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During this chase, it was reported to Captain Poor that, taking advantage of the absence of the Brooklyn from the Pass, a steamer was making its way down the river with all possible speed; instead of instantly putting about and hastening back to the river, Captain Poor kept steaming on until, overtaking the bark, he simply warned her off, as above stated.
When the Brooklyn returned, finding that the Sumter had succeeded is crossing the bar, Captain Poor, as if just appreciating the importance of the case, ordered all possible steam and sail on, and started in pursuit of the fugitive.
This order had hardly been carried into effect when a terrible squall came up, and continued with such severity as rendered it necessary, to avoid the danger of grounding, to slacken the speed, and finally, to stop altogether, till the squall had passed, when the Sumter was discovered far ahead, going at a rapid rate.
The Brooklyn then made all sail, the wind coming around fair, and freshening every moment, and it was soon evident that she was fast gaining on the Sumter, when, to the surprise of all hands on board, Captain Poor ordered the ship to be put about, to abandon the chase, and to return to her anchorage.
Thus was suffered to escape a very fast ship, carrying five guns of large calibre, (one sixty-four and four thirty-two pounders.) and some one hundred and twenty men; being a Jeff. Davis letter-of-marque of five hundred tons burden; and in all respects well appointed and well calculated to do our commerce incalculable injury.
Having thus escaped from her pursuers, the Sumter proceeded to business. Her first prize, being the Golden Rocket, of Bangor, was taken on the 3d of July, and burnt. She next captured the brigs Machias and Cuba, off Cienfuegos, on the 4th of July. A prize crew of four men were put on board the Cuba, and Midshipman Hodgson acting as prize master.
The Sumter towed her prizes all night, and at four o'clock on the morning of th 5th, the bawser parted, and the Cuba was ordered to steer in for the land. She then left the Sumter with the Machias is tow.
On Monday, the 8th, P. M., the prize crew having carelessly laid their arms about the deck, and some of them gone to sleep, Captain J. D. Strout, of the Cuba, having secured the weapons, recaptured his vessel. He then ordered the pirates aft, put two of them in irons, and secured the other three with ropes, not having a sufficient supply of manacles.
Two of them, Spencer and Davison, were soon after transferred to the brig Costa Rica, Captain Peel, from Aspinwall; the other three, Hodgson, Donnelly and O'Brien, remained on the Cuba, and both ships arrived in due time at New York, when the prisoners were delivered to the officers of the Harbor Police, at Quarantine, by whom they were taken to the United States Marshal's office. The Sumter went on her way, plundering and to plunder, and on the 16th of July, entered the harbor of Cienfuegos, Cuba, with seven prizes, and having procured a supply of coal, left on the next day. The prizes were laden with sugar and molasses, and were mostly owned at New England ports. They were subsequently released, by order of the Spanish Government.
PIRATICAL SEIZURE OF THE STEAMER ST. NICHOLAS.
On Friday, the 28th of June, 1861, at four o'clock P. M., the steamer St. Nicholas left Baltimore with freight and passengers for different points on the Potomac, including Alexandria, Washington, and Georgetown.
Among her passengers were about fifty Secessionists, disguised as mechanics going to points on the Maryland shore of the Potomac. Of this number, however, was Captain Thomas, of St. Mary's County, who was disguised as a French lady, and retired to a state-room immediately after going on board.
After the steamer left Point Lookout, Captain Thomas threw off his disguise, and appeared in full military costume, armed with revolvers, and with a cutlass by his side, and, with the aid of the passengers, seized the boat, which was immediately put across to Cony river, on the Virginia side.
There those passengers who were not parties to the plot were landed, including the captain of the boat, who was placed under guard. A company of 100 Tennesseeans, who were there in readiness, were taken on board.
Two passengers, who came on board at Point Lookout, proved to be retired naval officers, took charge of the boat, and headed up the river in search of the Pawnee, it being part of the programme of the pirates (it being late at night) to run into the Pawnee, and in the surprise to leap on board and take possession of her.
Not finding the Pawnee, the St. Nicholas turned round, and steamed for the bay. Between Smith's Point and the Rappahannock they captured three vessels, laden with ice, coal and coffee, respectively, with which they steamed up the Rappahannock to Fredericksburg.
On Monday, the 8th of July, Lieutenant Carmichael, of Provost Marshal Kenly's police, went down the bay in a brig, and boarded the Mary Washington, to arrest one of the Baltimore 19th-of-April-rioters, who was expected to come on board at the Patuxent.
On coming up the bay he found that Captain Thomas, alias the French lady, who headed the pirates in the seizure of the steamer St. Nicholas, was on board with seven of his confederates, their object supposed to be the seizure of another steamer in the same manner. On arriving abreast of Fort McHenry, Lieutenant Carmichael ordered the captain to stop at the wharf, where he communicated with General Banks, who ordered a company of Massachusetts troops to arrest all on board. Seven of the pirates were found, but Captain Thomas had concealed himself, and, after an hour's search, was found hid in a large bureau drawer in the ladies' cabin. Not having even letters of marque from Jeff. Davis for their protection, they could be regarded in no 'other light than as pirates, and were consequently detained at the fort, as were also several witnesses who were on board the St. Nicholas at the time of seizure.
An old maid, who has her eye a little sideways on matrimony, says: “The curse of the war is, that it will make so many widows, who will be fierce to get mar. ried, and who know how to do it, that modest girls will stand no chance at all.”
WHY BUCKNER FAILED TO TAKE LOUISVILLE.
The fact that General Buckner did not take the city of Louisville, instead of stopping at Green river, when he invaded Kentucky, on the line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, was due not to any foresight or force of the United States authorities, or of the Union men of Kentucky, but to the loyalty, courage and tact of one obscure individual.
The Secessionists had laid their plans to appear suddenly in Louisville with a powerful force. They had provided for transportation four hundred cars and fifteen locomotives, and had eight thousand men with artillery and camp equipage on board. They had secured the services of the telegraph operators, one of whom forwarded to Louisville a dispatch explaining the detention of trains on the road, and were moving forward at a grand rate. Everything was going well with them, and Louisville, with, perhaps, the exception of a few Secessionists, was unsuspecting and unguarded. General Anderson having no knowledge of the movement, James Guthrie, President of the road, totally in the dark, and General Rousseau lingering in camp on the Indiana shore.
But, at a station just beyond Green River, there was a young man in the service of the road who was a warm friend of the Union, and who, comprehending the meaning of the monster train when it came up, seized crowbar used for taking up rails to make repairs, and, while the locomotives were being wooded and watered,