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A pursuer of many prizes — the “Santiago de Cuba This vigilant blockader was one of the first to see active service. As early as December 3, 1861, Commander D. B. Ridgely brought her ten guns to bear upon the schooner “Victoria” and captured her off Point Isabel on her way to the West Indies with a cargo of cotton. In February of the next year, the “Santiago” caught the sloop “O. K.” off Cedar Keys, Florida. The next month she drove a blockade-runner ashore. On April 23, 1862, she captured two schooners and (two days later) a steamer, all on their way from Charleston loaded with cotton. On April 30th she added to her prizes the schooner “Maria,” and on May 27th the schooner “Lucy C. Holmes,” both with more cotton; on August 3, 1862, at sea, the steamer “Columbia,” loaded with munitions of war, and on August 27th the schooner “Lavinia” with a cargo of turpentine. In 1863 the side-wheel steamer “Britannia” and the blockade-runner “Lizzie” were her captures, the former loaded heavily with cotton. Cotton was so valuable at this stage of the war that if a blockade-runner attempted to lighten herself by throwing over a part of her cargo, volunteers were called for from the crew of the closest vessel pursuing to swim out and climb up on the cotton-bales until they could be recovered for their own particular ship after the prize was made. In 1864, after capturing the famous blockade-runner “A. D. Vance” and the “Lucy,” the “Santiago de Cuba” served with distinction at Fort Fisher.

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