This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
 next to impossible to keep the channel in darkness. The Sumter, therefore, had been compelled to lie at the head of the passes and watch for some opportunity in the absence of either the Brooklyn or the Powhatan to get to sea. Fortunately, neither of these vessels came up to the head of the passes, where, there being but a single channel, it would have been easy to prevent the exit of the Sumter. On June 30th, one bright morning, a boatman reported that the Brooklyn had gone off in chase of a sail. Immediately the Sumter was got under way, when it was soon discovered that the Brooklyn was returning, and that the two vessels were about equally distant from the bar. By steady courage and rare seamanship the Sumter escaped from her more swift pursuer, and entered on her career of cutting the enemy's sinews of war by destroying his commerce. Numerous armed vessels of the enemy were hovering on our coast, yet this one little cruiser created a general alarm, and, though a regularly commissioned vessel of the Confederacy, was habitually denounced as a ‘pirate,’ and the many threats to destroy her served only to verify the adage that the threatened live long. During her cruise up to January 17, 1862, she captured three ships, five brigs, six barks, and three schooners, but the property destroyed formed a very small part of the damage done to the enemy's commerce. Her appearance on the seas created such alarm that Northern ships were, to a large extent, put under foreign flags, and the carrying trade, in which the United States stood second only to Great Britain, passed rapidly into other hands. The Sumter, while doing all this mischief, was nearly self-sustaining, her running expenses to the Confederate government being but twenty-eight thousand dollars when, at the close of 1861, she arrived at Gibraltar. Not being able to obtain coal, she remained there until sold. Captain James D. Bullock, an officer of the old navy, of high ability as a seaman, and of an integrity which stood the test under which a less stern character might have given way, was our naval agent at Liverpool. In his office he disbursed millions, and when there was no one to whom he could be required to render an account, paid out the last shilling in his hands, and confronted poverty without prospect of other reward than that which he might find in a clear conscience. He contracted with the Messrs. Laird, of Birkenhead, to buld a strong steam merchant-ship—the same which was afterward christened the Alabama when, in a foreign port, she had received her armament crew. So much of puerile denunciation has been directed against the builder and the
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.