With a summary afforded by the naval records office at Washington.
On the 6th October, 1864, the Confederate steamer Florida
was captured at Bahia
, a neutral port, in violation of an agreement which, to all intents and purposes, amounted to a flag of truce.
This loss of the Florida
, not known to us for weeks after, left the Confederacy
without a cruiser afloat; but on the 7th, the very next day, the Sea King
sailed from London
to assume her place on the high seas, as the Confederate steamer Shenandoah
, with instructions to visit the whaling grounds and destroy the American
These vessels were owned principally in the New England
States, and at one time had been a source of great revenue and at all times an element of much pride to that section of country.
The officers were brave and experienced men, exceptionally good sailors and navigators, and they carried their ships without hesitation anywhere and everywhere in pursuit of their game, and often as fast as they filled up with oil the cargo would be transferred to an empty ship and sent home, and then the hunt would be resumed by the same ship, and so on for years.
, the Sea King
went direct to Funchal
, where her purchase was to be completed by her transfer to the Confederate government.
There she signalled the steamer Laurel
, at anchor in the harbor, waiting with officers and munitions of war, she having arrived two days before from Liverpool
blockade runner, commanded by Captain Ramsey
, a young Englishman of energy and resources.