Posts Tagged ‘blockade runners’

September 20, 1864

Letter from Frank Jones telling us that 900 Yankee officers have been placed in a stockade on Sullivan’s Island in retaliation for a number of ours confined in like manner by the enemy on Morris Island.  In the mean time Yellow fever has made its appearance in the city, a danger more deadly to the unaclimated Yankee than bullet or ball, & there are many confined there. I hope it will precipitate a general exchange. Sherman, however, takes the position that the men in our hands whose term of service has expired are not entitled to Exchange for our enlisted men in theirs & this want of faith to its subjects, I had better call them at once, is the treatment the best Government under the Sun gives its own & its adopted sons! Stepmother like conduct, which none but a Yankee would have the face to perpetuate; but as Mrs Hines says, “they have forgotten if they ever knew how to blush.”

A Dispatch from Gen Lee tells us that Hampton succeeded in getting in Grant’s rear, capturing 2500 fat beeves, 300 prisoners, a no. of waggons, mules, & horses & returned safely with the loss of fifty men only. In Albemarle Sound, too, we have had a success — 16 men of the Steamer Albemarle went out in small boats, boarded & burnt the steamer Fawn, a boat running through the Dismal Swamp Canal from Norfolk to Yankee head quarters in the North Eastern Counties, with the crew, several commissioned officers in transit to their commands, and 25,000 in gold. As a set off, however, the enemy claims to have captured our N C steamer the Advance with a load of Cotton & 28,000 in specie off Hatteras.  We fear it is true, but she has made a vast sum for the state besides enabling her to provide well for her troops in the way of clothing and shoes and I hope her loss will soon be replaced.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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Fort Holmes

August 9th 1864

Dear Wife

Having an opportunity to send a letter by Mr B F Havens to Washington, I avail myself of the chance of writing you a short letter to let you know that I am quite well.  I have not had a letter from you now in a fortnight, and am uneasy for fear you are sick which may the Lord protect you from. JW Clayton arrived back here yesterday and by him I learned that your family were quite sickly. I hope ere this they are getting better. I feel very uneasy when I hear that any of our loved ones are sick and much worse so when I hear you are sick yourself.  We have a good deal of sickness in garrison now and some of the cases are quite stubborn. Hardenbergh is verry unwell indeed and has been so now for 2 months or more. There is not much news stirring here now. We got the news of Genl Lees blowing up a parcel of Yankees in one of their mines before Petersburgh yesterday and also that the Yankees had blowed some of our men in the same way. There is nothing new from Georgia just now. One piece of good news I have to tell you of that took place here on Sunday night. One of the Yankee blockaders while running close to the inlet got aground and they worked all night nearly trying to get her off but finding that day would catch them right under our guns they set her on fire and left her . She burned to the waters edge and then we boarded her in boats and got a good deal of plunder. This morning we got off one of her guns a beautiful brass 12 pounder Dahlgreen gun and a parcel of shells also. There is still another 25 lb gun on board which we will try to get. She is about mille off right in front of Fort Holmes and on the outer reef. We will save a good many useful things off of her. She has a fine engine but I fear we cannot save it as it is so rough where she lays. Several blockade runners have come in with yellow fever on them but it has not been communicated to land as no one is allowed to go on board except the physician and no one is allowed to go on shore from there. I hope John Thomas carried your cotton to Washington with him. He said he would if it had come to with him and let you know about its being there so you can send for it. I hope one or the other of them will carry it down for you. Oh! How I wish I could be with you now if only for one hour just to see you and know for myself how you are, but love it cannot be so now but if we live until another year this time I hope and fully believe I shall be with you. Have all the cider made you can and have some of it made into brandy. Have some wine made too dear if nothing happens to the grapes. Put 1/5 brandy to the grape juice. I hard by John that your crop at South Creek is quite likely. Give my best respects to all the negroes and my love to Aunts Rose and Charity. Mars is very well indeed. Give my warmest paternal love to all our dear ones. Tell Josephus and Vene to write to me.


Source: William Henry Tripp and Araminta Guilford Tripp Papers, Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill. http://www2.lib.unc.edu/mss/inv/t/Tripp,William_Henry_and_Araminta_Guilford.html#folder_7#2

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S.S. Advance off Smithville

Sept 1st 1864

A.M. McPheeters Esq


Dear Sir

I am in receipt of your former of the 29th ultimo and will forward letter to as desired.

I regret to hear that the books and stationary ordered for the State has turned out so badly. The order did not reach me in England & I cannot imagine who could have authorized Msts. Trot and Atwood of St. Georges Bermuda to fill the order. So soon as Dr. Boylain can reach Bermuda I will direct him to have the matter fully investigated.

We are all nearly worn out with waiting for the tide. It is now however believed to be sufficient for the ship to float over the bar – the pilot will try it again tonight which will make the 4th attempt. The tide is much better than it was when he tried before & no doubt exists of our getting over the bar & safely through the blockading Squadron notwithstanding it has been considerably increased within the last few days.

I am Yours Truly

Jn White

P.S. The invoice from Trot & Atwood has not yet reached me. I may get it this evening before going out.



  1. S. Advance off Smithville

N.C. Sept. 1st 1864

His Excellency

Gov. Z. B. Vance

Dear Sir.

At the request of Capt. Wyllie I forwarded yesterday to Miss E. Murray at Wilmington NC a Brl of brown sugar for you with instructions that they have it put in good order & forwarded to at Raleigh by express. The sugar has obtained by Capt. Wyllie from the steamer “Hope” which was coming in last night + grounded on the bar to lighten her the sugar was being thrown overboard four Brls of which was saved by the Capt. who had gone with two boats to render what assistance he could, she was safely gotten off with the loss of some sugar. I have had second interviews withthe Son of Miss parson Lovell in regard to the Advance he thinks the compny  will willingly sell their interest in her back to the State, but He prefers that the negotiation be made with Mr. Powers & Mr. Fitzhugh on the other side they being the principle owners. In solution to this I have no doubt you have already been fully advised by Mstrs Murray & Co. We are all greatly disappointed in not getting out which we failed to do after making three attempts. The tides have not been high enough for the ship draft of water. The pilot thinks we will certainly succeed tonight, he at least will make another trial. The numbers of blockades we understand has been considerably increased within the last few days & one or two monitors has been added to the fleet. All feel confident that we will go out safely.

I am Very mch yours

Jn White

Source: Governor’s Papers, North Carolina State Archives and found on www.ncecho.org

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The statistics of the various blockade running steam vessels, and their fate and fortunes, if fully set forth, would exhibit some curious facts. Some of those facts, of which we have been informed, shall now be mentioned; they will, to most readers, bring with them their own explanation. Seven or eight new steamers have been built at English dockyards, expressly to run the blockade; they were ordered, and afterwards equipped and manned, and the officers found for them, by and English firm styled Alexander Collie & Co.  On arriving at Bermuda they were transferred to a respectable Confederate firm, acting on behalf of the Confederate government: so that on arrival at Wilmington – if they had ever arrived there – they were to have been under the Confederate flag, and owned by Confederate owners; and were destined thereafter as regular blockade runners, half on government account and half on account of the Confederate firm. These vessels have all been lost; they were all, save one, lost on their very first voyage between Bermuda and Wilmington; and our readers may remember their ill fated names, the Venus, the Ceres, the Vesta, the Juno &c.  One of these, the Hebe, was lost, not on her first voyage, but on her second.

Now, at the very same time, there was running a most lucky and prosperous line of blockade breaking ships, belonging to that English firm of Collie & Co. The very house which was employed to order and equip vessels to run the blockade on account of our government, was also most extensively engaged in running the blockade on its own account. In other words, our government expected Mr. Alexander Collie to furnish them faithfully and bona fide with the means of competing with himself and driving him out of the most lucrative trade he ever had in his life. Accordingly their ships were all driven ashore, a total loss. But of Mr. Collie’s own vessels, the Hansa has made nine round voyages, paying for herself twenty times over; the Edith  and the Annie have made each three round voyages, and are now prosperously running; the Falcon has made tow round voyages; and the Flamingo has just come in successful in her first trip. One of Collie’s however, was lost; she is the Don; had made six prosperous round voyages, and then was run down at sea by the Yankees, and is now one of the blockading squadron herself.

The contrast thus presented is striking enough, but this is not all; the captains and officers found by Collie & Col for the Confederate vessels were all most particularly capable and experienced me; they always ran their ships safely through the blockading squadron – for if they had lost them to the Yankees they never could have got command of a vessel again; it was always on the coast, or in the very mouth of Cape Fear river, that those ships were run aground, and then usually burned up, both ship and cargo. Suspicions could not but arise after a while, even in the most simple hearts; and when the Vesta, about seven months ago, after successfully making her way through a blockading fleet in pursuit, and after she was safe out of their range and out of their sight, was wantonly run aground on the North Carolina and instantly burned by her captain, together with her cargo and the very baggage of passengers, enquiry was instigated before a court at Wilmington, and it was determined to examine the captain and first officer; but it was found that they, apprehending such enquiry, had left secretly and by night, and got about the Hansa (one of Collie’s ships), them weighing anchor for England. This captain was afterwards appointed captain of one of Collie’s own vessels. The first officer, also of the Vesta, had been, before that, an officer on board the Hebe¸ one of our unlucky Confederate blockade runners; and is now first officer of the Annie, one of Collie’s ­– The captain of the Hebe, when she was lost, is now commander of the more fortunate Hansa.

We learn further that Dudgen, of London, an extensive shipbuilder, constructed to the order Collie & Col. seven double screw vessels, all just alike; of these five were transferred to the Confederate firm (or Government) – all five lost; two were retained by Collie & Co – both still running.

The agent of the house of Collie at Wilmington has bee, during all these transactions, one Andrew, a Hebrew.

There are two other vessels, the Fanny and the Alice, not furnished and manned, as we were informed, by Collie & Co, which have the good luck to be commanded by Confederate Captains; they have each made seven round voyages. The State of North Carolina, also, in providing herself with vessels to run the blockade upon State accounts, made her own arrangements and employed her own officers; which is probably the reason of her good fortune in that business.

There is no other conceivable way of accounting for the facts above mentioned, than by suppositions that the judicious Collie & Co. employed captains and paid them, expressly to run ashore and destroy those vessels which were to enter into competitions with his own; and that as a further reward for that service, the officers who have lost Confederate ships are put on board Collie’s to carry them through safely. Many persons have speculated in vain upon the astonishing ill luck of the Confederate vessels, and have suggested that the Yankees had agents in Nassau and Bermuda to bribe captains and officers, so as to ensure the loss of certain ships. – That there was villainy somewhere was very apparent; and as usual the misfortunes of the Confederates may be traced this time also to that guileless simplicity with which they have entrusted their interests to those having another interest directly opposite to theirs. Many is the bale of precious cotton that has gone to England to pay for those ships and cargoes; the Coquette, the very last ship our Government had, is at last sold; and a pawky Scotchman has almost a monopoly of the foreign trade of the Confederate States. Collie & Co is at present one of the richest firms in England and it sees no good reason why this war should ever end.

Richmond Examiner.


Source: Semi-Weekly Standard (Raleigh), August 19, 1864 as found on www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov

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August 20, 1864

Since we can no longer get news we resort to old Blackwood’s for our light Literature & find them most entertaining & instructive. Mr E read me a few days since from one of Aug 1849 a no of “Christopher under Canvass” (Prof Wilson), & I was greatly struck by a sentiment which seems applicable to our Northern neighbours. “Good manners give a vital efficacy to good Laws. These few words comprise the needful constituents of national happiness & prosperity. . . . Good laws without good manners are empty breath.” They have proved the truth of it! Good Laws they had & an abundance of them, but they lacked the essential good manners. Good manners would have kept them from intermedling with their neighbour’s concerns, would have frowned down John Brown Raids, & have silenced the teachings of all laws “higher” than that of good breeding & of the Golden Rule. Want of manners it is which has broken up the Government & deluged the country with a sea of blood. Want of manners on the part of our Northern brethren has carried mourning into thousands of Southern homes & threatens in their own country to break up the foundations of their society & to bring ruin upon their national prosperity. Want of manners, want of nice observance of the point of honour, without which neither nations or individuals can long flourish, has brought all these evils upon them. I am wearied with war & bloodshed, with accounts of skirmishes & advances, or retrograde movements & barren victories which seem to have no end. Lee advances to meet Grant, who has thrown a strong force over the James. They skirmish, we repulse, when presto, they make demonstrations on the Southside with the like result. Change the name of the places & generals & the same accounts might stand for the movements of Hood & Sherman before Atlanta. I am worn out with them & deeply indeed do I feel for our soldiers whose lives are thus passed “in idleness or peril.” God grant them stout hearts & willing minds & grant O grant us Peace!

The enemy have been looking for a scapegoat on whose head to lay the failure of their memorable “fiasco” of the 30th of July & the lot seems to have fallen on the Christian Burnside, who has been releived from the command of the Army Corps & ordered to report at Washington. He bore the brunt of his failure before Fredericksburg with such distinguished meekness & so humbly risked the rod with which Mr Stanton chastised him that he has doubtless been selected as the victim to sacrifice to Lieut Gen Grant’s popularity on account of his Christian virtues! Ah pluck! How it does dignify a man! What a respect it excites even in a vanquished enemy! Who wants a “sucking dove” for an opponent? Yet I am sorry for the fall of Burnside’s meek bald head. We shall miss his blunders. Meade as a man, a general, & gentleman has commanded more respect from us than any general the Yankee nation has yet put forth. Grant is a mere butcher. Take away his brute force, his numerical superiority, & he is nothing. As for Hunter & Butler, they are as weak as they are cruel & that speaks volumes. I will not sully my page with a mention of them!

No news from Mobile, save that the loss of Forts Powel and Gaines does not imply a surrender of the town. Gen Maury now Lieut Gen claims that he will make it a second Charleston. God grant it. Peace meetings at the North & popular offers of reconstruction, but it falls on deaf ears. They say a financial crisis is upon them, but little do we heed them. A new Confederate Steamer, the “Tallahassee,” commanded by John Taylor Wood a nephew by marriage of our President has suddenly made its appearance in Northern Waters. She swept into New York harbour & bearding the lion in his den captured several vessels & Pilot boats inside of Sandy Hook. New York is in a blaze allegorically. Would it were so literally.

Had company to dinner on Wednesday, Mr & Mrs Ed Hill and their guest Miss Berkely Botts of Va (neice of John Minor B the infamous), Dr & Mrs Wood, & Mrs Whitaker. I do not think we see Company enough. I get out of the way of entertaining them & I fear I was unable to make my guests forget the heat as I would have liked to have done. When we have Peace I will do better.

Source: Edmondston, Catherine Ann Devereux, 1823-1875, Journal of a Secesh Lady: The Diary of Catherine Ann Devereux Edmondston 1860-1866. Crabtree, Beth G and Patton, James W., (Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1979).http://nc-historical-publications.stores.yahoo.net/478.html

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The steamer Ad Vance arrived in Wilmington on Saturday, freighted with a rich cargo on State account for the benefit of the soldiers and their families.

Let it be remembered that were W.W. Holden Governor, he would do away with the running of the blockade and leave our brave soldiers to go ragged and half naked and their wives and little ones to starve and perish.


Source: Greensborough Patriot, August 11, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

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The port of Wilmington

Nine blockade runners have come into Wilmington since the “Raleigh” ironclad scattered the blockade squadron a few days since. Five of them are entirely new vessels on their first trip. They saw no blockaders on their way in.

Source: Greensborough Patriot June 2, 1864 as found on www.ncecho.org

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