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Vorember 11.–Stopped coaling at 4 a. m. Norenber 15.-Returned on board at 2.30 p. m. Got under way and stood out of the barbor. Pilot left us at 3 p. m.
Norenber 19 to December 20.-Reached Wilmington at about 11 a. m. Found the Tallahassee safe in port. She had destroyed six vessels, one of which was a brig that we chased the second day out.
Until about the middle of December, nothing occurred. The officers were granted leave. The Tallahassee was put out of commission about the 15th of December, and loaded with cotton. The command was given to Captain Wilkinson, Captain Ward taking the Chickamanga. I expected to go out in the Chameleon, as she is now called, but I slipped up on my expectations.
We thus find that leave having been given on the 9th of November to stay till the 15th, the vessel left on the 15th, the day on which the permission expired, and we further see that by another unlucky inaccuracy, the 72 tons in the midshipman's diary are magnified into 82 in the case of the United States.
From the following affidavit of William Gilbert Outerbridge, the revenue-officer who superintended the lading of the coal, it would appear that the writer of the diary must have been in error as to the quantity shipped.
The affidavit is as follows:
I'was employed as a revenne-officer at St. George's in 1861. Í was ordered to see that the confederate cruiser Chickamauga did not receive any more than twenty-live tons of coal. I saw her receive twenty-five tons of coal, in the stream, and left her between 3 and 4 in the morning, or, perhaps, between 4 and 5; I camuot be positive to the hour, nor am I sure whether the date was the 10th November; I have a note-book of 1865, but have not been able to find the one I kept in 1864. I swear that she did not receive more than twenty-five tons in the night in which I was on board her. She was coaled from a bark alongside, but I cannot recollect if she was called the Pleiades. I made a report to Mr. Edwin Jones, but kept no copy of it. The bark was still alongside when they ceased coaling, and I left the Chickamauga, aud I am positive that she was not alongside at daylight in the morning.
I went on board about 6 p. m. the previous evening, and did not leave my post all the time she was coaling. I took an exact aceount of all the coal put on board, and swear that she did not get seventy-two tons while I was on board. I do not believe she got that quantity at all.
WM. GILBERT OUTERBRIDGE. It is, however, possible that the opportunity may have been abused and the vigilance of the officers eluded. It appears from the affidavit of another revenue-officer that there were at that time frequently as many as fifty vessels in the harbor of Saint George's. Mr. Brown, a merchant of the port, says:
I, John Tory Bourne, of the town of Saint George, in the islands of Bermuda, merchant, make oath and say that I well remember the arrival of the Confederate States craiser, the Chickamanga, in the port of Saint George, in the said islands, in November, 1864, and that she obtained permission from the colonial authorities to take on board twenty-five tons of coal, and no more. I cannot positively state that she received on board no greater quantity, but I kuow that the officers and others connected with the ship expressed great dissatisfaction at the restrictions placed on her and the very small quantity of coal allowed. The port of Saint George was so crowded with shipping at that time that it would have been easy for the Chickamanga to evade such restrictions, and no vigilance or activity on the part of the colonial government could, in my judgment and opimon, have prevented such evasions if the officers of the vessel chose to practice them.
Sworn at the town of Hamilton, in the islands of Bermuda, this 15th day of February, A. D. 1872.
JNO. T. BOURSE, Assuming, however, that the commander of the Chickamauga, forgetful of what a due sense of honorable conduct should have dictated, did get any coal in excess of the prescribed quantity, it would be most unjust to impute this to the default of the Bermuda authorities.
i United States Documents, vol. vi, p. 7:26. British Appendix, vol. vi, p. 139.
But in the result the whole question becomes immaterial. We see from Mr. Carey's diary, that the Chickamauga arrived at Wilmington, where this young officer unfortunately "slipped up on his expectations" on the 19th of November, without having fallen in with, taken, or de. stroyed a single United States vessel. The coaling at Bermuda therefore did not lead to any injury to the United States, and cannot in any point of view found a claim for damages.
CASE OF THE TALLAHASSEE.
This vessel, said to have been also known as the Olustee, was built
and originally employed as a blockade-runner under the
name of the Atlanta. In the correspondence of the United States consulates during the first six months of the year 1864 she is several times spoken of as a blockade-runner of superior power of speed. No reference whatever is made to her having been built for, or being adapted to, the purpose of war.
In the August of that year, some guns were put on board of her at Wilmington, with a crew of one hundred and twenty men, and having contrived to escape from the blockading vessels, she commenced her work of devastation, and destroyed several vessels. Having done so, she arrived at Halifax on the 18th of August. What occurred there will be best told in the narrative other commander, John Taylor Wood :
My reception by the admiral was ry cold and uncivil; that of the governor less so. I stated I was in want of coal, and that as soon as I could fill up I would go to seathat it would take from two to three days. No objection was made at the time. If there had been, I was prepared to demand forty-eight hours for repairs. The governor asked me to call next day and let him know how I was progressing and when I would leave. I did so, and then was told that he was surprised that I was still in port; that we must leave at ouce; that we could leave the harbor with only 100 tons of coal on board. I protested against this as being utterly insutticient. He replied that the ad. miral bad reported that quantity sufticient (and, in such matters, he must be governed by his statement) to ruu the ship to Wilmington. The admiral had obtained this information by sending on board three of his officers ostensibly to look at our machinery and the twin screw, a new system, but really to ascertain the quantity of coal on boarii, that burned daily, fc.
I am under many obligations to onr agent, Mr. Weir, for transacting our nsiness, and through his management about 120 tons of coal were put aboard instead of half that quantity.
Had I procured the coal needed, I intended to have struck the coast at the Capes of the Delaware, and followed it down to Cape Fear, but I had only coal enough to reach Wilmington on the night of the 25th.3
It is admitted, in the case of the United States, that, in respect of what took place on this occasion, the United States have no cause of complaint. Indeed, it is said:
Had the British authorities at Nassau, Bermuda, Barbadoes, Cape Town, Melbourne, and other colonial ports, pursued the same course that the lieutenant-governor at Halifax did, under the wise advice of the admiral, the grievances of the United States would have been much less, and this case would have been shorter by many pages. The first time that the rule of January 31, 1862, as to the supply of coal, was fairly carried out, the operations of the insurgent cruiser, to which it was applied, were arrested on the spot, and the vessel was obliged to run for a home port.4
The Tallahassee remained at Wilmington some months, and she was then sold by the confederate government and purchased by a private
United States Documents, vol. vi, pp. 727, 728.
merchant, and became, and afterward remained, a merchant-vessel. In that character, and under the name of the Chameleon, she visited Bermuda in January, 1865, with a cargo of cotton and tobacco. The vessel being identified as the former Tallahassee, inquiries were set on foot by the authorities, when it was fully shown by Mr. Wilkinson, the consignee of the cargo, that she had passed into private hands, and had been duly registered as private property.'
Upon what possible grounds, then, can we be asked to award damages in respect of this vessel ? Simply because, as it is said, “the Tallahassee was a British steamer fitted out from London to play the part of a privateer out of Wilmington." But upon what authority is this
.2 statement made? Simply on that of a passage to that effect in a letter of Mr. Adams to Earl Russell, written much later, namely, in March, 1865, in which, complaining of the system of blockade-running carried on by British ships, he thus speaks of the former Tallahassee:
The Chameleon, not inaptly named, but before known as the Tallahassee, and still earlier as a British steamer titted out from London to play the part of a privateer out of Wilmington, was lying at that very time in Nassau, relieved, indeed, of her guns, but still retaining all the attributes of her hostile occupation.3
Every one knows that Mr. Adams would not say anything that he did not fully believe to be true; but he must forgive me for saying that in this instance he must have been mistaken, possibly confounding the vessel in question with some other. In the earlier correspondence of the Cnited States consulate respecting this vessel there is not, as I have already mentioned, any reference whatever to it as having been intended for a privateer. She was, in fact, sold after a three weeks' cruise, be. cause, as the consignee of her cargo at Bermuda tells us, she had been "* fomd ill-adapted to the purposes of war." 4 Besides, had she been built as a privateer, it is very unlikely that she would afterward have been bought by a merchant as a carrying vessel. Every one acquainted with these things knows that a vessel intended for war purposes ditfers essentially, in point of construction, from one intended for trade.
When a government is unable to build or to procure ships properly constructed for war, it may be driven to the expedient of converting merchant-vessels into vesseis of war; but a merchant does not buy ships of war to turn them to a purpose for which their construction makes them wholly unfit.
But what if this vessel had been originally built as a privateer? Is it meant to be asserted that this alone, without any suggestion, much less proof, of default on the part of the British government, is enough to fix the latter with liability for the acts of such a vessel ?
But it would be a waste of time to pursue this further. Here, again, I must say I think this claim ought never to have been submitted to us.
CASE OF THE RETRIBUTION.
This vessel was a small steavier built in the State of New York, and originally employed as a tug.steameron Lake Erie. Just before the attack on Fort Sumter she was chartered by the Government of the United States and sent to the southern coast.
Having been compelled by stress of weather to enter Cape Fear River, she was there seized by the confederates. Her machinery was removed,
and she was converted into a sailing schooner and armed; she then started on a cruise under the name of the Retribution.'
On the 28th of January, 1863, she captured near San Domingo the United States merchant-vessel Hanover, laden with a cargo of provisions. The master and crew of the vessel were put into the boat, in which they rowed to San Domingo, and the chief officer of the Retribution, a man named Vernon Locke, or Parker, (for he was at different times known under both these names,) took possession of the Hanorer with a prize crew.?
The Hanover arrived on the 5th of February at Long Cay, a small island of the Bahamas, about two hundred and forty miles from the seat of government. in company with a wrecking-schooner named the Brothers, and owned by Messrs. Farrington, merchants, of that island. Here Vernon Locke represented himself to be the master of the Hano. ver, and stated that he was bound from Boston to a port of Cuba, where he was to have sold his cargo, and to run the blockade with a cargo of salt. On the plea that his vessel had run ashore on a neighboring island, and was in a leaky condition, he obtained the permission of the customs collector at Long Cay to transfer part of the cargo to the Brothers, and to land the rest, and eventually to sell the whole through the agency of Messrs. Farrington. For this purpose he produced the manifests of the cargo, and forged to them the signature of the true master of the vessel, one Washington Case. The magistrate of the district, who resided in another island, but who happened to arrive at Long Cay at the time, questioned the pretended master, and appears to have had his doubts as to the truth of some of the particulars of the story.
In a report which he afterwards furnished to the governor, of the 20th of April, 1863, he says:
I had my doubts as to the vessel having been on shore at Inayna, and I mentioned my doubts to Mr. Farrington. I told him that I was under the impression that in the cargo there might be articles contraband of war, and that the reported disaster was but a ruse to prevent the Boston merchant being tracked in Nassan in his illicii trade with the South. But I found out afterward, ou inquiry from the acting tidle-waiter, that the cargo was really one of provisions.
Mr. Farrington admitted that he also doubted whether the Hanover had been on shore, but inasmuch as the captain came to him properly documented, he did not see any impropriety in his acting as the captain's agent, and that he was not aware of any illegality in the matter-and I must here add that I am under the impression that, up to that moment, Mr. Farrington was as ignorant of the real facts of the case as I was, It must be remembered that the captain was a perfect stranger; that the register and articles of the Hanover were produced, I believe, at the collector's office, but I know that he had the ship's clearance, the bills of lading, and even the certificate from the custom-house in Boston that the captain had taken the oath of fidelity to the Union. He represented himself as Captain Case, and signed all documents as Washington Case, the name of the captain as appearing on the documents.3
The schooner Brothers, having taken on board part of the cargo of the Hanover, left with it for Nassau, taking also the pretended master; but it seems that he only went in her as far as Rum Cay, another island of the Bahamas, from which he was taken off by the Retribution. The Hanover remained at Long Cay for a day or two after the Brothers had left, and then seems to have sailed for some port in the Southern States. The manner in which the fraud which had been committed on the allthorities was discovered, is thus related by Mr. Burnside, the magistrate of the district, in the report which has been already referred to: The Hanover remained a day or two after the Brothers had left, at Long Cay, under
i United States Documents, vol. vi., p. 736.
the charge of the former mate, taking in a cargo of salt, and it was only about half an hour previous to her departure that I, and, I am under the impression, Mr. Farrington also, had the slightest misgiving that the person who had represented himself as the captain of the Hanover was not Wa-hington Case. One of the sailors of the Hanover, under the influence of liquor, referred to the supposed captain in the collector's presence by some other name. I was with Mr. Farrington when the collector mentioned the circumstance; reference was immediately made to the docuinents, and the difference in the signatures contirmed what the collector had heard. The supposed Captain Case had then left in the Brothers, and no action could have been taken even if I had been armed with power; but even then we were under the impression that the name had been assumel'in the custom-house, in Boston, by some other person to facilitate Captain Case's leaving Boston, supposing him to have been a suspicions person; and it was only after I had left Long Cay, on my way to Inagua, that we met a vessel from Inagua, and I received a letter from Mr. Sargent informing me that he was under the impression that the Hanover was a prize to the Retribution.
On the 19th of February following, the Retribution captured another American merchant-vessel, the Emily Fisher, in the neighborhood of Castle Island, one of the Bahamas. The case of this vessel does not seem to have formed the subject of any complaint either on the part of the United States Government or of the parties interested until the present time; and the collector of customs at Long Cay being now dead, there is little evidence to be depended upon as regards the proceedings at that place.
The statement, produced by the United States, of a man named Sampson who was at the time, according to his own account, employed at Long Cay under the orders of the United States Government as a 6 deputy marshal” or detective officer to look after wreckers and blockade-runners, cannot be regarded as reliable. He states that all the facts connected with the capture of the vessel and the subsequent transactions were true, " from his personal knowledge," and that he had previously testified to them before a court in New Jersey. But it is obvious that he can have had no personal knowledge of the facts connected with the capture of the vessel, which took place at a distance from Long Cay; and on reference to the proceedings of the trial mentioned, the material portion of his evidence is found to be no more than that he saw the Retribution in the spring of 1863 at Long Cay, where she was lying outside the Emily Fisher; that he was introduced by an acting magistrate of Long Cay to the first and second lieutenant of the former vessel, and “had a general talk about the North and South.” 2
According to the statement on oath of Mr. Staples, the former master of the Emily Fisher, which, however, was only made in September last, eight years after the event, he was induced by the assurances of a captain of a British wrecking-vesselto come within range of the Retribution, by whom he was captured. The Emily Fisher was then run on shore by the orders of the captain of the Retribution, and was taken possession of by some wrecking boats. The vessels afterward proceeded to Long Cay, where the master was eventually placed in possession of the vessel by the collector, but not until he had bargained with the wreckers to pay them 50 per cent. on the cargo and 33,1 per cent. on the vessel for salvage. Staples adds that "he was told by the authorities, that though the law would not allow the privateer to touch the brig," yet, “ if he wished to do so, they had no means of preventing him ; that the captain of the privateer told him, the deponent, that he had given the cargo to the wreckers, as he wanted the brig; that he was going to put his guns on board of her and destroy bis schooner;" “ that he further told the deponent that the wreckers were to pay him something handsome, and that the deponent believes that they did so; that depo.
1 United States Documents, vol. vi, p. 736. ? British Appendix, vol. v, p. 190.