Capture of the Pirate "Florida"


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, November 26, 1864

Welcome to our online collection of Civil War Harper's Weekly newspapers. These papers have reports and analysis not available anywhere else. The illustrations bring the war to life, and allow you to develop a more complete understanding of the war.

(Scroll Down to See Entire Page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to the page of interest)


Pirate Florida

Pirate Ship "Florida"

Sherman in Georgia

General Sherman's March Through Georgia

McClellan Resigns

General McClellan Resigns

Before Petersburg

Troops Before Petersburg



Pirate Florida

Capture of the Pirate Ship Florida

Lincoln's Home

President Lincoln's Springfield Home

Long Abe Lincoln

Long Abraham Lincoln

Blockade Runner

Blockade Runner

Civil War Map

Civil War Map









[NOVEMBER 26, 1864.

(Previous Page) anchored in the offing, but was immediately invited by the Brazilian admiral to come into the harbor, where she lay on the 6th under the guns of the Brazilian forts and the Brazilian fleet. It is stated that during the day efforts were made by some of the citizens of Bahia to induce Captain MORRIS to take the Florida outside to fight the Wachusett, but that the Captain declined the engagement. There is nothing to indicate that the Florida came into port for any other purpose than to take in coals and provisions. On the night of the 6th Captain MORRIS and a good portion of his crew were on shore. The Wachusett was lying just outside the harbor.

This port is a favorite resort for Confederate privateers, because it has three separate channels of exit. This, of course, was an unfavorable feature in Captain COLLINS'S view of the situation, since the Florida might easily escape by one of these channels under cover of the darkness. He called a council of his officers, and in the debate which followed one thing was especially considered, namely, that the Florida had repeatedly seized and burned American vessels within three miles of the Brazilian coast. With but one dissenting vote it was determined to seize the Florida at her anchorage. The fact that there was a debate, and that the consideration already alluded to was the principal reason in favor of the extraordinary measure determined upon, leaves us no room for supposing that the measure was adopted with either the expressed or implied consent of the Brazilian authorities. At any rate the seizure was determined upon, and at 3 A.M. on the morning of the 7th the cables were slipped, and the Wachusett approached the Florida with the intention of striking her amidships and send her at once to the bottom. This might have passed for an accidental collision, and thus the international question have been evaded. But the collision did not produce the intended effect. Captain COLLINS thereupon demanded the surrender of the Florida.

The officer in charge of the latter replied that, under the circumstances he surrendered, and the captured vessel, her guns having been removed to the Wachusett, was tied to that vessel, and was carried out to. sea. Those are he facts of the capture, and it is uncertain as yet whether the Brazilian Government void makes a protest against it. If it does, the question then becomes one subject to litigation, and in case it is proved that the Florida has captured any of our vessels within the limits of Brazilian jurisdiction the capture will stand valid as simply a measure of retaliation.

The Wachusett was built in the Charlestown Navy-yard, and launched in, 1861. Her length is 198 feet, breadth of berm 33, and depth 16. She carries a heavy armament consisting of two 11-inch Dahlgren pivot guns, two 30-pound rifles, and eight broadside guns. Previous to her cruise in search of privateers she was employed as flag-ship on James River.

Captain NAPOLEON COLLIN was born in Pennsylvania, and in about fifty years of age. He was, in 1834, appointed a midshipman in the navy, and wade his first cruise on the sloop of war Natchez under Commander MERVINE, of the "West India. Squadron. In 1839 he entered the naval school Philadelphia. He was afterward attached to the sloop of war Boston, and to the frigate-Constellation as acting

master ; in 1818, having spent four years at home he was ordered to the sloop of war Decatur, on the African coast, having been promoted to a Lieutenancy. In 1851 we find him in service on Lake Erie six years afterward, under FARRAGUT, he was executive officer of the navy-yard at Mares Island, California, and in 1860, having again served on Lake Erie for a few months, he was ordered to the sloop of war Vandalia under the present Admiral S. P. LEE, in the East India Squadron. He was, on the return of the Vandelia, made commander of the gun boat Unadilla, which was one of the vessels engaged in Admiral DU PONT'S Port Royal expedition. During the winter of 1861 and 1862 he was very actively engaged with the Unadilla, in company with the other gun-boats, in opening the rebel ports and sounds on the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, under the command of Admiral DU PONT. On the 16th of July, 1862, he was promoted to his present rank as full commander, standing at present No. 19 on the list. In September, 1862, he was detached from the command of the Unadilla and placed in command of the Octorara, cruising in the West Indies in search of blockade-runners. Here he was successful in taking some valuable prizes, and maintaining as sharp a blockade as the circumstances and the speed of his vessel would permit.

In August, 1863, he was detached from the Octorara, and subsequently ordered to the command of the steam-sloop Wachusett, on special service; and sent some months since in search of the privateer Florida. In this pursuit he has been engaged for months, and succeeded finally in capturing the privateer in the manner above stated. He has been thirty years in the naval service, of which he has spent over twenty-one at sea.

The Florida was originally under the command of Captain MAFFIT ; at the time of her capture she was commanded by C. MORINGAULT MORRIS. The portrait which we give of Captain MORRIS is from a photograph taken a few months ago at Brest, France, which port the Florida entered September 4, 1863. He has been Captain of this privateer for more than a year. The Florida, it will be remembered, was for some months detained at Brest by the French Government.


ON pages 760 and 761 we illustrate the chase of is blockade-runner by a portion of one of our squadrons. This is an event now of everyday occurrence. In fact, a peculiar sort of commerce has sprung up, the profits of which rest upon the chances of running the American blockade. The chief emporium of this commerce is Wilmington, North Carolina. The foreign loan, which forms the most substantial support of the Confederate financial system, rests entirely upon the chances of Confederate

vessels laden with cotton evading our blockading vessel in going out ; and the Confederate Ordnance Department has subsisted on the chances of vessels from abroad laden with guns and ammunition evading our blockaders in coming in. Vessels engaged in this transit to and fro are built by special cornpanies, who trust with all the confidence of a BUCKLE in the average of so many successes in so many runs, and in the long run they make enormous profits notwithstanding the number of special instances in which they come to grief. The insurrace of ships engaged in running the blockade is regulated according to the same laws of chance. If Wilmington were in our possession the whole basis of this new and peculiar commerce would undergo a material alteration.

Many of the officers of our blockading fleet have grown rich cut of the results of their captures. According to the Prize Law one half of every prize goes to the Government. The other half is divided among the officers and seamen of the capturing fleet according to their monthly pay.


OUT of the sweet old legends

Beckons a fair white hand, And silvery, bell-like voices

Tell of an unknown land,

Where magic roses blossom

In the evening's golden light, And the air is laden with fragrance From the lilies silver-white,

The trees, with their waving branches, Mumes a fairy song,

And the brooklet merrily dances As it ripples and gurgles along.

And tender, enchanting love-songs Float on the balmy breeze,

And the heart's unspeakable longing By their music is set at ease.


Would that my steps could reach it, That happy, flowery strand!

For all. my earthly afflictions

Would cease in that fairy land..

Oft in my dreams I see it,

In its glamour bright and fair, But with daylight's earliest glimmer It vanishes into air.


Now, Rey seriously, you are not vexed with

me? You yourself would have been the first to bid me go."

Far down below the precipitous ledges of the mountain path the valley seemed to swim in mists of gold, while here and there, among the overhanging trees, a deep-dyed somauch tossed its crest of crimson plumes in the spicy air of mid October and the coral-red berries of the dogwood glowed like burninig coals in the tangled wildernesses of the woods. It was a very pretty back ground for wood nymph, or harmadryad, and Rachel Martin's attitude was unconsciously artistic as she played with the wild blue asters that covered her little basket of hickory nuts; spoils from the great old tree whose giant branches overtopped the whole forest.

She was plump and pretty, with round wondering blue eyes and a mouth like a magnified cranberry, while the roses on her cheek seemed to come and go with every breath she drew, and the faint touches of sunshine on her brow gave additional charm to her fresh, rustic beauty. Mark Douglas leaned over the twisted beech-root that separated them, and tried to take the brown hand in his, but it was drawn away with decided quickness.

" Ray, dearest !"

Ah, be did not see the blood mantling to her cheek under the envious shadow of the atrocious "Shaker-bonnet"—he did not hear the quick, stormy throbbing of the petulant heart. " Dearest," indeed When Kezian Truman''s beau never so much as went to Boston without asking her leave, and Charley Jenkins had distinctly intimated that the whole programme of his future existence was to be indicated solely by Miss Martin's wish. Yes, it was all very well for Captain Mark to stay at home, officiating in the Home Guard department ; she liked the uniform, and didn't object to the martial eclat. But to go down among the rebels without so much as consulting her inclination, the spoiled beauty thought that was altogether a different thing.

"I see you are in no mood to discuss this matter impartially just now, Rachel," Captain Mark said, gravely. "I had thought, I had hoped to find you feeling differently."

" In no mood!" Rachel colored hot scarlet. What right had Mark Douglas to treat her like a naughty child?

" I beg your pardon, Captain Douglas," she said, petulantly; " it isn't at all necessary to discuss a matter so perfectly indifferent to me."

Now Mark Douglas was only a man, with all the infirmities incident to mankind. He bit his lip, and his brow grew dark.

"Rachel, you seem to have forgotten the engagement."

"Engagement!"" she repeated, sharply. "I am tired of an engagement that only fetters one party while the other is free as air."

"Tired !" He hesitated a moment, as if vainly striving to command his voice : " Do you wish to be released, Ray ?"

She did not answer—perhaps she was not quite prepared for this phase of affairs.

" Tell me—yes or no!" he demanded, sternly. " " Yes,"" she answered, with pettish abruptness. " Then good-by. Ray."

Gone ? Yes, he was gone. She watched him descending the mountain side with quick, even strides under the scarlet draperies of clinging vines, through

patches of deep, still shadow into belts of golden sunshine, until the overhanging rock hid him from her view ; yet it seemed so difficult to believe that he was really gone.

She looked down at the tiny engagement ring that sparkled on her forefinger a simple turquoise set in virgin gold, whose blue glimmer shone dimly through her tears and she could not but remember the tender words with which he had placed it on her finger.

"Let it be a token between us, dearest, like the signet rings of old times. Wherever I may be, this ring will always bring   heart back to its queen."

And now !

" I ought to have returned it," she pondered, shrinking as if the slender circlet of gold were a ring of fire. " I will some time !"

So Mark Douglas lost his sweet heart, and marched down to Petersburg a solitary man, marveling, as many a one has done before him, on the inscrutable mysteries of the female heart.

"Dretful keen wind, ain't it?" said the Widow Taylor, untying the strings of her worsted hood ; "powerful sharp frost last night ! Deacon Pettibone's dahlias is black as soot, and all Miss Morrison's mornin'-glories is blasted. Thankee, Miss Martin, my feet is cold ; won't you take the rockin'-cheer yourself? Why, Rachel, child, what ails you ? all the neighborsare talkin 'bout how you've changed !"

Rachel colored, axed turned away.

" I am well enough."

" I tell ye what, Miss Martin," began Mrs Taylor, in a mysterious whisper to the elder lady, "you jest take a double handful o' green wilier bark, and bile it up well or snakeroot tea ain't bad —and give her a pint night and mornin'. It's the most strengthening thing! But I've come round to tell you what the Women's Committee have decided on."

" Ah, indeed ?" said Mrs. Martin, inquiringly.

" We all feel to be dretful thankful the harvest's been so good, and--and—every thing's fetched up jest about right," intoned the widow ; " and so we thought it would be kind o' squarin' up with a marciful Providence to send a box or tew o' things cut to them poor soldiers that's a fightin' like all possessed ! It's only accordin' to Scripter, you know, and it would be a kind o' nice little Thanksgivin gift, now wouldn't it ?"

The widow drooped her eyelids sanctimoniously, and went on.

" Miss Darby's kindly gin us a bushel o' them sweet-potatoes they raised in the south pasture lot. They're a little damaged, not exactly fit for market, but there's no doubt the soldiers 'll be glad to get 'em ; and Miss Deacon Pettibone has promised us a lot o' that there fermented peach sass, and Desire Wallis has made up a sight o' book marks, and Widow Smith has cooked' a peck o' dough-nuts, without no sweetiain'. Sugar's to high, and 'tain't likely the soldier care for sweet stuff. As for me, I reely don't like to tell about my mite ; but I hunted up a few o' poor dear Deacon Taylor's old trowsers and coats in the garret a little moth eaten and rather tender, but I hain't no doubt they'll be welcome. Old Jones has giv' us half a pound o' tea and a pound o' candles, and Mr. Mariam contributes a set o' law-books, that they tell me is dretful improvin' readin'. And the Committee cale'lated you and Rachel would help us."

"Of course we will," assented Mrs. Martin, recovering promptly from the momentary bewilderment and amusement caused by the Widow Taylor's valuable list of' treasures ; "and—"

"Them I may as well be stirrin'," ejaculated the widow, jumping up ; "for I've got to see Miss Dr. Davison and Squire Ladd yet tonight. Goodevenin' t' ye — and don't forget the wider-bark tea !"

Mrs. Martin and Rachel both burst out laughing as the door closed.

'Poor Mrs. Taylor !" said Mrs. Martin.

" Mamma, how can she ?" demanded Rachel, indignatdy, " Such a box for the soldiers ! Why, it would only be an aggravation !"

" Never mind, Ray, dear," said her mother, soothingly ; " I'll make up a lot of real dough-nuts, and pack 'em round the biggest pair of turkeys father can find, with a box of little pumpkin pies; and you shall send a barrel of those golden pippins from the old tree beyond the brook—the tree Mark Douglas liked so well. They're in the garret, in that old green chest ; and be sure and put in plenty o' good clean straw to prevent their mellerin' against each other."

Rachel obeyed ; and Mrs. Martin never had the least idea of the tears she shed, with her trim little figure half into the barrel, as she packed the great fair yellow apples among the yellower straw. If the golden pippins could only have spoken, what a Thanksgiving story they might have told to the Army of the Potomac !

Mr. Martin's broad face beamed with satisfaction as he harnessed up old Dolly to carry the box and barrel to Boston.

" It's jest like you women-folks to keep thinkin' of such things," he declared. "Now it never wouldn't ha' come into my great wooden head—and jest to think how much better our Thanksgivin' dinner'll taste for rememberin' the poor fellows that's a-fightin' for us ! Gee up, Dolly !"

And Mr. Martin winked his misty eyes and cracked his whip simultaneously.

" I—don't--see--where—it---can—be !"

The golden vapors were all faded away from the sweet valley now—the gray November sky stretched its dreary canopy of cloud over the glens and forests, and the yellow leaves were raining sadly down around Ray Martin's feet as she hurriedly traversed .the mountain path, pushing aside the red and russet drifts with eager, tremulous fingers, and searching as if for some precious lost talisman.

"Oh, to think that I should have dropped it!" she faltered, half aloud. " While I wore it I could still fancy our parting was but a dream. Oh, where , could I have lost it 1"

And she sat down on the twisted beech-root and cried heartily, while the moaning of the chill wind brought back an echoing cadence to her ears.

" Gone—gone!"

" A barrel of golden pippins ! O Mars! isn't it jolly ?"

The first lieutenant executed an impromptu horn pipe around the barrel as Captain Douglas prized up the cover with a hammer.

"We're very much obliged to Company A," said the latter, sedately. " I hope you didn't forget that, Jennings ?"

"Oh, of course I did the polite. Company A was so obliging as to send us the barrel, and keep the great leviathan of a box for its own delectation. I just wish you could have seen Dodsley's face when he opened it !"

"What do you mean?"

Such a conglomeration of decaying Carolina potatoes, sour sweetmeats, old rags, and law-books ! I didn't stop to investigate very closely, however; it was my interest to roll the barrel down hill as fast as possible, lest Dodsley should repent of his generosity. I confess I was a little nervous while you were opening the barrel, lest it should contain cold victuals and pine kindlings. Hullo ! what's this?" he exclaimed, taking a slip of paper that had lain beneath the lid : " ' A Thanksgiving remembrance !' Much obliged to you, may unknown friend. I'll keep my Thanksgiving now."

Douglas caught the slip from his friend's hand; a deep flush rose into his cheek as he recognized Ray Martin's delicate and rather peculiar hand writing.

" The same old apples that used to lie like spheres of gold in the long grass of the river meadow! I thought I knew them !" he pondered. "Jennings—"

But Jennings had dodged out to promulgate the good tidings among his fellow-officers. At the same instant Mark Douglas's eye caught a foreign glitter among the yellow straw.

The turquoise ring !

His heart gave a sudden leap as he remembered the careless, half-romantic words with which he had placed it on her finger, And then came the revulsion of feeling.

" What a fool I am ! as if she could have known the destination of this chance gift !"

Yet above the cold and calculating voice of reason, a far more welcome tone kept repeating to the ear of his heart, with perpetual refrain,

" She has called me back to her, she has called me back!"


The twilight of Thanksgiving Eve was brooding darkly over Mr. Martin's great, old fashioned kitchen, where the glow of pine logs afforded the only illumination, and a shrill voiced cricket piped behind the chimney bricks. Ray saw the red gleams flickering on the leafless maples across the road, as she walked slowly down the sloping path, with a gray shawl wrapped round her head, and fresh carnations, born of the sharp, keen wind, on her cheeks.

She started in quick affright as a footstep sounded among the rustling leaves at her side, and a genetle touch fell on her arm.

" Ray!"

And then she knew that the troubled dream was over.

The old clock behind the strings of red popper had chimed nine before Rachel thought of the question that would have been most natural to ask first.

" But how—why—what made you come back ?"

'' You summoned me, Ray."

" I ? Never, Mark !"

He held up the turquoise ring with an arch look of defiance, and all at once the truth broke upon her.

" Let me put it on your finger once again, Ray, never to be removed except for the wedding ring of gold !"

She let her head droop an instant upon his shoulder, and then looked up through sparkling tears.

Oh, Mark, I think this will be the most real Thanksgiving of my life!"


WE young farmers of the new generation like to wear a smart shiny hat up in London. Our billy cocks and wide awakes are good enough for field and market, but up in the big town we've a fancy to be genteel ; and you may be sure I wanted to look nice that particular night the last of the Ctattle Show at Islington when I was going up to Uncle Ilbery's in Dalston, for Cousin Kitty is, with out exception, the most satirical young lady in London. How she did laugh at me that day I went with her to the Zoological Gardens, when I'd got a pair of gloves that were a size too small for me, and was all the way between the Angel and the Colosseum trying to force my fingers into them. She declared it was only my awlwardness that hindered their fitting, wouldn't let me stop to buy another pair, and, in short, teased my life out. And she looks so pretty all the time she's laughing at you that you can't he annoyed with her. No wonder, then, I wanted to look smart.

It was a darkish night, with a bit of a breeze blowing, as I picked my way through those quiet streets that lie between the Lower Road Islington and Dalston. I think they call that part De Beauvoir Town. Just as I came to the corner of a street, and was racking my brains for a repartee to Miss Kitty's first bit of satire, a strong puff of wind sprang up, whipped off my smart shiny hat as neat as need be, and dropped it into an area. This vat certainly a nuisance, but not a nuisance without remedy. I rang at the area bell once, twice, thrive, and got no answer. I sounded the lion's-head knocker once, twice, thrice, and got no answer. Then I looked up at the windows, and saw, what I had not observed before, that there was a bill in one of them announcing " This House to be Let." It




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