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him to drown was, in itself, a release. There is no necessity for defense of Captain Semmes' position; but it may be well to record how blind is the hate which still attempts to brand as Pirate a regularly-commissioned officer in service, whose long career gained him nothing but respect under the northern-nothing but glory under the southern flag. If Raphael Semmes be a pirate, then was the northern recognition of belligerents but an active lie! Then was Robert E. Lee a marauder-Wade Hampton but a bushwhacker, and Joseph E. Johnston but a guerrilla! When the Sumter began her work, she was soon followed by the Florida --a vessel somewhat better, but still of the same class. Under the dashing and efficient Maffitt, the Florida, too, wrought daring destruction. Her record, like that of her rival, is too familiar for repetition; ag is the later substitution of the Alabama for the worn-out Sumter. During the long war, these three vessels-and but two of them at one time — we
raver disaster of the closing of the whole river and the blockade of the trans-Mississippi. For had the Louisiana been furnished with two companion ships of equal strength-or even had she been completely finished and not had been compelled to succumb to accidents within, while she braved the terrific fire from without — the Federal fleet might have been crushed like egg-shells; the splendid exertions of Hollins and Kennon in the past would not have been nullified; the blood of McIntosh and Huger would not have been useless sacrifice; and the homes of the smiling city and the pure vicinage of her noble daughters might not have been polluted by the presence of the commandant, who crawled in after the victorious fleet. Norfolk, however, had comeinto southern possession, by the secession of Virginia; and the vast resources of her navy-yard-only partly crippled by the haste of the Federal retreat-stimulated the Government. A meager appropriation was passed for the construction of th
Underwriter (search for this): chapter 31
would collect a few trusty men and picked officers; glide silently out from Richmond, where his duties as colonel of cavalry on the President's staff chained him most of the time. Soon would come an echo from the frontier, telling of quick, sharp struggle; victorious boarding and a Federal gunboat or two given to the flames. I have already alluded to his dashing raid upon the fishery fleet; but his cunning capture of the gunboats in the Rappahannock, or his cool and daring attack on the Underwriter, during Pickett's movement on Newberne, would alone give him undying reputation. The United States had a navy in her waters that would class as the third maritime power of the world; and this she rapidly increased by every appliance of money, skill and energy. She bought and built ships and spent vast sums and labor in experiments in ordnance, armoring and machinery. As result of this, the Federal navy, at the end of the second year of the war, numbered some 390 vessels of all grad
cruisers the parole of Pirate Semmes what iron-clads might have done Treasury and Navy the Merrimac Virginia fight in Hampton Roads the white-flag Violation those wonderful wooden shells othtreat-stimulated the Government. A meager appropriation was passed for the construction of the Merrimac; or rather for an iron-clad ship upon the hull of the half-destroyed frigate of that name. Hadven in the case of these, energy and capital were divided and distracted. On completion of the Merrimac, there were in the course of construction at New Orleans, two mailed vessels of a different claess at the trying moment, or to fall a prey to superior force of the enemy. The plan of the Merrimac was unique, in the submersion of her projecting eaves; presenting a continuous angling coat of mail even below the water-surface. She was built upon the razeed hull of the old Merrimac, of four-and-a-half-inch iron, transverse plates; and carried an armament of seven-inch rifled Brooke guns, m
unded on every side by numberless active foes; and finally dying, not from the blow of an enemy, but from the fault of those who sent her forth unfinished and incomplete! Those trying times recall the conduct of Captain Lynch and his squadron of shells; and of the veteran Cooke in the batteries, on the dark day that lost Roanoke Island. Nor may we lose sight of the splendid conduct of that latter grim old seadog, when, returning wounded and prison-worn, he bore down on Plymouth in the Albemarle and crushed the Federal gunboats like egg-shells. And conspicuous, even among these fellow-sailors, stands John Taylor Wood. Quick to plan and strong to strike, he ever and anon would collect a few trusty men and picked officers; glide silently out from Richmond, where his duties as colonel of cavalry on the President's staff chained him most of the time. Soon would come an echo from the frontier, telling of quick, sharp struggle; victorious boarding and a Federal gunboat or two give
r in service, whose long career gained him nothing but respect under the northern-nothing but glory under the southern flag. If Raphael Semmes be a pirate, then was the northern recognition of belligerents but an active lie! Then was Robert E. Lee a marauder-Wade Hampton but a bushwhacker, and Joseph E. Johnston but a guerrilla! When the Sumter began her work, she was soon followed by the Florida --a vessel somewhat better, but still of the same class. Under the dashing and efficient Maffitt, the Florida, too, wrought daring destruction. Her record, like that of her rival, is too familiar for repetition; ag is the later substitution of the Alabama for the worn-out Sumter. During the long war, these three vessels-and but two of them at one time — were the only cruisers the Confederacy had afloat; until just before its close, the Shenandoah went out to strike fresh terror to the heart and pocket of New England. Then, also, that stronghanded and cool-headed amphiboid, Colonel
r forty years, trod the deck of a frigate, to be cooped in the contracted limits of a razeed tug, or an armed pilot boat. But once there he made the best of it; and how well he wrought in the new sphere, the names of Hollins, Lynch, Buchanan and Tucker still attest. At the time the first Army Bill was passed by Congress, a law was also made securing to resigned naval officers the same rank they held in the United States service. But there was scarcely a keel in Confederate waters, and smalan experiment as her rebel rival-had come round a few days before to watch the Virginia, as the new iron-clad was now rechristened. The great ship being ready, Flag-Officer Buchanan ordered the Jamestown, Captain Barney, and the Yorktown, Captain Tucker, down from Richmond; while he went out with the Raleigh and Beaufort --two of the smallest class of gunboats, saved by Captain Lynch from Roanoke Island. This combined force-four of the vessels being frail wooden shells, formerly used as riv
Shenandoah (search for this): chapter 31
an her work, she was soon followed by the Florida --a vessel somewhat better, but still of the same class. Under the dashing and efficient Maffitt, the Florida, too, wrought daring destruction. Her record, like that of her rival, is too familiar for repetition; ag is the later substitution of the Alabama for the worn-out Sumter. During the long war, these three vessels-and but two of them at one time — were the only cruisers the Confederacy had afloat; until just before its close, the Shenandoah went out to strike fresh terror to the heart and pocket of New England. Then, also, that stronghanded and cool-headed amphiboid, Colonel John Taylor Wood, made --with wretched vessels and hastily-chosen crews-most effective raids on the coasting shipping of the Northeast. One popular error pervades all which has been said or written, on both sides of the line, about the Confederate navy. This is the general title of privateer, given to all vessels not cooped up in southern harbors.
ans might not have fallen as she did. Later still, when the Virginia was blown up on the evacuation of Norfolk, a howl of indignation was raised against Secretary, Department and all connected with it. A Court of Inquiry was called; and Commodore Tatnall himself demanded a court-martial, upon the first court not ordering one. The facts proved were that the ship, with her iron coating and heavy armament, drew far too much water to pass the shoal at Harrison's Bar-between her and Richmondar all access to the river. It was essential to lighten her, if. possible; and the effort was made by sacrificing her splendid armament. Even then she would not lighten enough by two feet; the enemy pressed upon her, now perfectly unarmed; and Tatnall was forced to leave and fire her. People forgot the noble achievements of the ship under naval guidance; that, if destroyed by naval men, she was the offspring of naval genius. With no discussion of facts, the cry against the navy went on,
contracted limits of a razeed tug, or an armed pilot boat. But once there he made the best of it; and how well he wrought in the new sphere, the names of Hollins, Lynch, Buchanan and Tucker still attest. At the time the first Army Bill was passed by Congress, a law was also made securing to resigned naval officers the same ranBarney, and the Yorktown, Captain Tucker, down from Richmond; while he went out with the Raleigh and Beaufort --two of the smallest class of gunboats, saved by Captain Lynch from Roanoke Island. This combined force-four of the vessels being frail wooden shells, formerly used as river passenger boats-carried only twenty-seven guns.ly dying, not from the blow of an enemy, but from the fault of those who sent her forth unfinished and incomplete! Those trying times recall the conduct of Captain Lynch and his squadron of shells; and of the veteran Cooke in the batteries, on the dark day that lost Roanoke Island. Nor may we lose sight of the splendid conduct
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