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permit. Though the Captain-General had invited the commander of the Florida to go to Havana for the above reason, it was actually for the purpose of preventing him from violating Spanish neutrality laws; and when Maffitt arrived in Havana he found himself so tied up with restrictions imposed by the Spanish authorities, that he determined to go to Mobile and fit his ship out there. He therefore got underway for that port on the 1st of September, and arrived in sight of Fort Morgan on the 4th, having started on his perilous adventure with his crew just convalescing, and he himself scarcely able to stand from the prostrating effects of the fever. It may appear to the reader that we have exhibited more sympathy for Commander Maffitt and given him more credit than he deserved: it must be remembered that we are endeavoring to write a naval history of the war, and not a partisan work. This officer, it is true, had gone from under the flag we venerate to fight against it; but we kno
eir discretion. The work of getting the guns on board the Oreto had been so severe in that burning climate that it produced sickness among her crew. The captain's steward was buried on the day the cruiser went into commission, and, on investigation, it appeared that he had died of yellow fever. The constantly increasing sick-list confirmed this opinion. There was no surgeon on board, and the captain was compelled to assume all the duties of medical officer as well as his own. On the fifth day out, the Florida found herself off the little island of Anguila, and by report of the hospital steward the epidemic had reduced the working force to one fireman and four deck-hands. Being no longer able to keep the sea, Maffitt ran into the Port of Cardenas, in the Island of Cuba. Here all the officers and men were attacked in succession, and the disease being epidemic on shore, no medical aid could be obtained. Maffitt himself was at last taken down, and never perhaps in the history
ase the battle should go against him. The firing of the Confederates was rapid and wild until near the close of the engagement, when it became better, while that of the Federal gunners, owing to the careful training of Lieutenant-Commander James S. Thornton. the executive officer of the Kearsarge. was very effective. The superior training of the Kearsarge's crew was evident from the beginning of the action, their guns telling fearfully on the hull and spars of the Confederate. On the seventh rotation on the circular track the Alabama set her foresail and two jibs, with head in shore. Her speed was now retarded, and, by winding her, the port broadside was presented to the Kearsarge, with only two guns bearing, being able to shift but one gun from the starboard side. At this time the Alabama was completely The U. S. S. Kearsarge. at the mercy of the Kearsarge, and a few more well-directed shots brought down the Confederate flag. Fifteen minutes after the action commenced,
reat gratification to announce to the Department that every officer and man did their duty — exhibiting a degree of coolness and fortitude which gave promise at the outset of certain victory. I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant, John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. To this dispatch the Secretary of the Navy responded as follows: Navy Department, July 6, 1864. Sir — Your very brief dispatches of the 19th and 20th ultimo, informing the Department that the piratical craft Alabama, or 290, had been sunk on the 19th of June near meridian, by the Kearsarge, under your command, were this day received. I congratulate you on your good fortune in meeting this vessel, which had so long avoided the fastest ships and some of the most vigilant and intelligent officers of the service; and for the ability displayed in this combat you have the thanks of the Department. You will please express to the offi
ation to announce to the Department that every officer and man did their duty — exhibiting a degree of coolness and fortitude which gave promise at the outset of certain victory. I have the honor to be, most respectfully, your obedient servant, John A. Winslow, Captain. Hon. Gideon Welles, Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C. To this dispatch the Secretary of the Navy responded as follows: Navy Department, July 6, 1864. Sir — Your very brief dispatches of the 19th and 20th ultimo, informing the Department that the piratical craft Alabama, or 290, had been sunk on the 19th of June near meridian, by the Kearsarge, under your command, were this day received. I congratulate you on your good fortune in meeting this vessel, which had so long avoided the fastest ships and some of the most vigilant and intelligent officers of the service; and for the ability displayed in this combat you have the thanks of the Department. You will please express to the officers and cre
sible. On the 4th of July, the report of the Customs officers was transmitted to Mr. Adams, tending to show that there was no sufficient evidence that a violation of the act was contemplated. Other correspondence and opinions followed. On the 21st, affidavits were delivered to the authorities at Liverpool, one of which, made by a seaman who had been shipped on board the vessel, declared that Butcher, the captain of the Alabama, who engaged him, had stated that she was going out to fight forpoint. That the attention of the British Government was called to the suspicious character of the vessel on the 23d of June; that her adaptation to warlike use was admitted; that her readiness for sea was known; that evidence was submitted on the 21st, the 23d, and finally on the 25th of July, that put her character beyond a doubt; and that, in spite of all this, she was allowed to sail on the 29th, make the real foundation of the case against Great Britain. * * * * * * * The inference is
ndered the opinion that the evidence of the deponents, coupled with the character of the vessel, make it reasonably clear that she was intended for warlike use against the United States, and recommended that she be seized without loss of time. Notwithstanding that the urgency of the case was well known to the Government, and notwithstanding also that of the four depositions upon which the law officers chiefly based their opinion, one had been received on the 21st of July, two others on the 23d, and the fourth on the 25th, the report was not presented until the 29th. On that day, however, the Alabama left Liverpool, without an armament, and ostensibly on a trial trip. She ran down to Port Lynas, on the coast of Anglesea, about fifty miles from Liverpool. Here she remained for two days completing her preparations. On the morning of the 31st she got underway and stood to the northward up the Irish Sea; and, rounding the northern coast of Ireland, she passed out into the Atlantic
verjoyed when they read Captain Winslow's modest dispatch announcing the destruction of the despoiler that had sent so many of their merchant ships to the bottom. The writer evidently states what in his mind was a foregone conclusion, and it is pleasing in its simplicity and brevity: United States Steamer Kearsarge, Cherbourg, France, June 19 P. M., 1864. Sir — I have the honor to inform the Department that the day subsequent to the arrival of the Kearsarge off this port, on the 24th instant, I received a note from Captain Semmes begging that the Kearsarge would not depart, as he intended to fight her, and would delay her but a day or two. According to this notice, the Alabama left the port of Cherbourg this morning at about 9:30 o'clock. At 10:20 A. M. we discovered her steering towards us. Fearing the question of jurisdiction might arise, we steamed to sea until a distance of six or seven miles was attained front the Cherbourg breakwater, when we rounded-to, and commenced
evidence of the deponents, coupled with the character of the vessel, make it reasonably clear that she was intended for warlike use against the United States, and recommended that she be seized without loss of time. Notwithstanding that the urgency of the case was well known to the Government, and notwithstanding also that of the four depositions upon which the law officers chiefly based their opinion, one had been received on the 21st of July, two others on the 23d, and the fourth on the 25th, the report was not presented until the 29th. On that day, however, the Alabama left Liverpool, without an armament, and ostensibly on a trial trip. She ran down to Port Lynas, on the coast of Anglesea, about fifty miles from Liverpool. Here she remained for two days completing her preparations. On the morning of the 31st she got underway and stood to the northward up the Irish Sea; and, rounding the northern coast of Ireland, she passed out into the Atlantic. Among the innumerable s
rable side-issues presented by the case of the Alabama, the facts given above contain the essential point. That the attention of the British Government was called to the suspicious character of the vessel on the 23d of June; that her adaptation to warlike use was admitted; that her readiness for sea was known; that evidence was submitted on the 21st, the 23d, and finally on the 25th of July, that put her character beyond a doubt; and that, in spite of all this, she was allowed to sail on the 29th, make the real foundation of the case against Great Britain. * * * * * * * The inference is unavoidable that the Government deliberately intended to pursue a policy as unfriendly as it could possibly be without passing the technical bounds of a legal neutrality. The proof of the illegality of all these acts is the fact that the British Government finally paid the award of the Alabama Commission, which was an acknowledgment on its part that the responsibility for the acts of the Confe
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