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[107]

The remains of the “Ruby” soon after her capture by U. S. S. “Proteus,” February, 1865 Here on the beach of Morris Island lies all that was left of the swift and doughty blockade-runner “Ruby.” She was one of the most successful of her kind. She was busy early in 1862, plying between Nassau and Charleston. Not until February 27, 1865, while trying to get in with an assorted cargo of the type usually denominated “hardware,” was she at last entrapped. The Federal screw-steamer “Proteus,” Commander R. W. Shufeldt, picked up her scent and gave chase, with the result seen in the picture. It was for taking such risks as these that the captains of the blockade-runners received $5,000 a month instead of the $150 which was the prevailing rate in the merchant service before the war. Officers and crews were paid in like proportion. Coal was worth $20 a ton instead of $4, as formerly. The whole expense of the trip was from three to four times what it would have been in time of peace, and yet a single cargo of cotton was worth from a quarter of a million to a million dollars, and the freight rates in and out ranged from $300 to $1,000 a ton. It was too alluring a business to be deterred by difficulty and danger. As Disraeli remarked, the exploits of the blockade-runners “increase our respect for the energy of human nature.”

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