William Gowin, one of the wounded in the late action of this ship with the Alabama. He was a brave and gallant sailor, and by his cheerfulness, when suffering under a most excruciating wound, afforded a most encouraging example. When the cheer was heard on the surrender of the Alabama, he insisted that the doctor should go up and join, saying he would be willing to bear a dozen such wounds to hear that cheer. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Letters from the Secretary of the Navy.
Navy Department, July 8, 1864.sir: The department will recommend to Congress to appropriate for distribution on board the Kearsarge the value of the Alabama, and you will please send a muster-roll of your ship, and all the information you can obtain as to the armament of the Alabama, and her complement of officers and men. You do not inform the department of the circumstances under which the yacht Deerhound was permitted to act as a tender to the Alabama, and carry off your guns, the pirate captain and his first lieutenant, and many of his crew. I notice, by the last mail from England, that it is reported you have paroled the foreign pirates captured on board the Alabama; I trust you have not committed this error of judgment. They should be held at every sacrifice, and either sent home in the St. Louis, or brought here by yourself. Very respectfully, etc.,
Navy Department, July 12, 1864.sir: Your despatch of the twenty-first ultimo (No. 21) is received, stating your efforts to save the lives of the survivors of the Alabama, after the battle of the nineteenth of June, and after the formal surrender and destruction of that vessel. Your efforts in the cause of humanity, in striving to rescue these men, most of them aliens, who have, under their ignoble leader-himself a deserter from our service and a traitor to our flag-been for nearly two years making piratical war on unarmed merchantmen, are rightly appreciated. It is to be regretted that the confidence and generous sympathy which you exercised, and which would actuate all honorable minds under similar circumstances, should have been so requited and abused by the persons on board the Deerhound, an English vessel, of the royal yacht squadron. That the wretched commander of the sunken corsair should have resorted to any dishonorable means to escape after his surrender; that he should have thrown overboard the sword that was no longer his; that before encountering an armed antagonist, the mercenary rover should have removed the chronometers, and other plunder stolen from peaceful commerce, are not matters of surprise, for each act is characteristic of one who has been false to his country and flag. You could not have expected, however, that gentlemen, or those claiming to be gentlemen, would, on such an occasion, act in bad faith, and that having been called upon or permitted to assist in rescuing persons or property which had been surrendered to you, would run away with either. It is now evident that your confidence in the Deerhound, and the persons connected with her, was misplaced. The department commends your efforts to save the lives of drowning men, although they had been engaged in robbing and destroying the property of those who had never injured them. In paroling the prisoners, however, you committed a grave error. The Alabama was an English-built vessel, armed and manned by Englishmen; has never had any other than an English register; has never sailed under any recognized national flag since she left the shores of England; has never visited any port of North-America, and her career of devastation, since she went forth from England, is one that does not entitle those of her crew who were captured to be paroled. This department expressly disavows that act. Extreme caution must be exercised, so that we in no way change the character of this English-built and English-manned, if not English-owned vessel, or relieve those who may be implicated in sending forth this robber upon the seas from any responsibility to which they may be liable for the outrages she has committed. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Paroling of Lieutenant J. D. Wilson, of the Alabama.
Mr. Adams, and deeming the circumstances warranted it, I paroled Mr. Wilson, handing to him the note, a copy of which is forwarded. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Joseph D. Wilson, late lieutenant on board the Alabama, has been so honorable, first in presenting himself on board the Kearsarge, and surrendering himself, when it was