of familiarizing myself with her, and hit on the plan of letting me join her in London
On the early morn of October 8, 1864, I crawled over her side, at the forerigging, and the ship in a few moments left the dock and went down the Thames
To everybody on board except Captain Corbett
, who was in our confidence, I was Mr. Brown
, a super-cargo, representing the owners of the coal with which she was laden.
We were fully instructed to proceed to Madeira
, where we were to call, a fact only known on board to Captain Corbett
and myself, and not to exchange signals with passing vessels en route.
On the voyage, with judicious caution and Captain Corbett
's assistance, I possessed myself of much information that served a good purpose afterwards.
No one on board suspected anything out of the usual course.
By preconcerted arrangement, on the same October 8, 1864, the propeller steamer Laurel
, J. F. Ramsay
, Confederate States
Navy, commanding, sailed from Liverpool
, with passengers and general cargo.
The Laurel was to call also at Madeira
and get there sufficiently ahead of the Sea King
to enable her to coal up. The Laurel arrived at Madeira
on October 15 and coaled all ready for moving, upon the appearance of the Sea King
The ‘general cargo’ of the Laurel
consisted, as afterwards found, of the guns, carriages, ammunition, etc., and stores for the future cruiser, and her passengers were the commander, officers and small nucleus for her crew.
On the early morn of October 18, the Sea King
arrived off Funchal
, and running in sight of the harbor, displayed a private preconcerted signal.
This was answered by her little consort and the two moved off successively to the Desertas, a rocky, uninhabited island not far from Madeira
There the Sea King
anchored and her consort was secured alongside.
It was perfectly smooth and a sequestered place, where there was little chance of observation or interruption.
A rapid transfer of everything from the hold of the Laurel
to the deck and hold of the Sea King
was made, on October 19.
Her officers were: Lieutenant Commanding James I. Waddell
, C. S. N., from North Carolina
; W. C. Whittle
, Virginia, first lieutenant
and executive officer; Lieutenants John Grimball
, South Carolina
; Sidney Smith Lee, Jr.
; F. T.