The Blockader's last Run.
But it was in Galveston harbor that the last and most brilliant event in a civil war career occurred under the eyes of the entire city.
Old men tell of it yet, although with years the memory of the deed is dimmed.
In broad daylight Captain Austin
ran the blockade of the port with his ship, the Susanna
, and brought provisions and war supplies to a distressed land.
It was the last year of the struggle, the result of which was already foregone.
Almost all of the blockaded ports along the Atlantic
and the Gulf
had been captured, and the entire Southern squadron was blockading the harbor.
The story of the event, as told by the commander of the United States
, which led the chase, has already been published in the New York World
under the title of ‘A Dash Through a Fleet.’
The authority for the tale already told was unacquainted with the identity of the captain of the vessel
he had chased, but with due consideration gives him credit for being ‘the coolest man that ever walked a quarterdeck.’
was built on the Clyde
, and was a long, low steamer built for speed and concealment.
Time after time she had run into Galveston harbor through the fleet collected outside, but always before at night.
Her arrival was regular and always on time.
When expected she always turned up tied at the wharf in the morning.
Her last run was momentous.
with a cargo of gunpowder and provisions, calculations had been made, as formerly, to arrive off the harbor under cover of darkness, but a break in the machinery caused delay.
Steaming along, Captain Austin
found himself one morning but a few miles off Galveston
and in sight of the blockading fleet.
As yet he was unseen, owing to the low construction of his ship, and he decided to run out to sea; but inquiry below elicited the information that the supply of coal would not be sufficient for twelve hours more.
The only alternative was to make for a place of concealment under the shore, and thither the prow was turned.
But the overhanging smoke had attracted the attention of the fleet, and a ship of war was fast bearing down upon the daring blockade runner.
Without a moment's hesitancy Captain Austin
determined to run the gauntlet.
The course was again changed and the Susanna
headed directly for the bar. A dozen shipps barred her way.