Running the Blockade.
--An Exciting Chase.
--The following, says the Liverpool Mercury,
of April 25th, is an extract from a letter received from one of the crew of the Confederate steamer Cornubia
, a little steamer which has successfully run the blockade of Wilmington
I will now give a few particulars about our narrow escape last trip.
We made a fine run across from here, but were just too late for the tide; so we steamed out to sea again, and lay to in a fog, so as to give the men a little rest.
On the 1st of March, (a Sunday morning,) about 10 o'clock, the fog cleared, and there was a thundering big Yankee bearing down upon us. We just managed to get properly under way, when her shot began to fall rather close to us. Away we went, and she after us, at full speed, keeping her ground well for several hours, although each time she fired we had gained on her, and not one shot or shell hit us, we going seventeen to eighteen knots per hour.
A fine fair wind was blowing, and as it freshened she "cracked" on all her canvas, and, being to windward of us, we could not double her, and she then began to gain on us, until we had to throw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
One hundred and fifty barrels of gunpowder went, (I was glad to see it, for one of the Yankee
's shells might have popped into it and blown us all up,) and then we went ahead again, and by dark had gained fifteen miles on her, and it was then we gave her the slip and ran back for Wilmington
She chased us from ten o'clock till seven, 150 miles away from the bar. It was a splendid sight to see us flying through the water with the Yankee
after us, the shells cracking and fizzing through the water.
We did not get back to the place we started from until nine o'clock on Monday morning, all pretty well knocked up, and just too late for the tide, and with only a few tons of coal left.
We could see twelve blockaders lying off the port.
It was then agreed we would leave the ship and blow her up; so steaming into a nice little bay, we dropped anchor, go the boats out, and everything ready for a start.
Such a scene!
I cannot describe it, but hope some day to relate it to you. We were only eight miles from the fleet.
It was telegraphed up to Wilmington
, "The Cornubia
is in danger," and the excitement became very great all through the town.
They then sent some heavy guns and surf boats to land us in, as a heavy surf runs along that coast; and the commander of the fort sent word he would protect us if we liked to risk it and run in. At four o'clock that afternoon we did risk it, and steamed slowly up the coast.
When within five miles of the bar the Yankees
saw us. The whole fleet shipped their cables and came in after us. What excitement everywhere!
I shall never forget it. They opened fire on us just as we crossed the bar; then the fort opened fire on them and kept them off until we were safely in. Thousands were on the beach to welcome us, and grated us with loud and hearty cheers as we steamed slowly up to Wilmington
, where we met with a very warm reception, I assure you, and had a glorious night's rest.
We had no trouble whatever in coming out again.