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[140] was required to report and to wait for the captain to come on deck before slipping the cable. The Oneida, when she saw the signal from the flagship, beat to quarters, but remained at anchor; and at 3.50, ‘having seen no vessel running out, beat a retreat.’1So says her log. The Cuyler, however, saw the Florida distinctly, and chased her during the rest of the night and the whole of the day; but though the blockading steamer could make at times fourteen knots, her highest speed that day was twelve and a half. At night the Florida changed her course and ran off to Cuba, where she was burning prizes the next day, while the Cuyler was looking for her in the Yucatan channel.

On the day after the Florida ran out, the Oneida was sent to Key West with despatches for Admiral Bailey, informing him of the escape of the Florida. Bailey sent her to the coast of Cuba; but she missed the Confederate cruiser, and Wilkes, commanding the Flying Squadron, having fallen in with her, constituted her a part of his force, as well as the Cuyler, to the no small injury of the blockade; an act which subsequently brought down upon him the displeasure of the Department.

Galveston, the third point of importance in the Gulf, was, like Mobile, comparatively easy of blockade, except against vessels of the lightest draft. The absence of strong fortifications, especially in the early part of the war, enabled the blockading vessels to he near the shore; and the town was exposed to the fire of the squadron, as it found to its cost in August, 1861, when a shore battery fired upon one of the South Carolina's tenders. Alden was then commanding the blockading force, and he brought the South Carolina, which drew only twelve feet, within a mile of the shore, and opened

1 Meaning ‘beat the retreat.’

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