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[647] hesitated for a moment. It was only when the Oreto was about passing the corvette Oneida, on board of which he was, that he discovered his mistake. With a view of repairing it, he tried to run his own ship across the prow of the Confederate, at the risk of having her cut in two. But despite the broadside he fired into the adversary at very close quarters, he did not succeed in stopping her. Without wasting time in replying, the Oreto, pursued by three of the enemy's ships, riddled with balls and leaking everywhere, succeeded at last in reaching the shelter of the friendly guns of Fort Morgan, under the protection of which she soon repaired her damages.

The Washington government relieved Preble from command, to punish him for a neglect which, however, was perfectly excusable. But his successor was not more fortunate than he had been. At the end of December the Oreto, now called the Florida, fully equipped, better armed and furnished with a regular commission, again ran the Mobile blockade, and put out to sea under the orders of Maffit. Her depredations belong to the year 1863, and will find their place further on in our recital.

In the beginning of 1862 there was noticed in the ship-yards of Mr. Laird a beautiful corvette, numbered 290, ordered, it was said, by the Chinese government. This pretext could deceive no one; and Captain Bullock, who had superintended her construction with very particular care, did not hesitate in loudly proclaiming the use his government intended to make of this vessel against American commerce. Mr. Adams again notified the English government of the fact, as he had vainly done in regard to the Oreto. But Lord Russell, deceived by the custom-house officers of Liverpool, who, it is said, were the accomplices of Bullock and Mr. Laird, thought that he had ample time before him, and submitted the question concerning the seizure of No. 290 to the legal advisers of the Crown. It is almost useless to add that when the opinion of these advisers, asking for more satisfactory proofs regarding the destination of this vessel, was delivered, she was already far out at sea. On a fine day it was announced that she was to be chartered for a pleasure-party on the Mersey. She had come out of the dock with a large number of invited guests on board, a small crew, and without any of the

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