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[218] uninhabited island ‘Green Kay,’ ninety miles to the southward of Providence Island, with a tender in tow having equipments provided by a Confederate merchant, where she anchored the next day, and proceeded to take on board her military armament sent out on the tender. She now became a ship of the Confederate Navy, and was christened Florida. Her long detention in Nassau had caused the ship to be infected with yellow fever, and, as she had no surgeon on board, the vessel was directed to the island of Cuba, and ran into the harbor of Cardenas for aid. The crew was reduced to one fireman and two seamen, and eventually the captain was prostrated by the fever. The governor of Cardenas, under his view of the neutrality proclaimed by his government, refused to send a physician aboard, and warned the steamer that she must leave in twenty-four hours. Lieutenant Stribling, executive officer of the ship, had been sent to Havana to report her condition to the captain-general, Marshal Serrano. That chivalrous gentleman, soldier, and statesman, at once invited the ship to the hospitalities of the harbor of Havana, whither she repaired and received the kindness which her forlorn situation required.

On September 1, 1862, the vessel left Havana to obtain a crew; to complete her equipment, which was so imperfect that her guns could not all be used, the vessel was directed to the harbor of Mobile. On approaching that harbor she found several blockading vessels on the station, and boldly ran through them, escaping, with considerable injury to her masts and rigging, to the friendly shelter of Fort Morgan, where, while in quarantine, Lieutenant Stribling was attacked with fever and died. He was an officer of great merit, and his loss was much regretted, not only by his many personal friends, but by all who foresaw the useful service he could render to his country if his life were prolonged. Under the disadvantages of being an infected ship and remote from the workshops, repairs were commenced, and the equipment of the ship completed.

In the meantime the blockading squadron had been increased, with the boastful announcement that the cruiser should be ‘hermetically sealed’ in the harbor of Mobile. Some impatience was manifested after the vessel was ready for sea that she did not immediately go out, but Captain Maffitt, with sound judgment and nautical skill, decided to wait for a winter storm and a dark night before attempting to pass through the close investment. When the opportunity offered, he steamed out into a rough sea and a fierce north wind. As he passed the blockading squadron he was for the first time discovered, when a number of vessels gave chase, and continued the pursuit throughout the night and the

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