Detailed account of the burning of the Alvarade — Masked Batteries on the Florida Coast.
It was recently stated that the U. S. sloop-of-war Jamestown
, Commander Green
, seized and burned the bark Alvarado
, off Fernandina, Fla.
, on the 5th ult. It appears she had been captured by the privateer Jeff. Davis
, and was stranded on the Florida coast
eight hundred yards from shore, to prevent her re-capture by the Jamestown
A correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer, in a letter dated ‘"Off Fernandina
,"’ after giving an account of the pursuit of the Jamestown
and the stranding of the Alvarado
by her crew, says:
Soon after she stranded, her boats were lowered, and her crew escaped, carrying with them, no doubt, all available valuables, and leaving the bark with all sail on, to drift farther in shore, in the vain hope of afterwards getting her off or discharging her cargo in boats.
By this time the Jamestown
had got near enough, it was thought, to bring the bark within range of her guns, the intention being to destroy the vessel by shelling her.--The anchor was then dropped and sails furled, and the starboard guns opened upon the stranded vessel; but all the shots fell short, and, as the sea shoals very quickly along this coast, it was not deemed advisable to run in nearer the shore.
It was then determined to take her in boats, notwithstanding the fear of there being masked batteries on shore, and which really proved to be the case; for the enemy had some very heavy ordnance mounted some short distance from the stranded vessel, and were busily engaged in bringing down some pieces of field artillery to protect the bark in case she was attacked by any boats.
Everything on shore exhibited the greatest excitement.
Companies were seen marching along the beach, pieces of artillery drawn by horses, and mounted men galloping hither and thither, made quite an exciting scene, and crowds of people lined the beach, anxiously awaiting the result of an attack.
The boats of the Jamestown
were now called away, armed and manned, and consisted of the launch, officered by Second Lieut. Flusser
, (who had command of the expedition,) and accompanied by Assistant Surgeon Cleborne
, and Lieut. Hewston
, in command of the marines; first cutter, under command of Lieut. Phythian
, accompanied by Acting Master Chisholm
; and third cutter, in charge of Midshipman H. B. Tyson
As soon as the enemy saw the boats Iroisted
out they were seen to arm a boat with a small piece of cannon and a party of men, evidently with the intention of boarding the bark and defending her against any attack.
At the same time the shore batteries opened, it was at first thought, with the intention of destoying the vessel, but this was discovered not to be their object; they were merely trying the range of their guns.
All being ready, the cutters left the ship's side, and were soon followed by the launch, on which was mounted a boat howitzer, and was excellently manned for the occasion.
As the expedition neared the bark, the launch took the lead, having her gun loaded with grape shot, and kept bearing on the vessel's deck, where it was expected that the enemy had mounted a gun, but fortunately they had not succeeded in doing so. The boats advanced in good order under a galling and most dangerous fire from the batteries on shore, round after round being fired upon them, fortunately without doing any injury; under this fire they reached the vessel's side, the balls falling pretty thickly over their heads and around them; and in a few moments the crew, headed by their gallant commander and followed by the rest of the officers, reached her deck without any opposition.--She proved to be the bark Alvarado
, of Boston
, from the Cape of Good Hope
, and had been captured only a short time before by the privateer Jeff. Davis
, and was now on her way to Savannah, Ga.
, with a prize crew on board, and had as prisoners the captain and his wife.
All the ship's papers and instruments were secured, and then finding it impossible to get her off, it was decided to set her on fire, which was efficiently done in three places, and as her cargo consisted of Manilla rope, hemp and wool, she soon became enveloped in flames.
About this time a gun was fired from the Jamestown
, and the signal of recall hoisted.
Before leaving the burning vessel the Stars and Stripes were run up to the gaff, and then the boats shoved off as quickly as possible, as an armed steamer was steaming towards them with the intention of cutting them off from their ship; but the sloop-of-war had seen her object, and had hauled up her anchor and was running in to cover her boats with her guns.
The batteries on shore, which had ceased firing soon after the vessel was boarded, recommenced their cannonade, all the balls falling short of the mark.
Soon after this, the steamer finding, if she continued the chase, she would soon be within reach of the guns of the Jamestown
, turned round and made her way towards the shore.
The boats reached the ship in safety and were hauled in, all sail was set, and the Jamestown
sailed rapidly away from the scene, leaving the captors to mourn the loss of their burning prize.