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Captain Wilkes's seizure of Mason and Slidell. D. Macneill Fairfax, Rear-Admiral, U. S. N., Executive Officer of the San Jacinto. In October, 1861, the United States screw-sloop San Jacinto, of which Captain Charles Wilkes was commander and the writer was executive officer, on her return from the west coast of Africa, touched at the island of St. Thomas to coal ship. Here for the first time we learned of the presence in those waters of the Confederate cruiser Sumter (Captain Raphael Semmes). The Sumter, one of the first, if not the very first, of the regularly commissioned vessels of the Confederate navy, left New Orleans on the 18th of June, 1861 (see cut, p. 14), and, running the blockade, almost immediately began privateering operations. She was a screw steamer of 500 tons, and was armed with 5 guns — an 8-inch pivot, and 24-pound howitzers. She cruised for two months in the Caribbean Sea and along the coast of South America, receiving friendly treatment and coaling wi