previous next

The Confederate privateer Japan or Virginia, her armament, &c.

[Plymouth (April 12th) correspondence of the London, Gaielia]

The screw steamship Alar, Back, that put in here yesterday, brought decisive and important information in reference to the large iron steamship that left Greenock on April 24, under the name of Japan, and was said to be proceeding on a voyage to the China seas.-- Rumor then attributed her proclaimed voyage to be only a blind, and her real intention to fly the Confederate flag. The Alar's news confirms this rumor.

The Japan is an iron built ship, laid down to very fine lines for speed, about six hundred tons, and having engines of from about two hundred to two hundred and fifty horse power. She has all the ferments for carrying heavy guns, shot, and shell, and left Greenock with over one hundred men, who were all shipped at very high wages, and in perfect cognizance of the real intention of their voyage, at the shipping master's office in Greenock. They were shipped for two years for a voyage to Shanghai, Hong-Kong, and any intermediate ports.

After they had proceeded to see another set of articles were produced by the captain, in which it was stipulated that they should fly the Confederate flag, and assist in capturing and destroying all Federal vessels with whom they might fall in. Thirteen only of the crew excepted to signing the new article, and their alleged reason was that they thought they were to have higher wages. This was considered on board to be an excuse, as it was well known among them what were the wages offered-- The captain, however, stated that he had no wish to take any man with him against his will, and landed these hands here by the Alar.

From Greenock the Japan proceeded to a creek on the coast of France, east of Channel Islands. The Alar, that has been for several years a regular trader between Newhaven and St. Malo and the Channel Islands, took on board at Newhaven nearly one hundred tone of goods, in cases, and cleared for St. Malo.--These goods consisted of twelve Whitworth guns, ten 10 pounders and two 10 pounders, with a large quantity of powder, shot and shell, and some provisions. She proceeded to the coast of France, and was there joined by the Japan and a French pilot. The two vessels ran in and anchored in the creek, where the transshipment of the goods between the two vessels took place during two nights. The Japan then left, and afterwards the Alar, the latter vessel being watched off the coast by a French frigate. The Alar lay two days in the channel before the made for this port.

In addition to the thirteen dissatisfied seamen, she also landed two of the Japan's stokers, who were severely scalded by the burning of one of her condensers. The Japan is now sailing under another name, said to be the Virginia. The customs authorities here inquired into the circumstances of the Alar's voyage; but, not deeming themselves justified in detaining her, she was yesterday afternoon allowed to proceed and she left for the eastward. The men report that on board the Japan everything is done to make the crew comfortable. Provisions of a high class and every accommodation are freely supplied.

The crew are all picked men, and in addition to being good seamen, the majority of them are old issues at the gun drill. The names of the officers are unknown, their present cognomens being considered mere .

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Greenock (United Kingdom) (4)
Newhaven (United Kingdom) (2)
France (France) (2)
Shanghai, W. Va. (West Virginia, United States) (1)
Plymouth, N. C. (North Carolina, United States) (1)
Japan (Japan) (1)
hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Whitworth (1)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
December, 4 AD (1)
April 24th (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: