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A late capture--December, 1864--flying the British flag In this blockade-runner is seen the type of vessel in which foreign capital was lavishly invested. She is still flying the British flag, under which she plied her trade, and appears to have been the property of a syndicate of British merchants. In the early stages of the war the Confederacy purchased a number of vessels abroad for use as privateers and blockade-runners. In the beginning the latter were officered by members of the Confederate navy, but later in the war blockade-running became so profitable that the Confederacy could afford to leave it almost entirely to private initiative, rendering such assistance as was needed to enable the vessels to make port or to discharge their cargo in case they were driven on the beach. with the exception of a lighthouse which the Confederates established on the “Mound” near Port Fisher, there were no guides for blockade-runners at night, except the glow of fires of the ever-busy salt-works and the range lights which were put out in the various channels only after the vessel had exchanged signals with the shore and which were removed immediately after she had made port. It is a remarkable fact that no blockade-runner commanded by an officer of the Confederate navy was ever captured. The famous veteran, the “Robert E. Lec,” the best blockade-runner of the Confederacy and long commanded by Lieut-Commander John Wilkinson, C. S. N., did not meet her fate until October, 1863, on the very first trip she made after Commander Wilkinson had been superseded at Halifax, N. S. by an officer from the merchant marine.

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December, 1864 AD (1)
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