The Trent Affair

 

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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 30, 1861

For your research and study, we have posted online versions of our collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers give you unique insight into the key events and people of the Civil War. We hope you enjoy this extensive archive of Civil War material.

(Scroll Down to see entire page, or Newspaper Thumbnails will take you to the page of interest.)

 

General Halleck

General Halleck

Halleck Biography

General Halleck Biography

Confederate Elections

Davis & Stephens Reelected

Making Artillery Shells

Artillery Shells

Map of South Carolina Coast

Beaufort

Capture of Beaufort, South Carolina

Dupont

Samuel F. Dupont

Slidell and Mason

Trent Affair

Springfield

Springfield, Missouri

Hilton Head

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina

The Beaufort Naval Expedition

Fort Walker

Attack on Fort Walker and Beauregard

Runyon and Albany

Forts Runyon and Albany

Beaufort Cartoon

Last Man in Beaufort

 
 

 

NOVEMBER 30, 1861.]

HARPER'S WEEKLY.

765

THE CAPTURE OF THE REBEL COMMISSIONERS TO EUROPE.

WE devote this page to illustrations of the capture of the rebel Commissioners, MASON and SLIDELL, who were arrested on 8th inst. on board the British mail steamer Trent, in the Bahamas Channel, by Commodore Wilkes of the United States sloop of war San Jacinto. The transaction was thus described by Captain Taylor, the bearer of dispatches from Commodore Wilkes :

Captain Taylor reports that when the San Jacinto stopped at Cienfuegos the escape of Slidell and Mason was ascertained. Proceeding thence to Havana, it was understood they had taken passage on the 7th inst. on the British mail steamship Trent, plying between Vera Cruz, by way of Havana, and St. Thomas and Southampton. While the San Jacinto was in the narrowest part of the Bahama Channel, about twenty-four miles to the westward, she met the packet, and, as usual in such cases, fired a shot across her bows, and brought her to. Two boats were sent to her under the command of Lieutenant Fairfax, who, boarding the packet, arrested Messrs. Mason and Slidell, who were personally known to him. They at first objected to being removed without the employment of force for that purpose. However, they were soon after removed without further trouble, and conveyed to the San Jacinto. Their respective secretaries, Eustis and M'Farland, were also brought on board, and are now on their way to 'New York.

Of COMMODORE WILKES, who commanded the San Jacinto, the Herald gives the following memoir :

Captain Charles Wilkes, the captain of the San Jacinto at the time when she overhauled the Trent, is a native of New York, of which State he is a citizen, and from which State he was appointed to the navy. He was born about the year 1805, and at the early age of thirteen entered the naval service, his original entry therein bearing date January 1, 1818. He stands, according to the last Navy List, No. 51 on the list of captains, his present commission bearing date September 14, 1S55. His sea-service under his present commission has been of short duration, his total sea-

service being about ten years. He has been on shore and other duty about twenty-seven years, and has been unemployed about seven years, thus making his whole service under the Government of the United States about forty-four years. Previous to his present service his last duty at sea was in June, 1842. His principal employment from that time till ordered upon the San Jacinto was upon special duty at Washington. Captain Wilkes is also noted as the great explorer and navigator, having, in consequence of his well-tested scientific ability, been appointed by the Government upon the command of the naval expedition gotten up for the purpose of exploring the countries bordering on the Pacific and Southern oceans.

At this time his command consisted of a brig, two war sloops, and two smaller vessels, as tenders, Charles Wilkes having charge of the whole. Starting from New York, he pursued his route, via Cape Horn, toward Australia and the neighboring islands. He visited Singapore, Borneo, the Sandwich Islands, and the upper part of Oregon, etc., and returned to New York during the year 1842. This expedition lasted four years, having been commenced in 1838. For the interesting discoveries made by the explorer the learned Geographical Society of London presented him with a gold medal, as a memento of their appreciation of his labors. Captain Wilkes has published several works on geographical research, the one on Western America being very valuable as a volume for reference, the statistics, maps, and drawings being of the highest order. Captain Wilkes has by his present action added another triumph to his list of glories.

The San Jacinto arrived at New York with the rebel prisoners on 18th inst., but was ordered forthwith to Boston : Mason and Slidell are to be confined in Fort Warren with the other prisoners of war.

The event has created no little commotion, especially in British circles; for the first time in history the English are complaining of an "outrage on their flag." It seems, however, that the arrest of the rebel Commissioners was fully justified in international law, and that Commodore Wilkes would even have been justified in taking the Trent, and bringing her into the harbor of New York as a prize, for carrying rebel officers and dispatches.

COMMODORE WILKES, U.S.N.[PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRADY .]

THE REBEL COMMISSIONERS BROUGHT ON BOARD THE UNITED STATES SLOOP OF WAR " SAN JACINTO" AS PRISONERS.

THE CAPTURED REBEL COMMISSIONER MASON.[PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRADY.]

THE CAPTURED REBEL COMMISSIONER SLIDELL.-[PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRADY.]

Wilkes
Sloop of War San Jacinto
Commissioner Mason
Commissioner Slidell

 

 

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