with the waving plumes of the generals, the galloping hither and thither
of aides and orderlies, the flashing of the polished barrel of the rifle
in the sun, the music of the splendid bands, and the swaying and surging
of the civic multitude which I have attempted to describe, the scene was
fairly beyond description. A man might dream of it, but could not describe



The stream of visitors to the _Sumter_ continued for some days after our
arrival. Almost every steamer from England brought more or less tourists
and curiosity-hunters, and these did us the honor to visit us, and
frequently to say kind words of sympathy and encouragement. Among others,
the Duke of Beaufort and Sir John Inglis visited us, and examined our ship
with much curiosity. The latter, who had earned for himself the title of
the "hero of Lucknow," in that most memorable and barbarous of all sieges,
was on his way to the Ionian Islands, of which he had recently been
appointed Governor.

_January 23d._--Weather clear and pleasant. We received a visit from
Captain Warden to-day, in return for the visit I had made him upon my
arrival. He came off in full uniform, to show us that his visit was meant
to be official, as well as personal. Nothing would have pleased the
gallant captain better, than to have been able to salute the Confederate
States' flag, and welcome our new republic among the family of nations. We
discussed a point of international law while he was on board. He desired,
he said, to call my attention to the well-known rule that, in case of the
meeting of two opposite belligerents in the same neutral port, twenty-four
hours must intervene between their departure. I assented readily to this
rule. It had been acted upon, I told him, by the Governor of Martinique,
when I was in that island--the enemy's sloop _Iroquois_ having been
compelled to cruise in the offing for fear of its application to her. I
remarked, however, that it was useless for us to discuss the rule here, as
the enemy's ships had adroitly taken measures to evade it. "How is that?"
he inquired. "Why, simply," I replied, "by stationing one of his ships in
Gibraltar, and another in Algeziras. If I go to sea from Gibraltar, the
Algeziras ship follows me, and if I go to sea from Algeziras, the
Gibraltar ship follows me." "True," rejoined the captain, "I did not think
of that." "I cannot say," continued I, "that I complain of this. It is one
of those chances in war which perhaps nine men in ten would take advantage
of; and then these Federal captains cannot afford to be over-scrupulous;
they have an angry mob at their heels, shouting, in their fury and
ignorance, 'Pirate! pirate!'"

The Southampton steamer brought us late news, to-day, from London. We are
becoming somewhat apprehensive for the safety of Messrs. Mason and
Slidell, who, having embarked on board the British steam-sloop _Rinaldo_,
at Provincetown, Mass., on the 2d inst., bound to Halifax, distant only a
few hundred miles, had not been heard from as late as the 10th inst. A
heavy gale followed their embarcation. I received a letter, to-day, too,
from Mr. Yancey. He writes despondently as to the action of the European
powers. They are cold, distrustful, and cautious, and he has no hope of an
early recognition. I am pained to remark here, that this distinguished
statesman died soon after his return to the United States. He was one of
the able men of the South, who, like Patrick Henry, and John C. Calhoun,
seemed to be gifted with the spirit of prophecy; or, rather, to speak more
correctly, his superior mental powers, and knowledge of men and of
governments, enabled him, like his great predecessors, to arrive at
conclusions, natural and easy enough to himself, but which, viewed in the
light of subsequent events, seemed like prophecy to his less gifted
countrymen. Mr. Yancey much resembled Patrick Henry in the simplicity and
honesty of his character, and in the fervidness and power of his

_January 30th._--A fine, clear day, with the wind from the eastward.
Having received a note last evening, from Colonel Freemantle, informing
me that horses would be in readiness for us, this morning, at the
Government House, to visit the fortifications, I went on shore the first
thing after breakfast, and finding the Colonel in readiness, we mounted,
and accompanied by an orderly to take care of our horses, rode at a brisk
pace out of the western gate, and commenced our tour of inspection.
Arriving at the entrance of the famous "galleries" situated about half-way
up the Rock, we dismounted, and dived into the bowels of mother Earth.

The Spaniards have been celebrated above all other people for
fortifications. They have left monuments of their patience, diligence, and
skill all over the world, wherever they have obtained a foothold. The only
other people who have ever equalled them, in this particular, though in a
somewhat different way, are the people of these Northern States, during
the late war. No Spaniard was ever half so diligent in his handling of
stone, and mortar, as was the Yankee soldier in throwing up his
"earth-work." His industry in this regard was truly wonderful. If the
Confederate soldier ever gave him half an hour's breathing-time, he was
safe. With pick and spade he would burrow in the ground like a rabbit.
When the time comes for that New-Zealander, foretold by Macaulay, to sit
on the ruins of London bridge, and wonder what people had passed away,
leaving such gigantic ruins behind them, we would recommend him to come
over to these States, and view the miles of hillocks that the industrious
Yankee moles threw up during our late war; and speculate upon the genus of
the animal gifted with such wonderful instincts.

But to return to our tour of inspection. The famous underground
"galleries" of the Rock of Gibraltar, are huge tunnels, blasted and bored,
foot by foot, in the living rock, sufficiently wide and deep to admit of
the placing, and working of heavy artillery. They are from one third of a
mile, to half a mile in length, and there are three tiers of them, rising
one above the other; the embrasures or port-holes of which resemble, when
viewed from a distance, those of an old-time two-decker. Besides these
galleries for the artillery, there have also been excavated in the solid
rock, ample magazines, and store and provision rooms, and tanks for the
reception of water. These receptacles are kept constantly well supplied
with munitions, both _de guerre_, and _de bouche_, so that if the garrison
should be driven from the fortifications below, it could retreat to this
citadel, close the massive doors behind them, and withstand a siege.

We passed through all the galleries, ascending from one to the other,
through a long, rough-hewn stairway--the Colonel frequently stopping, and
explaining to me the history of some particular nook or battlement--until
we finally emerged into the open air through a port-hole, or doorway at
the very top of the Rock, and stood upon a narrow footway or platform,
looking down a sheer precipice of fifteen hundred feet, upon the sea
breaking in miniature waves at the base of the Rock. There was no rail to
guard one from the precipice below, and I could but wonder at the
_nonchalance_ with which the Colonel stepped out upon this narrow ledge,
and walked some yards to get a view of the distant coast of Spain,
expecting me to follow him. I did follow him, but I planted my feet very
firmly and carefully, feeling all the while some such emptiness in the
region of the "bread-basket," as Marryatt describes Peter Simple to have
experienced when the first shot whistled past that young gentleman in his
first naval engagement.

The object of the Colonel, in this flank movement, was to show me a famous
height some distance inland, called the "Queen of Spain's Chair," and to
relate to me the legend in connection with it. The Rock of Gibraltar has
always been the darling of Spain. It has been twice wrested from her, once
by the Moors, and once by the English. She regained it from the Moors,
when she drove them out of her Southern provinces, after an occupation of
eight hundred years! Some of the remains of the old Moorish castles are
still visible. Afterward, an English naval captain, returning from some
expedition up the Mediterranean, in which he had been unsuccessful,
stormed and captured the Rock with a handful of sailors. Spain, mortified
beyond measure, at the result, made strenuous efforts to recover it. In
1752 she bent all her energies in this direction, and fitted out large
expeditions, by land and by sea, for the purpose. The Queen came down from
Madrid to witness the siege, and causing her tent to be pitched near the
"Chair," vowed she would never leave it, until she saw the flag of Spain
floating once more from the coveted battlements. But General Elliot, with
only a small garrison, beat back the immense armaments, and the Spaniards
were compelled to raise the siege. But the poor Queen of Spain! what was
to become of her, and her vow? English gallantry came to her relief. The
Spanish flag was raised for a single day from the Rock, to enable the
Queen to descend from her chair! The reader will judge whether this legend
was worth the emptiness in the "bread-basket" which I had experienced, in
order to get at it.

Descending back through the galleries, to where we had left our horses, we
remounted, and following a zigzag path, filled with loose stones, and
running occasionally along the edges of precipices, down which we should
have been instantly dashed in pieces, if our sure-footed animals had
stumbled, we reached the signal-station. On the very apex of the rock,
nature seemed to have prepared a little _plateau_, of a few yards square,
as if for the very purpose for which it was occupied--that of over-looking
the approaches from every direction, to the famous Rock. A neat little box
of a house, with a signal-mast and yard, and a small plot of ground, about
as large as a pocket-handkerchief, used as a garden, occupied the whole
space. Europe, and Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic were all
visible from this eyry. The day was clear, and we could see to great
distances. There were ships in the east coming down the Mediterranean, and
ships in the west coming through the famous Strait; they all looked like
mere specks. Fleets that might shake nations with their thunder, would be
here mere cock-boats. The country is mountainous on both sides of the
Strait, and these mountains now lay sleeping in the sunshine, covered with
a thin, gauzy veil, blue and mysterious, and wearing that air of
enchantment which distance always lends to bold scenery.

"We had a fine view of your ship, the other day," said the signal-man to
me, "when you were chasing the Yankee. The latter was hereaway, when you
set fire to her"--pointing in the direction. "Are there many Yankee ships
passing the Rock now?" I inquired. "No. Very few since the war
commenced." "It would not pay me, then, to cruise in these seas?"

As we turned to go to our horses, we were attracted by the appearance of
three large apes, that had come out of their lodging-place in the Rock, to
sun themselves. These apes are one of the curiosities of the Rock, and
many journeys have been made in vain to the signal-station, to see them.
The Colonel had never seen them before, himself, and the signal-man
congratulated us both on our good fortune. "Those are three old widows,"
said he, "the only near neighbors I have, and we are very friendly; but as
you are strangers, you must not move if you would have a good look at
them, or they will run away." He then gave us the history of his
neighbors. Years ago there was quite a colony of these counterfeit
presentments of human nature on the Rock, but the whole colony has
disappeared except these three. "When I first came to the signal-station,"
continued our informant, "these three old widows were gay, and dashing
young damsels, with plenty of sweethearts, but unfortunately for them,
there were more males than females, and a war ensued in the colony in
consequence. First one of the young males would disappear, and then
another, until I at last noticed that there were only four of the whole
colony left: one very large old male, and these three females. Peace now
ensued, and the old fellow lived apparently very happily with his wives,
but no children were born to him, and finally he died, leaving these three
disconsolate widows, who have since grown old--you can see that they are
quite gray--to mourn his loss." And they did indeed look sad and
disconsolate enough. They eyed us very curiously, and when we moved toward
our horses, they scampered off. They subsist upon wild dates, and a few
other wild fruits that grow upon the Rock.

We passed down the mountain-side to the south end of the Rock, where we
exchanged salutations with the General and Mrs. Codrington, who had come
out to superintend some repairs upon a country house which they had at
this end; and reaching the town, I began to congratulate myself that my
long and fatiguing visit of inspection was drawing to a close. Not so,
however. These Englishmen are a sort of cross between the Centaur and the
North American Indian. They can ride you, or walk you to death, whichever
you please; and so Freemantle said to me, "Now, Captain, we will just take
a little gallop out past the 'neutral ground,' and then I think I will
have shown you all the curiosities." The "neutral ground" was about three
miles distant, and "a gallop" out and back, would be six miles! Imagine a
sailor who had not been on horseback before, for six months; who had been
riding for half a day one of those accursed English horses, with their
long stride, and swinging trot, throwing a man up, and catching him again,
as if he were a trap-ball; who was galled, and sore, and jaded, having
such a proposition made to him! It was worse than taking me out on that
narrow ledge of rock fifteen hundred feet above the sea, to look at the
Queen of Spain's Chair. But I could not retreat. How could an American,
who had been talking of his big country, its long rivers, the immense
distances traversed by its railroads and steam-boats, and the capacity for
endurance of its people in the present war, knock under to an Englishman,
and a Coldstream Guardsman at that, on this very question of endurance?
And so we rode to the "neutral ground."

This is a narrow strip of territory, accurately set off by metes and
bounds, on the isthmus that separates the Rock from the Spanish territory.
As its name implies, neither party claims jurisdiction over it. On one
side are posted the English sentinels, and on the other, the Spanish; and
the _all's-well!_ of the one mingles strangely, at night, with the
_alerta!_ of the other. We frequently heard them both on board the
_Sumter_, when the night was still. I got back to my ship just in time for
a six o'clock dinner, astonished John by drinking an extra glass of
sherry, and could hardly walk for a week afterward.

A day or two after my visit to the Rock, I received a visit from a Spanish
naval lieutenant, sent over, as he stated, by the Admiral from Algeziras,
to remonstrate with me against the burning of the ship _Neapolitan within
Spanish jurisdiction_. The reader who has read the description of the
burning of that ship, will be as much astonished as I was at this visit.
The Spanish Government owns the fortress of Ceuta, on the African shore
opposite Gibraltar, and by virtue of this ownership claims, as it would
appear, jurisdiction for a marine league at sea, in the neighborhood of
the fortress. It was claimed that the _Neapolitan_ had been captured
within this league. The lieutenant having thus stated his case, I demanded
to know on what testimony the Admiral relied, to establish the fact of the
burning within the league. He replied that the United States Consul at
Gibraltar had made the statement to the Admiral. Here was the "cat out of
the bag" again; another United States Consul had turned up, with his
intrigues and false statements. The nice little piece of diplomacy had
probably been helped on, too, by the commanders of the Federal ships of
war, that had made Algeziras a rendezvous, since I had been anchored in
the Bay of Gibraltar. When the Spanish officer had done stating his case,
I said to him:--"I do not recognize the right of your Admiral to raise any
question with me, as to my capture of the _Neapolitan_. The capture of
that ship is an accomplished fact, and if any injury has been done thereby
to Spain, the Spanish Government can complain of it to the Government of
the Confederate States. It has passed beyond the stage, when the Admiral
and I could manage it, and has become an affair entirely between our two

This was all the official answer I had to make, and the lieutenant, whose
bearing was that of an intelligent gentleman, assented to the correctness
of my position. I then said to him:--"But aside from the official aspect
of the case, I desire to show you, that your Admiral has had his credulity
played upon by his informant, the Consul, and whatever other parties may
have approached him on this subject. They have made false statements to
him. It is not only well known to hundreds of citizens of the Rock, who
were eye-witnesses of the burning of the _Neapolitan_, that that vessel
was burned at a distance of from six to seven miles from the African
coast, but I have the testimony of the master of the captured vessel
himself, to the same effect." I then sent for my clerk, whom I directed to
produce and read the deposition of the master, which, according to custom,
we had taken immediately upon effecting the capture. In that deposition,
after having been duly sworn, the master had stated that the capture was
made about five miles from Europa Point, the southern extremity of the
Rock of Gibraltar. The Strait is about fourteen miles wide at this point,
which would put the ship, when captured, nine miles from Ceuta! The
lieutenant, at the conclusion of the reading, raised both hands, and with
an expressive smile, ejaculated, "_Es possible?_" "Yes," I replied, "all
things are possible to Federal Consuls, and other Federal pimps and spies,
when the _Sumter_ and Yankee ships are concerned."



The _Sumter's_ boilers were very much out of condition when she arrived at
Gibraltar, and we had hoped, from the fact that Gibraltar was a
touching-point for several lines of steamers, that we should find here,
machine and boiler shops sufficiently extensive to enable us to have a new
set of boilers made. We were disappointed in this; and so were compelled
to patch up the old boilers as best we could, hoping that when our funds
should arrive, we might be enabled to coal, and run around to London or
Liverpool, where we would find all the facilities we could desire. My
funds arrived, as before stated, on the 3d of February, and I at once set
about supplying myself with coal. I sent my first lieutenant and paymaster
on shore, and afterward my engineer, to purchase it, authorizing them to
pay more than the market-price, if it should be necessary. The reader will
judge of my surprise when these officers returned, and informed me that
they found the market closed against them, and that it was impossible to
purchase a pound of coal in any direction!

It has been seen, in the course of these pages, how often I have had
occasion to complain of the conduct of the Federal Consuls, and one can
scarcely conceive the trouble and annoyance which these well-drilled
officials of Mr. Seward gave me. I could not, of course, have complained,
if their bearing toward me had been simply that of open enemies. This was
to be expected. But they descended to bribery, trickery, and fraud, and to
all the other arts of petty intrigue, so unworthy of an honorable enemy.
Our Southern people can scarcely conceive how little our non-commercial
Southern States were known, in the marts of traffic and trade of the
world. Beyond a few of our principal ports, whence our staple of cotton
was shipped to Europe, our nomenclature even was unknown to the mass of
mere traders. The Yankee Consul and the Yankee shipmaster were everywhere.
Yankee ships carried out cargoes of cotton, and Yankee ships brought back
the goods which were purchased with the proceeds. All the American trade
with Europe was Yankee trade--a ship here and there excepted. Commercial
men, everywhere, were thus more or less connected with the enemy; and
trade being the breath of their nostrils, it is not wonderful that I found
them inimical to me. With rare exceptions, they had no trade to lose with
the South, and much to lose with the North; and this was the string played
upon by the Federal Consuls. If a neutral merchant showed any inclination
to supply the _Sumter_ with anything she needed, a runner was forthwith
sent round to him by the Federal Consul, to threaten him with the loss of
his American--_i. e._ Yankee--trade, unless he desisted.

Such was the game now being played in Gibraltar, to prevent the _Sumter_
from coaling. The same Federal Consul, who, as the reader has seen a few
pages back, stated in an official letter to the Spanish Admiral, that the
_Neapolitan_ had been captured within the marine league of the
Spanish-African coast, whilst the captain of the same ship had sworn
positively that she was distant from it, nine miles, was now bribing and
threatening the coal-dealers of Gibraltar, to prevent them from supplying
me with coal. Whilst I was pondering my dilemma, I was agreeably
surprised, one morning, to receive a visit from an English shipmaster,
whose ship had just arrived with some coal on board. He was willing, he
said, to supply me, naming his price, which I at once agreed to give him.
I congratulated myself that I had at last found an independent Englishman,
who had no fear of the loss of Yankee trade, and expressed as much to
him. "If there is anything," said he, "of which I am proud, it is just
_that thing_, that I am an independent man." It was arranged that I should
get up steam, and go alongside of him the next day. In the meantime,
however, "a change came o'er the spirit" of the Englishman's dream. He
visited the shore. What took place there, we do not know; but the next
morning, whilst I was weighing my anchor to go alongside of him, according
to agreement, a boat came from the ship of my "independent" friend to say,
that I could not have the coal, unless I would pay him double the price
agreed upon! He, too, had fallen into the hands of the enemy. The steam
was blown off, and the anchor not weighed.

Finding that I could do nothing with the merchants, I had recourse to the
Government. There was some coal in the Dock-Yard, and I addressed the
following note to my friend, Captain Warden, to see if he would not supply

     February 10, 1862.

     SIR:--I have the honor 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 unneutral combination of declining to
     supply 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 of 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 sailing-ship, and had come in dismasted from the
     effects of a recent gale, and the dock-yard of her Majesty was the
     only place where I could be refitted, would you deny me a mast? The
     laws of nations are positive on this last point, and it would be your
     duty to allow me to refit in the public dock. And if you would not,
     under the circumstances stated, deny me a mast, on what principle
     will you deny me coal--the latter being as necessary to a steamer as
     a mast to a sailing-ship, and both being alike 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
     itself is interdicted. A case in point occurred when I was in Cadiz
     recently. My ship was admitted into a Government dock, and there
     repaired. The reasons were, first, the repairs, themselves, were such
     as were authorized by the laws of nations; and secondly, there were
     no private docks in Cadiz. So here, the article is innocent, and
     there is none in the market--or rather none accessible to me, which
     is the same thing. 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 quantity of the material from some of
     the coal-hulks, and returning it to her Majesty's dock-yard.

This application was telegraphed to the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in
London, and after the lapse of a week--for it took the "law-officers of
the Crown" a week, it seems, to decide the question--was denied. On the
same day on which I wrote the above letter, I performed the very pleasant
duty of paying to the Spanish Consul at Gibraltar, on account of the
authorities at Cadiz, the amount of the bill which the dock-yard officers
at Caracca had rendered me, for docking my ship. The dock-yard Admiral had
behaved very handsomely about it. I was entirely destitute of funds. He
docked my ship, with a knowledge of this fact, and was kind enough to say
that I might pay at my convenience. I take pleasure in recording this
conduct on the part of a Spanish gentleman, who held a high position in
the Spanish Navy, as a set-off to the coarse and unfriendly conduct of the
Military Governor of Cadiz, of whom I have before spoken.

Failing with the British Government, as I had done with the merchants of
Gibraltar, to obtain a supply of coal, I next dispatched my paymaster for
Cadiz, with instructions to purchase in that port, and ship the article
around to me. A Mr. Tunstall, who had been the United States Consul at
Cadiz, before the war, was then in Gibraltar, and at his request, I sent
him along with the paymaster. They embarked on board a small French
steamer plying between some of the Mediterranean ports, and Cadiz.
Tangier, a small Moorish town on the opposite side of the Strait of
Gibraltar, lies in the route, and the steamer stopped there for a few
hours to land and receive passengers, and to put off, and take on freight.
Messrs. Myers and Tunstall, during this delay, went up into the town, to
take a walk, and as they were returning, were set upon by a guard of
Moorish soldiers, and made prisoners! Upon demanding an explanation, they
were informed that they had been arrested upon a requisition of the United
States Consul, resident in that town.

By special treaties between the Christian powers, and the Moorish and
other non-Christian powers on the borders of the Mediterranean, it is
provided that the consuls of the different Christian powers shall have
jurisdiction, both civil and criminal, over their respective citizens. It
was under such a treaty between the United States and Morocco, that the
United States Consul had demanded the arrest of Messrs. Myers and
Tunstall, as citizens of the United States, alleging that they had
committed high crimes against the said States, on the high seas! The
ignorant Moorish officials knew nothing, and cared nothing, about the laws
of nations; nor did they puzzle their small brains with what was going on,
on the American continent. All they knew was, that one "Christian dog,"
had demanded other "Christian dogs," as his prisoners, and troops were
sent to the Consul, to enable him to make the arrest as a matter of

The Consul, hoping to recommend himself to the mad populace of the United
States, who were just then denouncing the _Sumter_ as a "pirate," and
howling for the blood of all embarked on board of her,--with as little
brains as their Moorish allies,--acted like the brute he was, took the
prisoners to his consular residence, ironed them heavily, and kept them in
close confinement! He guarded them as he would the apple of his eye, for
had he not a prize which might make him Consul for life at Tangier? Alas
for human hopes! I have since learned that he was kicked out of his place,
to make room for another _Sans Culotte_, even more hungry, and more "truly
loil" than himself.

Intelligence of the rich prizes which he had made, having been conveyed by
the Consul, to the commanding United States naval officer, in the Bay of
Algeziras, which bay had by this time become a regular naval station of
the enemy, that officer, instead of releasing the prisoners at once, as he
should have done, on every principle of honor, if not out of regard for
the laws of nations, which he was bound to respect and obey, sent the
sailing bark _Ino_, one of his armed vessels, to Tangier, which received
the prisoners on board, and brought them over to Algeziras--the doughty
Consul accompanying them.

There was great rejoicing on board the Yankee ships of war, in that
Spanish port, when the Consul and his prisoners arrived. They had
blockaded the _Sumter_ in the Mississippi, they had blockaded her in
Martinique, they had chased her hither and thither; Wilkes, Porter, and
Palmer, had all been in pursuit of her, but they had all been baffled. At
last, the little Tangier Consul appears upon the scene, and waylaying, not
the _Sumter_, but her paymaster, unarmed, and unsuspicious of Yankee
fraud, and Yankee trickery, captures him in the streets of a Moorish town,
and hurries him over to Algeziras, ironed like a felon, and delivers him
to Captain Craven, of the United States Navy, who receives the prisoner,
irons and all, and applauds the act!

In a day or two, after the Consul's trophies had been duly exhibited in
the Bay of Algeziras; after the rejoicings were over, and lengthy
despatches had been written, announcing the capture to the Washington
Government, the _Ino_ sets sail for Cadiz, and there transfers her
prisoners to a merchant-ship, called the _Harvest Home_, bound for the
goodly port of Boston.

The prisoners were gentlemen,--one of them had been an officer of the
Federal Navy, and the other a Consul,--but this did not deter the master
of the Yankee merchant-ship from practising upon them the cruelty and
malignity of a cowardly nature. His first act was to shave the heads of
his prisoners, and his second, to put them in close confinement, still
ironed, though there was no possibility of their escape. The captain of
the _Ino_, or of the _Harvest Home_, I am not sure which,--they may settle
it between them,--robbed my paymaster of his watch, so as not to be
behindhand with their countrymen on the land, who were just then beginning
to practise the art of watch and spoon stealing, in which, under the lead
of illustrious chiefs, they soon afterward became adepts. I blush, as an
American, to be called upon to record such transactions. It were well for
the American name, if they could be buried a thousand fathoms deep, and
along with them the perpetrators.

At first, a rumor only of the capture and imprisonment of my paymaster,
and his companion, reached me. It appeared so extraordinary, that I could
not credit it. And even if it were true, I took it for granted, that the
silly act of the Federal Consul would be set aside by the commander of the
Federal naval forces, in the Mediterranean. The rumor soon ripened,
however, into a fact, and the illusion which I had labored under as to the
course of the Federal naval officer, was almost as speedily dispelled. I
had judged him by the old standard, the standard which had prevailed when
I myself knew something of the _personnel_ of the United States Navy. But
old things had passed away, and new things had come to take their places.
A violent, revolutionary faction had possessed itself of the once honored
Government of the United States, and, as is the case in all revolutions,
coarse and vulgar men had risen to the surface, thrusting the more gentle
classes into the background. The Army and the Navy were soon brought under
the influence of these coarser and ruder men, and the necessary
consequence ensued--the Army and the Navy themselves became coarser and
ruder. Some few fine natures resisted the unholy influences, but the mass
of them went, as masses will always go, with the current.

As soon as the misfortunes of my agents were known to me, I resorted to
all the means within my reach, to endeavor to effect their release, but in
vain, as they were carried to Boston, and there imprisoned. I first
addressed a note to General Codrington, the Governor of Gibraltar,
requesting him to intercede with her Britannic Majesty's Chargé, at the
Court of Morocco, for their release. This latter gentleman, whose name was
Hay, resided at Tangier, where the Court of Morocco then was, and was said
to have great influence with it; indeed, to be all-powerful. I then wrote
to the Morocco Government direct, and also to Mr. Hay. I give so much of
this correspondence below as is necessary to inform the reader of the
facts and circumstances of the case, and of the conduct of the several
functionaries to whom I addressed myself.

     BAY OF GIBRALTAR, February 22, 1862.

     SIR:--I have the honor to ask the good offices of his Excellency, the
     Governor of Gibraltar [this letter was addressed to the Colonial
     Secretary, who conducted all the Governor's official correspondence],
     in a matter purely my own. On Wednesday last, I dispatched from this
     port, in a French passenger-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 that they are both heavily
     ironed, and otherwise treated in a barbarous manner. * * * 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 favor 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 asking his interposition? If any official scruples present
     themselves, the thing might be done in his character of a private
     gentleman. The Moorish Government could not hesitate a moment, if it
     understood correctly the facts, and principles of the case; to wit:
     that the principal powers of Europe have recognized the Confederate
     States, as belligerents, in their war against the United States, and
     consequently that 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, &c.

Governor Codrington did kindly and humanely interest himself, and write to
Mr. Hay, but his letter produced no effect. In reply to my own note to Mr.
Hay, that gentleman wrote me as follows:--

     "You must be aware, that her 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 of your letter."

In reply to this letter of Mr. Hay, I addressed him the following:--

     GIBRALTAR, February 25, 1862.

     SIR:--I have had the honor to receive your letter of yesterday's
     date, in reply to mine of the 23d inst., informing me that "You [I]
     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
     refrain from expressing an opinion regarding the course to be pursued
     by Morocco on the subject-matter of your letter."

     Whilst I thank you for the courtesy of delivering my letter, as
     requested, I must be permitted to express to you my disappointment at
     the course which you have prescribed to yourself, of refraining from
     expressing any opinion to the Moorish Government, of the legality or
     illegality of its act, lest you should be charged with undue

     I had supposed that the "_Trent_ affair," of so recent occurrence,
     had settled, not only the right, but the duty of the civilized
     nations of the earth to "interfere," in a friendly manner, to prevent
     wars between nations. It cannot have escaped your observation, that
     the course pursued by Europe in that affair, is precisely analogous
     to that which I have requested of you. In that affair a quarrel arose
     between the United States, one of the belligerents in the existing
     war, and Great Britain, a neutral in that war; and instead of
     "refraining" from offering advice, all Europe made haste to volunteer
     it to both parties. The United States were told by France, by Russia,
     by Spain, and other Powers, that their act was illegal, and that they
     could, without a sacrifice of honor, grant the reparation demanded by
     Great Britain. Neither the nation giving the advice nor the nation
     advised, supposed for a moment that there was a breach of neutrality
     in this proceeding; on the contrary, it was the general verdict of
     mankind, that the course pursued was not only legal, but eminently
     humane and proper, as tending to allay excitement, and prevent the
     effusion of blood.

     If you will run a parallel between the _Trent_ case, and the case in
     hand, you will find it difficult, I think, to sustain the reason you
     have assigned for your forbearance. In that case, the quarrel was
     between a neutral, and a belligerent, as in this case. In that case,
     citizens of a belligerent State were unlawfully arrested on the high
     seas, in a neutral ship, by the opposite belligerent, and imprisoned.
     In this case, citizens of a belligerent State have been unlawfully
     arrested by a neutral, in neutral territory, and imprisoned. Does the
     fact that the offence was committed in the former case, by a
     belligerent against a neutral, and in the latter case, by a neutral
     against a belligerent, make any difference in the application of the
     principle we are discussing? And if so, in what does the difference
     consist? If A strikes B, is it lawful to interfere to preserve the
     peace, and if B strikes A, is it unlawful to interfere for the same
     purpose? Can the circumstance, that the prisoners seized by the one
     belligerent, in the _Trent_ affair, were citizens of the other
     belligerent, alter the application of the principle? The difference,
     if any, is in favor of the present case, for whilst the belligerent
     in the former case was compelled to release its enemies, whom, under
     proper conditions it would have had the right to capture, in the
     latter case I requested you to advise a neutral to release prisoners,
     who were not the enemies of the neutral, and whom the neutral could
     have no right to capture under any circumstances whatever.

     Upon further inquiry, I learn that my first impression, that the two
     gentlemen in question had been arrested under some claim of
     extradition, was not exactly correct. It seems that they were
     arrested by Moorish soldiery, 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 to 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 them, 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 convey it by treaty to the United States, to be
     exercised by their Consul in Tangier.

     I trust that you will not understand, that I have written in a tone
     of remonstrance, or complaint. I have no ground on which to _demand_
     anything of you. The friendly offices of nations, like those of
     individuals, must be spontaneous; and if in the present instance, you
     have not deemed yourself at liberty to offer a word of friendly
     advice, to a Barbarian Government which has evidently erred through
     ignorance of its rights and duties, in favor of unfortunate citizens
     of a Government, in amity with your own, and whose people are
     connected with your people by so many ties of consanguinity and
     interest, I have no word of remonstrance to offer. You are the best
     judge of your own actions.

I never received any reply to this letter from Mr. Hay. The fact that the
prisoners were permitted to be delivered up to the enemy, as before
stated, is conclusive that he was as good as his word, and "signified
distinctly" to the Moorish Government, that he should refrain from giving
it any advice on the subject--which, of course, under the circumstances,
was tantamount to advising it to do what it did. If he had contented
himself with handing in my protest to the Moorish authorities, without any
remark whatever, his conduct would not have been so objectionable, but
when he made it a point to inform them, as he took pains to tell me he
would, that he had no advice to offer them, this was saying to them in
effect, "I have no objection to offer to your course;" for it must be
borne in mind, that Mr. Hay was a great favorite with the Government to
which he was accredited, and was in the constant habit of giving it advice
on every and all occasions. The consuls of the different powers resident
in Tangier behaved no better than Mr. Hay. A serious commotion among the
Christian residents took place, upon the arrest and imprisonment of
Messrs. Myers and Tunstall, which would probably have resulted in their
release by the Government, but for the interference of these consuls,
headed by Mr. Hay. They advised their respective countrymen to disperse,
and "refraining distinctly," each and all of them, from giving a word of
advice to the perplexed authorities, though implored by the Moors
themselves to do so, the latter construed the whole course of Hay and the
consuls to mean, that they must comply with the Federal Consul's demand,
and hand over the prisoners to him.

The news of this arrest and imprisonment created great excitement in most
of the Christian capitals, particularly in London. A formal call was made
in the British Parliament, upon the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs,
for an official statement of the facts; but it being rumored and believed,
soon afterward, in London, that the prisoners had been released, no steps
were taken by the British Government, if any were contemplated, until it
was too late. Mr. Mason, our Commissioner in London, interested himself at
once in the matter, but was deceived like the rest, by the rumor. The
following extract from a letter written by me to him on the 19th of March
will show how the British Government had been bamboozled by some one,
although there was a continuous line of telegraph between London and

     "I have had the honor to receive your letter of the 8th inst.
     informing me that, as late as the 7th of March, the English
     Government was under the impression that Paymaster Myers and Mr.
     Tunstall, had been released from imprisonment; and requesting me to
     telegraph you, if the contrary should be the fact. This lack of
     information on the part of the Under Secretary of State is somewhat
     remarkable, as no rumor has prevailed here, at any time, that these
     gentlemen had been liberated. On the contrary, the sloop-of-war
     _Ino_, of the enemy, came into this Bay--Spanish side--on the 28th of
     February, with the prisoners on board, and sailed with them the next
     day. On the 6th of March, the _Ino_ transferred the prisoners to the
     enemy's merchant-ship, _Harvest Home_, off Cadiz, which sailed
     immediately for Boston. You will perceive, from the narration of
     these facts, that it was unnecessary to telegraph to you, as the
     prisoners, though they had not been released, had been placed beyond
     the reach of the British Government through its Chargé at
     Tangier--even if you could have induced that Government to interfere,
     which I very much doubt.

     "You have, of course, been informed through the press, that the
     Moorish Government was anxious to liberate the prisoners, but that it
     was bullied into acquiescence, by the truculent Federal Consul, who
     was backed by a force of forty armed men, landed from the _Ino_, and
     who threatened to haul down his flag, and quit the country, if his
     demand was not complied with. A word of advice given, unofficially
     even, by Mr. Hay, or some one of the consuls present, would have been
     an act of kindness to the ignorant Moors, in keeping them out of a
     scrape, as well as to ourselves. As the case now stands, we shall be
     obliged, as soon as we shall have gotten rid of this Yankee war, to
     settle accounts with his Majesty of Morocco."

One more letter, and the reader will have full information of this Tangier
difficulty. Myers and Tunstall had embarked, as has been stated, under the
French flag, and I wrote to Mr. Slidell in Paris, requesting him to call
the attention of the French Government to this fact. Having received from
him in reply a note informing me that he had done so, I wrote him again as

     "I have had the honor to receive your note of the 8th of March,
     informing me that you had referred the subject of the capture of
     Messrs. Myers and Tunstall to Mons. Thouvenal, the French Secretary
     of State for Foreign Affairs, but that the impression prevailed in
     Paris that those gentlemen had been liberated. With regard to the
     latter fact, you will, of course, have been undeceived before this.
     The prisoners will probably be in Fort Warren, before this reaches
     you. The French Consul-General at Tangier must have kept his
     Government badly informed on the subject, since the latter supposed,
     as late as the 8th inst., that the prisoners had been liberated.

     "I trust that you will be able to make something out of the case. It
     is one in which all the Christian powers are interested. If this
     precedent is to stand, a French or an English subject may be seized,
     to-morrow, upon the simple requisition of a consul, and handed over
     to his enemy. And then, as I stated to you, in my first letter, is
     not the honor of the French flag involved? It is admitted that, as
     between civilized states, this question of the flag would not arise,
     the parties having disembarked. But a different set of rules has been
     applied to the dealings of the Christian powers, with the
     non-Christian, as is shown by this very arrest, under a claim of
     jurisdiction by a consul. A Frenchman in Morocco is, by treaty, under
     the protection of the French Consular flag. If he commits an offence,
     he is tried and punished by his Consul, regardless of the fact that
     he is literally within the jurisdiction of Morocco. And these
     concessions have been demanded by the Christian nations, for the
     security of their subjects.

     "A French citizen, on board a French merchant-ship, lying in the
     waters of Morocco, would be subject to the same rule. Should, now, a
     French traveller, landing in Morocco, _in itinere_, only, from a
     French ship, be subject to a different rule? and if so, on what
     principle? And if a Frenchman would be protected under these
     circumstances--protected because of the flag which has brought him
     hither, and not because he is a Frenchman, simply, why may not
     Messrs. Myers and Tunstall claim French protection? Though they were
     on the soil of Morocco, when arrested, they were there, _in itinere_,
     under the French flag, which not only exterritorialized the ship,
     over which it floated, but every one who belonged to the ship,
     whether on ship-board or on shore, for the time being.

     "But what appears to me most extraordinary in this case, is the
     apathy, or rather the fear of their own governments, which was
     manifested by the representatives of the Christian powers, on the
     occasion of the arrest. A friend of mine, the Captain of an English
     steam-frigate, on this station, visited Tangier, with his ship, a day
     or two only after the occurrence, and he informs me that the Moorish
     authorities were sorely perplexed, during the pendency of the affair,
     and that they implored the counsel and assistance of the
     representatives of the Christian powers, to enable them to solve the
     difficulty, but that not one word of advice was tendered." * * *

I was sorry to lose my very efficient paymaster, but there was no remedy.
He was incarcerated for a while, after his arrival in Boston, but was
treated as a prisoner of war, and was finally released on parole. The
Secretary of the Federal Navy directed his stolen watch to be returned to
him which is worthy of record, as being something exceptional, but I have
never learned whether any punishment was inflicted upon the party
committing the theft. Probably not, as by this time, entire Federal armies
had become demoralized and taken to plundering.

The _Sumter_ was now blockaded by three ships of the enemy, and it being
impossible for me to coal, I resolved to lay her up, and proceed to
London, and consult with my Government as to my future course. I might
possibly have had coal shipped to me from London, or some other English
port, but this would have involved expense and delay, and it was
exceedingly doubtful besides, whether I could elude the vigilance of so
many blockading ships, in a slow ship, with crippled boilers. In her best
days, the _Sumter_ had been a very inefficient ship, being always
anchored, as it were, in the deep sea, by her propeller, whenever she was
out of coal. A fast ship, propelled entirely by sail-power, would have
been better.

When I look back now, I am astonished to find what a struggle it cost me
to get my own consent to lay up this old ship. As inexplicable as the
feeling is, I had really become attached to her, and felt as if I would be
parting forever with a valued friend. She had run me safely through two
vigilant blockades, had weathered many storms, and rolled me to sleep in
many calms. Her cabin was my bed-room and my study, both in one, her
quarter-deck was my promenade, and her masts, spars, and sails, my
playthings. I had handled her in all kinds of weather, watching her every
motion in difficult situations, as a man watches the yielding and cracking
ice over which he is making a perilous passage. She had fine qualities as
a sea-boat, being as buoyant, active, and dry as a duck, in the heaviest
gales, and these are the qualities which a seaman most admires.

And then, there are other chords of feeling touched in the sailor's heart,
at the end of a cruise, besides the parting with his ship. The commander
of a ship is more or less in the position of a father of a family. He
necessarily forms an attachment for those who have served under him, and
especially for such as have developed honorable qualities, and high
abilities, and I had a number on board the _Sumter_ who had developed
both. I only regretted that they had not a wider field for the exercise
of their abilities. I had officers serving with me, as lieutenants, who
were equal to any naval command, whatever. But, unfortunately for them,
our poor, hard-pressed Confederate States had no navy worth speaking of;
and owing to the timidity, caution, and fear of neutrals, found it
impossible to improvise one. And then, when men have been drenched, and
wind-beaten in the same storm, have stood on the deck of the same frail
little ship, with only a plank between them and eternity, and watched her
battling with the elements, which threaten every moment to overwhelm her,
there is a feeling of brotherhood that springs up between them, that it is
difficult for a landsman to conceive.

There was another, and if possible, stronger chord which bound us
together. In the olden time, when the Christian warrior went forth to
battle with the Saracen, for the cross, each knight was the sworn brother
of the other. They not only slept in the same tents, endured the same
hardships, and encountered the same risks, but their faith bound them
together with hooks of steel. Without irreverence be it spoken, we of the
Southern States had, too, our faith. The Saracen had invaded our beloved
land, and was laying it waste with fire and sword. We were battling for
our honor, our homes, and our property; in short, for everything that was
dear to the human heart. Yea, we were battling for our blood and our race,
for it had been developed, even at this early stage of the war, that it
was the design of the Northern hordes that were swarming down upon us, not
only to liberate the slave, but to enable him to put his foot upon the
neck of his late master, and thus bastardize, if possible, his posterity.
The blood of the white man in our veins could not but curdle at the
contemplation of an atrocity which nothing but the brain of a demon could
have engendered.

Besides my officers, I had many worthy men among my crew, who had stood by
me in every emergency, and who looked forward with sorrowful countenances,
to the approaching separation. The reader has been introduced to my
Malayan steward, John, on several occasions. John's black, lustrous eyes
filled with ill-concealed tears, more than once, during the last days of
the _Sumter_, as he smoothed the pillow of my cot with a hand as tender
as that of a woman, or handed me the choicest dishes at meals.

I had governed my crew with a rigid hand, never overlooking an offence,
but I had, at the same time, always been mindful of justice, and I was
gratified to find, both on the part of officers and men, an apparent
forgetfulness of the little jars and discords which always grow out of the
effort to enforce discipline, it matters not how suavely and justly the
effort may be made.

Being more or less cut off from communication with the Navy Department, I
deemed it but respectful and proper to consult with our Commissioner in
London, Mr. Mason, and to obtain his consent before finally laying up the
_Sumter_. Mr. Mason agreed with me entirely in my views, and telegraphed
me to this effect on the 7th of April. The next few days were busy days on
board the _Sumter_. Upon the capture of Paymaster Myers, I had appointed
Lieutenant J. M. Stribling Acting Paymaster, and I now set this officer at
work, closing the accounts of the ship and paying off the officers and
men. The officers were formally detached from the command, as fast as paid
off, and they embarked for London, on their way to another ship, or to the
Confederate States, as circumstances might determine; and the men, with
snug little sums in their pockets, were landed, and as is usually the case
with sailors, soon dispersed to the four quarters of the globe; each
carrying with him the material for yarn-spinning for the balance of his

By the 11th of April we had completed all our preparations for turning
over the ship to the midshipman who was to have charge of her, and in two
or three days afterward, accompanied by Mr. Kell, my first lieutenant, and
several other of my officers, I embarked on board the mail-steamer for
Southampton. The following is an extract from the last letter that was
written to the Secretary of the Navy from on board the _Sumter_:--

     "I now have the honor to report to you, that I have discharged and
     paid off, in full, all the crew, numbering fifty, with the exception
     of the ten men detailed to remain by the ship, as servants, and to
     form a boat's crew for the officer left in charge. I have placed
     Midshipman R. F. Armstrong, assisted by Acting Master's Mate I. T.
     Hester, in charge of the ship, with provisions and funds for ten or
     twelve months, and I have directed all the other officers to return
     to the Confederate States, and report themselves to the Department. I
     will myself proceed to London, and after conferring with Mr. Mason,
     make the best of my way home. I trust the Department will see, in
     what I have done, an anxious desire to advance the best interests of
     our country, and that it will justify the responsibility, which, in
     the best exercise of my judgment, I felt it my duty to assume, in the
     difficult circumstances by which I was surrounded and embarrassed.
     Enclosed is a copy of my order to Midshipman Armstrong, and a list of
     the officers and men left on board the ship."

A brief summary of the services of the _Sumter_, and of what became of
her, may not be uninteresting to the reader, who has followed her thus
far, in her wanderings. She cruised six months, leaving out the time
during which she was blockaded in Gibraltar. She captured seventeen ships,
as follows: the _Golden Rocket_, _Cuba_, _Machias_, _Ben. Dunning_,
_Albert Adams_, _Naiad_, _Louisa Kilham_, _West Wind_, _Abby Bradford_,
_Joseph Maxwell_, _Joseph Parke_, _D. Trowbridge_, _Montmorency_,
_Arcade_, _Vigilant_, _Eben Dodge_, _Neapolitan_, and _Investigator_. It
is impossible to estimate the damage done to the enemy's commerce. The
property actually destroyed formed a very small proportion of it. The fact
alone of the _Sumter_ being upon the seas, during these six months, gave
such an alarm to neutral and belligerent shippers, that the enemy's
carrying-trade began to be paralyzed, and already his ships were being
laid up, or sold under neutral flags--some of these sales being _bona
fide_, and others fraudulent. In addition to this, the enemy kept five or
six of his best ships of war constantly in pursuit of her, which
necessarily weakened his blockade, for which, at this time, he was much
pressed for ships. The expense to my Government of running the ship was
next to nothing, being only $28,000, or about the price of one of the
least valuable of her prizes. The _Sumter_ was sold in the course of a
month or two after being laid up, and being put under the English flag as
a merchant-ship, made one voyage to the coast of the Confederate States,
as a blockade-runner, entering the port of Charleston. Her new owner
changed her name to that of _Gibraltar_. She was lost afterward in the
North Sea, and her bones lie interred not far from those of the



We had been long enough in Gibraltar to make many warm friends, and some
of these came on board the mail-steamer in which we had taken passage to
take leave of us; among others, Captain Lambert, R. N., in command of her
Majesty's steam frigate, the _Scylla_, to whom I am much indebted, for
warm sympathy, and many acts of kindness. The captain was the son of
Vice-Admiral Sir Charles Lambert, whose hospitality I had enjoyed, for a
single night, many years before, under peculiar circumstances. When the
United States brig _Somers_ was capsized and sunk, off Vera Cruz, and half
her crew drowned, as briefly described some pages back, Sir Charles
Lambert, then a captain, was in command of the sailing frigate _Endymion_,
and it was on board that ship that I was carried, more dead than alive, on
the evening of the fatal disaster. I recollect distinctly the plight in
which I ascended the side of this English frigate. Like a waif which had
been picked up from the sea, I had nothing on me but shirt and trousers,
and these, as well as my hair, were dripping water. I had lost my ship
only an hour or two before, and had witnessed the drowning of many
helpless men, who had struggled in vain for their lives. My heart was
oppressed with the weight of my misfortune, and my strength nearly
exhausted. Sir Charles received me at the foot of the ladder, as I
descended to the deck of his ship, as tenderly, and with as much genuine
sympathy and compassion, as if I had been his own son, and taking me into
his cabin, had my wants duly cared for. There are said to be secret chords
of sympathy binding men together in spite of themselves. I know not how
this may be, but I felt drawn toward the son of my benefactor, even before
I knew him to be his son. I take this public mode of expressing to both
father and son my thanks for the many obligations under which they have
placed me.

As the swift and powerful steamer on which we were embarked, moved
silently, but rapidly out of the harbor, in the evening twilight, I took a
last, lingering look at the little _Sumter_. Her once peopled decks were
now almost deserted, only a disconsolate old sailor or two being seen
moving about on them, and the little ship herself, with her black hull,
and black mast-heads and yards, the latter of which had been stripped of
their sails, looked as if she had clad herself in mourning for our

A pleasant passage of a few days carried us rapidly past the coasts of
Spain, Portugal, and a portion of France, into the British Channel, and on
the sixth day, we found ourselves in Southampton, which I was afterward
destined to revisit, under such different circumstances. On the same night
I slept in that great Babel, London. I remained in this city during the
month of May, enjoying in a high degree, as the reader may suppose, the
relaxation and ease consequent upon so great a change in my mode of life.
There were no more enemies or gales of wind to disturb my slumbers; no
intrusive officers to come into my bed-room at unseasonable hours, to
report sails or land discovered, and no half drowned old quartermasters to
poke their midnight lanterns into my face, and tell me, that the bow-ports
were stove in, and the ship half full of water! If the storm raged without
and the windows rattled, I took no notice of it, unless it was to turn
over in my bed, and feel all the more comfortable, for my sense of

Kell and myself took rooms together, in Euston Square; our windows looking
out, even at this early season, upon well-grown and fragrant grasses,
trees in leaf, and flowers in bloom, all in the latitude of 52°
N.--thanks, as formerly remarked, to our American Gulf Stream. I called
at once upon Mr. Mason, whom I had often seen in his seat in the Senate of
the United States, as a Senator from the grand old State of Virginia, but
whom I had never known personally. I found him a genial Virginia
gentleman, with much _bon hommie_, and a great favorite with everybody. In
his company I saw much of the society of the English capital, and soon
became satisfied that Mr. Davis could not have intrusted the affairs of
the Confederacy, to better hands. English hearts had warmed toward him,
and his name was the sesame to open all English doors. I soon learned from
him the _status_ of Confederate States' naval affairs, on the European
side of the Atlantic. The gun-boat _Oreto_, afterward the _Florida_, had
sailed for Nassau, in the Bahamas, and the new ship being built by the
Messrs. Laird at Birkenhead, was well on her way to completion. Other
contracts were in hand, but nothing tangible had as yet been accomplished
under them.

I had also interviews with Commander North, and Commander Bullock, agents
of the Confederate States Navy Department, for the building and equipping
of ships, in these waters. It being evident that there was nothing
available for me, I determined to lose no time in returning to the
Confederacy, and it was soon arranged that I should depart in the steamer
_Melita_, an English steamer preparing to take a cargo of arms,
ammunition, and clothing to Nassau. This ship belonged to the Messrs.
Isaac, brothers, large blockade runners, who kindly tendered free passages
to myself, and to my first lieutenant, and surgeon, who were to accompany

I trust the reader will pardon me--as I hope the family itself will if I
intrude upon its privacy--if I mention before leaving London, one of those
old English households, immortalized by the inimitable pen of Washington
Irving. One day whilst I was sitting quietly, after breakfast, in my rooms
at Euston Square, running over the column of American news, in the
"Times," Commander North entered, and in company with him came a somewhat
portly gentleman, with an unmistakable English face, and dressed in
clerical garb--not over clerical either, for, but for his white cravat,
and the cut of the collar of his coat, you would not have taken him for a
clergyman at all. Upon being presented, this gentleman said to me,
pleasantly, "I have come to take the Captain of the _Sumter_ prisoner, and
carry him off to my house, to spend a few days with me." I looked into the
genial face of the speaker, and surrendered myself to him a captive at
once. There was no mistaking the old-time English gentleman--though the
gentleman himself was not past middle age--in the open countenance, and
kindly expression of my new friend. Making some remarks to him about
quiet, he said, "That is the very thing I propose to give you; you shall
come to my house, stay as long as you please, go away when you please, and
see nobody at all unless you please." I dined with him, the next day, in
company with a few Confederate and English friends, and spent several days
at his house--the ladies president of which were his mother and maiden
sister. I shall return hereafter to this house, as the reader will see. It
became, in fact, my English home, and was but little less dear to me than
my own home in America. The name of the Rev. Francis W. Tremlett, of the
"Parsonage, in Belsize Park, near Hampstead, London," dwells in my memory,
and in that of every other Confederate who ever came in contact with
him--and they are not few--like a household word.

We embarked on board the _Melita_ in the latter part of May. The vessel
had already dropped some distance down the Thames, and we went thither to
join her by rail; one of the Messrs. Isaac accompanying us, to see us
comfortably installed. The _Melita_ was to make a _bona fide_ voyage to
Nassau, having no intention of running the blockade. I was particular to
have this point settled beyond the possibility of dispute, so as to bring
our capture, if the enemy should undertake it, within the precedent set by
the _Trent_ case. The _Sumter_ having dared to capture and destroy Yankee
ships upon the high seas, in defiance of President Lincoln's proclamation,
denouncing her as a "pirate," had wounded the ridiculous vanity of the
enemy past forgiveness, to say nothing of that other and sorer wound which
resulted from the destruction of his property, and he was exceedingly
anxious, in consequence, to get hold of me. I was resolved, therefore,
that, if another zealous, but indiscreet Captain Wilkes should turn up,
that another seven days of penance and tribulation should be imposed upon
Mr. Secretary of State Seward. We were not molested, however, and after a
pleasant run of about twenty days we entered the harbor of Nassau, about 2
P. M. on the 13th of June, 1862.

On the same evening of our arrival, I was quartered, with my small staff,
in the Victoria Hotel, then thronged with guests, Federal and Confederate;
for the Yankee, in obedience to his instincts of traffic, had scented the
prey from afar, and was here to turn an honest penny, by assisting the
Confederates to run the blockade! "It's an ill wind that blows nobody
good," and Nassau was a living witness of this old adage. The island of
New Providence, of which Nassau is the only town, is a barren limestone
rock, producing only some coarse grass, a few stunted trees, a few
pine-apples and oranges, and a great many sand-crabs and "fiddlers."
Before the war, it was the rendezvous of a few wreckers and fishermen.
Commerce it had none, except such as might grow out of the sponge-trade,
and the shipment of green turtle and conch-shells. The American war which
has brought woe and wretchedness to so many of our States, was the wind
which blew prosperity to Nassau.

It had already put on the air of a commercial city; its fine harbor being
thronged with shipping, and its warehouses, wharves, and quays filled to
repletion with merchandise. All was life, bustle, and activity. Ships were
constantly arriving and depositing their cargoes, and light-draught
steamers, Confederate and English, were as constantly reloading these
cargoes, and running them into the ports of the Confederate States. The
success which attended many of these little vessels is surprising. Some of
them made their voyages, as regularly as mail packets, running, with
impunity, through a whole fleet of the enemy's steamers. Notwithstanding
this success, however, the enemy was reaping a rich harvest, for many
valuable prizes fell into his hands. It soon became a bone of contention
among the Federal naval officers, which of them should be assigned to the
lucrative commands of the blockading squadrons. The admiral of one of
these squadrons would frequently awake, in the morning, and find himself
richer, by ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars, by reason of a
capture made by some one of his subordinates, the night before. This was
the "mess of pottage" for which so many unprincipled Southern men, in the
Federal Navy, sold their "birthright."

Some of these men are enjoying princely fortunes, but they have purchased
these fortunes at the price of treason, and of blood, and by selling into
bondage to the stranger, the people of their native States. Whilst poor
old Virginia, for example, the "mother of States and statesmen," is
wearing the chains of a captive, and groaning under the tortures inflicted
upon her, by her hereditary enemy, the Puritan, some of her sons are
counting the "thirty pieces of silver" for which they sold her! "Pity
'tis, but pity 'tis, 'tis true." These gentlemen may wrap themselves in as
many folds of the "old flag" as they please, and talk as glibly as any
Yankee, of the great Federal "nation" which has swallowed up the States,
but future generations, if their ignoble names should descend so far down
the stream of time, will unwind these folds from about them, as we have
unwound from the mummy, its folds of fine linen, and expose the corruption
and deformity beneath.

I found several Confederate naval officers at Nassau--among others
Commander J. N. Maffitt, who had been assigned to the command of the
_Oreto_, afterward to become famous as the _Florida_; and Commander G. T.
Sinclair, who had been kind enough, as the reader may recollect, to send
me my guns for the _Sumter_, from the Norfolk Navy Yard. Captain Sinclair
was recently from the Confederate States, and had brought me a letter from
Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, which put a material change upon
the face of affairs, so far as I was personally concerned. I was directed
by this letter, to return to Europe, and assume command of the new ship
which was being built on the Mersey, to be called the _Alabama_. My reply
to this letter, dated at Nassau, on the 15th of June, will put the reader
in possession of this new programme. It is as follows:--

     NASSAU, NEW PROVIDENCE, June 15, 1862.

     SIR:--I have the honor to inform you of my arrival here, on the 8th
     inst., in twenty days from London. I found here Lieutenants Maffitt
     and Sinclair, and have received your letter of May 29th, enclosing a
     copy of your despatch to me, of May 2d. As you may conclude, from
     the fact of my being here, the original of the latter communication
     [assigning me to the command of the _Alabama_] has not reached me;
     nor indeed has any other communication from the Department, since I
     left the mouths of the Mississippi, in June, 1861. As you
     anticipated, it became necessary for me to lay the _Sumter_ up, in
     consequence of my being hemmed in, by the enemy, in a place where it
     was impossible to put the necessary repairs upon my boilers, to
     enable me to take the sea again; and where, moreover, it was
     impossible, without long delay and expense, to obtain a supply of
     coal. * * * [Here follows a description of the laying up of the ship,
     which the reader has already seen.]

     Upon my arrival in London, I found that the _Oreto_ had been
     dispatched, some weeks before, to this place; and Commander Bullock
     having informed me that he had your order assigning him to the
     command of the second ship he was building [the _Alabama_], I had no
     alternative but to return to the Confederate States for orders. It is
     due to Commander Bullock to say, however, that he offered to place
     himself entirely under my instructions, and even to relinquish to me
     the command of the new ship; but I did not feel at liberty to
     interfere with your orders.

     While in London, I ascertained that a number of steamers were being
     prepared to run the blockade, with arms and other supplies for the
     Confederate States, and, instead of dispatching my officers at once
     for these States, I left them to take charge of the ships mentioned,
     as they should be gotten ready for sea, and run them in to their
     several destinations--deeming this the best service they could render
     the Government, under the circumstances. I came hither, myself,
     accompanied by my first lieutenant and surgeon--Kell and Galt--a
     passenger in the British steamer _Melita_, whose cargo of arms and
     supplies is also destined for the Confederate States. It is fortunate
     that I made this arrangement, as many of my officers still remain in
     London, and I shall return thither in time to take most of them with
     me to the _Alabama_.

     In obedience to your order, assigning me to the command of this ship,
     I will return by the first conveyance to England, where the joint
     energies of Commander Bullock and myself will be directed to the
     preparation of the ship for sea. I will take with me Lieutenant Kell,
     Surgeon Galt, and First Lieutenant of Marines Howell--Mr. Howell and
     Lieutenant Stribling having reached Nassau a few days before me, in
     the British steamer _Bahama_, laden with arms, clothing, and stores
     for the Confederacy. At the earnest entreaty of Lieutenant-Commanding
     Maffitt, I have consented to permit Lieutenant Stribling to remain
     with him, as his first lieutenant on board the _Oreto_
     (_Florida_)--the officers detailed for that vessel not yet having
     arrived. Mr. Stribling's place on board the _Alabama_ will be
     supplied by Midshipman Armstrong, promoted, whom I will recall from
     Gibraltar, where I left him in charge of the _Sumter_. It will,
     doubtless, be a matter of some delicacy, and tact, to get the
     _Alabama_ safely out of British waters, without suspicion, as Mr.
     Adams, the Northern Envoy, and his numerous satellites in the shape
     of consuls and paid agents, are exceedingly vigilant in their

     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
     a large portion of her crew must be sent, in a neutral
     merchant-vessel. The _Alabama_ will be a fine ship, quite equal to
     encounter any of the enemy's steam-sloops, of the class of the
     _Iroquois_, _Tuscarora_, and _Dacotah_, and I shall feel much more
     independent in her, upon the high seas, than I did in the little

     I think well of your suggestion of the East Indies, as a cruising
     ground, and I 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 lay 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 a useless expense to keep a
     vessel so comparatively worthless, so long at her anchors. I will
     cause to be sent to the _Alabama_, the _Sumter's_ chronometers, and
     other nautical instruments and charts, and the remainder of her
     officers and crew.

     In conclusion, permit me to thank you 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.

I was delayed several very anxious weeks in Nassau, waiting for an
opportunity to return to Europe. The _Alabama_, I knew, was nearly ready
for sea, and it was all-important that she should be gotten out of British
waters, as speedily as possible, because of the espionage to which I have
referred. But there was no European-bound vessel in Nassau, and I was
forced to wait. Lieutenant Sinclair having had a passage offered him, in
an English steamer of war, as far as Halifax, availed himself of the
invitation, intending to take the mail-steamer from Halifax for England.
As he would probably arrive a week or two in advance of myself, I wrote to
Captain Bullock by him, informing him of my having been appointed to the
command of the _Alabama_, and requesting him to hurry that ship off to her
rendezvous, without waiting for me. I could join her at her rendezvous. As
the reader will hereafter see, this was done.

I passed the time of my enforced delay at Nassau, as comfortably as
possible. The hotel was spacious and airy, and the sea-breeze being pretty
constant, we did not suffer much from the heat. I amused myself, watching
from my windows, with the aid of an excellent glass, the movements of the
blockade-runners. One of these vessels went out, and another returned,
every two or three days; the returning vessel always bringing us late
newspapers from the Confederacy. The fare of the hotel was excellent,
particularly the fish and fruits, and the landlord was accommodating and
obliging. With Maffitt, Kell, Galt, Stribling, and other Confederate
officers, and some very pretty and musical Confederate ladies, whose
husbands and brothers were engaged in the business of running the
blockade, the time would have passed pleasantly enough, but for the
anxiety which I felt about my future movements.

Maffitt, in particular, was the life of our household. He knew everybody,
and everybody knew him, and he passed in and out of all the rooms, _sans
ceremonie_, at all hours. Being a jaunty, handsome fellow, young enough,
in appearance, to pass for the elder brother of his son, a midshipman who
was to go with me to the _Alabama_, he was a great favorite with the
ladies. He was equally at home, with men or women, it being all the same
to him, whether he was wanted to play a game of billiards, take a hand at
whist, or join in a duet with a young lady--except that he had the good
taste always to prefer the lady. Social, gay, and convivial, he was much
courted and flattered, and there was scarcely ever a dining or an evening
party, at which he was not present. But this was the mere outside glitter
of the metal. Beneath all this _bagatelle_ and _dolce far niente_, Maffitt
was a remarkable man. At the first blast of war, like a true
Southerner--he was a North Carolinian by birth--he relinquished a fine
property in the city of Washington, which was afterward confiscated by the
enemy, resigned his commission in the Federal Navy, and came South, to
tender his services to his native State. Unlike many other naval men, he
had the capacity to understand the nature of the Government under which he
lived, and the honesty to give his allegiance, in a cross-fire of
allegiances, where his judgment told him it was due.

He was a perfect master of his profession, not only in its practical, but
in its more scientific branches, and could handle his ship like a toy.
Brave, cool, and full of resource, he was equal to any and every emergency
that could present itself in a sailor's life. He made a brilliant cruise
in the _Florida_, and became more famous as a skilful blockade-runner than
any other man in the war. This man, whose character I have not at all
overdrawn, was pursued by the Yankee, after his resignation, with a
vindictiveness and malignity peculiarly Puritan--to his honor be it said.
With Maury, Buchanan, and other men of that stamp, who have been denounced
with equal bitterness, his fame will survive the filth thrown upon it by a
people who seem to be incapable of understanding or appreciating noble
qualities in an enemy, and devoid of any other standard by which to try
men's characters, than their own sectional prejudices. We should rather
pity than contemn men who have shown, both during and since the war, so
little magnanimity as our late enemies have done. The savage is full of
prejudices, because he is full of ignorance. His intellectual horizon is
necessarily limited; he sees but little, and judges only by what he sees.
His own little world is _the_ world, and he tries all the rest of mankind
by that standard. Cruel in war, he is revengeful and implacable in peace.
Better things are ordinarily expected of civilized men. Education and
civilization generally dispel these savage traits. They refine and soften
men, and implant in their bosoms the noble virtues of generosity and
magnanimity. The New England Puritan seems to have been, so far as we may
judge him by the traits which have been developed in him during and since
the war, an exception to this rule. With all his pretensions to learning,
and amid all the appliances of civilization by which he has surrounded
himself, he is still the same old Plymouth Rock man, that his ancestor
was, three centuries ago. He is the same gloomy, saturnine fanatic; he has
the same impatience of other men's opinions, and is the same vindictive
tyrant that he was when he expelled Roger Williams from his dominions. The
cockatrice's egg has hatched a savage, in short, that refuses to be

The _Oreto_ was in court whilst I was in Nassau; the Attorney-General of
the colony having libelled her for a breach of the British Foreign
Enlistment Act. After a long and tedious trial, during which it was proved
that she had left England unarmed, and unprovided with a warlike crew, she
was released, very much to the gratification of my friend, Maffitt, who
had been anxiously awaiting the result of the trial. This energetic
officer throwing himself and Stribling on board of her, with such other
officers and men as he could gather on short notice, ran the blockade of
the enemy's cruisers, the following night, and the next morning found
himself on the high seas, with just five firemen, and fourteen deck hands!
His hope was to get his armament on board, and after otherwise preparing
his ship for sea, to recruit his crew from the neutral sailors always to
be found on board the enemy's merchant-ships.

Arriving at Green Key, the rendezvous, which had been concerted between
himself, and our agent at Nassau, Mr. J. B. Lafitte, he was joined by a
schooner, on board which his battery and stores had been shipped, and
forthwith set himself at work to arm and equip his ship. So short-handed
was he, that he was obliged to strip off his own coat, and in company with
his officers and men, assist at the stay-tackles, in hoisting in his heavy
guns. The work was especially laborious, under the ardent rays of an
August sun, but they toiled on, and at the end of five days of incessant
labor, which well-nigh exhausted all their energies, they were enabled to
dismiss their tender, and steam out upon the ocean, and put their ship in
commission. The English flag, which the _Oreto_ had worn, was hauled down,
and amid the cheers of the crews of the two vessels, the Confederate
States flag was hoisted to the peak of the _Florida_.

A number of the men by this time, were unwell. Their sickness was
attributed to the severity of the labor they had undergone, in the
excessive heats that were prevailing. The Captain's steward died, and was
buried on the afternoon on which the ship was commissioned. At sunset of
that day, Captain Maffitt called Lieutenant Stribling into his cabin, and
imparted to him the startling intelligence that the yellow fever was on
board! The sick, now constantly increasing in number, were separated from
the well, and the quarter-deck became a hospital. There being no surgeon
on board, Maffitt was compelled to assume the duties of this officer, in
addition to his own, already onerous. He devoted himself with untiring
zeal to the welfare of his stricken crew, without intermission, by night
or by day. On the fifth day after leaving Green Key, the _Florida_ found
herself off the little island of Anguila. By this time the epidemic had
reduced her working crew to one fireman, and four deck hands.

It was now no longer possible to keep the sea, and Maffitt evading the
blockade of the enemy--a happy chance having drawn them off in chase--ran
his ship into the port of Cardenas, in the island of Cuba. Here he was
received kindly by the authorities and citizens, but as the yellow fever
was epidemic on shore, no medical aid could be obtained. Stribling was now
dispatched to Havana for a surgeon, and to ship a few men, if possible.
Helpless and sad, the suffering little crew awaited his return. One by
one, the officers were attacked by the disease, until Maffitt was left
almost alone, to nurse, and administer remedies to the patients. But
things were not yet at their worst. On the 13th of August, Maffitt was
himself attacked. On the afternoon of that day he sent for his clerk, and
when the young gentleman had entered his cabin, said to him: "I've written
directions in regard to the sick, and certain orders in relation to the
vessel; also some private letters, which you will please take charge of."
Upon the clerk's asking him why this was done, he informed him that "he
had all the symptoms of yellow fever, and as he was already much broken
down, he might not survive the attack." He had made all the necessary
preparations for his own treatment, giving minute written directions to
those around him how to proceed, and immediately betook himself to his
bed--the fever already flushing his cheeks, and parching his veins. There
was now, indeed, nothing but wailing and woe on board the little

In two or three days Stribling returned from Havana, bringing with him
twelve men; and on the day after his return, Dr. Barrett, of Georgia,
hearing of their helpless condition, volunteered his services, and became
surgeon of the ship. On the 22d, young Laurens, the captain's son--whilst
his father was unconscious--breathed his last; black vomit having
assailed him, in twenty-four hours after he had been taken down with the
fever; so virulent had the disease now become. He was a fine, brave,
promising lad, greatly beloved, and deeply regretted by all. On the 23d,
the Third Assistant Engineer died. The sick were now sent to the hospital
on shore, and nearly all of them died. Dr. Gilliard, surgeon of a Spanish
gun-boat in the harbor, now visited the Captain, and was exceedingly kind
to him. On the 24th, a consultation of physicians was held, and it was
decided that Maffitt's case was hopeless. But it so happened that the
disease just then had reached its crisis, and a favorable change had taken
place. The patient had not spoken for three days, and greatly to the
surprise of all present, after one of the physicians had given his
opinion, he opened his eyes, now beaming with intelligence, and said in a
languid voice: "You are all mistaken--I have got too much to do, and have
no time to die."

He convalesced from that moment. On the 28th, Major Helm, our agent in
Havana, telegraphed that, for certain reasons, the Captain-General desired
that the _Florida_ would come round to Havana, and remain until the health
of her crew should be restored. The Captain-General probably feared that
in an undefended port like Cardenas, some violence might be committed upon
the _Florida_ by the Federal cruisers, in violation of Spanish neutrality.
Accordingly, on the 30th the _Florida_ got under way, and proceeded for
Havana, where she arrived the next day. The reader naturally wonders, no
doubt, where the Federal cruisers were, all this time. Maffitt remained
here only a day, finding it impossible, owing to the stringent orders of
neutrality that were being enforced, to do anything in the way of
increasing his crew, or refitting his ship. Getting his ship under way,
again on the 1st of September, he now resolved to run into Mobile. At two
P. M. on the 4th of that month Fort Morgan was made, when it was found
that three of the enemy's cruisers lay between the _Florida_ and the bar.
Maffitt was assisted on deck, being too weak yet to move without
assistance. Having determined that his ship should not fall into the hands
of the enemy, he had made suitable preparations for blowing her up, if it
should become necessary. He now hoisted the English ensign and pennant,
and stood boldly on. His very boldness staggered the enemy. He must
certainly be, they thought, an English gunboat. The _Oneida_, the
flag-ship of Commander Preble, the commanding officer of the blockading
squadron, attempted to throw herself in the _Florida's_ path, first having
hailed her and commanded her to stop. But the latter held on her course so
determinedly, that the former, to prevent being run down, was obliged to
stop, herself, and reverse her engine.

Preble, now undeceived as to the possibility of the _Florida's_ being an
Englishman, opened fire upon her, as did the other two ships. The
_Oneida's_ broadside, delivered from a distance of a few yards only, cut
away the _Florida's_ hammocks, smashed her boats, and shattered some of
her spars. The three enemy's vessels now grouped themselves around the
daring little craft, and fired broadside after broadside at her, during
the chase which ensued. One eleven-inch shell entering the _Florida's_
side, only a few inches above the water-line, passed entirely through her,
before the fuse had time to explode it. If the enemy had been a little
farther off, the _Florida_ must have been torn in pieces by the explosion.
Another shell entered the cabin. The fore-topmast and fore-gaff were shot
away. In short, when it is recollected that she was nearly two hours under
this tremendous fire, the wonder is that she escaped with a whole spar, or
a whole timber.

Maffitt, meantime, had not cast loose a gun. He had no crew with which to
man his battery. What few sailors he had, he had sent below, except only
the man at the wheel, that they might be less exposed. But they were not
safe, even here, for the shell which we have described as passing through
the ship, took off one man's head, and seven others were wounded by
splinters. My ex-lieutenant of the _Sumter_, Stribling, merited, on this
occasion, the praise I have bestowed on him, in drawing his portrait. He
is described by an eye-witness to have been as cool and self-possessed, as
if there had been no enemy within a hundred miles of him. To make a long
story short, the gallant little _Florida_ finally escaped her pursuers,
and, in a shattered condition, ran in and anchored near Fort Morgan. As
the reader may suppose, her English flag was exchanged for her own stars
and bars, as soon as the enemy opened upon her. This was the most daring
and gallant running of a blockade that occurred during a war so fruitful
of daring and gallant acts. After repairing and refitting his vessel, my
gallant friend dashed again through the enemy's fleet, now much increased
in numbers, and commenced that career on the high seas, which has rendered
his name one of the notable ones of the war. He lighted the seas with a
track of fire, wherever he passed, and sent consternation and alarm among
the enemy's shipping. A correspondent of a Northern paper, writing from
Havana, thus speaks of Maffitt and his craft:--

     "The rebel man-of-war, privateer or pirate _Florida_, otherwise known
     as the _Oreto_, has safely arrived in this port, although she was
     chased up to the very walls of the Moro Castle by the Mobile
     blockading squadron, nine in number. The chase was a most exciting
     one, but, unfortunately, without the result so much to be desired.

     "It appears that the pirate Maffitt came out of the port of Mobile
     with as much impudence as he entered it. The steamer seems to have
     been well punished with shot and shell from the Federal ships, and it
     is reported that she lost her first lieutenant, and sixteen men
     killed by a shell from one of the men-of-war.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "From reliable information, I am enabled to state, or, rather, I am
     convinced, that this vessel will sail for the East Indies in a few
     days. Our Government had better look out for her advent in those
     waters. Captain Maffitt is no ordinary character. He is vigorous,
     energetic, bold, quick, and dashing, and the sooner he is caught and
     hung, the better will it be for the interests of our commercial
     community. He is decidedly popular here, and you can scarcely imagine
     the anxiety evinced to get a glance at him."

We may return now to the movements of the writer. After long waiting at
Nassau, the _Bahama_, the steamer in which Stribling and Howell had come
over from Hamburg, was ready to return, and I embarked on board of her,
with my staff, and after a passage of some three weeks, landed in
Liverpool, just in time to find that the bird had flown. The _Alabama_ had
steamed a few days before, for her rendezvous, where, in due time, we will
follow her.



Although, as before remarked, I design only to write a history of my own
proceedings, during the late war, yet it will be necessary, to enable the
reader to understand these proceedings correctly, to run a mere thread of
the general history of the war along parallel with them. I have done this
up to the date of commissioning the _Sumter_. It will now be necessary to
take up the thread again, and bring it down to the commissioning of the
_Alabama_. I shall do this very briefly, barely enumerating the principal
military events, without attempting to describe them, and glancing very
cursorily at the naval events.

We ran the blockade of the Mississippi, in the _Sumter_, as has been seen,
on the 30th of June, 1861. In July of that year, the first great battle of
Manassas was fought, to which allusion has already been made. This battle
gave us great prestige in Europe, and contributed very much to the respect
with which the little _Sumter_ had been received by foreign powers. A long
military pause now ensued. The enemy had been so astonished and staggered
by this blow, that it took him some time to recover from its effects. He,
however, turned it to useful account, and set himself at work with great
patience, and diligence, at the same time, to collect and thoroughly drill
new troops. The victory, on the other hand, had an unfavorable effect upon
our own people, in giving them an undue impression of their superiority
over their enemy, and lulling them into supineness.

During the summer of 1861, two naval expeditions were fitted out, by the
enemy, and sent to operate against our coast. The first of these
expeditions, under command of Commodore Stringham, captured two hastily
constructed, and imperfect earth-works at Hatteras Inlet on the coast of
North Carolina, and made a lodgement on Pamlico Sound. The capture of
these works, is no otherwise remarkable, in a naval point of view, than
for the circumstance that a Confederate States naval officer fell into the
hands of the enemy, for the first time during the war. Commodore Samuel
Barron, of the Confederate States Navy, commanded the forts, and
surrendered, after a gallant resistance, to the overwhelming force which
assaulted him, on condition that he should be treated _as a prisoner of
war_. The battle of Manassas had occurred to humble the pride, and appeal
to the fears of the enemy, and the condition named by Barron was readily
assented to. The other naval expedition, under command of Commodore
Dupont, captured Port Royal, in South Carolina as mentioned in a former
page. The "_Trent_ Affair," already described, came off in November, 1861,
and Commodore Hollins' attack upon the enemy's fleet at the mouths of the
Mississippi, in which he gave him such a scare, occurred, as already
related, in October of the same year. This brings us to the close of the
first year of the war.

The year 1862 was big with events, which we will, for the most part,
merely string on our thread. The Confederates, in the beginning of the
year, occupied a position at Bowling Green, in Kentucky, which was
seemingly a strong position, with railroad communication, in their rear,
with all parts of the South, but they could not hold it, for the simple
reason, that the enemy, having command of the western rivers by means of
his superior naval force, penetrated into their rear, and thus compelled a
retreat. When the enemy, by means of his gun-boats, could send armies up
the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers, to the heart of Tennessee and
Alabama, it was folly to think of holding Bowling Green, with our limited
forces. Our army fell back to Nashville, and even abandoned that city,
after the fall of Forts Henry and Donelson, which were captured by the
Federal forces, in February, 1862.

The evacuation of all these points, one after another, and afterward the
loss of Island No. 10, on the Mississippi, and New Madrid, were serious
blows for us. But our disasters did not end here. The battle of Shiloh
followed, in which we were defeated, and compelled to retreat, after we
had, to all appearance, gained a victory almost complete on the first day
of the fight. Naval disasters accompanied, or followed our disasters upon
the land. Early in 1862, a naval expedition of the enemy, under the
command of Commodore Goldsborough, entered Pamlico Sound, and captured
Roanoke Island. Commodore Lynch, of the Confederate States Navy, with six
or seven small, ill-armed gunboats, which had been improvised from light
and frail river steamers, assisted in the defence of the island, but was
obliged to withdraw before the superior forces of the enemy. The enemy,
pursuing his advantages, followed Lynch's retreating fleet to Elizabeth
City, in North Carolina, where he captured or destroyed it.

The enemy was now not only in possession of the western waters--Vicksburg
and Port Hudson alone obstructing his free navigation of the Mississippi
as far down as New Orleans--but Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, in North
Carolina, and the bay of Port Royal in South Carolina and Georgia, were
open to him. To complete the circle of our disasters, New Orleans was
captured by Farragut and Porter, in April--the small Confederate fleet
under Commodore John K. Mitchell, making a gallant but disastrous defence,
in which it was totally destroyed, with great loss of life of both
officers and men.

Let us turn now to a more pleasing picture; for all was not disaster for
the Confederates, during the year 1862. In March of that year, the
memorable naval engagement occurred in Hampton Roads, between the
Confederate States iron-clad steamer _Virginia_, and the enemy's fleet,
resulting in the destruction, by the _Virginia_, of two of the enemy's
wooden frigates. Great consternation and alarm were produced in the
enemy's fleet, and at Fortress Monroe, by Admiral Buchanan and his armored
ship, as well there might be, for the ship was perfectly invulnerable, and
but for her great draught of water, might have destroyed or driven off
the whole Federal fleet. Our people were greatly elated by this victory,
coming as it did, in the midst of so many disasters. It attracted great
attention in Europe, also, as being decisive of the fate of all the
old-time wooden ships, which had, up to that period, composed the navies
of the world. It so happened, that the Federals had completed the first of
their Monitors, at this very time, and this little iron ship, arriving
opportunely, engaged the _Virginia_ on the second day of the fight. Like
her great antagonist, she, too, was invulnerable, and the result was a
drawn battle. From this time onward, the enemy multiplied his armored
ships very rapidly, and it is scarcely too much to say, that he is almost
wholly indebted to them, for his success in the war.

Another very creditable affair for the Confederates came off on the 15th
of May. In the interval between the fight of the _Virginia_, with the
enemy's fleet in Hampton Roads, and the day last named, Norfolk had been
evacuated, and the _Virginia_, which had passed under the command of
Commodore Tatnall, was blown up. The consequence was that the James River
was open to the navigation of the enemy. Taking advantage of this state of
things, five of the enemy's gunboats, two of which were iron-clad,
ascended the river, with intent to reach, and shell Richmond, if
practicable. They met with no serious obstruction, or any opposition,
until they reached Drury's Bluff. Here the river had been obstructed, and
a Confederate earth-work erected. The earth-work was commanded by Captain
Eben Farrand, of the Confederate States Navy, who had some sailors and
marines under him. The Federal fleet having approached within 600 yards,
opened fire upon the fort, which it kept up for the space of three hours.
It was so roughly handled, however, by Farrand and his sailors, that at
the end of that time, it was obliged to retire, with several of its
vessels seriously damaged. No further attempt was made during the war, to
reach Richmond by means of iron-clads; the dose which Farrand had given
them was quite sufficient.

But the greatest of all the triumphs which crowned the Confederate arms
during this year of 1862, were the celebrated campaigns of Stonewall
Jackson, in the Shenandoah Valley, and the seven days' fighting before
Richmond. I will barely string these events, as I pass along. Banks,
Fremont, and Shields, of the enemy, were all operating in this valley,
with forces greatly outnumbering those of Jackson. The latter, by a series
of rapid and masterly movements, fell upon his enemies, one after the
other, and defeated them all; Banks, in particular, who having been bred
to civil life, was devoid of all military training, and apparently
wanting, even, in that first and most common requisite of a soldier,
courage, flying in disorder, and abandoning to his pursuer all the
supplies and _materiel_ of a large and well-appointed army. Such frantic
efforts did he make to escape from Jackson, that he marched thirty-five
miles in a single day; passing through the good old town of Winchester,
which he had formerly occupied, with so many signs of trepidation and
alarm, that the citizens received him and his troops, with shouts of
derisive laughter!

The enemy, after his defeat at Manassas, put General McClellan in command
of the Army of the Potomac, and the balance of the year 1861 was devoted,
by this officer, to the collecting and drilling of troops. In the spring
of 1862, he landed at Fortress Monroe, with a splendidly appointed army of
90,000 men, provided with 55 batteries of artillery, consisting of 350
field pieces. Magruder held him in check, for some time, with 11,000 men,
which enabled the Confederate commanders to gather together their forces,
for the defence of Richmond. He moved at length, was checked a while at
Williamsburg, by Longstreet, but finally deployed his immense forces on
the banks of the Chickahominy.

A series of battles now took place, commencing on the 30th of May, and
extending through the month of June, which resulted in the raising of the
siege, and the total rout and precipitate retreat of the Federal
commander. I will barely enumerate these battles, as follows: Seven Pines;
Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam; Gaines' Mills; Savage Station; Frazer's
Farm; and Malvern Hill;--names sufficient alone to cover the Confederate
cause with immortal glory, in the minds of all true men, as the highest
qualities of courage, endurance, patriotism, and self-sacrifice, that any
men could be capable of, were exhibited on those fields, destined to
become classic in American annals.

Following up the defeat of McClellan, by Johnston and Lee, Stonewall
Jackson gained his splendid victory of the Second Manassas over Pope;
defeating him with great loss, and driving him before him to the gates of
Washington. Thus, notwithstanding our disasters in the West and South, an
entirely new face had been put upon the war in Virginia. The enemy's
capital, instead of Richmond, was in danger, and McClellan was hastily
withdrawn from Fortress Monroe, for its defence.

We must now pause, for we have brought the thread of the war down to the
commissioning of the _Alabama_, and the reader will see with what
forebodings, as well as hopes, we took the sea, in that ship. The war may
be said now to have been at its height. Both the belligerents were
thoroughly aroused, and a few blows, well struck, on the water, might be
of great assistance. I resolved to attempt to strike these blows.

A few words, now, as to the _status_ of the Confederate States Navy. As
remarked in the opening of these memoirs, the Confederate States had no
navy at the beginning of the war, and the South being almost entirely
agricultural, with few or no ships, and but little external commerce,
except such as was conducted in Northern bottoms, had but very indifferent
means of creating one. Whilst the North was one busy hive of manufacturing
industry, with its ship-yards and work-shops, resounding, by night and by
day, with the busy strokes of the hammer, the adze, and the caulking-iron;
whilst its steam-mills and foundries were vomiting forth their thick smoke
from their furnaces, and deafening the ears of their workmen by the din of
the trip-hammer and the whirr of the lathe; and whilst foreign material of
every description was flowing into open ports, the South had neither
ship-yards nor work-shops, steam-mills nor foundries, except on the most
limited scale, and all her ports were as good as hermetically sealed, so
far as the introduction of the heavy materials of which she stood in need
was concerned.

It will be seen what a difficult task the Secretary of the Navy had before
him, and how unjust are many of the censures that were cast upon him, by
persons unconversant with naval affairs. Indeed, it is rather a matter of
surprise, that so much was accomplished with our limited means.
Work-shops and foundries were improvised, wherever it was possible to
establish them; but the great difficulty was the want of the requisite
heavy machinery. We had not the means, in the entire Confederacy, of
turning out a complete steam-engine, of any size, and many of our naval
disasters are attributable to this deficiency. Well-constructed steamers,
that did credit to the Navy Department and its agents, were forced to put
to sea, and to move about upon our sounds and harbors, with engines
disproportioned to their size, and incapable of driving them at a speed
greater than five miles the hour.

The casting of cannon, and the manufacture of small arms, were also
undertaken by the Secretary, under the direction of skilful officers, and
prosecuted to considerable efficiency. But it took time to accomplish all
these things. Before a ship could be constructed, it was necessary to hunt
up the requisite timber, and transport it considerable distances. Her
armor, if she was to be armored, was to be rolled also at a distance, and
transported over long lines of railroad, piecemeal; her cordage was to be
picked up at one place, and her sails and hammocks at another. I speak
knowingly on this subject, as I had had experience of many of the
difficulties I mention, in fitting out the _Sumter_ in New Orleans. I was
two months in preparing this small ship for sea, practising, all the
while, every possible diligence and contrivance. The Secretary had other
difficulties to contend with. By the time he had gotten many of his
ship-yards well established, and ships well on their way to completion,
the enemy would threaten the _locus in quo_, by land, and either compel
him to attempt to remove everything movable, in great haste, and at great
loss, or destroy it, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the
enemy. Many fine ships were, in this way, burned on the very eve of

It must be recollected, too, that in the early days of the war, we had no
finances. These were to be improvised along with other things. I travelled
to the North, on the mission which has been described in these pages, on
money borrowed from a private banker. If we had had plenty of funds in the
beginning of the war, it is possible that we might have accomplished more
than we did, in Europe, in the matter of getting out ships to prey upon
the enemy's commerce--that is, in the way of purchase, for it soon became
evident, from the experience we had had, in building the _Alabama_, and
other ships contracted for by the Navy Department, that we could not rely
upon constructing them. The neutral powers became too watchful, and were
too much afraid of the Federal power. When the Government did put the
Secretary in funds, several months had elapsed, the war had begun, the
coast was blockaded, and all the nations of Europe were on the alert.

With reference to the _personnel_ of the Navy, a few words will describe
the changes which had taken place in its organization, since I last
referred to the subject. It will be recollected that it then consisted of
but four captains, four commanders, and about thirty lieutenants, and that
the writer was the junior, but one, of the four commanders. A considerable
accession was made to the navy-list, as Virginia, North Carolina, and
other States seceded, and joined their fortunes with those of their more
impulsive sisters, the Cotton States. A number of old officers, past
service, disdaining to eat the bread of ignoble pensioners upon the bounty
of the Northern States, which were seeking to subjugate the States of
their birth or adoption, came South, bringing with them nothing but their
patriotism and their gray hairs. These all took rank, as has been
remarked, according to the positions they had held in the old service.
These old gentlemen, whilst they would have commanded, with great credit,
fleets and squadrons of well-appointed and well-officered ships, were
entirely unsuited for such service as the Confederacy could offer them. It
became necessary, in consequence, to re-organize the Navy; and although
this was not done until May, 1863, some months after the _Alabama_ was
commissioned, I will anticipate the subject here, to avoid the necessity
of again referring to it. I had been promoted to the rank of captain in
the Regular Navy, in the summer of 1862. The Act of May, 1863, established
what was called the Provisional Navy; the object being, without
interfering with the rank of the officers in the Regular Navy, to cull out
from that navy-list, younger and more active men, and put them in the
Provisional Navy, with increased rank. The Regular Navy became, thus, a
kind of retired list, and the Secretary of the Navy was enabled to
accomplish his object of bringing forward younger officers for active
service, without wounding the feelings of the older officers, by promoting
their juniors over their heads, _on the same list_. As late as December,
1861, we had had no admirals in our Navy. On the 24th of that month, the
Act organizing the Navy was so amended, as to authorize the appointment of
four officers of this grade. There was but one of these admirals
appointed, up to the time of which I am writing--Buchanan, who was
promoted for his gallant fight in the _Virginia_, with the enemy's fleet
in Hampton Roads. Buchanan, being already an admiral in the Regular Navy,
was now transferred to the Provisional Navy, with the same rank; and the
captains' list of this latter Navy was so arranged that Barron stood first
on it, and myself second. I was thus, the third in rank in the Provisional
Navy, soon after I hoisted my pennant on board the _Alabama_. In reviewing
these matters, my only regret now is, that the older officers of whom I
have spoken, and who made so many sacrifices for principle--sacrifices
that have hastened several of them to the tomb, were not made admirals on
the regular or retired list. The honors would have been barren, it is
true, as no commands, commensurate with the rank, could have been given
them, but the bestowal of the simple title would have been a compliment,
no more than due to veterans, who had commanded squadrons in the old
service, and who had abandoned all for the sake of their States. The
reader is now in a condition to accompany me, whilst I describe to him the
commissioning of the _Alabama_.



Before I read my commission on the quarter-deck of the _Alabama_, I desire
to say a word or two as to the legality of her equipment, and to recall to
the recollection of the reader a few of the incidents of the war of the
Revolution of 1776, to show how inconsistent our Northern brethren have
been, in the denunciations they have hurled against that ship. Mr. Seward,
the Federal Secretary of State, and Mr. Charles Francis Adams, who was the
United States Minister at the Court of St. James, during the late war
between the States, have frequently lost their temper, when they have
spoken of the _Alabama_, and denounced her as a "pirate." In cooler
moments, when they come to read over the intemperate despatches they have
been betrayed into writing, they will probably be ashamed of them
themselves; since these despatches not only contradict the truth of
history, and set at defiance the laws of nations, but stultify themselves
in important particulars.

Great stress has been laid, by both of these gentlemen, on the foreign
origin of the _Alabama_, forgetting entirely, not only what was done by
their ancestors in the war of 1776, but what was attempted to be done by
Mr. Gideon Welles, their own Secretary of the Navy, in the year of grace
1861. I will refresh their memories on both these points, and first, as to
the latter. Mr. Welles attempted to do, nothing more nor less than the
Confederate States Secretary of the Navy, Mr. Mallory, did in the matter
of building the _Alabama_--that is to say, he endeavored to build some
_Alabamas_ in England himself, but failed! This little episode in the
history of the Federal Navy Department is curious, and worthy of being
preserved as a practical commentary on so much of the despatches of
Messrs. Seward and Adams, as relates to the foreign origin of my ship. The
facts were published soon after their occurrence, and have not been, and
cannot be denied. They were given to the public by Mr. Laird, the
gentleman who built the _Alabama_, and who was the party with whom the
Federal Navy Department endeavored to treat.

Mr. Laird was a member of the British Parliament, and having been abused,
without stint, as an aider and abettor of "pirates," by the Northern
newspapers, as soon as it became known that he was the builder of the
_Alabama_, he made a speech in the House of Commons, in defence of
himself, in the course of which he stated the fact I have charged, to wit:
that Mr. Welles endeavored to make a contract with him, for building some
_Federal Alabamas_. Here is so much of his speech as is necessary to
establish the charge:--"In 1861," said he, "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. Its agent 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. 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 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.' The extract from the memorandum states, that the ship is to be
finished complete, with guns and everything appertaining. 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."' 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 condition 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 will yet decide to have you build one or more of the

"I think, perhaps, in the present state of the law in America, I shall not
be asked to give the name of my correspondent, but he is a gentleman of
the highest respectability. If any honorable member wishes, I shall have
no objection in handing the whole correspondence, with the original
letters, into the hands of you, sir, [the Speaker of the House,] or of 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, and which I have not
mentioned or alluded to before. But, seeing the American Government are
making so much work about other parties, whom they charge with violating
or evading the law, when, in reality, they have not done so, I think it
only fair to state these facts."

It thus appears that the Government of the United States preceded us in
the English market, having endeavored, a whole year before the _Alabama_
was built, to contract with Mr. Laird for the building of iron-plated, and
other ships, and that the only reason why the contract was not made, was,
that Mr. Laird had taken already so much work in hand, that he could not
take "any new orders, to be done in so short a time"--as that prescribed
by Mr. Welles, for it seems that he was in a hurry. The explanation
probably is, that we had offered Mr. Laird better terms than Mr. Welles,
and this is the only reason why the _Alabama_ was a Confederate, instead
of a Federal ship! This speech of Mr. Laird caused no little merriment in
the House of Commons, for, as before remarked, the Federal press, knowing
nothing of these secret transactions between Mr. Welles and Mr. Laird,
had been denouncing the latter for building the _Alabama_, in the coarse
and offensive language to which, by this time, it had become accustomed.
The disclosures could not but be ludicrous.

To dispose, now, of Mr. Seward's objection, that the _Alabama_ was
foreign-built. The reader will see, in a moment, that there is nothing in
this objection, when he reflects that a ship of war, in the light in which
we are considering her, is a _personification_, and not a mere material
thing. If her personification be true, and unobjectionable, it matters not
of what materials she may be composed, whence those materials may have
been drawn, or where they may have been fashioned. It is the commission
which a sovereign puts on board a ship, that causes her to personify the
sovereign power, and it is obviously of no importance how the sovereign
becomes possessed of the ship. It can make no difference to other nations,
so far as her character of ship of war is concerned, whether she is
fashioned out of the pines of Norway, or of Florida, or whether the copper
on her bottom comes from Lake Superior or Peru; or, finally, whether
Englishmen, or Frenchmen, or Americans shall have put her frame together,
in either of their respective countries. Even if she be built, armed, and
equipped in neutral territory, in plain violation of the neutral duty of
that territory, she is purged of this offence, so far as her character of
ship of war is concerned, the moment she reaches the high seas, and is

To apply this reasoning to the Alabama. If it be true, as stated by Mr.
Seward, that she was built in England, in violation of the neutrality of
that country, this might have subjected her to detention by England, or it
might have raised a question between the United States and England; but
the ship, having once escaped, and been commissioned, her origin is
necessarily lost sight of, and neither England nor any other country can
afterward inquire into it. Indeed, there can be no principle of the laws
of nations plainer than this, that when a ship is once commissioned by a
sovereign power, no other power can look into the antecedents of the ship.
From the moment that her commission is read on her quarter-deck, she
becomes the personification of the sovereign power, and the sovereign
avows himself responsible for all her acts. No one of these acts can be
impeached on the ground, that antecedently to her becoming a ship of war,
she committed some offence against the laws of nations, or against the
municipal law of some particular nation.

This point was settled years before our war, by the Supreme Court of the
United States, in the case of the _Santissima Trinidad_. It was alleged
that that ship had been fitted out in the United States, in violation of
the neutrality laws--during a war between Spain and her colonies--and the
question arose whether this invalidated her commission, as a ship of war.
Mr. Justice Story delivered the opinion of the court, in the course of
which he said:--

     "In general, the commission of a public ship, signed by the proper
     authorities of the nation to which she belongs [the nation to which
     the _Santissima Trinidad_ belonged, was the _de facto_ nation of
     Buenos Ayres] is complete proof of her national character. A bill of
     sale is not necessary to be produced, nor will the courts of a
     foreign country inquire into the means by which the title to the
     property has been acquired. It would be to exert the right of
     examining into the validity of the acts of the foreign sovereign, and
     to sit in judgment upon them in cases where he has not conceded the
     jurisdiction, and where it would be inconsistent with his own
     supremacy. The commission, therefore, of a public ship, when duly
     authenticated, so far at least as foreign courts are concerned,
     imports absolute verity, and the title is not examinable. The
     property must be taken to be duly acquired, and cannot be
     controverted. This has been the settled practice between nations, and
     it is a rule founded in public convenience and policy, and cannot be
     broken in upon, without endangering the peace and repose, as well of
     neutral as of belligerent sovereigns.

     "The commission in the present case is not expressed in the most
     unequivocal terms, but its fair import and interpretation must be
     deemed to apply to a public ship of the government. If we add to
     this, the corroborative testimony of our own, and the British Consul
     at Buenos Ayres, as well as that of private citizens, to the
     notoriety of her claim of a public character, and her admission into
     our own ports as a public ship, with the immunities and privileges
     belonging to such a ship, with the express approbation of our own
     Government, it does not seem too much to assert, whatever may be the
     private suspicion of a _lurking American interest_, that she must be
     judicially held to be a public ship of the country, whose commission
     she bears."

This was a very strong case. The ship had not only been fitted out in
violation of the neutrality laws of the United States, but the court
intimates that she might also be American owned; but whether she was or
not, was a fact into which the court could not inquire, the commission, in
the language of the court, importing "absolute verity."

But it is not true, as we shall see hereafter, that the _Alabama_ violated
either the laws of nations, or the municipal law of England. The next
question which presents itself for our consideration is, Was the _Alabama_
properly commissioned by a sovereign power? No question has ever been
raised as to the _bona fides_, or form of her commission. Mr. Seward even
has not attacked these. Our question, then, will be reduced to this, Was
she commissioned by a sovereign power? The answer to this question is,
that a _de facto_ government is sovereign, for all the purposes of war,
and that the Confederate States were a _de facto_ government; so
acknowledged by the United States themselves, as well as by the other
nations of the earth. The United States made this acknowledgment, the
moment President Lincoln issued his proclamation declaring a blockade of
the Southern ports; and they acted upon the doctrine that we were
belligerents during the whole war, by treating with us for the exchange of
_prisoners of war_.

This was no concession on their part. We had become strong enough to
compel them to this course, in spite of themselves. In other words, we had
become strong enough to make _war_, and when this is the case, let us see
what Vattel says is the duty of the other party: "The sovereign indeed,
never fails to bestow the appellation of 'rebels' on all such of his
subjects as openly resist him; but when the latter have acquired
sufficient strength to give him effectual opposition, and to oblige him to
carry on the war against them, according to the established rules, he must
necessarily submit to the use of the term 'civil war.' It is foreign to
our purpose in this place, to weigh the reasons which may authorize and
justify a civil war. We have elsewhere treated of cases in which subjects
may resist their sovereign. Setting, therefore, the justice of the case
wholly out of the question, it only remains for us to consider the maxims
which ought to be observed in a civil war and to explain whether the
sovereign is, on such occasions, bound to conform to the established laws
of war. A civil war breaks the bands of society and government, or at
least suspends their force and effect; it produces in the nation two
independent parties, which consider each other as enemies, and acknowledge
no common judge. These two parties, therefore, must necessarily be
considered as constituting, at least for a time, two separate bodies, two
distinct societies. Though one of the parties may have been to blame in
breaking the unity of the State, and resisting the lawful authority, they
are not the less divided in fact. Besides, who shall judge them? Who shall
pronounce on which side the right or wrong lies? On earth they have no
common superior. They stand, therefore, in precisely the same predicament
as two nations, who engage in a contest, and being unable to come to an
agreement, have recourse to arms." This was the law of nations as
expounded by Vattel more than a century ago. He tells us that when even a
revolt or rebellion has acquired sufficient magnitude and strength, to
make "effectual opposition to the sovereign," it is the duty of that
sovereign to talk of "civil war," and not of "rebellion," and to cease to
call his former subjects "rebels." How much more was it the duty of the
Northern States, in a war which was a war from the beginning, waged by
States against States, with all the forms and solemnities of war, and with
none of the characteristics of a secret revolt or rebellion, to treat us
as belligerents, even if they denied the _de jures_ of our movement? But
even according to the law laid down by Vattel, the United States, and the
Confederate States stood "precisely in the same predicament," with regard
to all the rights, duties, and obligations growing out of the war. That is
to say, they were, _quoad_ the war, the equals, one of the other, and
whatever one of them might do, the other might do.

Hence it follows, that if the United States could build _Alabamas_, and
capture the ships of her enemy, so could the Confederate States. And if
Mr. Welles, the Federal Secretary of the Navy, could go into the
ship-yards on the Mersey, and endeavor to contract for the delivery to him
of a ship or ships of war, "to be finished complete," in the words of Mr.
Laird's correspondent, "with guns, and everything appertaining," it is
difficult to perceive, why Mr. Mallory, the Secretary of the Confederate
States Navy, might not go into the same ship-yards, and contract for the
delivery to him, of an incomplete ship, without any guns at all!

But further, with reference to the right of the Confederate States to be
regarded as a _de facto_ government, invested with all the rights of war.
The Supreme Court of the enemy himself affirmed this right, early in the
war. When the Federal naval officers--the Southern renegades, who have
been before alluded to, among the rest--began to grow rich by the capture
of blockade runners, it became necessary, of course, to condemn the prizes
before they could get hold of their prize-money. Some of these cases went
up to the Supreme Court, on writ of error, and I shall quote from a case,
known as the "Prize Case," reported in 2d Black, 635. This case was
decided as early as the December Term, 1862, and Mr. Justice Greer
delivered the opinion of the court. The question arose upon the capture of
some English ships which had attempted to run the blockade. These ships
could not be condemned, unless there was a lawful blockade, which they had
attempted to break; and there could not be a lawful blockade, unless there
was a war, and not a mere insurrection, as Mr. Seward, with puerile
obstinacy, had so long maintained; and there could not be a war without,
at least, two parties to it, both of whom must be belligerents; and it is
of the essence of belligerency, as has been seen, that the parties
belligerent should be equal, with reference to all the objects of the war.
The vessels were claimed by the neutral owners, on Mr. Seward's own
ground, to wit: that the war, not being a war, but an insurrection, there
could be no such thing as a blockade predicated of it. Mr. Justice Greer,
in delivering the opinion of the court, among other things said: "It [the
war] is not the less a civil war, with belligerent parties in hostile
array, because it may be called an 'insurrection' by one side, and the
insurgents be considered as rebels and traitors. It is not necessary that
the independence of the revolted Province or State be acknowledged, in
order to constitute it a party belligerent in a war, according to the laws
of nations. Foreign nations acknowledge it as a war, by a declaration of
neutrality. The condition of neutrality cannot exist, unless there be two
belligerent parties. In the case of the _Santissima Trinidad_ (7 Wheaton,
337) this court says: 'The Government of the United States has recognized
the existence of a civil war between Spain and her colonies, and has
avowed her determination to remain neutral between the parties. Each party
is, therefore, deemed by us a belligerent, having, so far as concerns us,
the sovereign rights of war.'"

The belligerent character of the Confederate States was thus acknowledged
by the highest judicial tribunal of the United States, and the prizes were
condemned to the captors; and a precedent is cited by the court, in which
the United States recognized the right of the revolted Spanish colonies,
such as Columbia, Buenos Ayres, and Mexico, who were then in _consimili
casu_ with the Confederate States, to build and equip _Alabamas_ to prey
upon Spanish commerce, not as a mere matter of power simply, but in the
exercise of the "sovereign rights of war," under the laws of nations.

With regard to the new American republics, thus acknowledged by the United
States as belligerents, it will be recollected that one of the first acts
of Mr. John Quincy Adams, when he became President of the United States,
was to recommend the passage of a law authorizing him to send members to a
Congress of all the American States, to be assembled at Panama. Under this
law, members of that Congress were actually appointed--though they never
proceeded to their destination--and Mr. Clay, then Secretary of State, and
who had been among the foremost to advocate the recognition of the
independence of the South American republics, prepared an elaborate and
eloquent letter of instructions for their guidance, in which he dwelt upon
the very principles I am now invoking. The republics, whose ambassadors it
was thus proposed to meet, in an _International Congress_, were nothing
more than _de facto_ governments, like the Confederate States, the
independence of neither one of them having been acknowledged, as yet, by

I may further mention, as a matter of historical notoriety, that it was a
common practice for the cruisers of those young republics, to carry their
prizes into the ports of the United States, and there have them condemned
and sold. The _Santissima Trinidad_ referred to in the case from the
Supreme Court above quoted, was one of these cruisers, with nothing more
behind her than a _de facto_ government, and she was held to be a
belligerent, and to be possessed, as such, of all the "sovereign rights of
war," under the laws of nations. What renders these transactions the more
remarkable, in the light of recent events, and in the face of the
denunciations which have been hurled against the _Alabama_ by the Federal
Government, because of her foreign origin, is, that most of these cruisers
were, in fact, _American_ ships, not only built and equipped in the United
States, but officered and manned by citizens of the Northern States, who
had gone southward in quest of plunder! Many of these ships were fitted
out on speculation, in the United States, and sailed from Boston, New
York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, _fully armed_ and _equipped for war_,
with enlisted crews on board.

A case of this kind came under my own actual observation. I was serving as
a midshipman on board the old sailing sloop-of-war _Erie_. We happened in
at the Swedish Island of St. Bartholomew, in the West Indies, during the
war between Buenos Ayres and Spain. We were on our way from New York to
one of the South American ports, to land General William H. Harrison,
afterward President of the United States, who had been appointed, by
President John Quincy Adams, Minister to Colombia. In St. Bartholomew we
found at anchor a Buenos Ayrean cruiser called the _Federal_. This was a
Baltimore-built schooner--Baltimore in those days being famous above all
the other American ports, for building fast vessels of this class. Her
captain, and all her officers, and a large proportion of her crew, were
Americans. This vessel, we ascertained, had boarded an American ship a few
days before, and taken from on board of her a portion of her cargo, under
the pretence that it was Spanish property. This being in our view a
violation of the laws of nations (as whether the property was Spanish or
not, we held that "free ships made free goods"), we resolved to commit one
of those outrages against neutral rights which have become so common in
our day, by seizing the cruiser. Admitting the act of the cruiser to have
been wrongful, the argument, so far as her seizure by us was concerned,
was all against us, and might have been contained in a "nutshell;" but
our captain, if he had ever read any international law, which was
exceedingly doubtful, had read it, like Wilkes, wrong end foremost, and
"went it blind," being quite sure of popular applause from the b'hoys at
home, and standing in no fear of consequences so far as Buenos Ayres was
concerned, as she was so weak that the Great Republic might kick her with

We first demanded her of the Governor of the island, as a "pirate." The
Governor replied, that she was a commissioned ship, with a _de facto_
government behind her, and that she could not, so long as she retained
this character, be guilty of piracy. Further, that if she were a pirate,
she was _hostis humani generis_, and Sweden, within whose waters she was,
was as competent to deal with her, as the United States. He ended by
informing us, that in whatever category the vessel might be placed, being
in neutral jurisdiction, she could not be dealt with forcibly by the
captain of the _Erie_, and notified us, that if we attempted it, he would
fire upon us. The _Federal_ was moored under the guns of the fortification
which protected the harbor, and the following night, we fitted out a boat
expedition, pulled in under cover of the darkness--the night being black
and squally--and boarded her, and brought her out; the Governor being as
good as his word, and firing upon us, though without effect, as soon as he
discovered the movement. This was my first indoctrination in the laws of
the sea! and the first occasion on which I ever heard a shot fired in
anger. Sweden remonstrated, and the United States apologized, and there
the matter ended. I have mentioned the incident to show, that the very
cruisers which the Supreme Court of the United States was protecting by
its decisions, were nothing more than American vessels, under belligerent
flags, holding commissions under _de facto_ governments.

But I have another precedent or two, to which to call the attention of the
reader. It is a very useful practice for nations to pause occasionally,
and look back upon their own history. It teaches them many lessons, which
they would not otherwise learn. It shows them how to avoid
inconsistencies, and prevents them from becoming dishonest as
circumstances change. But, above all, it teaches them that man is a poor,
weak creature, selfish and corrupt, guided by the instincts and
inspirations of the moment; and that his reason--that God-like attribute,
which distinguishes him from the brute--is so fallible, that he rarely
sees a truth, if that truth militate against his supposed interests. It
makes all the difference in the world, whether a man's bull gores his
neighbor's ox, or his neighbor's bull gores his ox. The Yankee ship-owners
and ship-masters cried out, in pain, as the _Sumter_ and _Alabama_ were
capturing and destroying their ships, and called both of these cruisers
"pirates." I design now to show how the Yankee ship-owners and
ship-masters, of a generation or two back, captured and burned English
ships, and took great credit to themselves for their exploits, not
dreaming that they were pirates.

The precedents which I design to cite will be drawn from the history of
the war of 1776; it will be necessary, therefore to run a brief parallel
between that war and the war of 1861, to show that the precedents
established in the former are applicable to the circumstances of the
latter. To lay aside, entirely, the question of the right of the Southern
States to secede, and to put the war between the States on no higher
ground than that between the Colonies and Great Britain, which was a mere
rebellion, the following parallel appears:--The original thirteen
Colonies, when they formed a part of the British Government, declared
their independence of that Government. The Confederate States did the same
against the United States. Great Britain made war upon the Colonies in
consequence of this declaration; so did the United States against the
Confederate States. The Colonies claimed and exercised the rights of war.
So did the Confederate States. The Colonies, in the exercise of these
rights, destroyed much of the commerce of Great Britain. So did the
Confederate States, with regard to the United States. Both the Colonies
and the Confederate States were _de facto_ governments, when this property
was destroyed. Now, it can obviously make no difference that the Colonies
achieved their independence, and that the Confederate States failed to
achieve theirs. If what the Colonies did _was right, when they did
it_--that is to say, when they were still a _de facto_ government--what
the Confederate States did must have been right for the same reason. The
acknowledgment of the independence of the Colonies by the parent country,
whilst it had the effect to make them so many nations of the earth, could
add nothing to any rights they before possessed, as belligerents, for they
did not derive these rights from their status _de jure_, but from their
status _de facto_; nor did they derive them from Great Britain, but from
the laws of nations. It follows, that if nothing could be added to these
rights by the successful termination of the war, so nothing could be taken
away from them, by its unsuccessful termination. The parallel thus appears
perfect, in every particular, so far as belligerent rights are concerned,
and, of course, it is only of these rights that we are now speaking.

With this introduction I proceed to produce the precedents. Mr. James
Fenimore Cooper, the Naval Historian of the United States, is the author
whom I shall quote, and his authority will certainly not be disputed north
of the Potomac. One of the earliest cruises of the war of 1776, was made
by Captain, afterward Commodore, John Paul Jones. This gentleman, in
command of a vessel called the _Providence_, in the summer of 1776, made a
foray among the British fishermen, on the Banks of Newfoundland, taking no
less than twelve sail, and returning to Newport, in Rhode Island, at the
end of his cruise, having made sixteen prizes in all. The _Alabama_ never
flew at such small game as this. Although she cruised, as the reader will
see a little further on, for some time off these same Banks of
Newfoundland, she never deprived a Yankee fisherman of his "catch of cod."

Jones commanded a regular ship of war, but it was the privateers that were
the most numerous and destructive. With reference to this class of
vessels, the historian tells us that "Most of the Colonies had their
respective cruisers at sea or on their own coasts, and the ocean literally
began to swarm with privateers from all parts of the country, though New
England took the lead in that species of warfare. Robert Morris, in one of
his official letters, of a date later than that precise time, remarks that
the passion for privateering was so strong in this particular part of the
country, that even agriculture was abandoned in order to pursue it."

In another place, the historian tells us, that "As soon as the struggle
commenced in earnest, the habits of the people, their aptitude for
sea-service, and the advantages of both a public and _private_ nature,
that were to be obtained from successful cruising, induced thousands to
turn their longing eyes to an element that promised so many flattering
results. Nothing but the caution of Congress, which body was indisposed at
first to act as if general warfare, instead of a redress of grievances,
was its object, prevented a rushing toward the _private cruisers_, that
would probably have given the commerce of England a heavier and more
sudden blow than it had ever yet received. But a different policy was
pursued, and the orders to capture, first issued, were confined to vessels
bringing stores and supplies to the British forces in America. It was as
late as November, 1775, before Massachusetts, the colony which was the
seat of war, and which may be said to have taken the lead in the revolt,
established Courts of Admiralty, and enacted laws for the encouragement of
nautical enterprise."

The reader observes, from the above passage, from the historian, how
"circumstances alter cases." The "nautical enterprise" here spoken of, is
the same kind of nautical enterprise which has been charged, by virtuous
Massachusetts, whose people were in such haste to grow rich by
privateering, against the _Alabama_, as "piracy." The rush was not, it
seems, to the ships of war of the regular navy, to fight the battles of
the country, but to the privateers, which promised so many "flattering
results." It took a little time to warm the Congress and the people up to
their work, but when they were once fairly warmed, they took their jackets
off and went at it with a will, as is the wont of us Americans.

Let us dip a little further into Mr. Cooper, and see what more, these
staid New Englanders, who now have such a horror of "piracy," did. "The
proceedings in Congress," he continues, "in reference to assailing British
commerce, as has been seen, were reserved and cautious. War not being
regularly declared, and accommodation far from hopeless, the year 1775 was
suffered to pass away, without granting letters of marque and reprisal,
for it was the interest of the nation to preserve as many friends in
England as possible. As the breach widened, this forbearing policy was
abandoned, and the summer of 1776 let loose the nautical enterprise of the
country upon British commerce. The effect was at first astounding. Never
before had England found an enemy so destructive to her trade, and during
the first two years of privateering that followed, something like eight
hundred sail of merchantmen were captured. After this period, the efforts
of the Americans necessarily lessened, while the precautions of the enemy
increased. Still these enterprises proved destructive to the end of the
war; and it is a proof of the efficiency of this class of cruisers to the
last, that small privateers constantly sailed out of the English ports,
with a view to make money by recapturing their own vessels; the trade of
America at this time, offering but few inducements to such undertakings.

"Among the vessels employed [the historian tells us there were several
hundred of them], the _Halker_, the _Black Prince_, the _Pickering_, the
_Wild Cat_, the _Vengeance_, the _Marlborough_, in addition to those
elsewhere named, were very conspicuous. The _Marlborough_ is said to have
made twenty-eight prizes in one cruise. Other vessels were scarcely less
fortunate. Many sharp actions occurred, and quite as often to the
advantage of the cruisers, as to that of the enemy. In repeated instances
they escaped from British ships of war, under favorable circumstances, and
there is no question that in a few cases they captured them. * * * The
English West India trade, in particular, suffered largely by the private
warfare of the day. Two and fifty sail, engaged in this branch of the
commerce, are stated to have been captured as early as February, 1777. The
whole number of captures made by the Americans in this contest, is not
probably known, but six hundred and fifty prizes are said to have been
gotten into port. Many others were ransomed, and _some were destroyed at
sea_. There can be no minute accuracy in these statements, but the injury
done to the commerce of Great Britain was enormous, and there can be no
doubt, that the constant hazards it ran, had a direct influence in
obtaining the acknowledgment of the independence of the United States of
America, which great event took place on the 20th of January, 1783."

We thus see how history repeats itself, and how prone men are to forget
history. The "rebel pirates" of the Colonies--for such they were, if we
apply to them the polite nomenclature which became fashionable during our
late war--less than a century ago, were capturing, burning, and otherwise
destroying the commerce of Great Britain. The historian dwells upon the
record with pleasure, as an evidence of the patriotism, and "nautical
enterprise" of his countrymen; and this was but natural in the historian
of a commercial people. But when the commerce of the same people becomes
the object of capture, in a war far more justifiable, than the war of
1776, since it was waged by sovereign States, in defence of their very
existence, and not a mere rebellion, the cry is changed. It is the wrong
bull now which is goring the ox, and the _Alabama_ and her consorts are
committing unheard-of crimes and atrocities.

I call the reader's particular attention to the fact, that some of the
prizes of the Colonial cruisers were "_destroyed at sea_." This same act
when committed by the _Sumter_ and _Alabama_ was barbarous, atrocious! Now
let me run a brief parallel between the times of Paul Jones, by whom some
of this burning of British ships was done, and my own, to show how much
less excuse Jones had for such conduct, than I. In Jones' day, all the
commerce of the world was conducted in sailing ships, and all the navies
of the world were also composed of sailing ships. The consequence was,
that there was no such thing known, as a stringent blockade; for the
simple reason, that every gale of wind which arose, blew off the
blockading ships from before the blockaded ports, and it was, sometimes,
days before they could regain their stations. Besides, it is well known to
readers of American history, that Great Britain did not, at any time
during the Colonial war, attempt to blockade all the ports of the
Colonies. With a coast-line--from the St. Croix to St. Mary's in
Georgia--of fifteen hundred miles, this would have been impossible, even
with her great navy. The Colonial cruisers had, therefore, at all times
during the entire war, some of their ports open into which to send their
prizes. Still they "_destroyed some of them at sea_."

Some ninety years now pass away, and a second, and a greater war ensues
for American principles--this time between the States themselves. In the
meantime, the great and powerful steamship has made her appearance upon
the scene, revolutionizing not only the commerce of the world, but the
navies of the world. During the first months of the war, all the principal
ports of the Confederacy were blockaded, and it was not long before every
little nook and inlet was either in possession of the enemy, or had one or
more ships watching it. These ships were not the old-time sailing ships,
dependent upon the winds and the weather for efficiency--they were
steamers, independent of both, having the ability "to hold on" to the
blockaded port, both by day and by night, with a tenacity little less than
that of fate. Though it was possible for fast steam blockade-runners,
taking advantage of the darkness, sometimes to elude the vigilance of
these patient watchers, it was utterly impossible for a sailing vessel to
do so--and with a rare exception, here and there, all my prizes would be
sailing ships. Not only were all the Confederate ports thus hermetically
sealed to me, but the ports of neutrals had also been closed against me,
as the reader has seen, by unfriendly proclamations and orders in council.
In short, during my whole career upon the sea, _I had not so much as a
single port open to me, into which I could send a prize_.

What was expected of me under these circumstances? I had shown every
disposition, as the reader has seen, to avoid the necessity of burning my
prizes. I had sent prizes, both into Cuba and Venezuela, with the hope
that at least some of the nations of the earth would relent, and let me
in; but the prizes were either handed over to the enemy, on some
fraudulent pretext, or expelled. Unlike Jones, I had no alternative. There
was nothing left for me but to destroy my prizes, and this course had been
forced upon me, by the nations of the earth. How senseless and unjust,
then, was the clamor raised against me on this subject; especially in the
light of the precedents which the enemy himself had set me? Some senseless
prints even went so far as to declare that it was in violation of the laws
of war; but what is it that newspapers will not say, during such a contest
as that through which we have passed, when reason is dethroned by the
passions, and no longer sits in the judgment-seat? The right to destroy is
as perfect, as the right to sell, or make any other disposition of the
captured ship. But has a captor the right to destroy before adjudication?
the reader may ask. Certainly. The enemy has no right to adjudication at
all. Courts of Admiralty are not established for him. He has, and can have
no standing in such court. He cannot even enter an appearance there,
either in person, or by attorney; and if he could, he would have nothing
to show, for his very _status_ as an enemy would be sufficient ground for
condemning all the property he might claim. It is only neutrals who can
claim adjudication, and it is for the benefit of these alone that Courts
of Admiralty have been established. And if any neutrals have suffered in
the late war, for want of adjudication, the fault is with their own
government, and not with the Confederate cruisers, as the reader has just
seen. To instance the Cienfuegos cases: what detriment could have arisen
to Spain, if she had permitted my prizes to remain within her
jurisdiction, in the custody of my own prize agent, until a prize court in
New Orleans, or Mobile could have adjudicated them?



  "_Mutato nomine
  De te fabula narratur._"

In the last chapter, I gave some account of the operations against British
commerce, of certain ships of war and privateers, fitted out in the home
ports of the enemy; but as stress has been laid, as we have already seen,
upon the foreign origin of the _Alabama_, and it has been objected against
her, that her captures were illegal, and piratical, on that account, it
will be incumbent on me to show some cases on this point. The naval
history of the enemy abounds in them, but I will content myself with
adducing only a few, as specimens of the rest. I design to show that the
United States have produced ships, the very counterparts of the _Alabama_,
in every particular, foreign origin and all, and used them with
destructive effect, against the commerce of their enemy. All readers of
American history are familiar with the names of Benjamin Franklin, Silas
Deane, and John Adams, for these distinguished gentlemen played a very
important part on the theatre of the American Revolution. As they had much
to do with the naval affairs of the Colonies abroad, it is of them and
their doings that I would now speak. They were all Northern men, were
leaders, in their day, of Northern public opinion, and their memories are
justly held in high estimation, both North and South. I shall vouch them
for the legality of the origin of the _Alabama_, as a ship of war, and
justify by their acts, and out of their mouths, all the doings of that
ship upon the high seas. I again have recourse to Fenimore Cooper. "The
_Reprisal_ was the first American man-of-war, that ever showed herself in
the other hemisphere. She sailed from home not long after the Declaration
of Independence, and appeared in France, in the autumn of 1776, bringing
in with her several prizes, and having Dr. Franklin on board as a
passenger." It is well known that Silas Deane followed Dr. Franklin soon
afterward, and it was not long before these two Commissioners, who were
sent to Europe, to look after the interests of the Colonies, just as
Messrs. Mason and Slidell were sent, in our day, to look after the welfare
of the Confederate States, went to work.

Dr. Franklin, in particular, was a great favorite with the French people.
He wore short breeches, with knee-buckles, and silk stockings, and had the
portly air, and bearing of a philosopher. Having learned to fly kites when
a boy, he had turned the thing to some account when he had gotten to be a
man, and was also well known as the author of "Poor Richard's Almanac," a
book full of axiomatic wisdom, and wise saws. He had a much better field
before him, therefore, than Mr. John Slidell had. "_Tempora mutantur, et
nos mutamur in illis_;" and Slidell found that the "philosophers" who had
petted Franklin, and the fair women who had played with the tassels of his
three-cornered hat, showered bouquets upon him, and talked prettily of the
new doctrines of liberty that were just then coming in vogue, had all
passed away. Neither philosophy, liberty, or knee-buckles were at all
fashionable at the French Court when Slidell arrived there. In short, the
people of France had found out that this thing of getting up a revolution
for popular rights, however well it might suit other people, did not suit
Frenchmen, and they were tired of the matter. They had, since Franklin's
day, cut off the head of Louis XVI., played at republics a while, pretty
much as children play at card-houses, now setting them up, and now
knocking them down again, and having gotten tired of the game, like good
children had gone back quietly to their old form of despotism, under
Napoleon III., and were content! The sympathy which they had bestowed
upon Franklin, and which was productive of so many good results, in our
first revolution, had dried up in the second and greater revolution.

Having thus briefly introduced the Commissioners of the Colonies to the
reader, let us again look into Cooper, to see what their business was in
France, and how they performed it. "In order," says this writer, "to
complete the account of the proceedings of the American Commissioners in
Paris, so far as they were connected with naval movements during the years
1776 and 1777, it is necessary to come next to the affair of Captain
Conyngham, which, owing to some marked circumstances, made more noise than
the cruises of the _Reprisal_ and _Lexington_, though the first exploits
of the latter were anterior as to time, and not of less consequence in
their effects. While the Commissioners were directing the movements of
Captain Wickes [we will come to these presently] in the manner that has
been mentioned, they were not idle in other quarters. A small frigate was
building at Nantes, on their account, and there will be occasion to speak
of her hereafter, under the name of the _Queen of France_.

"Some time in the spring of 1777, an agent was sent to Dover by the
American Commissioners, where he purchased a fine, fast-sailing,
English-built cutter, and had her carried across to Dunkirk. Here she was
privately equipped as a cruiser, and named the _Surprise_. To the command
of this vessel, Captain Gustavus Conyngham was appointed, _by filling up a
blank commission_ from John Hancock, the President of Congress. This
commission bore date, March 1st, 1777, and, it would seem, as fully
entitled Mr. Conyngham to the rank of captain in the Navy, as any other
that was ever issued by the same authority. Having obtained his officers
and crew at Dunkirk, Captain Conyngham sailed on a cruise about the 1st of
May, and on the 4th he took a brig called the _Joseph_," &c.

Now, it is to be remarked, with reference to this passage, that the
_Alabama_, though built in England, was not armed or equipped there, nor
was her crew enlisted there; whilst the _Surprise_ was not only "privately
equipped as a cruiser," at Dunkirk, a port of France, then at peace with
England--for France had not yet joined the Colonies in the war--but she
got all her officers and crew there, many of whom were Frenchmen. And
when she got up her anchor for a cruise, still lying in the waters of
France, she was a perfectly armed and equipped ship of war. She could have
engaged an enemy, immediately upon passing beyond the marine league,
whereas the _Alabama_, when she left the Mersey, was entirely unarmed, and
without an enlisted crew, and could have been taken possession of by an
enemy's cruiser as easily as any other merchant-ship. Mr. Seward insisted,
with much vehemence, with the English Government, that the _Alabama_ was
not entitled to be regarded as a ship of war, but rather a "British
pirate," because she had never been in a Confederate port. His latest form
of protest is found in a letter to Lord Stanley, the British Secretary for
Foreign Affairs, of the date of January 12th, 1867, as follows:--

     "Lord Stanley excuses the reception of the vessels complained of in
     British ports, subsequently to their fraudulent escapes and armament,
     on the ground that when the vessels appeared in these ports, they did
     so in the character of properly commissioned cruisers of the
     Government of the so-styled Confederate States, and that they
     received no more shelter, provisions, or facilities, than was due to
     them in that character. This position is taken by his lordship in
     full view of the facts that--with the exception of the _Sumter_ and
     the _Florida_--none of the vessels named were ever found in any place
     where a lawful belligerent commission could either be conferred or
     received. It would appear, therefore, that, in the opinion of her
     Majesty's Government, a British vessel, in order to acquire a
     belligerent character against the United States, had only to leave
     the British port where she was built, clandestinely, and to be
     fraudulently armed, equipped, and manned anywhere in Great Britain,
     or in any foreign country, or on the high seas; and in some foreign
     country, or upon the high seas, to set up and assume the title and
     privileges of a belligerent, without even entering the so-called
     Confederacy, or ever coming within any port of the United States. I
     must confess that, if a lawful belligerent character can be acquired
     in such a manner, then I am unable to determine by what different
     course of proceeding a vessel can become a pirate and an enemy to the
     peace of nations."

Had Mr. Seward forgotten, when he wrote the above, the case of Dr.
Franklin's ship, the _Surprise_? It will be recollected, too, that Mr.
Adams, the United States Minister at the Court of London, frequently
protested, in his correspondence with the English Foreign Office, against
the Confederates being permitted to have "stationed agents," at Liverpool,
and elsewhere in the British dominions, conducting a "Naval Bureau." Had
he forgotten the "Naval Bureau" which was conducted in France, by Dr.
Franklin and Silas Deane, who were "stationed agents" of the Colonies? How
they built, and purchased, and equipped, and commissioned ships, all in
neutral territory; even filling up blank commissions sent out to them by
the Congress for the purpose?

But to continue with our precedents. The career of the _Surprise_ was not
a very long one. Having carried some prizes into a French port, in
violation of a treaty then existing between France and Great Britain,
providing that neither should permit the enemies of the other to bring
their prizes into her ports, she was seized by the French authorities, and
we hear no more of her. But we do hear more, and that immediately, from
the Naval Bureau in Paris, under the guidance of Dr. Franklin and Silas
Deane. As soon as the seizure of the _Surprise_ became known to the
Commissioners, they dispatched one of their agents, a Mr. Hodge, to
Dunkirk, where he purchased another cutter, which was fitted with all
dispatch, as a cruiser, as the _Surprise_ had been. This second vessel was
called the _Revenge_, and "Captain Conyngham and his people," to use the
words of the historian, were transferred to her. A new commission was
given to Conyngham, dated on the 2d of May, 1777, filled up, as before, by
the Commissioners, and he soon afterward proceeded to sea under it.

It will be seen with what indulgence, and even connivance the
Commissioners were treated by the French authorities. The seizure of the
_Surprise_ was a mere blind, intended to satisfy England. The ship herself
was suffered to pass out of view, but another ship was permitted to be
equipped in her stead, and the officers and crew of the old ship were
transferred to the new one, with little or no disguise, and the latter was
suffered to depart on a cruise without molestation. Here was another ship,
which had never been in any port of the Colonies, and which, according to
Mr. Seward's vocabulary, was a "pirate." Let us see what she did. "The
_Revenge_," continues the historian, "proved exceedingly successful,
making prizes daily, and _generally destroying them_. Some of the more
valuable, however, were ordered into Spain, where many arrived; their
arrival proving of great moment to the agents of the American Government
in Europe. It is even affirmed, that the money advanced to Mr. Adams [the
Mr. Adams, here spoken of, was John Adams, afterward second President of
the United States, the grandfather of Mr. Charles Francis Adams, Federal
Minister to England during the war; and the antagonism in which the
grandfather, and grandson are placed, in reference to the principles I am
discussing, is one of the curious revolutions of history] for travelling
expenses, when he arrived in Spain, a year or two later, was derived from
this source."

The _Revenge_ now disappears from view, as the _Surprise_ had done before
her, and the historian takes up the _Reprisal_, the ship, as we have seen,
which carried Dr. Franklin over to France. "The _Reprisal_, having
refitted, soon sailed toward the Bay of Biscay, on another cruise. Here
she captured several more vessels, and among the rest a King's packet,
that plied between Falmouth and Lisbon. When the cruise was up, Captain
Wickes went into Nantes, taking his prizes with him. The complaints of the
English now became louder, and the American Ministers were _secretly_
admonished of the necessity of using greater reserve. The prizes were
directed to quit France, though the _Reprisal_, being leaky, was suffered
to remain in port, in order to refit. The former were taken into the
offing, and sold, _the state of the times rendering these informal
proceedings necessary_. Enormous losses to the captors were the
consequences, while it is not improbable, that the gains of the purchasers
had their influence _in blinding the local authorities_ to the character
of the transaction."

Here we see not only a violation of neutrality, but a little bribery going
on, these "rebel pirates" having an eye to the "flattering results,"
spoken of by Mr. Cooper, some pages back. The historian proceeds. "The
business appears to have been managed with dexterity, and the proceeds of
the sales, such as they were, proved of great service to the agents of the
Government, by enabling them to _purchase other vessels_." We see how
capitally those "stational agents," Franklin and Deane, were conducting
that "Naval Bureau," against the like of which, in our case, Mr. Adams had
so warmly protested. I again quote: "In April, the _Lexington_ arrived in
France, and the old difficulties were renewed. But the Commissioners at
Paris, who had been authorized to equip vessels, appoint officers, and do
other matters to annoy the enemy, now planned a cruise that surpassed
anything of the sort that had yet been attempted in Europe, under the
American flag. Captain Wickes was directed to proceed to sea, with his own
vessel and the _Lexington_, and to go directly off Ireland, in order to
intercept a convoy of linen ships, that was expected to sail about that
time. A cutter of ten guns called the _Dolphin_, that had been detained by
the Commissioners, to carry despatches to America, was diverted from her
original destination, and placed under the orders of Captain Wickes. The
_Dolphin_ was commanded by Lieutenant Nicholson, a brother of the senior
captain, and a gentleman who subsequently died at the head of the service.
Captain Wickes, in command of this light squadron, sailed from Nantes,
about the commencement of June, going first into the Bay of Biscay, and
afterward entirely around Ireland, sweeping the sea before him, of
everything that was not of a force to render an attack hopeless. The linen
ships were missed, but many vessels were taken _or destroyed_.

"The sensation produced among the British merchants, by the different
cruises in the European sea, that have been recorded in this chapter, is
stated in the diplomatic correspondence of the day to have been greater
than that produced in the previous war by the squadron of the celebrated
Thurot. Insurance rose to an enormous height, and in speaking of the
cruise of Captain Wickes, in particular, Mr. Deane observes in one of his
letters to Robert Morris, that it 'effectually alarmed England, prevented
the great fair at Chester, occasioned insurance to rise, and even deterred
the English merchants from shipping in English bottoms, at any rate, so
that, in a few weeks, forty sail of French ships were loading in the
Thames, on freight, an instance never known before.' In the same letter
the Commissioner adds: 'In a word, Conyngham, by his first and second bold
expeditions, is become the terror of all the eastern coasts of England
and Scotland, and is more dreaded than Thurot was in the late war.'"

This same Captain Conyngham, afterward, while cruising on the American
coast, fell into the hands of the enemy. He had, of course, become odious
to the English people, and they had denounced him as a "pirate," as our
Northern people have denounced the writer of these pages. Conyngham was
closely confined, and the English admiral, whose fleet was then stationed
in the waters of New York, threatened to send him to England for trial.
Let us see what steps the American Congress took in behalf of this "rebel
pirate," as soon as it heard of these proceedings. The subject having been
brought to its notice, it directed its Secretary, Charles Thompson, to
address a letter of remonstrance to the British admiral, threatening
retaliation, if he dared to execute his threats. I quote from the journals
of Congress:--

     "In Congress assembled, July 1799.--A letter of the 17th instant,
     from Ann Conyngham, and a petition from a number of inhabitants of
     Philadelphia were read, representing that Captain Gustavus Conyngham,
     now a prisoner with the enemy, is closely confined, and ordered to be
     sent to England, and praying that measures may be taken for the
     security of his person: _Ordered_, That the same be referred to a
     committee of three. The members chosen, Mr. Morris, Mr. Dickinson,
     and Mr. Whipple. The committee to whom were referred the petition,
     and letter respecting Gustavus Conyngham, brought in a report;
     whereupon, _Resolved_, That the following letter from the Secretary
     of Congress, be written to the admiral, or other commanding officer
     of the fleet, or ships of his Britannic Majesty, lying in the harbor
     of New York, viz.:

     "'Sir, I am directed by the Congress of the United States of America
     to inform you, that they have received evidence that Gustavus
     Conyngham, a citizen of America, late commander of an armed vessel in
     the service of the said States, and taken on board of a private armed
     cutter, hath been treated in a manner contrary to the dictates of
     humanity, and the practice of _Christian, civilized nations_. I am
     ordered, in the name of Congress, to demand that good and sufficient
     reason be given for this conduct, or that the said Gustavus Conyngham
     be immediately released from his present rigorous, and _ignominious_

     "'With all due respect, I have the honor to be, Sir,

        "'Your most obedient and humble servant.'

     "_Resolved_, That, unless a satisfactory answer be received to the
     foregoing letter, on or before the 1st day of August next, the Marine
     Committee do immediately order to be confined, in close and safe
     custody, so many persons as they may think proper, in order to abide
     the fate of the said Gustavus Conyngham. _Ordered_, That the above
     letter be immediately transmitted to New York, by the Board of War,
     and that copies of said letter and resolution be delivered to the
     wife of Conyngham, and the petitioners.

     "_Monday, Dec. 13th, 1779._--A memorial of Christopher Hale was read,
     praying to be exchanged, and to have leave to go to New York, upon
     his parole, for a few days, to procure a person in his room.
     _Resolved_, That Mr. Hale be informed, that the prayer of his
     memorial cannot be granted, until Captain Conyngham is released, as
     it has been determined that he must abide the fate of that officer."

Conyngham was afterward released. This is the way in which the ancestors
of Mr. Seward, and Mr. Charles Francis Adams, took care of their "rebel

There is one other point in the legal history of the _Alabama_, which it
is necessary to notice, and to which I propose to adduce another of those
awkward precedents, which I have exhumed from those musty old records,
which our Northern brethren seem so thoroughly to have forgotten. It has
been charged against the _Alabama_, that her crew was composed mostly of
foreigners, and that this was another reason why she was not entitled to
be considered as a Confederate States ship of war. Let us look a little
into this charge. A sovereign is not only not obliged to account to other
nations, for the manner in which he becomes possessed of his ships of war,
as we have seen, but he cannot be questioned as to the nativity or
naturalization of the persons serving on board of them. It could have been
of no sort of consequence to any foreign officer, demanding to see my
commission, whether I was a native of England, Germany, or France, or of
any other foreign power. All that he could demand of me, in order to
satisfy himself that I was entitled to exercise belligerent rights, was a
sight of my commission as a _Confederate States naval officer_.
Nationality is presumed in all such commissions, and the presumption
cannot be inquired into. Mr. Justice Story, in the decision quoted a few
pages back, says, as the reader will recollect, that the commission of a
ship of war imports such "absolute verity," that it cannot be inquired
into, or contradicted. It is like proving a fact by a record. No other
proof than the production of the record is required, or indeed permitted.
The commission of the commander is the commission of his ship. Neither
the _Sumter_ nor the _Alabama_ had any other commission than my own, and
the orders assigning me to them. If this be the law with regard to the
commander of a ship, _a fortiori_, must it be the law with reference to
the subordinate officers and crew.

The writers on international law, without exception, lay down the rule,
that a sovereign may enlist foreigners to assist him in his wars; and that
the men thus enlisted are entitled to all the protection of belligerents,
equally with native citizens. The Swiss foreign legions, so well known in
history, are notable illustrations of this doctrine; and no one has ever
heard of a Swiss being hung because he served under a foreign flag.
Vattel, who has the rare merit of having so thoroughly exhausted all these
subjects, that he has left scarcely anything for those who have followed
him to say, lays down the doctrine as follows: "Much has been said on the
question whether the profession of a mercenary soldier be lawful or
not,--whether individuals may, for money, or any other reward, engage to
serve a foreign prince in his wars? This question does not appear to me to
be very difficult to be solved. Those who enter into such engagements,
without the express or tacit consent of their sovereign, offend against
their duty as citizens. But if their sovereign leaves them at liberty to
follow their inclination for a military life, they are perfectly free in
that respect. [Modern nations, and especially the United States, have left
their citizens free to expatriate themselves at pleasure.] Now, every free
man may join whatever society he pleases, according as he finds it most to
his advantage. He may make its cause his own, and espouse its quarrels. He
becomes, in some measure, at least for a time, a member of the State in
whose service he engages." Again: "The sovereign has no right to compel
foreigners; he must not even employ stratagem or artifice, in order to
induce them to engage in a contract, which, like all others, should be
founded on candor and good faith."

But it was scarcely necessary to quote other authority, on that point,
than the authority of the enemy himself. Mr. Secretary Seward knew, at the
very time he was denouncing the _Alabama_ as a "pirate," because of her
having, as he alleged, a British crew on board, that his own Government
was filling up its armies, and its navy, too, with hundreds of thousands
of raw recruits from Belgium, Germany, and Ireland, and other countries.
Nay, more, that by an act of the Federal Congress, these debased and
ignorant men, drawn, for the most part, from the idle and thieving classes
of their respective countries, were invested, _ipso facto_, upon
enlistment, with all the functions and attributes of American
citizens--the function of robbery more especially included! With reference
to the conduct of the enemy in this particular, I deem it not amiss to
introduce a short extract or two, from a speech made by Sir Hugh Cairnes,
her Britannic Majesty's Attorney-General, in the House of Commons, on the
12th of May, 1864. The discussion grew out of the case of the Confederate
States steamer _Georgia_, which had recently returned to Liverpool, after
a cruise. Among other questions discussed was whether the _Georgia_ should
be excluded from British ports, because of some alleged infraction on her
part, of the British Foreign Enlistment Act. In speaking to this question,
the Attorney-General, alluding to the insufficiency of the proof in the
case, said:--

     "The case of the _Kearsarge_ was a case of this character. Beyond all
     question, a considerable amount of recruiting was carried on, at
     Cork, for the purposes of that ship, she being employed at the time,
     in our own waters, or very near them, in looking out for the enemy;
     and she was furnished with a large addition to her crew from Ireland.
     Upon that being represented to Mr. Adams, he said, as might have been
     expected, that it was entirely contrary to the wishes of his
     Government, and that there must be some mistake. The men were
     afterward relanded, and there can be no doubt that there had been a
     violation of our neutrality. Nevertheless, we admitted the
     _Kearsarge_ afterward into English waters. We have not excluded her
     from our ports, and if we had, I think the Government of the United
     States would have considered that they had some cause of offence.

     "But it does not rest here. I see from the paper, that the Honorable
     Member for Horsham, wants information respecting the enlistment of
     British subjects for the Federal Army. Now, from all quarters reports
     reach us, which we cannot doubt to be substantially true, that agents
     for recruiting for the Federal Army, with, or without the concurrence
     of the Government, are in Ireland, and engage men under the pretext
     of employing them on railways and public works, but really with the
     intention of enlisting them, and that many of these men are so
     enlisted. In Canada and New Brunswick the same practices prevail.
     Representations have been made to the United States Government
     respecting the cases of particular persons, who have been kidnapped
     into the service, and I feel bound to say that those representations
     have not met with that prompt and satisfactory attention we might
     have expected," &c.

The reader thus perceives, that if the _Alabama_ enlisted some foreigners
to complete her crew, she was only following the example set her, by Mr.
Seward himself; but there was this difference between the honorable
Secretary of State and the writer. The former resorted to deceit,
trickery, and fraud, whilst no man can say of the latter, that he
inveigled him on board the _Alabama_.

I will now produce the precedent I spoke of, from those musty old records.
It is drawn from the career of that remarkable sea-captain, to whom I have
before referred, and with whose history every American is acquainted--I
mean, John Paul Jones. The naval engagement, which conferred most honor
upon Jones, was that between the _Bon homme Richard_, (named after Dr.
Franklin's "Poor Richard," in the almanac, of which this Chief of the
Naval Bureau in Paris was the author,) and the British ships _Serapis_ and
_Countess of Scarborough_. Mr. Cooper thus describes the crew of Jones'
ship, picked up at Dunkirk, or Nantes, or some of the other French

     "To manage a vessel of this singular armament and doubtful
     construction, Commodore Jones was compelled to receive on board a
     crew of still more equivocal composition. A few Americans were found
     to fill the stations of sea officers, on the quarter deck, and
     forward, but the remainder of the people were a mixture of English,
     Irish, Scotch, Portuguese, Norwegians, Germans, Spaniards, Swedes,
     Italians, and Malays, with occasionally a man from one of the islands
     [meaning Sandwich Islands]. To keep this motley crew in order, 135
     soldiers were put on board, under the command of some officers of
     inferior rank. These soldiers, or marines, were recruited at random,
     and were not much less singularly mixed as to countries, than the
     regular crew."

I had something of a mixture on board the _Alabama_, but I think Jones
decidedly beat me, in the number of nationalities he had the honor to



Having cleared the way, in the last two chapters, for the cruise of the
_Alabama_, by removing some of the legal rubbish with which Mr. Seward and
Mr. Adams had sought to encumber her, we are in a condition to put the
ship in commission. I was at last accounts in Liverpool, as the reader
will recollect, having just arrived there in the steamer _Bahama_, from
Nassau. The _Alabama_, then known as the "290," had proceeded, a few days
before, to her rendezvous, the island of Terceira, one of the group of the
Azores. The name "290" may need a word of explanation. The newspapers of
the enemy have falsely charged that the _Alabama_ was built by 290
Englishmen, of "rebel" proclivities, and hence, they say, the name.

One Parson Boynton has written a book, which he calls the "History of the
Navy," but which is rather a biography of Mr. Secretary Welles, his
Assistant Secretary Fox, and several ingenious mechanics. Judging by this
attempt, parsons are rather bad hands to write histories. Speaking of the
_Alabama_, this gentleman remarks: "Insultingly, this vessel was named
'290,' to show, by the large number that contributed to fit her out, how
widespread was the English sympathy for the rebel cause. The _Alabama_ was
not regarded as a rebel vessel of war, but as a British pirate, or rather,
perhaps, as an English man-of-war, sent forth under the veil of the rebel
flag, to sink and destroy our merchantmen." It is thus seen, that this
_history_ repeats the stale newspaper slander. Of such stuff the Yankee
histories of the war, generally, are made, especially such of them as are
written by amateur parsons. The _fact_ is, as the reader has seen, that
the _Alabama_ was built by the Messrs. Laird of Birkenhead, under a
contract with the Confederate States, and was paid for out of the
Confederate Treasury. She happened to be the 290th ship built by those
gentlemen, and _hence_ the name.

The _Alabama_ had been built in perfect good faith by the Lairds. When she
was contracted for, no question had been raised as to the right of a
neutral to build, and sell to a belligerent such a ship. The reader has
seen that the Federal Secretary of the Navy himself had endeavored, not
only to build an _Alabama_, but iron-clads in England. But as the war
progressed, the United States, foreseeing the damage which a few fast
steamers might inflict on their commerce, took the alarm, and began to
insist that neutrals should not supply us, even with unarmed ships. The
laws of nations were clearly against them. Their own practice, in all
former wars, in which they had been neutrals, was against them. And yet
they maintained their ground so stoutly and defiantly, threatening war, if
they were not listened to, that the neutral powers, and especially Great
Britain, became very cautious. They were indeed bullied--for that is the
word--into timidity. To show the good faith which the Lairds had practised
throughout, I quote again from the speech made by the senior partner, in
the House of Commons:--

     "I can only say from all I know, and from 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. 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 that there was nothing wrong. _They
     only left her when the tug left_, and they were obliged to declare,
     that she left Liverpool _a perfectly legitimate transaction_."

Notwithstanding this practice of good faith, on our part, and our entire
innocence of any breach of the laws of nations, or of the British Foreign
Enlistment Act, Lord John Russell had been intimidated to such an extent,
that the ship came within an ace of being detained. But for the little
_ruse_ which we practised, of going on a trial-trip, with a party of
ladies, and the customs officers, mentioned by Mr. Laird, on board, and
not returning, but sending our guests back in a tug, there is no doubt
that the _Alabama_ would have been tied up, as the _Oreto_ or _Florida_
had been, in court. She must have been finally released, it is true, but
the delay itself would have been of serious detriment to us.

After a few busy days in Liverpool, during which I was gathering my old
officers of the _Sumter_ around me, and making my financial arrangements
for my cruise, with the house of Frazer, Trenholm & Co., I departed on the
13th of August, 1862, in the steamer _Bahama_, to join the _Alabama_.
Captain James D. Bullock, of the Confederate States Navy, a Georgian, who
had been bred in the old service, but who had retired from it some years
before the war, to engage in the steam-packet service, accompanied me.
Bullock had contracted for, and superintended the building of the
_Alabama_, and was now going with me, to be present at the christening of
his bantling. I am indebted to him, as well the Messrs. Laird, for a very
perfect ship of her class.

She was of about 900 tons burden, 230 feet in length, 32 feet in breadth,
20 feet in depth, and drew, when provisioned and coaled for a cruise, 15
feet of water. Her model was of the most perfect symmetry, and she sat
upon the water with the lightness and grace of a swan. She was barkentine
rigged, with long lower masts, which enabled her to carry large
fore-and-aft sails, as jibs and try-sails, which are of so much importance
to a steamer, in so many emergencies. Her sticks were of the best yellow
pine, that would bend in a gale, like a willow wand, without breaking, and
her rigging was of the best of Swedish iron wire. The scantling of the
vessel was light, compared with vessels of her class in the Federal Navy,
but this was scarcely a disadvantage, as she was designed as a scourge of
the enemy's commerce, rather than for battle. She was to defend herself,
simply, if defence should become necessary. Her engine was of three
hundred horse-power, and she had attached an apparatus for condensing,
from the vapor of sea-water, all the fresh water that her crew might
require. She was a perfect steamer and a perfect sailing-ship, at the same
time, neither of her two modes of locomotion being at all dependent upon
the other. The reader has seen that the _Sumter_, when her fuel was
exhausted, was little better than a log on the water, because of her
inability to hoist her propeller, which she was, in consequence, compelled
to drag after her. The _Alabama_ was so constructed, that in fifteen
minutes, her propeller could be detached from the shaft, and lifted in a
well contrived for the purpose, sufficiently high out of the water, not to
be an impediment to her speed. When this was done, and her sails spread,
she was, to all intents and purposes, a sailing-ship. On the other hand,
when I desired to use her as a steamer, I had only to start the fires,
lower the propeller, and if the wind was adverse, brace her yards to the
wind, and the conversion was complete. The speed of the _Alabama_ was
always greatly over-rated by the enemy. She was ordinarily about a
ten-knot ship. She was said to have made eleven knots and a half, on her
trial trip, but we never afterward got it out of her. Under steam and sail
both, we logged on one occasion, thirteen knots and a quarter, which was
her utmost speed.

Her armament consisted of eight guns; six 32-pounders, in broadside, and
two pivot-guns amidships; one on the forecastle, and the other abaft the
main-mast--the former a 100-pounder rifled Blakeley, and the latter, a
smooth-bore eight-inch. The Blakeley gun was so deficient in metal,
compared with the weight of shot it threw, that, after the first few
discharges, when it became a little heated, it was of comparatively small
use to us, to such an extent were we obliged to reduce the charge of
powder, on account of the recoil. The average crew of the _Alabama_,
before the mast, was about 120 men; and she carried twenty-four officers,
as follows: A Captain, four lieutenants, surgeon, paymaster, master,
marine officer, four engineers, two midshipmen, and four master's mates, a
Captain's clerk, boatswain, gunner, sailmaker, and carpenter. The cost of
the ship, with everything complete, was two hundred and fifty thousand

On the morning of our departure from Liverpool, the _Bahama_ had dropped
some distance down the Mersey, and we joined her by tug. She had her steam
up, and was ready to trip her anchor, the moment we arrived, and in a few
minutes after getting on board, we were under way. The tug cheered us, as
she turned to steam back to the city, and the cheer was answered lustily
by our crew. We were a week on the passage from Liverpool to Terceira; our
old friend, Captain Tessier, of the _Bahama_, with whom I had made the
passage from Nassau to Liverpool, rendering our time very comfortable. On
the morning of the 20th of August, we were on the look-out, at an early
hour, for the land, and it was not long before we discovered the island,
looking, at first, hazy and indistinct in the distance, but gradually
assuming more form and consistency. After another hour's steaming, Porto
Praya, our place of rendezvous, became visible, with its white houses
dotting the mountain side, and we now began to turn our glasses upon the
harbor, with no little anxiety, to see if our ships--for a sailing-ship,
with the _Alabama's_ battery and stores, had preceded her some days, and
should now be with her--were all right. We first caught sight of their
spars, and pretty soon, raising their hulls sufficiently for
identification, we felt much relieved. Our secret had been well kept, and
the enemy, notwithstanding his fine "smelling qualities," had not scented
the prey.

In the meantime, our own approach was watched with equal anxiety from the
deck of the _Alabama_. We might be, for aught she knew, an enemy's steamer
coming in pursuit of her; and as the enemy was in the habit of kicking all
the small powers, that had not the means of kicking back, a neutral port,
belonging to _effete_ old Portugal, would not afford her the least
protection. At half-past eleven A. M., we steamed into the harbor, and let
go our anchor. I had surveyed my new ship, as we approached, with no
little interest, as she was to be not only my home, but my bride, as it
were, for the next few years, and I was quite satisfied with her external
appearance. She was, indeed, a beautiful thing to look upon. The
store-ship was already alongside of her, and we could see that the busy
work of transferring her cargo was going on. Captain Butcher, an
intelligent young English seaman, who had been bred in the mail-packet
service, and who had taken the _Alabama_ out from Liverpool, on that trial
trip of hers, which has since become historical through the protests of
Messrs. Seward and Adams, now came on board of us. He had had a rough and
stormy passage from Liverpool, during which he had suffered some little
damage, and consumed most of his coal. Considerable progress had been
made, in receiving on board from the transport, the battery and stores,
and a few days more would suffice to put the ship in a condition for

The harbor of Porto Praya lies open to the eastward, and as the wind was
now from that quarter, and blowing rather freshly, a considerable sea had
been raised, which rendered it inconvenient, if not unsafe, for the
transport and the _Alabama_ to continue to lie alongside of each other;
which was nevertheless necessary for the transfer of the remainder of the
heavy guns. I therefore directed Captain Butcher to get up his anchors
immediately, and follow me around to Angra Bay, on the west side of the
island, where we should find a lee, and smooth water. This was done, and
we arrived at Angra at four o'clock, on the same afternoon. Here the
transshipment of the guns and stores was renewed, and here, for the first
time, I visited the _Alabama_. I was as much pleased with her internal
appearance, and arrangements, as I had been with her externally, but
everything was in a very uninviting state of confusion, guns,
gun-carriages, shot, and shell, barrels of beef and pork, and boxes and
bales of paymaster's, gunner's, and boatswain's stores lying promiscuously
about the decks; sufficient time not having elapsed to have them stowed in
their proper places. The crew, comprising about sixty persons, who had
been picked up, promiscuously, about the streets of Liverpool, were as
unpromising in appearance, as things about the decks. What with faces
begrimed with coal dust, red shirts, and blue shirts, Scotch caps, and
hats, brawny chests exposed, and stalwart arms naked to the elbows, they
looked as little like the crew of a man-of-war, as one can well conceive.
Still there was some _physique_ among these fellows, and soap, and water,
and clean shirts would make a wonderful difference in their appearance. As
night approached, I relieved Captain Butcher of his command, and removing
my baggage on board, took possession of the cabin, in which I was to spend
so many weary days, and watchful nights. I am a good sleeper, and slept
soundly. This quality of sleeping well in the intervals of harassing
business is a valuable one to the sailor, and I owe to it much of that
physical ability, which enabled me to withstand the four years of
excitement and toil, to which I was subjected during the war.

There are two harbors called Angra, in Terceira--East Angra, and West
Angra. We were anchored in the latter, and the authorities notified us,
the next morning, that we must move round to East Angra, that being the
port of entry, and the proper place for the anchorage of merchant-ships.
We were _playing_ merchant-ship as yet, but had nothing to do, of course,
with ports of entry or custom-houses; and as the day was fine, and there
was a prospect of smooth water under the lee of the island, I got under
way, and went to sea, the _Bahama_ and the transport accompanying me.
Steaming beyond the marine league, I hauled the transport alongside, and
we got on board from her the remainder of our armament, and stores. The
sea was not so smooth, as we had expected, and there was some little
chafing between the ships, but we accomplished our object, without serious
inconvenience. This occupied us all day, and after nightfall, we ran into
East Angra, and anchored.

As we passed the fort, we were hailed vociferously, in very bad English,
or Portuguese, we could not distinguish which. But though the words were
unintelligible to us, the manner and tone of the hail were evidently meant
to warn us off. Continuing our course, and paying no attention to the
hail, the fort presently fired a shot over us; but we paid no attention to
this either, and ran in and anchored--the bark accompanying us, but the
_Bahama_ hauling off, seaward, and lying off and on during the night.
There was a small Portuguese schooner of war at anchor in the harbor, and
about midnight, I was aroused from a deep sleep, into which I had fallen,
after a long day of work and excitement, by an officer coming below, and
informing me, very coolly, that the Portuguese man-of-war was firing into
us! "The d----l she is," said I; "how many shots has she fired at us?"
"Three, sir," replied the officer. "Have any of them struck us?" "No, sir,
none of them have struck us--they seem to be firing rather wild." I knew
very well, that the little craft would not dare to fire _into_ us, though
I thought it probable, that, after the fashion of the Chinese, who sound
their gongs to scare away their enemies, she might be firing _at_ us, to
alarm us into going out of the harbor. I said therefore to the officer,
"Let him fire away, I expect he won't hurt you," and turned over and went
to sleep. In the morning, it was ascertained, that it was not the schooner
at all, that had been firing, but a passing mail steamer which had run
into the anchorage, and fired three signal guns, to awaken her sleeping
passengers on shore--with whom she departed before daylight.

We were not further molested, from this time onward, but were permitted to
remain and coal from the bark; though the custom-house officers,
accompanied by the British Consul, paid us a visit, and insisted that we
should suspend our operation of coaling, until we had entered the two
ships at the custom-house. This I readily consented to do. I now called
the _Bahama_ in, by signal, and she ran in and anchored near us. Whilst
the coaling was going forward, the carpenter, and gunner, with the
assistance of the chief engineer, were busy putting down the circles or
traverses for the pivot guns; and the boatswain and his gang were at work,
fitting side and train tackles for the broadside guns. The reader can
understand how anxious I was to complete all these arrangements. I was
perfectly defenceless without them, and did not know at what moment an
enemy's ship might look in upon me. The harbor of East Angra, where we
were now anchored, was quite open, but fortunately for us, the wind was
light, and from the S. W., which gave us smooth water, and our work went
on quite rapidly.

To cast an eye, for a moment, now, from the ship to the shore, I was
charmed with the appearance of Terceira. Every square foot of the island
seemed to be under the most elaborate cultivation, and snug farm-houses
were dotted so thickly over the hill-sides, as to give the whole the
appearance of a rambling village. The markets were most bountifully
supplied with excellent beef and mutton, and the various domestic fowls,
fish, vegetables, and fruits. My steward brought off every morning in his
basket, a most tempting assortment of the latter; for there were apples,
plums, pears, figs, dates, oranges, and melons all in full bearing at
Terceira. The little town of Angra, abreast of which we were anchored, was
a perfect picture of a Portuguese-Moorish town, with its red-tiled roofs,
sharp gables, and parti-colored verandas, and veranda curtains. And then
the quiet, and love-in-a-cottage air which hovered over the whole scene,
so far removed from the highways of the world's commerce, and the world's
alarms, was charming to contemplate.

I had arrived on Wednesday, and on Saturday night, we had, by the dint of
great labor and perseverance, drawn order out of chaos. The _Alabama's_
battery was on board, and in place, her stores had all been unpacked, and
distributed to the different departments, and her coal-bunkers were again
full. We only awaited the following morning to steam out upon the high
seas, and formally put the ship in commission. Saturday had been dark and
rainy, but we had still labored on through the rain. Sunday morning dawned
bright and beautiful, which we hailed as a harbinger of future success.
All hands were turned out at early daylight, and the first lieutenant, and
the officer of the deck took the ship in hand, to prepare her for the
coming ceremony. She was covered with coal dust and dirt and rubbish in
every direction, for we had hitherto had no time to attend to appearances.
But by dint of a few hours of scrubbing, inside and out, and of the use of
that well-known domestic implement, the holy-stone, that works so many
wonders with a dirty ship, she became sweet and clean, and when her
awnings were snugly spread, her yards squared, and her rigging hauled
taut, she looked like a bride, with the orange-wreath about her brows,
ready to be led to the altar.

I had as yet no enlisted crew, and this thought gave me some anxiety. All
the men on board the _Alabama_, as well as those who had come out with me,
on board the _Bahama_, had been brought thus far, under articles of
agreement that were to be no longer obligatory. Some of them had been
shipped for one voyage, and some for another, but none of them for
service on board a Confederate cruiser. This was done to avoid a breach
of the British Foreign Enlistment Act. They had, of course, been
undeceived from the day of our departure from Liverpool. _They_ knew that
they were to be released from the contracts they had made, but _I_ could
not know how many of them would engage with me for the _Alabama_. It is
true I had had a talk with some of the leaders of the crew, who had
promised to go with me, and to influence others, but no creature can be
more whimsical than a sailor, until you have bound him past recall, unless
indeed it be a woman.

The ship having been properly prepared, we steamed out, on this bright
Sunday morning, under a cloudless sky, with a gentle breeze from the
southeast, scarcely ruffling the surface of the placid sea, and under the
shadow of the smiling and picturesque island of Terceira, which nature
seemed to have decked specially for the occasion, so charming did it
appear, in its checkered dress of a lighter and darker green, composed of
corn-fields and orange-groves, the flag of the new-born Confederate States
was unfurled, for the first time, from the peak of the _Alabama_. The
_Bahama_ accompanied us. The ceremony was short but impressive. The
officers were all in full uniform, and the crew neatly dressed, and I
caused "all hands" to be summoned aft on the quarter-deck, and mounting a
gun-carriage, I read the commission of Mr. Jefferson Davis, appointing me
a captain in the Confederate States Navy, and the order of Mr. Stephen R.
Mallory, the Secretary of the Navy, directing me to assume command of the
_Alabama_. Following my example, the officers and crew had all uncovered
their heads, in deference to the sovereign authority, as is customary on
such occasions; and as they stood in respectful silence and listened with
rapt attention to the reading, and to the short explanation of my object
and purposes, in putting the ship in commission which followed, I was
deeply impressed with the spectacle. Virginia, the grand old mother of
many of the States, who afterward died so nobly; South Carolina, Georgia,
Alabama, and Louisiana, were all represented in the persons of my
officers, and I had some of as fine specimens of the daring and
adventurous seaman, as any ship of war could boast.

While the reading was going on, two small balls might have been seen
ascending slowly, one to the peak, and the other to the main-royal
mast-head. These were the ensign and pennant of the future man-of-war.
These balls were so arranged, that by a sudden jerk of the halliards by
which they had been sent aloft, the flag and pennant would unfold
themselves to the breeze. A curious observer would also have seen a
quartermaster standing by the English colors, which we were still wearing,
in readiness to strike them, a band of music on the quarter-deck, and a
gunner (lock-string in hand) standing by the weather-bow gun. All these
men had their eyes upon the reader; and when he had concluded, at a wave
of his hand, the gun was fired, the change of flags took place, and the
air was rent by a deafening cheer from officers and men; the band, at the
same time, playing "Dixie,"--that soul-stirring national anthem of the
new-born government. The _Bahama_ also fired a gun and cheered the new
flag. Thus, amid this peaceful scene of beauty, with all nature smiling
upon the ceremony, was the _Alabama_ christened; the name "290"
disappearing with the English flag. This had all been done upon the high
seas, more than a marine league from the land, where Mr. Jefferson Davis
had as much jurisdiction as Mr. Abraham Lincoln. Who could look into the
horoscope of this ship--who anticipate her career? Many of these brave
fellows followed me unto the close.

From the cradle to the grave there is but a step; and that I may group in
a single picture, the christening and the burial of the ship, let the
reader imagine, now, some two years to have rolled over--and such a two
years of carnage and blood, as the world had never before seen--and,
strangely enough, another Sunday morning, equally bright and beautiful, to
have dawned upon the _Alabama_. This is her funeral morning! At the hour
when the church-goers in Paris and London were sending up their orisons to
the Most High, the sound of cannon was heard in the British Channel, and
the _Alabama_ was engaged in her death-struggle. Cherbourg, where the
_Alabama_ had lain for some days previously, is connected with Paris by
rail, and a large number of curious spectators had flocked down from the
latter city to witness, as it proved, her interment. The sun rose, as
before, in a cloudless sky, and the sea-breeze has come in over the
dancing waters, mild and balmy. It is the nineteenth day of June, 1864.
The _Alabama_ steams out to meet the _Kearsarge_ in mortal combat, and
before the sun has set, she has gone down beneath the green waters, and
lies entombed by the side of many a gallant craft that had gone down
before her in that famous old British Channel; where, from the time of the
Norseman and the Danish sea-king, to our own day, so many naval combats
have been fought, and so many of the laurel crowns of victory have been
entwined around the brows of our naval ancestors. Many of the manly
figures who had stood with uncovered heads, and listened with respectful
silence to the christening, went down in the ship, and now lie buried with
her, many fathoms deep, with no other funeral dirge than the roar of
cannon, and the howling winds of the North Sea. Such were the birth and
death of the ship, whose adventures I propose to sketch in the following

My speech, I was glad to find, had produced considerable effect with the
crew. I informed them, in the opening, that they were all released from
the contracts under which they had come thus far, and that such of them as
preferred to return to England could do so in the _Bahama_, without
prejudice to their interests, as they would have a free passage back, and
their pay would go on until they were discharged in Liverpool. I then gave
them a brief account of the war, and told them how the Southern States,
being sovereign and independent, had dissolved the league which had bound
them to the Northern States, and how they were threatened with subjugation
by their late confederates, who were the stronger. They would be fighting,
I told them, the battles of the oppressed against the oppressor, and this
consideration alone should be enough to nerve the arm of every generous
sailor. Coming nearer home, for it could not be supposed that English,
Dutch, Irish, French, Italian, and Spanish sailors could understand much
about the rights or wrongs of nations, I explained to them the individual
advantages which they might expect to reap from an enlistment with me. The
cruise would be one of excitement and adventure. We had a fine ship under
us; one that they might fall in love with, as they would with their
sweethearts about Wapping. We should visit many parts of the world, where
they would have "liberty" given them on proper occasions; and we should,
no doubt, destroy a great many of the enemy's ships, in spite of the
enemy's cruisers. With regard to these last, though fighting was not to be
our principal object, yet, if a favorable opportunity should offer of our
laying ourselves alongside of a ship that was not too heavy for us, they
would find me disposed to indulge them.

Finally I came to the finances, and like a skilful Secretary of the
Treasury, I put the budget to them, in its very best aspect. As I spoke of
good pay, and payment in gold, "hear! hear!" came up from several voices.
I would give them, I said, about double the ordinary wages, to compensate
them for the risks they would have to run, and I promised them, in case we
should be successful, "lots of prize-money," to be voted to them by the
Confederate Congress, for the ships of the enemy that they would be
obliged to destroy. When we "piped down," that is to say, when the
boatswain and his mates wound their "calls" three times, as a signal that
the meeting was over, and the crew might disperse, I caused the word to be
passed for all those who desired to sign the articles, to repair at once
to the paymaster and sign. I was anxious to strike whilst the iron was
hot. The _Alabama_ had brought out from the Mersey about sixty men, and
the _Bahama_ had brought about thirty more. I got eighty of these ninety
men, and felt very much relieved in consequence.

The _democratic_ part of the proceedings closed, as soon as the articles
were signed. The "public meeting" just described, was the first, and last
ever held on board the _Alabama_, and no other stump speech was ever made
to the crew. When I wanted a man to do anything after this, I did not talk
to him about "nationalities," or "liberties," or "double wages," but I
gave him a rather sharp order, and if the order was not obeyed in
"double-quick," the delinquent found himself in limbo. Democracies may do
very well for the land, but monarchies and pretty absolute monarchies at
that, are the only successful governments for the sea. There was a great
state of confusion on board the ship, of course, during the remainder of
this day, and well into the night. Bullock and Butcher were both on board
assisting me, and we were all busy, as well as the paymaster and clerk,
making out half-pay tickets for the sailors' wives and sweethearts,
drawing drafts for small amounts payable to relatives and dependants, in
different parts of England, for such of the sailors as wanted them, and
paying advance-wages to those who had no pay-tickets to leave, or
remittances to make. I was gratified to find, that a large proportion of
my men left half their pay behind them. "A man, who has children, hath
given hostages to fortune," and you are quite as sure of a sailor, who
sends half his pay to his wife or sweetheart.

It was eleven P. M. before my friend Bullock was ready to return to the
_Bahama_, on his way back to England. I took an affectionate leave of him.
I had spent some days with him, at his quiet retreat, in the little
village of Waterloo, near Liverpool, where I met his excellent wife, a
charming Southern woman, with whom hospitality was a part of her religious
faith. He was living in a very plain, simple style, though large sums of
public money were passing through his hands, and he has had the honor to
come out of the war poor. He paid out moneys in good faith, to the last,
even when it was quite evident that the cause had gone under, and there
would be no accounts to settle with an Auditor of the Treasury. I had not
only had the pleasure of his society during a number of anxious days, but
he had greatly assisted me, by his counsel and advice, given with that
modesty and reserve which always mark true ability. As soon as the
_Bahama_ had steamed away, and left me alone, I turned my ship's head to
the north-east, set the fore-and-aft sails, and directed the engineer to
let his fires go down. The wind had freshened considerably, and there was
some sea on. I now turned into an unquiet cot, perfectly exhausted, after
the labors of the day, and slept as comfortably as the rolling of the
ship, and a strong smell of bilge-water would permit.



The reader has seen in the last chapter, that the _Alabama_ is at length
upon the high seas, as a commissioned ship of war of the Confederate
States, her commission having been signed by Mr. Jefferson Davis, who had
all the _de facto_ right, and much more of the _de jure_ right, to sign
such a commission than John Hancock, who signed Paul Jones' commission.
The _Alabama_ having been built by the Government of the Confederate
States, and commissioned by these States, as a _ship of war_, was, in no
sense of the word, a _privateer_, which is a private armed ship belonging
to individuals, and fitted out for purposes of gain. And yet, throughout
the whole war, and long after the war, when she was not called a "pirate"
by the Northern press, she was called a _privateer_. Even high Government
officials of the enemy so characterized her. Many of the newspapers erred
through ignorance, but this misnomer was sheer malice, and very petty
malice, too, on the part of those of them who were better informed, and on
the part of the Government officials, all of whom, of course, knew better.
Long after they had acknowledged the war, _as a war_, which carried with
it an acknowledgment of the right of the Confederate States to fit out
cruisers, they stultified themselves by calling her "pirate," and
"privateer." They were afraid to speak the truth, in conformity with the
facts, lest the destruction of their property, for which they hoped
ultimately to be paid, should seem to be admitted to have been done under
the sanction of the laws of nations. They could as logically have called
General Robert E. Lee _a bandit_, as myself a _pirate_; but logic was not
the _forte_ of the enemy, either during or since the late war.

Before we commence operations, a glance at the _personnel_ of the ship may
not be uninteresting. If the reader is to embark on the cruise with us, he
will very naturally desire to know something of his future shipmates.
Having made the cruise in the _Sumter_, he is, of course, acquainted with
the officers of that ship, and if, after the fashion of the sailor, he has
formed a liking for any of them, he will naturally be inclined to know
what became of such of them as did not follow me to the _Alabama_. Of the
lieutenants, only one of my old set followed me. Accident separated the
rest from me, very much to my regret, and we afterward played different
_roles_ in the war. The reader has not forgotten Chapman, the second
officer of the _Sumter_, who made such a sensation in Cienfuegos, among
the fair sex, and who slept in such a sweet pair of sheets at the house of
his friend, that he dreamed of them for weeks afterward. Chapman finished
the cruise in the _Sumter_, serving everybody else pretty much as he
served the Cienfuegos people, whenever he chanced to get ashore. He was
always as ready "to tread one measure--take one cup of wine," with a
friend, as to hurl defiance at an enemy. He carried the garrison mess at
Gibraltar by storm. There was no dinner-party without him. He talked war
and strategy with the colonel, fox-hunted with the major, and thrumbed the
light guitar, and sang delightful songs, in company with the young
captains, and lieutenants, beneath the latticed windows of their
lady-loves. It is astonishing, too, the progress he made in learning
Spanish, which was attributable entirely to the lessons he took from some
bright eyes, and musical tongues, in the neighboring village of San Roque,
only a pleasant canter over into Spain, from Gibraltar. Chapman was,
unfortunately, going from London to Nassau, in a blockade runner, while I
was returning from the latter place to Liverpool, preparatory to joining
the _Alabama_. It was thus we missed each other; and the _Alabama_ was on
the wing so soon afterward, that it was impossible for him to catch her.
He served in the _Georgia_, a while, under Captain William Lewis Maury,
and, when that ship was laid up and sold, he returned to the Confederate
States, and rendered gallant and efficient service, in the last days of
the war, in doing what was possible for the defence of Wilmington, against
the overwhelming fleet of Porter.

Stribling, the third of the _Sumter_, was assigned by me to Maffitt's
command, as already related. He died of yellow fever in Mobile, deeply
regretted by the whole service.

Evans, the fourth of the _Sumter_, missed me as Chapman had done, and like
Chapman, he took service on board the _Georgia_, and afterward returned to
the Confederate States. He served in the naval batteries on the James
River, until the evacuation of Richmond.

I took with me to the _Alabama_, as the reader has seen, my old and
well-tried First Lieutenant, Kell. He became the first lieutenant of the
new ship.

Lieutenant Richard F. Armstrong, of Georgia, whom, as the reader will
recollect, I had left at Gibraltar, in charge of the _Sumter_, took
Chapman's place, and became second lieutenant. Armstrong was a young
gentleman of intelligence and character, and had made good progress in his
profession. He was a midshipman at the Naval School, at Annapolis, when
the war broke out. Though still a mere boy, he resigned his appointment
without hesitation, and came South. He had made the cruise with me in the
_Sumter_, and been since promoted.

Midshipman Joseph D. Wilson, of Florida, also an _élève_ of Annapolis, and
who, like Armstrong, had made the cruise with me in the _Sumter_, and been
promoted, took Stribling's place, and became third lieutenant.

My fourth lieutenant in place of Evans was Mr. Arthur Sinclair, who,
though not bred in the old service, belonged to one of the old naval
families of Virginia, both his father and grandfather having been captains
in the United States Navy. These two young gentlemen were also
intelligent, and for the short time they had been at sea, well informed in
their profession.

[Illustration: Eng'd by H. B. Hall, Jr. N. Y.

Kelly, Piet & Co. Baltimore]

My fifth lieutenant was Mr. John Low, of Georgia, a capital seaman, and
excellent officer.

Galt, my old surgeon, had accompanied me, as the reader has seen, as did
also First Lieutenant Howell, of the marines. Myers, the paymaster of the
_Sumter_, was, unfortunately for me, in prison, in Fort Warren, when the
_Alabama_ was commissioned--the Federal authorities still gloating over
the prize they had made, through the trickery of the Consul at Tangier, of
one of the "pirate's" officers. In his place I was forced to content
myself with a man, as paymaster, who shall be nameless in these pages,
since he afterward, upon being discharged by me, for his worthlessness,
went over to the enemy, and became one of Mr. Adams' hangers-on, and paid
witnesses and spies about Liverpool, and the legation in London. As a
preparatory step to embracing the Yankee cause, he married a mulatto
woman, in Kingston, Jamaica, (though he had a wife living,) whom he
swindled out of what little property she had, and then abandoned. I was
quite amused, when I saw afterward, in the Liverpool and London papers,
that this man, who was devoid of every virtue, and steeped to the lips in
every vice, was giving testimony in the English courts, in the interest of
the nation of "grand moral ideas." This was the only recruit the enemy
ever got from the ranks of my officers.

To complete the circle of the ward-room, I have only to mention Mr. Miles
J. Freeman, the chief engineer of the _Sumter_, who was now filling the
same place on board the _Alabama_, and with whom the reader is already
acquainted; Dr. Llewellyn, an Englishman from Wiltshire, who having come
out in the _Alabama_ as surgeon when she was yet a merchant-ship, had been
retained as assistant surgeon; and Acting Master Bullock, brother of the
captain already named in these pages. My "steerage officers," who are too
numerous to be named individually, were a capital set of young men, as
were the "forward officers." Indeed, with the exception of the black sheep
in the ward-room, with Federal propensities, to whom I have alluded, I had
reason to be satisfied with my officers of all grades.

I must not forget to introduce to the reader one humble individual of the
_Alabama's_ crew. He was my steward, and my household would not be
complete without him. When I was making the passage from Nassau to
Liverpool, in the _Bahama_, I noticed a pale, rather delicate, and
soft-mannered young man, who was acting as steward on board. He was an
obedient, respectful, and attentive major-domo, but, unfortunately, was
rather too much addicted to the use of the wine which he set on the table,
every day, for the guests. Poor Bartelli--I thus designate him, because of
his subsequent sad fate, which the reader will learn in due time--did not
seem to have the power of self-restraint, especially under the treatment
he received, which was not gentle. The captain was rough toward him, and
the poor fellow seemed very much cowed and humbled, trembling when spoken
to harshly. His very forlornness drew me toward him. He was an Italian,
evidently of gentle blood, and as, with the Italians, drinking to
intoxication is not an ineradicable vice, I felt confident that he could
be reformed under proper treatment. And so, when we arrived at Terceira, I
asked Bartelli how he would like to go with me, as steward, on board the
_Alabama_. He seemed to be delighted with the proposal. "There is one
understanding, however," I said to him, "which you and I must have: you
must never touch a drop of liquor, on board the ship, on duty. When you go
on shore, 'on liberty,' if you choose to have a little frolic, that is
your affair, provided, always, you come off sober. Is it a bargain?" "It
is, Captain," said he; "I promise you I will behave myself like a man, if
you will take me with you." The Captain of the _Bahama_ had no objection,
and Bartelli was duly installed as my steward. I found him, as I had
expected, a capital servant. He was faithful, and became attached to me,
and kept his promise, under strong temptation; for there was always in the
cabin-lockers of the _Alabama_ the best of wines and other liquors. He
took care of my linen like a woman, washing it himself when we were at
sea, and sending it to some careful laundress when in port. I shall,
perhaps, astonish a great many husbands and heads of families, when I tell
them, that every shirt-button was always in its place, and that I never
had to call for needle and thread under difficulties! My mess affairs
never gave me the least trouble. My table was always well supplied, and
when guests were expected, I could safely leave the arrangements to
Bartelli; and then it was a pleasure to observe the air, and grace of
manner and speech, with which he would receive my visitors and conduct
them into the cabin. Poor Bartelli!

The day after the _Bahama_ left us was cloudy, and cheerless in aspect,
with a fresh wind and a rough sea. The ship was rolling and tumbling
about, to the discomfort of every one, and confusion still reigned on
board. Below decks everything was dirt and disorder. Nobody had as yet
been berthed or messed, nor had any one been stationed at a gun or a rope.
Spare shot-boxes and other heavy articles were fetching way, and the ship
was leaking considerably through her upper works. She had been put
together with rather green timber, and, having been caulked in England, in
winter, her seams were beginning to gape beneath the ardent heats of a
semi-tropical climate. I needed several days yet, to put things "to
rights," and mould the crew into a little shape. I withdrew, therefore,
under easy sail, from the beaten tracks of commerce; and my first
lieutenant went to work berthing, and messing, and quartering, and
stationing his men. The gun-equipments were completed, and such little
alterations made as were found necessary for the easy and efficient
working of the battery, and the guns were sealed with blank cartridges,
and put in a proper condition for being loaded promptly. We now devoted
several days to the exercise of the crew, as well at general, as division,
quarters. Some few of the guns' crews had served in ships of war before,
and proved capital drill-sergeants for the rest. The consequence was, that
rapid progress was made, and the _Alabama_ was soon in a condition to
plume her wings for her flight. It only remained to caulk our upper works,
and this occupied us but a day or two longer.

I was much gratified to find that my new ship proved to be a fine sailer,
under canvas. This quality was of inestimable advantage to me, as it
enabled me to do most of my work under sail. She carried but an eighteen
days' supply of fuel, and if I had been obliged, because of her dull
sailing qualities, to chase every thing under steam, the reader can see
how I should have been hampered in my movements. I should have been half
my time running into port for fuel. This would have disclosed my
whereabouts so frequently to the enemy, that I should have been constantly
in danger of capture, whereas I could now stretch into the most distant
seas, and chase, capture, and destroy, perfectly independent of steam. I
adopted the plan, therefore, of working under sail, in the very beginning
of my cruise, and practised it unto the end. With the exception of half a
dozen prizes, all my captures were made with my screw hoisted, and my ship
under sail; and with but one exception, as the reader will see hereafter,
I never had occasion to use steam to escape from an enemy.

This keeping of the sea, for three, and four months at a time, had another
great advantage--it enabled me to keep my crew under better drill, and
discipline, and, in every way, better in hand. Nothing demoralizes a crew
so much as frequent visits to port. The sailor is as improvident, and
incapable of self-government as a child. Indeed he is regarded by most
nations as a ward of the state, and that sort of legislation is thrown
around him, which is thrown around a ward in chancery. The moment a ship
drops her anchor in a port, like the imprisoned bird, he begins to beat
the bars of his cage, if he is not permitted to go on shore, and have his
frolic; and when on shore, to carry our simile still further, he is like
the bird let out of the cage. He gives a loose rein to his passions, and
sometimes plunges so deeply into debauchery, that he renders himself unfit
for duty, for days, and sometimes weeks, after he is hunted up and brought
on board by the police, which is most frequently the manner in which his
captain again gets possession of him. Such is the reckless intemperance
into which some of the regular old salts plunge, that I have known them to
go on shore, make their way straight to a sailor-boarding-house, which is
frequently a dance-house, and always a grog-shop, give what money they
have about them to the "landlord," and tell him to keep them drunk as long
as it will last, and when they have had the worth of it in a _good, long,
big_ drunk, to pick them up, and send them off to their ship! The very
d----l is to pay, too, when a lot of drunken sailors is brought on board,
as every first lieutenant knows. Frequently they have to be knocked down,
disarmed of the dangerous sheath-knives which they wear, and confined in
irons until they are sober. When that takes place, Jack comes out of the
"Brig," his place of confinement, very much ashamed of himself; generally
with a blackened eye or two, if not with a broken nose, and looking very
seedy in the way of apparel, as the chances are that he has sold or
exchanged the tidy suit in which he went on shore, for some 'long-shore
toggery, the better to enable him to prolong that delightful drunk of his.
It was quite enough to have such scenes as these repeated once in three or
four months.

When I had put my ship in a tolerable state of defence, and given a little
practice at the guns, to my crew, I turned her head toward her cruising
ground. It so happened that this was not very far off. Following Porter's
example in the Pacific,--I mean the first Porter, the father of the
present Admiral in the Federal Navy,--I resolved to strike a blow at the
enemy's whale-fishery, off the Azores. There is a curious and beautiful
problem--that of Providence feeding the whale--connected with this
fishery, which I doubt not will interest the reader, as it did the writer
of these pages, when it first came under his notice. It is because of that
problem, that the Azores are a whaling station. The food which attracts
the whale to these islands is not produced in their vicinity, but is
carried thither by the currents--the currents of the ocean performing the
same functions for the finny tribe, that the atmosphere does for the
plants. The fishes of the sea, in their kingdom beneath the waters, have
thus their highways and byways, as well as the animals upon the land, and
are always to be found congregated where their great food-bearers, the
currents, make their deposits. Animalculæ, infusoria, small fishes, minute
crustacea, and shell-fish found on the algæ, or floating sea-weed,
sea-nettles, and other food, are produced in the more calm latitudes,
where the waters are comparatively still, taken up by the currents, and
transported to the more congenial feeding-grounds of the whales, and other

Much of this food is produced in the tepid waters of the sea, into which,
it is well known, some descriptions of whales cannot enter. The
equatorial belt of waters surrounding the earth, between the tropics,
whose temperature is generally 80° of Fahrenheit, is as a sea of fire to
the "right" whale. It would be as certain death for this species of whale
to attempt to cross these waters, as for a human being to plunge into a
burning lake. The proof of this is that the "right" whale of the northern
hemisphere is never found in the southern hemisphere, or _e converso_. It
is a separate and distinct species of fish. See how beneficent, therefore,
the arrangement is, by which the food for these monsters of the deep is
transported from the tepid waters, into which they cannot enter in pursuit
of it, to the cooler waters in which they delight to gambol. The Gulf
Stream is the great food-carrier for the extra-tropical whales of the
northern hemisphere. An intelligent sea-captain, writing to Superintendent
Maury of the National Observatory, some years before the war, informed
him, that in the Gulf Stream, off the coast of Florida, he fell in with
"such a school of young sea-nettles, as had never before been heard of."
The sea was literally covered with them for many square leagues. He
likened them, in appearance, to acorns floating on the water, but they
were so thick as completely to cover the sea. He was bound to England, and
was five or six days in sailing through them. In about sixty days
afterward, on his return voyage, he fell in with the same school off the
Azores, and here he was three or four days in passing them again. He
recognized them as the same, for he had never before seen any quite like
them; and on both occasions he frequently hauled up buckets full, and
examined them. In their adventurous voyage of sixty days, during which
they must have been tossed about in several gales of wind, these little
marine animals had grown considerably, and already the whales had begun to
devour them; for the school was now so much diminished in size, that the
captain was enabled to sail through it, in three or four days, instead of
the five or six which it had formerly taken him. We see, thus, that the
fishes of the sea have their seed-time and harvest; that the same
beneficent hand that decks the lilies of the field in garments more superb
than those of Solomon, and feeds the young raven, seeds down the great
equatorial belt of waters for the fishes; and that when the harvest-time
has come, he sends in his reapers and gleaners, the currents, which bind
up the sheaves, and bear them off three thousand miles, to those denizens
of the great deep, which, perhaps, but for this beautiful and beneficent
arrangement, would die of inanition.

The whaling season ends at the Azores about the first of October, when the
first winter gales begin to blow, and the food becomes scarce. The whales
then migrate to other feeding-grounds, and the adventurous whaler follows
them. As we were now, in the first days of September, on board the
_Alabama_, the reader will see, that we had but a few weeks left, in which
to accomplish our purpose of striking a blow at the enemy's whale fishery.
In the afternoon of September 4th, the weather being fine and clear, we
made Pico and Fayal, and reducing sail to topsails, lay off and on during
the night. The next day, the weather being cloudy, and the wind light from
the eastward, we made our first prize, without the excitement of a chase.
A ship having been discovered, lying to, with her foretopsail to the mast,
we made sail for her, hoisting the United States colors, and approached
her within boarding distance, that is to say, within a few hundred yards,
without her moving tack or sheet. She had shown the United States colors
in return, as we approached, and proved to be a whaler, with a huge whale,
which she had recently struck, made fast alongside, and partially hoisted
out of the water by her yard tackles. The surprise was perfect and
complete, although eleven days had elapsed since the _Alabama_ had been
commissioned at a neighboring island, less than a hundred miles off.

The captured ship proved to be the _Ocmulgee_, of Edgartown,
Massachusetts, whose master was a genuine specimen of the Yankee whaling
skipper; long and lean, and as elastic, apparently, as the whalebone he
dealt in. Nothing could exceed the blank stare of astonishment, that sat
on his face, as the change of flags took place on board the _Alabama_. He
had been engaged, up to the last moment, with his men, securing the rich
spoil alongside. The whale was a fine "sperm," and was a "big strike," and
had already been denuded of much of its blubber when we got alongside. He
naturally concluded, he said, when he saw the United States colors at our
peak, that we were one of the new gunboats sent out by Mr. Welles to
protect the whale fishery. It was indeed remarkable, that no protection
should have been given to these men, by their Government. Unlike the ships
of commerce, the whalers are obliged to congregate within small well-known
spaces of ocean and remain there for weeks at a time, whilst the whaling
season lasts. It was the most obvious thing in the world, that these
vessels, thus clustered together, should attract the attention of the
Confederate cruisers, and be struck at. There are not more than half a
dozen principal whaling stations on the entire globe, and a ship, of size
and force, at each, would have been sufficient protection. But the
whalers, like the commerce of the United States generally, were abandoned
to their fate. Mr. Welles did not seem capable of learning by experience
even; for the _Shenandoah_ repeated the successes of the _Alabama_, in the
North Pacific, toward the close of the war. There were Federal steam
gunboats, and an old sailing hulk cruising about in the China seas, but no
one seemed to think of the whalers, until Waddel carried dismay and
consternation among them.

It took us some time to remove the crew of the _Ocmulgee_, consisting of
thirty-seven persons, to the _Alabama_. We also got on board from her some
beef and pork, and small stores, and by the time we had done this, it was
nine o'clock at night; too late to think of burning her, as a bonfire, by
night, would flush the remainder of the game, which I knew to be in the
vicinity; and I had now become too old a hunter to commit such an
indiscretion. With a little management and caution, I might hope to
uncover the birds, no faster than I could bag them. And so, hoisting a
light at the peak of the prize, I permitted her to remain anchored to the
whale, and we lay by her until the next morning, when we burned her; the
smoke of the conflagration being, no doubt, mistaken by vessels at a
distance, for that of some passing steamer.

To those curious in such matters, I may state that a large sperm whale
will yield twenty-five barrels of oil from the head alone. The oil is
found in its liquid state, and is baled out with buckets, from a hole cut
in the top of the head. What can be the uses in the animal economy to
which this immense quantity of oil in the head of the fish is applied?
They are probably twofold. First, it may have some connection with the
sustenance of the animal, in seasons of scarcity of food, and secondly,
and more obviously, it appears to be a provision of nature, designed on
the same principle on which birds are supplied with air-cells in their
bones. The whale, though a very intelligent fish, and with an affection
for its "calf," almost human, has but a small brain, the great cavity of
its skull being filled as described. As the specific gravity of oil is
considerably less than that of water, we can be at no loss to conjecture
why the monster has so bountiful a supply, nor why it is that it carries
the supply in its head. As is well known, the whale is a warm-blooded
mammal, as much so as the cow that roams our pastures, and cannot live by
breathing the water alone. Instead of the gill arrangement of other
fishes, which enables them to extract from the water sufficient air to
vitalize the blood, it has the lungs of the mammal, and needs to breathe
the atmosphere. The oil in the head, acting on the principle of the cork,
enables it to ascend very rapidly, from great depths in the ocean, when it
requires to breathe, or "blow." See how beautiful this oil arrangement is,
too, in another aspect. It enables the monster, when it requires rest, to
lay its head on the softest kind of a pillow, an ocean wave, and sleep as
unconcernedly as the child does upon the bosom of its mother.

On the day after the capture of the _Ocmulgee_, we chased and overhauled a
French ship, bound to Marseilles. After speaking this ship, and telling
her that we were a United States cruiser, we bore away north, half west,
and in a couple of hours made the island of Flores, the westernmost of the
Azores, and a favorite island to be sighted by the whalers, for the
correction of their chronometers. Approaching it just at nightfall, we
shortened sail, and lay off and on during the night. This island is an
exceedingly picturesque object. It rises like a huge mountain from the
depths of the sea, with the bluest and deepest of water all around it. It
is rock-bound, and there is scarcely any part of it, where a ship might
not haul alongside of the rocks, and make fast to the shore. It rises to
the height of a thousand feet and more, and is covered with a luxuriant
vegetation, the substratum of rock being overlaid with a generous soil.
The climate is genial for three-fourths of the year, but almost a
perpetual gale howls over it in winter. At a distance, the island appeared
like an unbroken mountain, but as we approached it, many beautiful
valleys, and gaps in the mountain presented themselves, with the neat
white farm-houses of the lonely dwellers peeping out from beneath the
dense foliage. It was indeed a beautiful scene to look upon, and such was
the air of perfect repose and peace that pervaded it, that a ship of war
seemed out of place, approaching its quiet shores.

The next day, Sunday, dawned beautiful and bright, and the _Alabama_
having approached this semi-tropical island, sufficiently near to inhale
the fragrance of its shrubs and flowers, mustered her crew for the first
time. The reader has now been sufficiently long with us to know, that when
we speak of "muster" on board a ship of war, we do not mean simply the
calling of the roll, but a ceremony of dress and inspection. With clean,
white decks, with the brass and iron work glittering like so many mirrors
in the sun, and with the sails neatly trimmed, and the Confederate States
flag at our peak, we spread our awnings and read the Articles of War to
the crew. A great change had taken place in the appearance of the men,
since I made that stump speech to them which has been described. Their
parti-colored garments had been cast aside, and they were all neatly
arrayed in duck frocks and trousers, well-polished shoes, and straw hats.
There was a visible improvement in their health, too. They had been long
enough out of Liverpool to recover from the effects of their debauches,
and regain their accustomed stamina. This was the first reading of the
Articles of War to them, and it was curious to observe the attention with
which they listened to the reading, occasionally eying each other, as they
were struck by particular portions of them. These Articles, which were
copied from similar Articles, for the "better government of the Navy of
the United States," were quite severe in their denunciations of crime. The
penalty of death frequently occurred in them, and they placed the power of
executing this penalty in the hands of the captain and a court-martial.

Jack had already had a little foretaste of discipline, in the two weeks he
had been on board; the first lieutenant having brought several of them to
the "mast," whence they had been sent into confinement by me, for longer
or shorter intervals, according to the grade of their offences; and he now
began more distinctly to perceive that he had gotten on board a _ship of
war_, instead of the privateer he had supposed the _Alabama_ to be, and
that he would have to toe a pretty straight mark. It is with a disorderly
crew, as with other things, the first blows are the most effective. I had
around me a large staff of excellent officers, who always wore their side
arms, and pistols, when on duty, and from this time onward we never had
any trouble about keeping the most desperate and turbulent characters in
subjection. My code was like that of the Medes and Persians--it was never
relaxed. The moment a man offended, he was seized and confined in irons,
and, if the offence was a grave one, a court-martial was sitting on his
case in less than twenty-four hours. The willing and obedient were treated
with humanity and kindness; the turbulent were jerked down, with a strong
hand, and made submissive to discipline. I was as rigid with the officers
as with the crew, though, of course, in a different way, and, both
officers and men soon learning what was required of them, everything went
on, on board the _Alabama_, after the first few weeks, as smoothly, and
with as little jarring as if she had been a well-constructed and
well-oiled machine.



We were running in, while the muster described in the last chapter was
going on, for the little town, or, rather, sea-side village of Lagens, on
the south side of the island of Flores, and, having approached the beach
quite near, we hove the ship to, and hauling alongside, from the stern,
where they had been towing, the whale-boats of the captured ship, which we
had brought away from the prize for this purpose, we paroled our
prisoners, and, putting them in possession of their boats, shoved them off
for the shore. I had two motives in thus landing my prisoners in their own
boats, or, to speak more properly, in the boats which had once belonged to
them. It saved me the trouble of landing them myself; and, as the boats
were valuable, and I permitted the prisoners to put in them as many
provisions as they desired, and as much other plunder as they could pick
up about the decks of their ships--excepting always such articles as we
needed on board the _Alabama_--the sale of their boats and cargoes to the
islanders gave them the means of subsistence, until they could communicate
with their consul in the neighboring island of Fayal.

We had scarcely gotten through with the operation of landing our
prisoners, before the cry of "sail ho!" came to us from the mast-head; and
we made sail in chase of a schooner which was approaching the island,
hoisting the English colors to throw the stranger off his guard. As the
two vessels were sailing toward each other, they approached very rapidly,
and in the course of an hour we were within a mile of each other. Still
the schooner did not show any colors. The reason was quite plain; she was
American in every feature, and could show us no other colors than such as
would subject her to capture, in case we should prove to be her enemy, of
which she seemed to be suspicious. Indeed, the gallant little craft, with
every stitch of canvas set, sails well hoisted, and sheets a little eased,
was now edging off a little from us, and endeavoring to gain the shelter
of the well-known marine league, the land being distant only about five
miles. Perceiving her object, and seeing that I had only a couple of miles
to spare, I kept my own ship off, the better to throw myself across the
stranger's path, changed my colors, and fired a blank cartridge to heave
her to. But she neither hove to, nor showed colors, being evidently intent
upon giving me a race. Although I already had the little craft under my
guns, I humored her for a few minutes, just to show her that I could beat
her in a fair trial of speed, and when I had proved this, by gaining
rapidly upon her, I sent a round shot from one of the bow guns between her
masts, a few feet only over the heads of her people. If the reader has
heard a 32-pounder whistle, in such close proximity, he knows very well
what it says, to wit, that there must be no more trifling. And so the
captain of the schooner understood it, for in a moment afterward we could
see the graceful little craft luffing up in the wind, brailing up her
foresail, and hauling her jib sheet to windward. The welcome stars and
stripes fluttered soon afterward from her peak. The master being brought
on board with his papers, the prize proved to be the schooner _Starlight_,
of Boston, from Fayal, bound to Boston by the way of Flores, for which
island she had some passengers, several ladies among the number.

The crew consisted of seven persons--all good Yankee sailors. Having
heard, by this time, full accounts of the shameful treatment of my
paymaster of the _Sumter_, which has been described, in a former chapter,
I resolved to practise a little retaliation upon the enemy, and ordered
the crew of the _Starlight_ put in irons. I pursued this practice, painful
as it was, for the next seven or eight captures, putting the masters and
mates of the ships, as well as the crews, in irons. The masters would
frequently remonstrate with me, claiming that it was an indignity put
upon them; and so it was, but I replied to them, that their countrymen had
put a similar indignity upon an officer and a gentleman, who had worn the
uniform of the navies of both our countries. By the time that the capture
of the _Starlight_ had been completed, the sun was near his setting, and
it was too late to land the passengers. I therefore sent a prize crew on
board the captured ship, directing the prize-master to lie by me during
the night, and giving him especial charge to inform the passengers that
they should be safely landed in the morning, and, in the meantime, to
quiet the fears of the ladies, who had been much alarmed by the chase and
the firing, we hoisted a light at the peak of the _Alabama_, and lay to,
all night, in nearly a calm sea. There were some dark clouds hanging over
the island, but they had apparently gone there to roost, as no wind came
from them. Among the papers captured on board the _Starlight_ were a
couple of despatches from the Federal Consul at Fayal, to the
Sewards--father and son--in which there was the usual amount of stale
nonsense about "rebel privateers," and "pirates."

The weather proved fine, the next morning, and standing in, within a
stone's throw of the little town of Santa Cruz, we landed both passengers
and prisoners, putting the latter, as usual, under _parole_. In the
meantime, the Governor of the island, and a number of the dignitaries came
off to visit us. They were a robust, farmer-looking people, giving
evidence, in their persons, of the healthfulness of the island, and were
very polite, franking to us the ports of the island, and informing us that
supplies were cheap, and abundant. Their visit was evidently one of
curiosity, and we treated his Excellency with all due ceremony,
notwithstanding the smallness of his dominions. We talked to him, however,
of bullocks, and sheep, fish and turtles, yams and oranges, rather than of
the war between the States, and the laws of nations. Bartelli made the
eyes of the party dance with flowing goblets of champagne, and when I
thought they had remained long enough, I bowed them out of the cabin, with
a cigar all round, and sent them on shore, with rather favorable
impressions, I do not doubt, of the "pirate."

Hauling off, now, from the island, and running seaward for a space, we
chased and overhauled a Portuguese whaling brig. Seeing by her boats and
other indications that she was a whaler, I thought, at first, that I had a
prize, and was quite disappointed when she showed me the Portuguese
colors. Not being willing to trust to the verity of the flag, I sent a
boat on board of her, and invited the master to visit me with his papers,
which he did. The master was himself a Portuguese, and I found his papers
to be genuine. Thanking him for his visit, I dismissed him in a very few
minutes. I had no right to command him to come on board of me--he being a
neutral, it was my business to go on board of him, if I desired to examine
his papers, but he waived ceremony, and it was for this that I had thanked
him. I may as well remark here, in passing, that this was the only foreign
whaling-ship that I ever overhauled; the business of whaling having become
almost exclusively an American monopoly--the monopoly not being derived
from any sovereign grant, but resulting from the superior skill, energy,
industry, courage, and perseverance of the Yankee whaler, who is, perhaps,
the best specimen of a sailor, the world over.

Later in the same afternoon, we chased a large ship, looming up almost
like a frigate, in the northwest, with which we came up about sunset. We
had showed her the American colors, and she approached us without the
least suspicion that she was running into the arms of an enemy; the master
crediting good old Mr. Welles, as the master of the _Ocmulgee_ had done,
with sending a flashy-looking Yankee gunboat, to look out for his
whalebone and oil. This large ship proved to be, upon the master being
brought on board with his papers, the _Ocean Rover_, of New Bedford,
Massachusetts. She had been out three years and four months, cruising in
various parts of the world, had sent home one or two cargoes of oil, and
was now returning, herself, with another cargo, of eleven hundred barrels.
The master, though anxious to see his wife, and dandle on his knee the
babies that were no longer babies, with true Yankee thrift thought he
would just take the Azores in his way home, and make another "strike," or
two, to fill up his empty casks. The consequence was, as the reader has
seen, a little disappointment. I really felt for the honest fellow, but
when I came to reflect, for a moment, upon the diabolical acts of his
countrymen of New England, who were out-heroding Herod, in carrying on
against us a vindictive war, filled with hate and vengeance, the milk of
human kindness which had begun to well up in my heart disappeared, and I
had no longer any spare sympathies to dispose of.

It being near night when the capture was made, I directed the prize to be
hove to, in charge of a prize crew until morning. In the meantime,
however, the master, who had heard from some of my men, that I had
permitted the master of the _Ocmulgee_, and his crew, to land in their own
boats, came to me, and requested permission to land in the same manner. We
were four or five miles from the land, and I suggested to him, that it was
some distance to pull. "Oh! that is nothing," said he, "we whalers
sometimes chase a whale, on the broad sea, until our ships are hull-down,
and think nothing of it. It will relieve you of us the sooner, and be of
some service to us besides." Seeing that the sea was smooth, and that
there was really no risk to be run, for a Yankee whale-boat might be made,
with a little management, to ride out an ordinary gale of wind, I
consented, and the delighted master returned to his ship, to make the
necessary preparations. I gave him the usual permission to take what
provisions he needed, the whaling gear belonging to his boats, and the
personal effects of himself and men. He worked like a beaver, for not more
than a couple of hours had elapsed, before he was again alongside of the
_Alabama_, with all his six boats, with six men in each, ready to start
for the shore. I could not but be amused when I looked over the side into
these boats, at the amount of plunder that the rapacious fellow had packed
in them. They were literally loaded down, with all sorts of traps, from
the seamen's chests and bedding, to the tabby cat and parrot. Nor had the
"main chance" been overlooked, for all the "cabin stores" had been
secured, and sundry barrels of beef and pork, besides. I said to him,
"Captain, your boats appear to me, to be rather deeply laden; are you not
afraid to trust them?" "Oh! no," he replied; "they are as buoyant as
ducks, and we shall not ship a drop of water." After a detention of a few
minutes, during which my clerk was putting the crew under _parole_, I
gave the master leave to depart.

The boats, shoving off from the side, one by one, and falling into line,
struck out for the shore. That night-landing of this whaler's crew was a
beautiful spectacle. I stood on the horse-block, watching it, my mind busy
with many thoughts. The moon was shining brightly, though there were some
passing clouds sailing lazily in the upper air, that fleckered the sea.
Flores, which was sending off to us, even at this distance, her perfumes
of shrub and flower, lay sleeping in the moonlight, with a few fleecy,
white clouds wound around the mountain-top, like a turban. The rocky
islets that rise like so many shafts out of the sea, devoid of all
vegetation, and at different distances from the shore, looked weird and
unearthly, like sheeted ghosts. The boats moving swiftly and mysteriously
toward the shore, might have been mistaken, when they had gotten a little
distance from us, for Venetian gondolas, with their peaked bows and
sterns, especially when we heard coming over the sea, a song, sung by a
powerful and musical voice, and chorussed by all the boats. Those merry
fellows were thus making light of misfortune, and proving that the sailor,
after all, is the true philosopher. The echo of that night-song lingered
long in my memory, but I little dreamed, as I stood on the deck of the
_Alabama_, and witnessed the scene I have described, that four years
afterward, it would be quoted against me as a violation of the laws of
war! And yet so it was. It was alleged by the malice of my defamers, who
never have, and never can forgive me for the destruction of their
property, that miles away at sea, in rough and inclement weather, I
_compelled_ my prisoners to depart for the shore, in leaky and unsound
boats, at the hazard of their lives, designing and desiring to drown them!
And this was all the thanks I received for setting some of these fellows
up as nabobs, among the islanders. Why, the master of the _Ocean Rover_,
with his six boats, and their cargoes, was richer than the Governor, when
he landed in Flores; where the simple islanders are content with a few
head of cattle, a cast-net, and a canoe.

The _Alabama_ had now two prizes in company, with which she lay off and on
the island during the night, and she was destined to secure another
before morning. I had turned in, and was sleeping soundly, when about
midnight, an officer came below to inform me that there was another large
ship close on board of us. I was dressed and on deck in a few minutes. The
stranger was plainly visible, being not more than a mile distant. She was
heading for the island. I wore ship, as quietly as possible, and followed
her, but she had, in the meantime, drawn some distance ahead, and an
exciting chase now ensued. We were both close-hauled, on the starboard
tack, and the stranger, seeing that he was pursued, put every rag of sail
on his ship that he could spread. I could but admire her, with her square
yards and white canvas, every sheet home, and every leach taut. For the
first half hour, it was hard to tell which ship had the heels of the
other, but at the end of that time, we began to head-reach the chase very
perceptibly, though the latter rather "eat us out of the wind," or, to
speak more conformably with the vocabulary of the land, went to windward
of us. This did not matter much, however, as when we should be abreast of
her, we would be near enough to reach her with a shot. After a chase of
about four hours, day broke, when we hoisted the English ensign. This was
a polite invitation to the chase, to show her colors, but she declined to
do so. We now felt sure that she was an enemy, and a prize, and as we were
still gaining on her, it was only a matter of an hour or two, when she
would fall into our hands. Our polite invitation to the chase, to show her
colors, not succeeding, we became a little more emphatic, and fired a
blank cartridge. Still she was obstinate. She was steering for Flores, and
probably, like the _Starlight_, had her eye on the marine league. Having
approached her, in another half hour, within good round-shot range, I
resolved to treat her as I had treated the _Starlight_, and threw a
32-pounder near enough to her stern to give the captain a shower-bath.
Shower-baths are very efficacious, in many cases, and we found it so in
this, for in a moment more, we could see the stars and stripes ascending
to the stranger's peak, and that he had started his tacks and sheets, and
was in the act of hauling up his courses. This done, the main-yard was
swung aback, and the prize had surrendered herself a prisoner.

Bartelli now came to tell me, that my bath was ready, and descending to
the cabin, I bathed, and dressed for breakfast, whilst the
boarding-officer was boarding the prize. She proved to be the _Alert_, of,
and from New London, and bound, by the way of the Azores, and Cape de
Verde Islands, to the Indian Ocean. She was only sixteen days from port,
with files of late newspapers; and besides her own ample outfit for a
large crew, and a long voyage, she had on board supplies for the group
known as the Navigators' Islands, in the South Indian Ocean, where among
icebergs and storms, the Yankees had a whaling and sealing station. This
capture proved to be a very opportune one, as we were in want of just such
a lot of clothing, for the men, as we found on board the prize; and the
choice beef, and pork, nicely put up ship-bread, boxes of soap, and
tobacco, and numerous other articles of seaman's supplies did not come
amiss. We had been particularly short of a supply of tobacco, this being a
costly article in England, and I could see Jack's eye brighten, as he
rolled aft, and piled up on the quarter-deck, sundry heavy oaken boxes of
good "Virginia twist." That night the pipes seemed to have wonderfully
increased in number, on board the _Alabama_, and the song and the jest
derived new inspiration from the fragrance of the weed. We paroled the
officers and crew of the _Alert_, and sent them ashore, in their own
boats, as we had done the others.

I had now three prizes on my hands, viz.: the _Starlight_, the _Ocean
Rover_, and the _Alert_, with a prize crew on board of each, and as I
could make no better use of them than to destroy them, thanks to the
unfriendly conduct of neutrals, so often referred to, it became necessary
to think of burning them. They were lying at distances, ranging from half
a mile to three miles from the _Alabama_, and were fired within a short
time of each other, so that we had three funeral pyres burning around us
at the same moment. The other whalers at a distance must have thought that
there were a good many steamers passing Flores, that day. It was still
early in the afternoon, and there was more work before us ere night set
in. I had scarcely gotten my prize crews on board, and my boats run up,
before another sail was discovered standing in for the island. We
immediately gave chase, or rather, to speak more correctly, proceeded to
meet the stranger, who was standing in our direction. The ships approached
each other very rapidly, and we soon discovered the new sail to be a large
schooner, of unmistakable Yankee build and rig. We hoisted the United
States colors, and she responded soon afterward with the stars and
stripes. She came on quite unsuspiciously, as the two last prizes had
done, until she arrived near enough to see that the three mysterious cones
of smoke, at which she had probably been wondering for some time past,
proceeded from three ships on fire. Coupling this unusual spectacle with
the approach toward her of a rakish-looking barkentine, she at once smelt
rather a large rat, and wheeled suddenly in flight. But it was too late.
We were already within three miles of her, and a pursuit of half an hour
brought her within effective range of our bow-chaser. We now changed
colors, and fired a blank cartridge. This was sufficient. She saved us the
expenditure of a shot, and hove to, without further ado. Upon being
boarded, she proved to be the _Weathergauge_, a whaler of Provincetown,
Massachusetts, six weeks from the land of the Puritan, with other files of
newspapers, though not so late as those captured on board the _Alert_.

In running over these files, it was wonderful to observe the glibness with
which these Massachusetts brethren of ours now talked of treason, and of
rebels, and traitors, at no greater distance, in point of time, than
forty-five years, from the Hartford Convention; to say nothing of certain
little idiosyncrasies of theirs, that were developed during the annexation
of Texas. There were some "Sunday" papers among the rest, and all the
pious parsons and deacons in the land were overflowing with patriotism,
and hurling death and damnation from their pulpits, against those who had
dared to strike at the "Lord's anointed," the sainted Abraham Lincoln. But
as the papers contained little or no war news, we had no time to bestow
upon the crotchets of the Yankee brain, and they were promptly consigned
to the waste-paper basket. Another sail being discovered, whilst we were
receiving the surrender of the _Weathergauge_, we hastily threw a prize
crew on board this latter vessel, directing the prize-master to "hold on
to the island of Corvo," during the ensuing night, which was now falling,
until we should return, and started off in pursuit of the newly
discovered sail.

Chasing a sail is very much like pursuing a coy maiden, the very coyness
sharpening the pursuit. The chase, in the present instance, seemed
determined to run away from us; and as she was fast, and we were as
determined to overhaul her as she was to run away, she led us a beautiful
night-dance over the merry waters. The moon rose bright, soon after the
chase commenced, and, striking upon the canvas of the fleeing vessel,
lighted it up as though it had been a snow-bank. The American vessels are
distinguished, above all others, for the whiteness of their canvas; being
clothed, for the most part, in the fibre of our cotton-fields. The cut of
the sails, and the taper of the spars of the chase looked American, and
then the ship was cracking on every stitch of canvas that would draw, in
the effort to escape--she must surely be American, we thought. And so we
"looked on her, to lust after her," and gave our little ship the benefit
of all our skill in seamanship. The speed of the two ships was so nearly
matched, that, for the first hour or two, it was impossible to say whether
we had gained on her an inch. We were both running dead before the wind,
and this was not the _Alabama's_ most favorable sailing-point. With her
tall lower masts, and large fore-and-aft sails, she was better on a wind,
or with the wind abeam. The chase was leading us away from our
cruising-ground, and I should have abandoned it, if I had not had my pride
of ship a little interested. It would never do for the _Alabama_ to be
beaten in the beginning of her cruise, and that, too, by a merchantman;
and so we threw out all our "light kites" to the wind, and gave her the
studding-sails "alow and aloft." To make a long story short, we chased
this ship nearly all night, and only came up with her a little before
dawn; and when we did come up with her, she proved to be a Dane! She was
the bark _Overman_, from Bankok, in Siam, bound to Hamburg. There had been
no occasion, whatever, for this neutral ship to flee, and the long chase
which she had given me was evidently the result of a little spleen; and
so, to revenge myself in a good-natured way, I insisted upon all my
belligerent rights. Though satisfied from her reply to my hail, that she
was what she proclaimed herself to be, I compelled her to heave to, which
involved the necessity of taking in all that beautiful white canvas, with
which she had decoyed me so many miles away from my cruising-ground, and
sent a boat on board of her to examine her papers. She thus lost more time
than if she had shortened sail earlier in the chase, to permit me to come
up with her.

It was late next day before I rejoined the _Weathergauge_ off Corvo, and I
felt, as I was retracing my steps, pretty much as Music or Rover may be
supposed to feel, as he is limping back to his kennel, after a run in
pursuit of a fox that has escaped him. Bartelli failed to call me at the
usual hour, that morning, and I need not say that I made a late breakfast.
We now landed the crew of the _Weathergauge_, in their own boats, with the
usual store of provisions, and traps, and burned her. Two days elapsed now
without a capture, during which we overhauled but one ship, a Portuguese
bark homeward bound. Having beaten the "cover" of which Flores was the
centre, pretty effectually, I now stretched away to the north-west, and
ran the island out of sight, intending to skirt it, at the distance of
forty or fifty miles. On the third day, the welcome cry of "sail ho!"
again rang from the masthead, and making sail in the direction indicated
by the look-out, we soon discovered that the chase was a whaler. Resorting
to the usual _ruse_ of the enemy's flag, the stranger did not attempt to
escape, and in an hour or two more, we were alongside of the American
whaling brig _Altamaha_, from New Bedford, five months out. The _Altamaha_
had had but little success, and was comparatively empty. She did not make
so beautiful a bonfire, therefore, as the other whalers had done.

In the afternoon, we overhauled a Spanish ship. Our position, to-day, was
latitude 40° 34' N., and longitude 35° 24' 15" W. The barometer stood at
30.3 inches, and the thermometer at 75°; from which the reader will see
that the weather was fine and pleasant. It was now the middle of
September, however, and a change might be looked for at any moment. On the
night after capturing the _Altamaha_, we had another night-chase, with
more success, however, than the last. It was my habit, when there was no
"game up," to turn in early, usually at nine o'clock, to enable my
_physique_ to withstand the frequent drafts upon its energies. I was
already in a sound sleep, when about half-past eleven, an old
quartermaster came below, and giving my cot a gentle shake, said: "There
has a large ship just passed to windward of us, on the opposite tack,
sir." I sprang out of bed at once, and throwing on a few clothes, was on
deck almost as soon as the quartermaster. I immediately wore ship, and
gave chase. My ship was under topsails, and it took us some little time to
make sail. By this time the chase was from two and a half to three miles
distant, but quite visible to the naked eye, in the bright moonlight. We
were both close-hauled on the starboard tack, the chase about three points
on the weather bow. The stranger, who was probably keeping a better
look-out than is usual with merchant-ships, in consequence of the war, had
discovered our movement, and knew he was pursued, as we could see him
setting his royals and flying jib, which had been furled. The _Alabama_
was now at her best point of sailing. The sailors used to say, when we
drew aft the sheets of those immense trysails of hers, and got the
fore-tack close aboard, that she was putting on her seven-league boots.
She did, indeed, then seem

  "To walk the waters like a thing of life,"

and there were few sailing ships that could run away from her.

We gained from the start upon the chase, and in a couple of hours, were on
his weather-quarter, having both head-reached, and gone to windward of
him. He was now no more than about a mile distant, and I fired the
accustomed blank cartridge to heave him to. The sound of the gun broke
upon the stillness of the night, with startling effect, but the chase did
not stir tack or sheet in obedience to it. She was evidently resolved to
try conclusions with me a little farther. Finding that I had the advantage
of him, on a wind, he kept off a little, and eased his sheets, and we
could see, with our night-glasses, that he was rigging out his
studding-sail booms preparatory to setting the sails upon them. We kept
off in turn, bringing the wind a little forward of the beam, and such good
use did the _Alabama_ make of her seven-league boots, that before the
stranger could get even his foretopmast studding-sail set, we had him
within good point-blank range of a 32-pounder. The moon was shining very
poetically, and the chase was very pretty, but it was rather "after
hours," and so I resolved to shift the scenes, cut short the drama an act
or two, and bring it to a close. I now fired a second gun, though still
unshotted, and the smoke had hardly blown away before we could see the
stranger hauling up his courses, and bringing his ship to the wind, as
much as to say, "I see you have the heels of me, and there is no use in
trying any longer." I gave the boarding-officer orders, in case the ship
should prove to be a prize, of which I had but little doubt, to show me a
light as soon as he should get on board of her. The oars of his boat had
scarcely ceased to resound, before I saw the welcome light ascending to
the stranger's peak, and knew that another of the enemy's ships had fallen
into my power. It was now nearly daylight, and I went below and finished
the nap which had been so unceremoniously broken in upon. I may as well
observe here, that I scarcely ever disturbed the regular repose of the
officers and crew during these night operations. Everything was done by
the watch on deck, and "all hands" were never called except on

When I came on deck the next morning, there was a fine large ship lying
under my lee, awaiting my orders. She proved to be the _Benjamin Tucker_,
of New Bedford, eight months out, with three hundred and forty barrels of
oil. We received from her an additional supply of tobacco, and other small
stores. As early as ten o'clock, the crew of the _Tucker_, numbering
thirty persons, were on board the _Alabama_, and the ship was on fire. The
remainder of this day, and the next, passed without incident, except the
incidents of wind, and weather, which have so often been recorded. We
improved the leisure, by exercising the men at the guns, and caulking the
decks, which were again beginning to let water enough through them, to
inconvenience the men in their hammocks below. Just as the sun was
setting, on the evening of the second day, we caught a glimpse from the
mast-head of the island of Flores, distant about forty miles.

The next morning dawned bright and clear, with a smooth sea, and summer
clouds sailing lazily overhead, giving us just breeze enough to save us
from the _ennui_ of a calm. As soon as the morning mists lifted themselves
from the surface of the waters, a schooner appeared in sight, at no great
distance. We had approached each other unwittingly during the night. We
immediately gave chase, hoisting the United States colors, for the
schooner was evidently Yankee. She did not attempt to escape, and when, as
early as half-past seven A. M., we came near enough to fire a gun, and
change colors, she hove to, and surrendered. She was the whaling-schooner
_Courser_, of Provincetown, Massachusetts. Her master was a gallant young
fellow, and a fine specimen of a seaman, and if I could have separated
him, in any way, from the "Universal Yankee Nation," I should have been
pleased to spare his pretty little craft from the flames; but the thing
was impossible. There were too many white-cravatted, long-haired fellows,
bawling from the New-England pulpits, and too many house-burners and
pilferers inundating our Southern land, to permit me to be generous, and
so I steeled my heart, as I had done on a former occasion, and executed
the laws of war.

Having now the crews of the three last ships captured, on board, amounting
to about seventy, who were not only beginning, on account of their number,
and the limited accommodations of the _Alabama_, to be uncomfortable
themselves, but were inconveniencing my own people, and hindering more or
less the routine of the ship, I resolved to run back to Flores, and land
them. I had eight whale-boats in tow, which I had brought away from the
burning ships, for the purpose of landing these prisoners, and, no doubt,
the islanders, as they saw my well-known ship returning, with such a
string of boats, congratulated themselves upon the prospect of other good
bargains with the Yankees. The traffic must now have been considerable in
this little island; such was the avalanche of boats, harpoons, cordage,
whales' teeth, whalebones, beef, pork, tobacco, soap, and jack-knives that
I had thrown on shore. When we had reached sufficiently near, I shoved all
the boats off at once, laden with my seventy prisoners, and there was
quite a regatta under the lee of Flores that afternoon, the boats of each
ship striving to beat the others to the shore. The fellows seemed to be so
well pleased, that I believe, with a little coaxing, they would have been
willing to give three cheers for the _Alabama_.

We had some sport ourselves, after the prisoners had departed; for we
converted the _Courser_ into a target, before setting fire to her, and
gave the crew a little practice at her, with the battery. They did pretty
well for green hands, but nothing to boast of. They were now becoming
somewhat familiar with the gun exercise, and in the evolutions that are
usually taught sailors at general quarters. Not only my excellent first
lieutenant, but all the officers of the divisions, took great pains with
them, and their progress was quite satisfactory.

We again stood away to the northward and westward, under easy sail, during
the night, and the next day, the weather being still fine, and the breeze
moderate from the south-west, in latitude about 40°, and longitude 33°, we
chased a large ship which tried her heels with us--to no purpose,
however--as we overhauled her in about three hours and a half. It was
another American whaling ship, the _Virginia_, only twenty days out, from
New Bedford. She brought us another batch of late newspapers, and being
fitted out, like the _Alert_, for a long cruise, we got on board some more
supplies from her. The master of this ship expressed great surprise at the
speed of the _Alabama_, under sail. His own ship, he said, was fast, but
he had stood "no chance" with the _Alabama_. It was like a rabbit
attempting to run away from a greyhound. We burned the _Virginia_, when we
had gotten our supplies on board, and despoiled her of such cordage, and
spare sails as we needed, and stood away to the north-west again. The
torch having been applied to her rather late in the afternoon, the burning
wreck was still visible some time after nightfall.

The next morning the weather had changed considerably. It was cloudy, and
rather angry-looking, and the wind was fresh and increasing. We overhauled
a French brig, during the day, and after detaining her no longer than was
necessary to examine her papers, permitted her to depart. We had barely
turned away from the Frenchman, when a bark was announced from the
mast-head. We immediately gave chase. We had to wear ship for this
purpose, and the bark, which seemed to have descried us, quite as soon as
we had descried her, observing the evolution, made all sail at once, in
flight. Here was another chase, and under different circumstances from any
of those that had preceded it. It was blowing half a gale of wind, and it
remained to be proved whether the _Alabama_ was as much to be dreaded in
rough weather as in smooth. Many smooth-water sailers lose their quality
of speed entirely, when the seas begin to buffet them. I had the wind of
the chase, and was thus enabled to run down upon her, with a flowing
sheet. I held on to my topgallant sails, though the masts buckled, and
bent as though the sticks would go over the side. The chase did the same.
It was soon quite evident that my gallant little ship was entirely at home
in the roughest weather. She seemed, like a trained racer, to enjoy the
sport, and though she would tremble, now and then, as she leaped from sea
to sea, it was the tremor of excitement, not of weakness. We gained so
rapidly upon the chase, that in three hours from the time the race
commenced, we had her within the range of our guns. By way of a change, I
had chased this ship under English colors, but she obstinately refused to
show any colors herself, until she was compelled, by the loud-mouthed
command of a gun. She then ran up that "flaunting lie," the "old flag,"
and clewed up her topgallant sails, and hauled up her courses, and
submitted to her fate, with such resignation as she might.

I now not only took in my topgallant sails, and hauled up my courses, but
furled the latter, and took a single reef in my topsails, so fresh was the
wind blowing. Indeed it was so rough, that I hesitated a moment about
launching my boats; but there was evidently a gale brewing, and if I did
not take possession of my prize, she would in all probability escape
during the darkness and tempest of the ensuing night. I had a set of
gallant, and skilful young officers around me, who would dare anything I
told them to dare, and some capital seamen, and with the assistance I
could give them, by manoeuvring the ship, I thought the thing could be
managed; and so I ordered two of the best boats to be launched, and
manned. We were lying to, to windward of the prize, and the boats had
nothing to do, of course, but to pull before the wind and sea to reach
her. I directed the boarding-officers to bring off nothing whatever, from
the prize, in the way of property, except her chronometer, and her flag,
and told them when they should have gotten the prisoners on board and were
ready to return, that I would run down to leeward of the prize to receive
them. They would thus, still, only have to pull before the wind, and the
sea, to regain their ship. The prize was to be fired just before leaving
her. This was all accomplished successfully; but the reader may well
conceive my anxiety, as I watched those frail, tempest-tossed boats, as
they were returning to me, with their human freight; now thrown high on
the top of some angry wave, that dashed its foam and spray over them, as
though it would swamp them, for daring thus to beard it, and now settling
entirely out of sight in the trough of the sea. When they pulled under the
lee of the _Alabama_, and we threw them a rope, I was greatly relieved.
This was the only ship I ever burned, before examining her papers. But as
she was a whaler, and so could have no neutral cargo on board, the risk to
be run was not very great. She proved to be the _Elisha Dunbar_ of New
Bedford, twenty-four days out.

This burning ship was a beautiful spectacle, the scene being wild and
picturesque beyond description. The black clouds were mustering their
forces in fearful array. Already the entire heavens had been overcast. The
thunder began to roll, and crash, and the lightning to leap from cloud to
cloud in a thousand eccentric lines. The sea was in a tumult of rage; the
winds howled, and floods of rain descended. Amid this turmoil of the
elements, the _Dunbar_, all in flames, and with disordered gear and
unfurled canvas, lay rolling and tossing upon the sea. Now an ignited sail
would fly away from a yard, and scud off before the gale; and now the yard
itself, released from the control of its braces, would swing about wildly,
as in the madness of despair, and then drop into the sea. Finally the
masts went by the board, and then the hull rocked to and fro for a while,
until it was filled with water, and the fire nearly quenched, when it
settled to the bottom of the great deep, a victim to the passions of man,
and the fury of the elements.



The reader has seen how rapidly we had been peopling the little island of
Flores. I had thrown ashore there, nearly as many Yankee sailors as there
were original inhabitants. I should now have gone back with the crews of
two more ships, but for the bad weather. Jack, suddenly released from the
labors and confinement of his ship, must have run riot in this verdant
little paradise, where the law was too weak to restrain him. With his
swagger, devil-may-care air, and propensity for fun and frolic, when he
has a drop in his eye, the simple inhabitants must have been a good deal
puzzled to fix the _genus_ of the bird that had so suddenly dropped down
upon them. The history of my colony would, no doubt, be highly
interesting; and I trust that some future traveller will disinter it from
the archives of the island, for the benefit of mankind. The police reports
would be of especial interest. In due time the Federal Consul at Fayal
chartered a vessel, and removed the colony back to the New England States.

The gale which was described in the last chapter, did not prove to be very
violent, though it blew sufficiently fresh to reduce the _Alabama_ to
close-reefed topsails, with the bonnets off her trysails. It was but the
forerunner of a series of gales, occurring about the period of the
equinox. The bad weather had the effect to put an end to the whaling
season, a little in advance of the regular time. From the 19th to the 23d
of September, we were constantly under reefed sails, and the wind being
from the northward, we drifted as far south as the 34th degree of
latitude. We were now in a comparatively unfrequented part of the ocean,
and had not seen a sail since the capture of the _Elisha Dunbar_. During
the prevalence of this bad weather, our prisoners necessarily suffered
some inconvenience, and were obliged to submit to some discomforts. I need
not say that these were greatly magnified by the Northern press. The
masters of the captured ships took this mode of revenging themselves upon
me. The captains of the last two ships captured, made long complaints
against the _Alabama_, when they got back to New England, and I will here
give them the benefit of their own stories, that the reader may see what
they amount to. It is the master of the _Virginia_ who speaks first--a
Captain Tilton. He says:--

     "I went on the quarter-deck, with my son, when they ordered me into
     the lee waist, with my crew, and all of us were put in irons, with
     the exception of the two boys, and the cook and steward. I asked if I
     was to be put in irons? The reply of Captain Semmes was, that his
     purser had been put in irons, and had his head shaved by us, and that
     he meant to retaliate. We were put in the lee waist, with an old sail
     over us, and a few planks to lie upon. The steamer was cruising to
     the west, and the next day, they took the _Elisha Dunbar_, her crew
     receiving the same treatment as ourselves. The steamer's guns being
     kept run out, the side ports could not be shut, and when the sea was
     a little rough, or the vessel rolled, the water was continually
     coming in on both sides, and washing across the deck where we were,
     so that our feet and clothing were wet all the time, either from the
     water below, or the rain above. We were obliged to sleep in the place
     where we were, and often waked up in the night nearly under water.
     Our fare consisted of beef and pork, rice, beans, tea, and coffee,
     and bread. Only one of my irons was allowed to be taken off at a
     time, and we had to wash in salt water. We kept on deck all the time,
     night and day, and a guard was placed over us."

The above statement is substantially correct, with the exception that the
prisoners were not drenched with sea-water, or with the rain, all the
time, as is pretended. It is quite true that they were compelled to live,
and sleep on deck. We had nowhere else to put them. My berth-deck was
filled with my own crew, and it was not possible to berth prisoners
there, without turning my own men out of their hammocks. To remedy this
difficulty, we spread a tent, made of spare sails, and which was quite
tight, in the lee waist, and laid gratings upon the deck, to keep the men
and their bedding as dry as possible. Ordinarily they were very
comfortable, but sometimes, during the prevalence of gales, they were, no
doubt, a little disturbed in their slumbers by the water, as Captain
Tilton says. But I discharged them all in good physical condition, and
this is the best evidence I could give, that they were well cared for. It
was certainly a hardship that Captain Tilton should have nothing better to
eat than my own crew, and should be obliged, like them, to wash in salt
water, but he was waited upon by his own cook and steward, and the reader
can see from his own bill of fare, that he was in no danger of starving.
He was, as he says, ordered off the quarter-deck. That is a place sacred
to the officers of the ship, where even their own crew are not permitted
to come, except on duty, and much less a prisoner. He explains, himself,
as I had previously explained to the reader, how he came to be put in
irons. The "good book" says that we must have "an eye for an eye, and a
tooth for a tooth." The enemy had put one of my officers in irons, and I
had followed the rule of the "good book." Now let us hear from Captain
Gifford, of the _Dunbar_. This witness says:--

     "On the morning of the 18th of September, in latitude 39° 50',
     longitude 35° 20', with the wind from the south-west, and the bark
     heading south-east, saw a steamer on our port-quarter, standing to
     the north-west. Soon after, found she had altered her course, and was
     steering for the bark. We soon made all sail to get out of her reach,
     and were going ten knots at the time; but the steamer, gaining on us,
     under canvas alone, soon came up with us, and fired a gun under our
     stern, with the St. George's cross flying at the time. Our colors
     were set, when she displayed the Confederate flag. Being near us, we
     hove to, and a boat, with armed officers and crew, came alongside,
     and upon coming on board, stated to me that my vessel was a prize to
     the Confederate steamer _Alabama_, Captain Semmes. I was then ordered
     on board the steamer with my papers, and the crew to follow me with a
     bag of clothing each. On getting on board, the captain claimed me as
     a prize, and said that my vessel would be burned. Not having any
     clothes with me, he allowed me to return for a small trunk of
     clothes;--the officer on board asked me what I was coming back for,
     and tried to prevent me from coming on board. I told him I came after
     a few clothes, which I took, and returned to the steamer. It blowing
     very hard at the time, and very squally, nothing but the chronometer,
     sextant, charts, &c., were taken, when the vessel was set fire to,
     and burnt; there were sixty-five barrels of sperm oil on deck, taken
     on the passage, which were consumed. We were all put in irons, and
     received the same treatment that Captain Tilton's officers and crew
     did, who had been taken the day before. While on board, we understood
     that the steamer would cruise off the Grand Banks, for a few weeks,
     to destroy the large American ships, to and from the Channel ports.
     They had knowledge of two ships being loaded with arms for the United
     States, and were in hopes to capture them. They were particularly
     anxious to fall in with the clipper-ship _Dreadnought_, and destroy
     her, as she was celebrated for speed; and they were confident of
     their ability to capture, or run away from any vessel in the United
     States. The steamer being in the track of outward and homeward-bound
     vessels, and more or less being in sight, every day, she will make
     great havoc among them."

Captain Gifford does not seem to have anything to complain of, in
particular, except that the sailors had to put their clothes in bags, and
that his trunk was "small;" but both he and his sailors got their
clothing, which was more than some of our women and children, in the
South, did, when the gallant Sherman, and the gallant Wilson, and the
gallant Stoneman, and a host of other gallant fellows, were making their
"grand marches," and "raids" in the South, merely for the love of "grand
moral ideas." The terrible drenchings, that Captain Tilton got, did not
seem to have made the same impression upon Captain Gifford.

Few of the masters, whose ships I burned, ever told the whole truth, when
they got back among their countrymen. Some of them forgot, entirely, to
mention how they had implored me to save their ships from destruction,
professing to be the best of _Democrats_, and deprecating the war which
their countrymen were making upon us! How they had come to sea, bringing
their New England cousins with them, to get rid of the draft, and how
abhorrent to them the sainted Abraham was. "Why, Captain," they would say,
"it is hard that I should have my ship burned; I have voted the
_Democratic_ ticket all my life; I was a _Breckinridge_ man in the last
Presidential contest; and as for the 'nigger,' if we except a few ancient
spinsters, who pet the darkey, on the same principle that they pet a
lap-dog, having nothing else to pet, and a few of our deacons and
'church-members,' who have never been out of New England--all of whom are
honest people enough in their way--and some cunning political rascals, who
expect to rise into fame and fortune on the negro's back, we, New England
people, care nothing about him." "That may be all very true," I would
reply; "but, unfortunately, the 'political rascals,' of whom you speak,
have been strong enough to get up this war, and you are in the same boat
with the 'political rascals,' whatever may be your individual opinions.
Every whale you strike will put money into the Federal treasury, and
strengthen the hands of your people to carry on the war. I am afraid I
must burn your ship." "But, Captain, can't we arrange the matter in some
way? I will give you a ransom-bond, which my owners and myself will regard
as a debt of honor." (By the way, I have some of these debts of honor in
my possession, now, which I will sell cheap.) And so they would continue
to remonstrate with me, until I cut short the conversation, by ordering
the torch applied to their ships. They would then revenge themselves in
the manner I have mentioned; and historians of the Boynton class would
record their testimony as truth, and thus Yankee history would be made.

The whaling season at the Azores being at an end, as remarked, I resolved
to change my cruising-ground, and stretch over to the Banks of
Newfoundland, and the coast of the United States, in quest (as some of my
young officers, who had served in the China seas, playfully remarked) of
the great American junk-fleet. In China, the expression "junk-fleet"
means, more particularly, the grain-ships, that swarm all the seas and
rivers in that populous empire, in the autumn, carrying their rich cargoes
of grain to market. It was now the beginning of October. There was no
cotton crop available, with which to freight the ships of our loving
Northern brethren, and conduct their exchanges. They were forced to rely
upon the grain crop of the great Northwest; the "political rascals" having
been cunning enough to wheedle these natural allies of ours into this New
England war. They needed gold abroad, with which to pay for arms, and
military supplies of various kinds, shiploads of which were, every day,
passing into New York and Boston, in violation of those English neutrality
laws, which, as we have seen, Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams had been so
persistently contending should be enforced against ourselves. Western New
York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa had gathered
in the rich harvests from their teeming grain-fields; and it was this
grain, laden in Yankee ships, which it was my object now to strike at.

The change from one cruising-ground to another, during which no vessels
were sighted, afforded my crew a much-needed relaxation of a few days, for
they had been much fagged and worn during the last month, by a succession
of captures. That which had been but a pleasurable excitement, in the
beginning, soon became a wearing and exhausting labor, and they were glad
to be relieved, for a time, from the chasing and burning of ships, hard
service in boats during all kinds of weather, and the wet jackets and
sleepless nights, which had sometimes been the consequences of these. I
will avail myself of this comparative calm, in the moral atmosphere on
board the _Alabama_, to introduce the reader, more particularly, to our
interior life. Thus far, he has only seen the ship of war, in her outward
garb, engaged in her vocation. I propose to give him a sight of my
military family, and show him how my children played as well as worked;
how I governed them, and with what toys I amused them.

From the very beginning of our captures, an order had been issued, that no
sailor should lay his hand on any article of property, to appropriate it
to his own use, unless by permission of an officer; and especially that no
spirituous liquors should be brought on board the _Alabama_. It was made
the duty of every boarding-officer, upon getting on board a prize, to
demand possession of the keys of the liquor-lockers, and either to cause
the liquor to be destroyed, or thrown overboard. To the rigid enforcement
of this rule, I attribute much of the good order which prevailed on board
my ship. It was enforced against the officers, as well the men, and no
officer's mess was allowed to supply itself with liquor, by purchase, or
otherwise, unless by my consent; and I never gave this consent to the
midshipmen's mess. We burned, on one occasion, a ship, whose entire cargo
consisted of French brandies, and champagne, and other wines, without
allowing a bottle of it to be brought on board. But whilst I used these
precautions, I caused a regular allowance of "grog" to be served out to
the crew, twice in each day. I was quite willing that Jack should drink,
but I undertook to be the judge of how much he should drink.

Such articles of clothing and supplies as were captured, were turned over
to the paymaster, to be credited to the Government, and duly issued and
charged to the crew, as if they had been purchased in the market. In spite
of all these precautions, however, a sailor would now and then be brought
on board from a prize, drunk, would manage to smuggle liquor to his
comrades, and would be found arrayed in all sorts of strange garbs, from
whaler's boots, and red flannel shirts and comforters, to long-tailed
coats and beaver hats. Notwithstanding the discipline of the ship, the
gravity of the crew would sometimes give way to merriment, as one of these
fellows, thus ludicrously apparelled, would have to be hoisted or lifted
on board, being too comfortably drunk to attend to his own locomotion.
Each offender knew that he would have to walk straight into the "Brig,"
upon being thus detected in the violation of these orders, and that
punishment would speedily follow the offence; and yet I found it one of
the most difficult parts of my duty, to convince some of these
free-and-easy fellows, who had mistaken the _Alabama_, when they signed
the articles off Terceira, (after that stump speech before referred to,)
for what Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams insisted she was, a "privateer," that
everything was captured in the name of the Confederate States, and that
nothing belonged to them personally. The California-bound ships frequently
had on board boxes and bales of fine clothing, boots, shoes, and hats, but
not a garment was allowed to be brought on board except such as the
paymaster might need for issue. It seemed hard to consign all these
tempting articles to the flames, without permitting the sailors to help
themselves, but if such license had been permitted, disorder and
demoralization would have been the consequence.

I had no chaplain on board, but Sunday was always kept as a day of
abstinence from labor, when the exigencies of war and weather would
permit, and it was my uniform practice on this day, to have the ship
thoroughly cleansed, in every part, for inspection--particularly the
sleeping apartments, and the engine-room--and to require the officers and
seamen to appear on the quarter-deck for muster; the former in their
appropriate uniforms, and the latter in clean duck frocks and trousers, or
other clothing adapted to the latitude and climate. The reader has already
been present at several of these musters. The boys of the ship, of whom I
had quite a number on board, were placed under the special charge of the
master-at-arms--a subordinate officer, with police-powers, in charge of
the berth-deck--whose duty it was to inspect them, in every morning watch,
with reference to personal cleanliness; turning down the collars, and
rolling up the trousers of the youngsters, to see that they had duly
performed their ablutions. These boys had been taken from the stews, and
haunts of vice about Liverpool, and were as great a set of scamps as any
disciplinarian could desire to "lick into shape," but it is astonishing
what a reformation soap and water and the master-at-arms effected in them,
in a short time. Many of them became very respectable young fellows, for
which they were indebted almost entirely to the free use of soap and

As a hygienic precaution, when we were cruising in warm latitudes, where
the dews were heavy, the whole crew was required to appear, every evening,
at sunset muster, in blue flannel shirts and trousers. They could then
sleep in the dews, without the fear of colds or rheumatisms. We were
always supplied with the best of provisions, for, being at war with a
provision-producing people, almost every ship we captured afforded us a
greater or less supply; and all the water that was drank on board the
_Alabama_ was condensed by the engine from the vapor of sea-water. The
consequence of all this care was highly gratifying to me, as, in the three
years I was afloat, I did not lose a man by disease, in either of my
ships! When it is recollected that I cruised in all parts of the world,
now fencing out the cold, and battling with the storms of the North
Atlantic and South Indian Oceans, and now being fried, and baked, and
stewed within the tropics, and on the equator, and that, besides my own
crews, some two thousand of the enemy's sailors passed through my hands,
first and last, as prisoners, this is a remarkable statement to be able to
make. My excellent surgeon, Dr. Galt, and, after him, Dr. Llewellyn, ably
seconded me by their skill and experience.

On week days we mustered the crew at their quarters twice a day--at nine
A. M., and at sunset, and when the weather was suitable, one division, or
about one fourth of the crew, was exercised, either at the battery, or
with small arms. This not only gave them efficiency in the use of their
weapons, but kept them employed--the constant employment of my men being a
fundamental article of my philosophy. I found the old adage, that
"Idleness is the parent of vice," as true upon the sea as upon the land.
My crew were never so happy as when they had plenty to do, and but little
to think about. Indeed, as to the thinking, I allowed them to do very
little of that. Whenever I found I had a sea-lawyer among them, I got rid
of him as soon as possible--giving him a chance to desert. I reserved the
_quids_, and _quos_, and _pros_ and _cons_, exclusively for myself.

But though I took good care to see that my men had plenty of employment,
it was not all work with them. They had their pastimes and pleasures, as
well as labors. After the duties of the day were over, they would
generally assemble on the forecastle, and, with violin, and
tambourine--and I always kept them supplied with these and other musical
instruments--they would extemporize a ball-room, by moving the shot-racks,
coils of rope, and other impediments, out of the way, and, with
handkerchiefs tied around the waists of some of them, to indicate who were
to be the ladies of the party, they would get up a dance with all due form
and ceremony; the ladies, in particular, endeavoring to imitate all the
airs and graces of the sex--the only drawback being a little hoarseness of
the voice, and now and then the use of an expletive, which would escape
them when something went wrong in the dance, and they forgot they had the
aprons on. The favorite dancing-tunes were those of Wapping and Wide Water
Street, and when I speak of the airs and graces, I must be understood to
mean those rather demonstrative airs and graces, of which Poll and Peggy
would be likely to be mistresses of. On these occasions, the discipline of
the ship was wont to be purposely relaxed, and roars of laughter, and
other evidences of the rapid flight of the jocund hours, at other times
entirely inadmissible, would come resounding aft on the quarter-deck.

Sometimes the recreation of the dance would be varied, and songs and
story-telling would be the amusements of the evening. The sea is a wide
net, which catches all kinds of fish, and in a man-of-war's crew a great
many odd characters are always to be found. Broken-down gentlemen, who
have spent all the money they have been able to raise, upon their own
credit, or that of their friends; defaulting clerks and cashiers; actors
who have been playing to empty houses; third-class musicians and poets,
are all not unfrequently found in the same ship's company. These gentlemen
play a very unimportant _role_ in seamanship, but they take a high rank
among the crew, when fun and frolic, and not seamanship, are the order of
the day--or rather night. In the _Alabama_, we had a capital Falstaff,
though Jack's capacious pouch was not often with "fat capon lined;" and as
for "sherry-sack," if he now and then got a good glass of "red-eye"
instead, he was quite content. We had several Hals, who had defied their
harsh old papas, and given them the slip, to keep Falstaff company; and as
for _raconteurs_, we had them by the score. Some of these latter were
equal to the Italian _lazzaroni_, and could extemporize yarns by the hour;
and there is nothing of which a sailor is half so fond as a yarn.

It was my custom, on these occasions, to go forward on the bridge--a light
structure spanning the deck, near amidships--which, in the twilight hours,
was a sort of lounging-place for the officers, and smoke my single cigar,
and listen to whatever might be going on, almost as much amused as the
sailors themselves. So rigid is the discipline of a ship of war, that the
captain is necessarily much isolated from his officers. He messes alone,
walks the quarter-deck alone, and rarely, during the hours of duty,
exchanges, even with his first lieutenant, or officer of the deck, other
conversation than such as relates to the ship, or the service she is upon.
I felt exceedingly the irksomeness of my position, and was always glad of
an opportunity to escape from it. On the "bridge," I could lay aside the
"captain," gather my young officers around me, and indulge in some of the
pleasures of social intercourse; taking care to tighten the reins, gently,
again, the next morning. When song was the order of the evening, after the
more ambitious of the _amateurs_ had delivered themselves of their _solos_
and _cantatas_, the entertainment generally wound up with _Dixie_, when
the whole ship would be in an uproar of enthusiasm, sometimes as many as a
hundred voices joining in the chorus; the unenthusiastic Englishman, the
stolid Dutchman, the mercurial Frenchman, the grave Spaniard, and even the
serious Malayan, all joining in the inspiring refrain,--

  "_We'll live and die in Dixie!_"

and astonishing old Neptune by the fervor and novelty of their music.

Eight o'clock was the hour at which the night-watches were set, when, of
course, all merriment came to an end. When the officer of the deck
reported this hour to the captain, and was told by the latter, to "make it
so," he put the trumpet to his mouth, and sang out in a loud voice,
"Strike the bell eight--call the watch!" In an instant, the most profound
silence fell upon the late uproarious scene. The witches did not disappear
more magically, in that famous revel of Tam O'Shanter, when Tam sang out,
"Weel dune, Cutty Sark!" than the sailors dispersed at this ominous voice
of authority. The violinist was arrested with half-drawn bow; the
_raconteur_ suddenly ceased his yarn in the most interesting part of his
story, and even the inspiring chorus of "Dixie" died a premature death,
upon the lips of the singers. The shrill call of the boatswain's whistle,
followed by his hoarse voice, calling "All the starboard watch!" or "All
the port watch!" as the case might be, would now be heard, and pretty
soon, the watch, which was off duty, would "tumble" below to their
hammocks, and the midshipman would be seen coming forward from the
quarter-deck, with lantern and watch-bill in hand, to muster the watch
whose turn it was to be on deck. The most profound stillness now reigned
on board during the remainder of the night, only broken by the necessary
orders and movements, in making or taking in sail, or it may be, by the
whistling of the gale, and the surging of the sea, or the cry of the
look-outs at their posts, every half hour.

To return now to our cruise. We are passing, the reader will recollect,
from the Azores to the Banks of Newfoundland. On the 1st of October, the
following record is found upon my journal: "The gale moderated during the
last night, but the weather, to-day, has been thick and rainy, with the
wind from the north-west, and a confused, rough sea. No observation for
latitude. The barometer, which had gone down to 29.8 is rising, and stands
at nine P. M. at 29.9. The ship being about two hundred miles only, from
the Banks of Newfoundland, we are trying the temperature of the air and
water every hour. At nine P. M. we found the temperature of the former to
be 63°, and of the latter 70°, indicating that we have passed into the
Gulf Stream." The thick, rainy weather is almost as unerring a sign of the
presence of this stream as the thermometer.

The stream into which we have now passed is, literally, an immense
salt-water river in the sea. Coming out of the Gulf of Mexico, it has
brought the temperature of the tropics, all the way to the Banks of
Newfoundland, in the latitude of 50° north, and it has run this distance
between banks, or walls of cold water, on either side, parting with very
little of its warmth, by the way. When it is recollected that this
salt-water river in the sea is about three thousand times larger than the
Mississippi River, that is to say, that it brings out of the Gulf of
Mexico, three thousand times as much water, as that river empties into it,
and that all this great body of water is carried up into the hyperborean
regions of Newfoundland, at a temperature, even in mid-winter, ranging
from 73 to 78 degrees, it will be seen at once what a powerful
weather-breeder it must be. Accordingly, no port of the world is more
stormy than the Gulf Stream, off the north-eastern coast of the United
States, and the Banks of Newfoundland. Such is the quantity of heat
brought daily by this stream, and placed in juxtaposition with the rigors
of a Northern winter, that it is estimated, that if it were suddenly
stricken from it, it would be sufficient to make the column of
superincumbent atmosphere hotter than melted iron! With such an element o