Saturday, August 13, 2011

Confederate Navy contracts British shipbuilders

Cmdr. James D. Bulloch, CSN
  • Confederate Naval Commander and Secret Service Agent James Dunwoody Bulloch writes from Liverpool in the United Kingdom to Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory: “After careful examination of the shipping lists of England, and inspecting many vessels, I failed to find a single wooden steamer fit for war purposes, except one paddle steamer, too large and costly for our coast. Wood as a material for ships has almost entirely gone out of use in the British merchant service, and their iron ships, though fast, well built, and staunch enough for voyages of traffic, are too thin in the plates and light in the deck frames and stanchions to carry guns of much weight. I therefore made arrangements to contract with two eminent builders for a gun vessel each . . .” Bulloch has signed his first contract with Fawcett & Preston Engineers in Liverpool and WC Miller and Son Ship Builders to build the CSS Florida, which would be finished by years’ end. He has signed the second contract in July 1861 with John Laird Sons and Company who has a shipyard near Liverpool to build the Enrica, the alias for the famous Confederate raider, the CSS Alabama. To be commanded by Admiral Raphael Semmes beginning one year from today, the CSS Alabama would range the globe for two years destroying Union merchant ships – 55 in all valued at US$4.5 million, plus ten others bonded at an additional US$562,000. In addition, Semmes would capture over 2,000 prisoners, not one harmed but deposited at the nearest port, all this without losing a single man./1861
  • In Washington, Gen. Robert Anderson, the Kentucky native who had commanded the US forces inside Fort Sumter back in April, dines with the President and is informed of his appointment on completion of his convalescence to a command in Kentucky, violating the state’s neutrality. Gen. George B. McClellan also spends most of the evening at White House. /1861
  • The USS Powhatan, commanded by Lieutenant David D. Porter, recaptures the schooner Abby Bradford off the mouth of the Mississippi River./1861

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