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 next day. In the next evening all except the two fastest had hauled off, and as night again closed in, the smoke and canvas of the Florida furnished their only guide. Captain Maffitt thus describes the ruse by which he finally escaped: ‘The canvas was secured in long, neat bunts to the yards, and the engines were stopped. Between high, toppling seas, clear daylight was necessary to enable them to distinguish our low hull. In eager pursuit the Federals swiftly passed us, and we jubilantly bade the enemy good night, and steered to the northward.’ She was now fairly on the high seas, and after long and vexatious delays entered on her mission to cruise against the enemy's commerce. She commenced her captures in the Gulf of Mexico, then progressed through the Gulf of Florida to the latitude of New York, and thence to the equator, continuing to 12° south, and returned again within thirty miles of New York. When near Cape St. Roque, Captain Maffitt capured a Baltimore brig, the Clarence, and fitted her out as a tender. He placed on her Lieutenant C. W. Read, commander, fourteen men armed with muskets, pistols, and a twelve-pound howitzer. The instructions were to proceed to the coast of America, to cruise against the enemy's commerce. Under these orders he destroyed many Federal vessels. Of him Captain Maffitt wrote: ‘Daring, even beyond the point of martial prudence, he entered the harbor of Portland at midnight, and capture the revenue Cutter Caleb Cushing; but, instead of instantly burning her, ran her out of the harbor; being thus delayed, he was soon captured by a Federal expedition sent out against him.’ While under the command of Captain Maffitt the Florida, with her tenders, captured some fiftyfive vessels, many of which were of great value. The Florida being built of light timbers, her very active cruising had so deranged her machinery that it was necessary to go into some friendly harbor for repairs. Captain Maffitt says: ‘I selected Brest, and, the Government courteously consented to the Florida having the facilities of the navy-yard, she was promptly docked.’ The effects of the yellow fever from which he had suffered and the fatigue attending his subsequent service had so exhausted his strength that he asked to be relieved from command of the ship. In compliance with this request, Captain C. M. Morris was ordered to relieve him. After completing all needful repairs, Captain Morris proceeded to sea and sighted the coast of Virginia, where he made a number of important captures. Turning from that locality he crossed the equator, destroying the commerce of the Northern states on his route to Bahia. Here he obtained coal, and also had some repairs done to the engines, when the United States steamship Wachusett entered the harbor. Not
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