previous next

C. S. S. Savannah, the

The most notable of the Confederate privateers at the beginning of the Civil War was the Savannah, Capt. T. H. Baker, of Charleston, S. C. She was a little schooner which had done duty in Charleston harbor as a pilot-boat, only fifty-four tons' burden. She sallied out of Charleston Harbor at the close of May, 1861, captured a Maine merchant brig, and proceeded in search of other prizes. On June 3 she fell in with the National brig Perry, which she mistook for a merchant vessel, but, discovering her mistake, attempted to escape. After a [76] sharp fight the Savannah was captured and sent to New York. She was the first vessel captured bearing the Confederate flag. Her captain and crew were tried for piracy in New York, under the proclamation of President Lincoln of April 19, 1861. President Davis, in a letter to President Lincoln, threatened to deal with prisoners in his hands precisely as the captain and crew of the Savannah should be dealt with. He held Col. Michael Corcoran, of the 69th New York (Irish) Regiment, and others as hostages, to suffer death in case that penalty should be inflicted on the prisoners of the Savannah. The case attracted much

The C. S. S. Savannah, Confederate privateer.

attention at home and abroad, and in the British Parliament it was argued that, as the Confederates possessed belligerent rights the prisoners were privateers, not pirates. Judge Charles P. Daly, of New York, argued that they were on the same level in the grade of guilt with every Confederate soldier, and that if one must suffer death for piracy, the other must suffer death for treason; and the government having so far conceded belligerent rights to the Confederates as to exchange prisoners of war, it could not consistently make a distinction between prisoners taken on land and on the sea. He recommended, as a measure of expediency, that the President should treat the prisoners as “privateersmen” and prisoners of war. This recommendation was followed.

The first steamship that crossed the Atlantic. She was projected by Daniel Dodd; was built in New York City by Francis Ficket for Mr. Dodd, and was of 300 tons burden. Stephen Vail, of Morristown, N. J., built her engines, and on Aug. 22, 1818, she was launched, gliding gracefully into the element which was to bear her to foreign lands, there to be crowned with the laurels of success. On May 25 this purely American-built vessel left Savannah, Ga., and glided out from its waste of marshes, under the command of Capt. Moses Rogers, with Stephen Rogers as navigator. The port of New London, Conn., had furnished [77] these able seamen. The steamer reached Liverpool June 20, the passage having occupied twenty-six days, upon eighteen of which she had used her paddles. On the arrival of the vessel on the coast of Ireland, Lieut. John Bowie, of the King's cutter Kite, sent a boat-load of sailors to board the Savannah to assist her crew to extinguish the fires of what his Majesty's officers supposed to be a burning ship. the Savannah, after visiting Liverpool, continued her voyage on July 23, and reached St. Petersburg in safety. Leaving the latter port on Oct. 10, this adventurous craft completed the round voyage upon her arrival at Savannah, Nov. 30.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
May, 1861 AD (1)
April 19th, 1861 AD (1)
August 22nd, 1818 AD (1)
November 30th (1)
October 10th (1)
July 23rd (1)
June 20th (1)
June 3rd (1)
May 25th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: