Doc. 66.-capture of the Annie Thompson.
St. Catherine's Sound, Ga., Feb. 6, 1864.On Saturday, January fifteenth, we were startled by the cry of “Sail ho!” and what could be more welcome to a blockader that is short of provisions; but, to our astonishment, it came from the direction of the Medway River; and when this was known, the excitement was beyond description. There, not over nine miles, in what is known as Milliken's Creek, lay the identical craft we had been watching for about six weeks, and we were to lose her after all. No! says our Executive, we will try and see what can be done. Volunteers were in abundance, all hands wishing to say they had done something for their country's cause; the boat was ready for the start, and the order was countermanded, as the vessel went out of sight behind Milliken's Point. “Now, boys, our prize has slipped.” “No, she has not,” says Executive, “for you will see her again.” “Yes, and that will be all the benefit we'll derive from her,” says one of the boys. “There she is again, in full sight; call away the first cutter!” and off started our Irish smack, with twelve men and an officer for the expected prize. After a hard pull of about an hour, we came up to within a mile of the stranger; at this point, we set our colors, which were greeted with as loud a cheer as ever resounded over the waters of St. Catherine's. When within musket-shot, the two bow-oarsmen take in their oars, and pick up their muskets, ready for the first suspicious movement on board of the would-be blockade-runner. We ran alongside, and jumped on board, with pistol in hand. Four men being on board, our officer inquires: “What vessel is this?” “The sloop Annie Thompson.” “Where from?” “Sunbury.” “Where are you bound?” “Nassau.” “Where is she owned?” “Savannah.” “You are a prize to the United States bark Fernandina. Boys, set our colors.” There, not over one thousand yards, was the village of Sunbury, guarded by a rebel picket of ten men, who witnessed the capture of one of their craft at their very door-sills. Of the four men found on board, two claimed to be passengers and two claimed to be crew; and they state that they were trying to run the blockade on the previous night, but had grounded and were unable to get her off. The captain, fearing a capture, left at daylight, taking with him all of the nautical instruments belonging to the vessel. The pilot has run the gauntlet several times; but he, like the captain, thought he would skedaddle. The crew represent the cargo to consist of thirty-eight bales of upland cotton, forty-five boxes tobacco, and twenty-five barrels spirits of turpentine. The vessel is about forty tons, and is built of Georgia pine, and, with cargo, will probably realize something like thirty thousand dollars. This vessel is rather a queer specimen of shipbuilding, and by looking at this novelty one can easily see what men will undertake (meaning the passengers) to escape the tyrannical rule of the Southern Confederacy.