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The Confederate cruisers. by Professor James Russell Soley, U. S. N. The first of the ocean cruisers of the Confederate navy, as distinguished from the privateers, was the Sumter. This steamer, formerly the Habana, of the New Orleans and Havana line, was altered into a ship-of-war in April and May, 1861, and, under the command of Captain Raphael Semmes, escaped from the Mississippi early in July, after an unsuccessful chase by the Brooklyn, which was at the time blockading the mouth of the river. Her cruise lasted six months, during which she made fifteen prizes. Of these seven were destroyed, one was ransomed, one recaptured, and the remaining six were sent into Cienfuegos, where they were released by the Cuban authorities. In January the Sumter arrived at Gibraltar, where she was laid up and finally sold. The Confederate Government early recognized that in order to attack the commerce of the United States with any hope of success it must procure cruisers abroad. For thi