make exciting reading.
Their careers, however, were all short; many of the blockade-runners kept at sea much longer.
The Robert E. Lee
, under the command of Captain John Wilkinson
, C. S. N., ran the blockade no less than twenty-one times, and carried out from six thousand to seven thousand bales of cotton worth two million dollars in gold, at the same time bringing back return cargoes of equal value.
On November 9, 1863, she attempted to run in once more from the island of Bermuda
, but Wilkinson
and his luck had deserted her; she was under the command of another captain, and was captured off Cape Lookout
shoals by the steamer James Adger
and taken to Boston
as a prize.
As many of these captured blockade-runners were added to the squadrons off the coast, the hare became a member of the pack of hounds, and not a few of them, like the Bat, A. D. Vance
and others, helped chase their sister vessels to their death.
Over three hundred piled their bones along the shore — in fact, every harbor-mouth of the South
was dotted with them.
On the 31st of January, 1863, there took place a brilliant and famous attempt on the part of the Confederate naval forces in Charleston
to break the blockade, when the ironclads Palmetto State
actually put out from their harbor and steamed some distance out to sea, these rams having engaged several strong Federal gunboats, capturing one and putting the others to flight.
, the senior officer
of the attack, was fully persuaded that he had broken the blockade, and upon his return to Charleston
so reported to General Beauregard
The latter did everything in his power to force this claim upon the attention of foreign governments, for if the consuls of European
nations at Charleston
would have acted upon such representation, it would have been necessary for the Federal Government
to have established a fresh blockade in accordance with the laws of nations.
However, to put it briefly, although this intrepid exploit came as a thunderclap to the North
, the great Federal armada had