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[222] merchantmen. Nearing the harbor on her return voyage, she found it blockaded, and a heavy vessel lying close on her track. Her daring commander headed directly for the vessel, and ran so close under her guns that he was not suspected in her approach, and had passed so far before the guns could be depressed to bear upon her that none of the shots took effect. Being little more than a shell, a single shot would have sunk her; she was indebted to the address of her commander and the speed of his vessel for her escape. Wholly unsuited for naval warfare, this voyage terminated her career.

A different class of vessels from those adapted to the open sea was employed for coastwise cruising. In the month of July, 1864, a swift twin-screw propeller called the Atlanta, of six hundred tons burden, was purchased by the Secretary of the Navy and fitted out in the harbor of Wilmington, North Carolina, for a cruise against the commerce of the Northern states. Commander J. Taylor Wood, an officer of extraordinary ability and enterprise, was ordered to command her, and her name was changed to the Tallahassee. This extemporaneous manof-war ran safely through the blockade, and soon lit up the New England coast with her captures, which consisted of two ships, four brigs, four barks, and twenty schooners. Great was the consternation among Northern merchants. The construction of the Tallahassee exclusively for steam made her dependent on coal; her cruise was of course brief, but brilliant while it lasted.

About the same time another fast double-screw propeller of five hundred eighty-five tons, called the Edith, ran into Wilmington, North Carolina, and the Navy Department, requiring her services, bought her and gave to her the name of Chickamauga. A suitable battery was placed on board, with officers and crew, and Commander John Wilkinson, a gentleman of consummate naval ability, was ordered to command her. When ready for sea, he ran the blockade under the bright rays of a full moon. Strange to say, the usually alert sentinels neither hailed nor halted her. Like the Tallahassee, though partially rigged for sailing, she was exclusively dependent upon steam in the chase, escape, and in all important evolutions. She captured seven vessels, despite the abovenoticed defects.

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