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[322] than equal to the contest—cheered on by the acclamations of the Laurel, which was steaming away from the land we love—to tell the tale of those who would rejoice that another Confederate cruiser was afloat.

But work was to be done! The Sea King was to be metamorphosed into a cruiser, and armed with a battery for which she was not constructed. The deck was to be cleared, the stores put away, the guns mounted, gun ports cut in the vessel's sides, and the ship put in readiness to uphold the honor of the Confederate flag; all was to be done in mid-ocean, without an organized force, and with a small crew never before associated together.

While this situation was itself embarrassing, other embarrassments forced themselves on the mind of Lieutenant Waddell. In his memoir of his cruise he wrote: The novel character of my political position embarrassed me more than the feeble condition of my command, and that was fraught with painful apprehensions enough. I had the compass to guide me as a sailor, but my instructions made me a magistrate in a new field of duty and where the law was not very clear even to lawyers. I was on all matters to act promptly and without counsel; but my admiral instructions and the instincts of honor and patriotism that animated every Southern gentleman who bore arms in the South, buoyed me up with the hope and supported me amid the difficulties and responsibilities bearing upon me.

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James Iredell Waddell (1)
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