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Admiral David D. Porter, The Naval History of the Civil War., Chapter 45: the cruise of the Sumter and the havoc she committed. (search)
inexpediency of keeping his ship full of Northerners that might some day rise and overpower his crew. Commander Semmes had already received his cue from the Confederate authorities, but it would detract from his reputation for cleverness to believe that he imagined himself invested with authority to commit such an act as he had intimated, and we will be charitable enough to think that his expressions on the subject were simply gasconade. When one of the men captured in the privateer Jeff Davis was convicted of piracy in the Philadelphia Court, the Confederate Government issued the following order, which Semmes took for his guide, apparently forgetting that, while his Government might incur the responsibility, he, not the one hundred thousandth part of that Government, had no more right to commit such an act than the commonest seaman in his vessel. The letter of Mr. Secretary Benjamin, which came so near causing murder to be done on the high seas, is herewith inserted, showing t