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September 18th (search for this): chapter 34
ficers of the ship, where even their own crew are not permitted to come, except on duty, and much less a prisoner. He explains, himself, as I had previously explained to the reader, how he came to be put in irons. The good book says that we must have an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. The enemy had put one of my officers in irons, and I had followed the rule of the good book. Now let us hear from Captain Gifford, of the Dunbar. This witness says:— On the morning of the 18th of September, in latitude 39° 50′, longitude 35° 20′, with the wind from the south-west, and the bark heading south-east, saw a steamer on our port-quarter, standing to the north-west. Soon after, found she had altered her course, and was steering for the bark. We soon made all sail to get out of her reach, and were going ten knots at the time; but the steamer, gaining on us, under canvas alone, soon came up with us, and fired a gun under our stern, with the St. George's cross flying at the time
September 23rd (search for this): chapter 34
vessel, and removed the colony back to the New England States. The gale which was described in the last chapter, did not prove to be very violent, though it blew sufficiently fresh to reduce the Alabama to close-reefed topsails, with the bonnets off her trysails. It was but the forerunner of a series of gales, occurring about the period of the equinox. The bad weather had the effect to put an end to the whaling season, a little in advance of the regular time. From the 19th to the 23d of September, we were constantly under reefed sails, and the wind being from the northward, we drifted as far south as the 34th degree of latitude. We were now in a comparatively unfrequented part of the ocean, and had not seen a sail since the capture of the Elisha Dunbar. During the prevalence of this bad weather, our prisoners necessarily suffered some inconvenience, and were obliged to submit to some discomforts. I need not say that these were greatly magnified by the Northern press. The mast
s remarked, I resolved to change my cruising-ground, and stretch over to the Banks of Newfoundland, and the coast of the United States, in quest (as some of my young officers, who had served in the China seas, playfully remarked) of the great American junk-fleet. In China, the expression junk-fleet means, more particularly, the grain-ships, that swarm all the seas and rivers in that populous empire, in the autumn, carrying their rich cargoes of grain to market. It was now the beginning of October. There was no cotton crop available, with which to freight the ships of our loving Northern brethren, and conduct their exchanges. They were forced to rely upon the grain crop of the great Northwest; the political rascals having been cunning enough to wheedle these natural allies of ours into this New England war. They needed gold abroad, with which to pay for arms, and military supplies of various kinds, shiploads of which were, every day, passing into New York and Boston, in violation
October 1st (search for this): chapter 34
l in hand, to muster the watch whose turn it was to be on deck. The most profound stillness now reigned on board during the remainder of the night, only broken by the necessary orders and movements, in making or taking in sail, or it may be, by the whistling of the gale, and the surging of the sea, or the cry of the look-outs at their posts, every half hour. To return now to our cruise. We are passing, the reader will recollect, from the Azores to the Banks of Newfoundland. On the 1st of October, the following record is found upon my journal: The gale moderated during the last night, but the weather, to-day, has been thick and rainy, with the wind from the north-west, and a confused, rough sea. No observation for latitude. The barometer, which had gone down to 29.8 is rising, and stands at nine P. M. at 29.9. The ship being about two hundred miles only, from the Banks of Newfoundland, we are trying the temperature of the air and water every hour. At nine P. M. we found the te
October 3rd (search for this): chapter 34
ound ships defy all the bad weather, so prevalent in this stream, on account of the easterly current which accelerates their passage, at the rate of from two, to three miles, per hour. The stream, therefore, has been literally bearded by commerce, and has become one of its principal highways. It is because it is a highway of commerce that the Alabama now finds herself in it. Nor was she long in it, before the travellers on the highway began to come along. Early on the morning of the 3d of October, two sail were simultaneously reported by the look-out at the mast-head— one right ahead, and the other on the lee-bow. As both the ships were standing in our direction, there was no necessity for a chase. We had nothing to do but await their approach. As their hulls were lifted above the horizon, we could see that they were fine, large ships, with a profusion of tapering spars and white canvas. We at once pronounced them American; and so, after a little, they proved to be. They wer
October 7th (search for this): chapter 34
rk, and bound for Europe, laden with grain. The English, French, Prussian, Hamburg, Oldenham, and other flags were fast monopolizing the enemy's carrying trade, and enjoying a rich harvest. These were not the sort of junks that we were in quest of, but they compensated us, somewhat, for the time and labor lost in chasing and boarding them, by supplying us with late newspapers of the enemy, and giving us valuable information concerning the progress of the war. On the afternoon of the 7th of October, the weather being fine, and the breeze light, we chased and captured the American bark, Wave Crest, from New York, bound for Cardiff, in Wales, with flour and grain. In the language of the enemy, we plundered her, that is, we received on board from her, such articles as we needed, and after having made use of her for a while, as a target, at which to practise the men at the battery, we burned her. Filing away, we again made sail to the north-west. We were now, in about latitude 41°
stream not only generates hurricanes of its own, it seems to attract to it such as are engendered in the most distant parts of our hemisphere; for hurricanes known to have originated near Cape St. Roque, in Brazil, have made their way straight for the Gulf Stream, and followed it, in its course, for a thousand miles and more, spreading shipwreck and disaster, broadcast, in their track. The violence of these gales is inconceivable by those who have not witnessed them. The great hurricane of 1780 originated to the eastward of the island of Barbadoes, and made straight for the Gulf Stream. As it passed over the West India Islands, trees were uprooted, and the bark literally blown from them. The very bottom and depths of the sea, in the vicinity of some of the islands, were uncovered, and rocks torn up, and new channels formed. The waves rose to such a height, that forts, and castles, removed, as it was thought, far out of the reach of the water, were washed away, and the storm, taki
Charles Francis Adams (search for this): chapter 34
needed gold abroad, with which to pay for arms, and military supplies of various kinds, shiploads of which were, every day, passing into New York and Boston, in violation of those English neutrality laws, which, as we have seen, Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams had been so persistently contending should be enforced against ourselves. Western New York, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa had gathered in the rich harvests from their teeming grain-fields; and it was this grain, laden ound it one of the most difficult parts of my duty, to convince some of these free-and-easy fellows, who had mistaken the Alabama, when they signed the articles off Terceira, (after that stump speech before referred to,) for what Mr. Seward and Mr. Adams insisted she was, a privateer, that everything was captured in the name of the Confederate States, and that nothing belonged to them personally. The California-bound ships frequently had on board boxes and bales of fine clothing, boots, shoes,
Breckinridge (search for this): chapter 34
Some of them forgot, entirely, to mention how they had implored me to save their ships from destruction, professing to be the best of Democrats, and deprecating the war which their countrymen were making upon us! How they had come to sea, bringing their New England cousins with them, to get rid of the draft, and how abhorrent to them the sainted Abraham was. Why, Captain, they would say, it is hard that I should have my ship burned; I have voted the Democratic ticket all my life; I was a Breckinridge man in the last Presidential zontest; and as for the nigger, if we except a few ancient spinsters, who pet the darkey, on the same principle that they pet a lap-dog, having nothing else to pet, and a few of our deacons and church-members, who have never been out of New England—all of whom are honest people enough in their wayand some cunning political rascals, who expect to rise into fame and fortune on the negro's back, we, New England people, care nothing about him. That may be all ve
Wave Crest (search for this): chapter 34
he United States. Just before nightfall, on the same afternoon, another sail was cried from aloft, and we made all sail in pursuit, immediately, anxious to draw sufficiently near the chase before dark, to prevent losing sight of her. By this time, the wind, which had been very light all day, had freshened to a stiff breeze, and the chase, soon perceiving our object, spread a cloud of canvas, with studding-sails alow and aloft, in the effort to escape. She had seen the fire of the burning Wave Crest, and knew full well the doom that awaited her, if she were overtaken. As night threw her mantle over the scene, the moon, nearly at the full, rose with unusual splendor and lighted up the sea for the chase; and a beautiful, picturesque chase it was. Although it lasted several hours, our anxiety as to the result was relieved, in a very short time, for we could see, from the first, that we gained upon the fleeing ship, although her master practised every stratagem known to the skilful seama
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