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Doc. 142.-cruise of the Florida.

Official rebel account.

C. S. Steamer Florida, St. George's, Bermuda, July 21, 1863.
To the Editors of The Daily Journal. Wilmington, N. C.
you and your readers are doubtless well aware that this steamer ran out of the harbor of Mobile on the sixteenth day of January, 1863, so I will say nothing on that head, but endeavor to give you a full account of what we have done since. Our first work was the hermaphrodite brig Estelle, of Boston, on her first voyage and homeward bound from Santa Cruz, with a full cargo of sugar and honey for the good people of Boston. But we consigned her to “Old Father Neptune.” She was valued at one hundred and thirty-eight thousand dollars.

In Havana we received our coal, stores, etc. At daylight on the morning of the twenty-second of January we catted our anchor and ran along the, coast eastward, and at eleven A. M. captured and burned the hermaphrodite brig Windward, from Matanzas, bound to Portland, and just at sunset we sent the hermaphrodite brig Corris Annie, of Philadelphia, on the same (fiery) road. She was within two hours sail of her destination, which was Cardenas. We left the Cuban coast for the Banks, and on the twenty-sixth dropped our anchor in the harbor of Nassau. Here we also took in our coal, and our hull looking any thing but Christian-like, we went to Green Keys to “paint ship.”

On the twenty-eighth January, came to an anchor, and for two or three days all hands were busy as bees, scrubbing the whitewash from our sides, and on the first day of February we started on a cruise. But a sail being reported, and proving to be the Yankee gunboat Sonoma, and being of heavier metal than us, we showed our heels; but for forty-eight hours she chased us, but got nothing for her pains, for on the third morning she could hardly be seen from the mast-head. From the time of eluding the Sonoma till the twelfth of February we saw no Yankee vessels, and all the boys were getting impatient for a prize, or even a sail, when we heard the masthead lookout sing out: “Sail, ho!”

Steam was raised and our propeller lowered, and at four P. M. we boarded her and found that she was indeed a prize. Her name was the Jacob Bell, from Foo-Chow, bound to New-York, with a valuable cargo of teas, silks, etc. We burned her and then went to Barbadoes.

Our next prize was the Star of Peace, which we captured on the twelfth of March; she was from Calcutta, bound to Boston, with saltpetre! The schooner Aldebaran was the next victim of [459] the pirate Florida. For fifteen days did we look for another, and she brought us the most needful article, and that was coal. The Lapwing was captured on the twenty-eighth, and sent a cruising against Yanks, and captured the ship Kate Dyer, and bonded her for forty thousand dollars. On the thirtieth March fell in with the bark M. J. Colcard, from New-York, bound to Cape Town, and she was burned.

On the line we met the Oreto, (Lapwing,) coaled, and then took a cruise along the line, and on the seventeenth April burned ship Commonwealth, from New-York for San Francisco. On the twenty-third April, burned the bark Henrietta, from Baltimore for Rio Janeiro. The next day (twenty-fourth) burned the ship Oneida, from Shanghae, for New-York, with tea. May sixth, took hermaphrodite brig Clarence, put one twelve-pounder howitzer, twenty men, and two officers on board, and sent her on a cruise. What execution Lieutenant Reed did, I refer you to the papers about. The Tacony was one of her prizes.

On the tenth of May we were in Pernambuco; sailed on the twelfth. Next day (May thirteenth) burnt ship Crown Point, another San Francisco packet from New-York. We then went to Seara, where we again coaled, and started for the Northern coast; and on the sixth June burnt ship Southern Cross, from San Francisco, bound to New-York. On the fourteenth June, burnt the ship Red Gauntlet, from Boston to Hong-Kong. From her we also got coals, but they were not good, as we afterward found out. On the sixteenth, took ship B. F. Hoxie, bound from California to England. From her we got about one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars' worth of silver, and burnt in her over fifty tons of silver ore.

On the twenty-seventh June, captured schooner V. H. Hill, and bonded her for ten thousand dollars, on condition that she would carry our prisoners, some fifty or more, to Bermuda. Our next prize was the ship Sunrise, eight days from New-York to Liverpool, having a neutral cargo, bonded her for sixty thousand nine hundred dollars; this was on the seventh July. We were now close to New-York; the eighth July we were not more than fifty or sixty miles from that city. About twelve M. this day (eighth) we exchanged signals with an English brig — another sail being reported, started in pursuit, and as the fog cleared up, saw a large steamer lying by her and had sent her boat alongside. We ran down until we saw the Yankee colors flying from her peak. “All hands” were then called to quarters.

After manoeuvring about half an hour, she finally ran down to us. As soon as she was near enough we hauled down the English colors, (which were flying at the time,) and showed to their view the “stars and bars,” and at the same time gave her a broadside. Her men ran from their after pivot and sought protection behind the ship's bulwarks. But the weather was in their favor, for just then the fog came down so dense that the Ericsson could not be seen, so all we could do was to wait till it cleared up. But judge our astonishment when it did clear up, to see the Yankee about five or six miles ahead of us, and travelling for Sandy Hook. Now it was we felt the need of good coal.

Our brave Captain Maffit offered one thousand five hundred dollars for fifteen pounds of steam, but we could not get but eight and ten pounds, although we used pitch and rosin. All hands were anxious to catch her, for she had been sent out to catch “rebel cruisers,” but she caught a tartar this time. But we had the pleasure of burning two vessels under her nose — the brig N. B. Nash, from New-York, and the whaling schooner Rienzi, from Provincetown; but the crew, however, had left when they saw us burn the brig. We showed the crew of the Nash the steamer Ericsson making tracks for New-York.

With a sad heart we left the Ericsson and steered for Bermuda, at which place we arrived on the sixteenth instant, and as soon as we coal we leave this place for a cruise, and you and your readers may be assured that the Florida will sustain her reputation, and do all she; can to annoy the Yankees. Hoping this will meet your approbation, I close. Respectfully, etc.

The following is a list of the deaths on board the Florida, since she commenced her cruise:

Seaman John Johnson, liver complaint; seaman Isaac White, lost overboard; seaman John Lohman,consumption; Surgeon Grafton, drowned near the line; James Sudley, steward; Paymaster Lynch, died at sea, of hemorrhage of the lungs.

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