run his vessel on shore and burn her, for she was of no use to the Confederates in her then condition.
As soon as Maffitt discovered the Federal vessels, he stood directly for them, knowing that, as the Florida resembled an English gun-boat, she would probably be mistaken for one, and trusting to his speed to save him at the last moment.
Intelligence had been received at Pensacola.
the headquarters of the squadron, of the Florida's having left Nassau; but no news of her having reached Cardenas had followed, and for some reason no intimation had been sent to the fleet off Mobile that she was on a cruise.
At that time English ships-of-war were in the habit of going along the coast to see if the blockade was effectual, and it was customary for them to enter blockaded ports after reporting to the commanding officer of the blockading force and obtaining his permission.
Commander Preble, thinking this to be a case of that kind, ran out to meet the supposed Englishman, and rounded-t