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The Cruise of the Alabama and the Sumter by Raphael Semmes

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fireman jumped overboard and swam ashore, in spite of the efforts of a
boat to catch him. He thus braved the discipline of the ship solely for
a glass of grog!--so strong upon him was the desire for drink. We sent
an officer for him and caught him in a grog-shop. It is reported to us,
as coming from the Captain of the Port, that there is a frigate cruising
off the Diamond Rock. The ship Siam arrived to-day, with 444 coolies!

_Translation of Reply received from the Governor, in Answer to the

Fort de France, 12th November, 1861.


I have the honour to send you the enclosed letter, which I ask you to
hand to the Collector of Customs at St. Pierre, in which I request him
to permit you to embark freely, as much coal as you wish to purchase in
the market.

I do not change at all from the position which I took with you on
Saturday last. I do not consider that I am empowered any more to give
you coal from the Government supply of this division, than I am to
interfere with the market to prevent its being sold to you there.

With the expression of my highest regard for the Captain,


_Wednesday, November 13th_.--Got up steam, and unmoored ship at
daylight; and at half-past six passed out of the harbour of Fort Royal,
or rather now Fort de France. The pilot repeated the intelligence that
there was a frigate off the Diamond Rock. As we passed the picturesque
country-seat of the Governor, perched upon a height overlooking the sea,
we hoisted the French flag at the fore. Passed the St. Pierre steamer on
her way down. At eight, came to, in the harbour of St. Pierre, at the
man-of-war anchorage south of the town. Several of the custom-house
officers visited us, saying that they had not come on board officially,
but merely out of civility, and from curiosity to see the ship. Sent a
lieutenant on shore to call on the commandant, and make arrangements
for the-purchase and reception of coal, despatching to the collector
the Government order to permit us to embark it. At 1 P.M., shifted our
berth nearer to the shore, for the convenience of coaling, mooring head
and stern with a hawser to the shore. Received on board thirty tons by 9
P.M.; sent down the foreyard for repairs. Quarantined the paymaster and
surgeon for being out of the ship after hours, but upon the explanations
of the former, released them both. The market-square near the water is
thronged with a dense crowd, eagerly gazing upon the ship; and the
newspaper of to-day gives a marvellous account of us, a column in
length. Among other amusing stories, they claim me to be a French
officer, formerly serving on board the Mereuse!

_Thursday, November 14th_.--Rain in the forenoon. Busy coaling, and
getting on board a few necessary stores. It is reported that the
Iroquois sailed from Trinidad on the 2nd November, and that there are
three ships of war of the enemy at St. Thomas', one sail vessel, and two
steamers; and that one of these was expected here last night. She has
not yet made her appearance. It will be difficult for her to prevent our
sailing. At 2.30 P.M. the steam-sloop Iroquois of the enemy made her
appearance, coming round the north end of the island. She had at first
Danish colours flying, but soon changed them for her own. She steamed
ahead of us very slowly, and, taking up a position some half to
three-quarters of a mile from us, stood off and on during the afternoon
and night. Finished receiving our coal and provisions (sugar and rum) at
about 9 P.M., when I permitted the crew to have their hammocks as usual.
Directed everything to be kept ready for action. Visited in the
afternoon by the mayor of the city and some gentlemen, who assured me of
the sympathy of the citizens, and of the colony generally. At 1.30 A.M.
I was called by the officer of the deck, and informed that the Iroquois
was standing in for us, and approaching us very close. Called all hands
to quarters, and made all preparations to receive the enemy in case he
should attempt to run us on board. He sheered off, however, when he came
within three or four hundred yards. He repeated this operation several
times during the mid-watch, imposing upon us as often the necessity of
calling the men to quarters; indeed, from about half-past two they slept
at their guns. Great excitement pervades the entire city. The
market-square, the quays, and the windows of the houses, are thronged by
an eager and curious multitude, expecting every moment to see a combat.
The enemy approached us at one time within a ship's length.

_Friday, November 15th_.--Fine, bright morning. At 7.30 a French steamer
of war, L'Acheron, Captain Duchaxel, came in from Fort de France, and
made fast to one of the buoys. The Iroquois about a mile from us. At
8.30 sent a boat on board the Frenchman to pay the usual ceremonial
visit. The throng in the town unabated, multitudes being gathered near
the water, looking out at the two ships. At 10 the French captain paid
me a visit. He came up, he said, with orders from the Governor, to
preserve the neutrality of the port between the two belligerents, and in
case the Iroquois came to an anchor, to demand of the captain a promise
that he would not proceed to sea for twenty-four hours after our own
departure. I wrote to the Governor, informing him of the violation of
the neutrality of the port by the Iroquois, and desiring him to apply
the proper remedy:--

C.S. steamer Sumter, St. Pierre, Island of Martinique, November 15th,

SIR,--I have the honor to inform your Excellency that I am closely
blockaded in this port by the enemy's steam sloop-of-war Iroquois, of
twice my force. This vessel, in defiance of the law of nations, and in
contempt of the neutrality of this island, has boldly entered the
harbour, and without coming to anchor is cruising backwards and forwards
in a menacing attitude, not only within the marine league of the shore,
but within less than a ship's length of this vessel, which is moored not
more than one hundred yards from the beach. During the past night she
several times approached me within fifty or a hundred yards. I deem it
my duty to acquaint your Excellency with these facts, and to invoke your
authority for the preservation of my just rights within your waters. I
take the following principles, applicable to the present case, to be
well settled by the law of nations:--Firstly, that no act of hostility,
proximate or remote, can be committed by any belligerent in neutral
waters; secondly, that when a cruiser of one belligerent takes refuge
within the waters of a neutral power, a cruiser of the opposite
belligerent cannot follow her into those waters for purposes of
hostility, proximate or remote. It is not only unlawful for her to
approach within the marine league, for the purpose of watch and menace,
but it is equally unlawful for her to hover about the coast of the
neutral, at any distance within plain view, for the same purposes. All
these are remote or prospective acts of war, and as such, offensive to
the neutral power. Thirdly, that when opposite belligerents meet by
accident in a neutral port, if one of them departs therefrom, the other
is bound to wait twenty-four hours before departing. For the opposite
belligerent to depart immediately in pursuit, is to avail herself of the
neutral territory for the purpose of war. She commits, by the very fact
of sailing, a remote act of hostility which is offensive to the neutral

In view of the foregoing facts and principles, I respectfully request
that your Excellency will cause the Iroquois to cease hovering about the
coast of the island for the purpose of watching my movements; in other
words, to withdraw herself out of plain sight. Or if she prefers to come
in, to anchor, to direct either that she shall depart twenty-four hours
before me, or wait twenty-four hours after my departure, whichever she
may prefer. I shall be ready for sea in four or five days, as soon as my
engineers make some necessary repairs to my machinery.

In conclusion, it is quite possible that the captain of the Iroquois may
arrange some signals for giving him intelligence of my movements, with
the United States consul at this port, and I have therefore to request
that some officer may be charged with the prevention of any such act of

I have the honour to be, &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

To His Excellency M. Maussion de Conde,
Admiral and Governor of Martinique,

During this night the Iroquois did not approach us so near as on the
past night. Closed in the gun-deck ports, got the swinging booms
alongside, and directed the crew, in case of being called to quarters
during the night, to repair to the spar-deck as boarders, boarding being
the mode in which the enemy would attack us, if at all.[4]

[Footnote 4: On the 14th, at 4 P.M. when we had nearly finished coaling
and other arrangements for sea, a steamer was seen rounding the north
point of the island. She was under Danish colours, and had made, it was
evident, some ludicrous attempts at disguising herself--such, for
instance, as a studied disarrangement of her yards, and some alteration
of her head-booms. I was under the impression at the time that we were
very old birds to be caught with such chaff. She came up slowly at
first, evidently not seeing us as we lay concealed in the shadow of the
hills; but when within about two miles, we could see, with the aid of
our glasses, the water curling from her bows, and we knew that the
Yankee had scented his prey; or, to employ the expressive phrase of our
rough old signal quartermaster, "she had got a bone in her mouth." All
the good citizens of St. Pierre came down to the beach to witness the
scene, and a great many indulged their aquatic instincts by swimming out
to us to await the _denouement_. The Iroquois was now close on to us,
and when about a hundred yards distant, hauled down the Danish colours,
and set the stars and stripes in their place. Thus we were once more in
the presence of our hated foe.

The Iroquois is one of the new class of gunboats, powerfully armed with
nine and eleven-inch guns, and is about 1000 tons burden. Her crew
consists of about 200 men; and we knew it was useless for the Sumter to
think of fighting her, our only hope of escape being by strategy. The
enemy stood in close to the land, and sent a boat on shore to
communicate with the U.S. Consul and the French authorities, being,
however, very careful not to drop anchor. Captain Palmer informed his
Excellency the Governor that there was a pirate at anchor in the port of
St. Pierre, and requested permission to destroy her; but this was
refused emphatically, and the irate commander furnished with the
proclamation of his Imperial Majesty Napoleon III., according
belligerent rights to the Confederate States, and decreeing strict
neutrality on the part of France. He was informed that it was necessary
for the Iroquois either to cast anchor, or leave the waters of the isle,
and if accepting the former alternative, that an interval of twenty-four
hours must elapse between the departure of either belligerent; also
that, in case of any breach of neutrality occurring, the forts would
open on the offending party. After remaining stationary for some two
hours, her boat returned. The Iroquois stood out of the harbour, taking
a position a short distance ahead of us, and commenced backing and
filling across our bows. Meanwhile the crew of "the pirate" were not
idle; every preparation was made to repel boarders, and to defend our
ship to the last extremity. The crew were inspected, and every man seen
to be properly armed and equipped for action. We fully expected an
attack that night, and remembered the threats and loud pretensions of
not respecting any neutrality which prevented them from destroying the
Sumter, as made by the commander of the Niagara, and the redoubtable
Porter of the Powhattan,--this latter gentleman having actually followed
us as far as Maranham, only to find the people Sumter-mad on his
arrival. Very few on board the Sumter that night felt any inclination
for slumber; the men were sitting about in groups, commenting in low
tones on the contest which now seemed to be imminent; while those
officers who were at leisure were gathered on the quarter-deck, engaged
in the same interesting discussion.

At 2 A.M. the word was passed by the look-outs forward that the Yankee
was bearing down close upon us; and the order passed, almost in a
whisper, "to go to quarters." I never saw men obey an order with more
alacrity. In a few minutes the boarders, pikemen, and small-arm men were
ranged in three lines close to our low rail, to await his attack, all
preserving a perfect silence that seemed death-like. When about twenty
feet distant from us, we heard the deep tones of her bell in the
engine-room, as it rang the order to back; but not before we had
discovered her men at quarters, and, in fact, presenting every
appearance of a ship intending to board an enemy. A single stray
pistol-shot would have brought on the engagement, and to judge from the
lights and signals glancing along the fortifications, the Frenchmen
would have taken a hand, too. The appearance of our decks next morning
was amusing. The men were strewn about promiscuously fully armed and
accoutred for battle, endeavouring to obtain some rest; a stranger might
easily have imagined us to be a buccaneer. Captain Palmer stated next
day that he was afraid we would board him in boats, when asked the
meaning of his threatening manoeuvres; but it was difficult to believe
that the commander of a ship of war would make such a flimsy excuse; and
let us hope for his own credit that he did not really believe his own
statement. The demeanour of the crew was most satisfactory. No noise or
bustle could be noticed; but a quiet, firm determination was expressed
in the countenance of each man to defend our noble little ship to the
bitter end, and never strike our flag to the foe. These flagrant
violations of neutrality greatly irritated the inhabitants, and the
better portion of them threw off their thin mask of indifference, and
openly expressed sympathy for us. Some were so excited as to volunteer
to go with us; but their kind offers were not accepted. The negroes,
however, did not seem to recognise us for what we really are, their best
friends, but were somewhat opposed to the Sumter; and their allegiance
to our enemy was made the subject of one of Captain Palmer's voluminous
despatches to Mr. Gideon Welles.--_Index._]

_Saturday, November 10th._--The Iroquois ahead of us, about a mile
distant. At 10 A.M., I returned the visit of the French commander. I
pointed out to him the insolent manner in which the Iroquois was
violating the neutrality of the port. No additional order had been
received from the Governor. Scraping and painting ship, and repairing
the engine to put it in thorough condition for service. At meridian the
Iroquois came to anchor about half a mile from us, at the man-of-war
anchorage. The captain of the Acheron visited me, to say the Governor
had directed him to inform me that if I preferred it, he would be glad
to have me visit Fort de France with my ship, where he could afford me
more ample protection, and whither, he presumed, the Iroquois would not
follow me; and if she did, that he would compel her to depart from
French waters.

I replied that before deciding upon this invitation, I would wait and
see whether the Iroquois accepted the condition of remaining twenty-four
hours after my departure, or departing twenty-four hours before me. The
Iroquois got under way again immediately after anchoring, and in the
evening the captain of the Acheron sent a lieutenant on board of me, to
say that the commander of the Iroquois refused to accept the condition,
and that he had been directed to withdraw himself beyond the marine
league in consequence. She remained a few hours to supply herself with
refreshments, and as night fell took her station; but not at the
distance of a marine league _during the night_.

We have thus taught this ignoramus Yankee captain some knowledge of, and
some respect for, the laws of neutrality. In the afternoon I took a
delightful stroll along the beach northward.

_Sunday, November 17th._--Morning fine. Visited the church opposite the
ship, and heard mass. The congregation was very large, composed chiefly
of blacks--women. We were politely shown into the trustees' pew. A short
sermon, chiefly addressed to some young persons who had just made their
first communion, was delivered by a good-looking young priest, who had
fair command of language, and was easy and graceful in his manner.

A sort of police officer or fugleman officiated here, as at Fort
Royal--a feature which I did not like. The Iroquois preserves her
distance by daylight.

_Monday, November 18th._--The enemy cruising off the harbour as usual.
Daring the morning a French man-of-war schooner arrived from Fort de
France, with the Governor on board (who visits St. Pierre to distribute
premiums to the schools), and about one hundred troops to reinforce the
fort. Repairing our machinery and painting ship. Some boatmen have been
imprisoned by the authorities for going out to the enemy. At nightfall
the Director of the Customs came off to see me, and said that the
Governor had told him he expected to see the Captain of the Sumter at
his (the Director's) house; adding, that he said this of his own
accord--the Governor not having authorized him to say as much to me. I
took the hint, and went on shore at 8 P.M., accompanied by my clerk, to
call on his Excellency. He did not seem to have anything in particular
to say, except to renew his invitation for me to go to Fort de France in
my ship, which I declined, on the ground that this would be a more
convenient port from which to escape, and one affording more facilities
for the repairs of my engine. He told me that the Captain of the
Iroquois pleaded ignorance as to his violation of the neutrality of the
port; but added, he knew better. An American (enemy) schooner got under
way at dusk, and stood out to the Iroquois, where she remained about an
hour before proceeding on her cruise to the northward and westward.

_Tuesday, November 19th._--Some surf observable this morning, increasing
until about 4 P.M.; the wind variable, settling for a short time in the
south-east. I became anxious on account of my berth, which was
represented to me as insecure, in case of a blow from seaward. I sent
and got a pilot on board, but when he came he said he thought we should
not have bad weather; and as by this time the sea had gone down, I was
of his opinion, and concluded to remain at my anchors for the present,
especially as the repairs to our machinery would be finished by
to-morrow evening. Heavy rain in the evening. The Iroquois within the
marine league. Visited by the commander of the French schooner of war,
whom we called on yesterday. About 10 P.M. the British mail steamer
arrived from St. Thomas. Sent a boat on board of her, and got English
papers to the 1st November. She brings intelligence of the enemy's
steamer St. Jacinto, having boarded an English steam-packet, and taken
out of her Messrs. Slidell and Mason, who had been carried to the
Havannah by the Nashville. The English people will regard this as an
insult to their flag, and in this way it may do us good. Night clear;
moon rising a little before eight. Not quite darkness enough for our
purpose yet.

_Wednesday, November 20th._--Morning clear; wind variable. The Iroquois
never loses sight of us, violating the neutrality of the port by night
by coming within the marine league to observe us. Sent the engineer on
shore to hurry the repair of his pumps. Loosed sails. Furled at
meridian, and ordered the fires to be lighted at 1 P.M.; the weather
looking unsettled, heeled the ship and scraped the grass off her port
side near the water-line. The Iroquois crawled in again last night
within about a mile and a half. As it was cloudy we lost sight of her in
the early part of the night for the first time.

_Thursday, November 21st._--Cloudy, with slight showers of rain. Drew
the charges from the battery and reloaded it; and examined and put in
order for action the small arms. Got up some barrels of salt provisions
and arranged them on each side of the quarter-deck to trim ship. She lay
an inch or two too much by the head. A boat employed filling up our
water. Changed our fasts to the shores in readiness for a move. Hurrying
the engineer with his work. I fear every moment to see another enemy's
ship arrive. During the morning the Governor returned in the Acheron to
Fort de France. In the afternoon the Acheron came back. Wrote a note to
the latter complaining of the continued violation of the neutrality of
the port by the enemy's ship. Engineer not ready, so we are obliged to
lie over another day.

C.S. Steamer Sumter, St Pierre,
Nov. 21st, 1861.

SIR,--It becomes my duty to complain of the continued violation of the
neutrality of this port, and of my right of asylum, by the enemy's steam
sloop of war the Iroquois.

This vessel, in shameful disregard of the warnings she has received from
his Excellency the Governor, comes every night, under cover of the
darkness, within a mile and a-half, or less, of the anchorage. Last
night, at nine o'clock, she was seen from my deck with the naked eye,
assisted by an occasional flash of lightning; and as the night was
comparatively obscure, no vessel, not being under sail, could have been
seen at a greater distance than from a mile to a mile and a quarter.

I have besides to inform you, that two small boats communicated with the
enemy in broad daylight yesterday, one of them pulling, upon leaving
her, to the north point, and the other to the south point, of the

I have, &c., &c., (Signed) R. SEMMES.

To M. Duchaxel, Commander of His French Majesty's steamer, L'Acheron.

_Friday, November 22nd._--The enemy about two and a half miles distant.
The engineer will be ready to-day, and, God willing, we will get out
to-night. Wrote to the captain of the Acheron, in reply to the position
assumed by the governor:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, St. Pierre,
Nov. 22nd, 1861.

SIR,--I have had the honour to receive your letter of yesterday, in
which you communicate to me the views of the Governor of Martinique
relative to the protection of my right of asylum in the waters of this
island; and I regret to say that those views do not appear to me to come
up to the requirements of the international code. The Governor says,
"that it does not enter into his intentions to exercise towards the
Iroquois, either by night or by day, so active a surveillance as you
desire." And you tell me that "we ought to have confidence in the strict
execution of a promise made by a commander in the military marine of the
American Union, so long as he has not shown to us evidence that this
engagement has not been scrupulously fulfilled." It would appear from
these expressions that the only protection I am to receive against the
blockade of the enemy is a simple promise exacted from that enemy, that
he will keep himself without the marine league of the land; the Governor
in the meantime exercising no watch by night or by day to see whether
this promise is complied with. In addition to the facts related by me
yesterday, I have this morning to report that one of my officers, being
on shore in the northern environs of the town last night, between eight
and nine o'clock, saw two boats, each pulling eight oars, the men
dressed in dark clothing, with the caps usually worn by seamen of the
Northern States, pulling quietly in towards the beach. He distinctly
heard a conversation between them in English, one of them
saying--"Harry, there she is; I see her"--in allusion, doubtless, to the
presence of my vessel. These boats, no doubt, have orders to make signal
to the Iroquois the moment they discover me under way. Now, with all due
deference to his Excellency the Governor, I cannot see the difference
between the violation of the neutrality of these waters by the enemy's
boats, and by his ship. And if no strict surveillance is to be
"exercised either by night or by day," I am receiving very much such
protection as the wolf would accord to the lamb. Is it an act of love
for the enemy to approach me with his boats for the purpose of
reconnaissance, and especially during the night? and I have the same
right to demand that he keep his boats beyond the marine league as that
he keep his ship at that distance. Nor am I willing to rely upon his
promise, that he will not infringe my rights in this particular. It
appears to me further, especially after the knowledge of the facts which
I have brought to your notice, that it is the duty of France to exercise
surveillance over her own water, "both by night and by day," when an
enemy's cruiser is blockading a friendly belligerent, who has sought
the asylum in those waters accorded to him by the law of nations. I
have, therefore, respectfully to request that you will keep a-watch by
means of guard boats, at both points of this harbour, to prevent the
repetition of the hostile act which was committed against me last night;
or, if you will not do this yourself, that you will permit me to arm
boats and capture the enemy when so approaching me. It would seem quite
plain, either that I should be protected, or be permitted to protect
myself. Further, it is in plain violation of neutrality for the enemy to
be in daily communication with the shore, whether by means of his own
boats, or boats from the shore. If he needs supplies, it is his duty to
come in for them; and if he comes in, he must anchor; and if he anchor,
he must accept the condition of remaining twenty-four hours after my
departure. It is a mere subterfuge for him to remain in the offing, and
supply himself with all he needs, besides reconnoitreing me closely by
means of boats. I protest against this act also. I trust you will excuse
me for having occupied so much of your time by so lengthy a
communication, but I deem it my duty to place myself right upon the
record in this matter. I shall seize an early opportunity to sail from
these waters; and if I should be brought to a bloody conflict with an
enemy, of twice my force, by means of signals given him in the waters of
France, either by his own boats or others', I wish my government to know
that I protested against the unfriendly ground assumed by the Governor,
that "it does not enter into his intentions to exercise towards the
Iroquois either by night or by day, so active a surveillance as you [I]

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.,
(Signed) R. SEMMES.

M. Duchaxel,
Commander of H.I.M. Steamer, L'Acheron.

C.S. Steamer Sumter, St. Pierre,
Nov. 23, 1861.

SIR,--I have the honor to inform you that the pilot of the enemy's
steamer Iroquois habitually spends his time on shore in this port; and
that last night he slept on board the enemy's topsail schooner moored
near the beach, in the vicinity of the English barque Barracouta. I have
ample evidence outside of my ship to establish these facts. Now, it must
be obvious to you that the enemy has sent this man into French waters to
act as a spy upon my movements; and he has, no doubt, in his possession
rockets or other signals, with which to communicate my departure to his
ship. This man, though only a pilot, and temporarily employed on board
the Iroquois, is in law as much an officer of that ship, for the time
being, as any one of her lieutenants.

The case, then, may be stated thus:--A lieutenant of the Iroquois not
only spends his time _habitually_ on shore, but sleeps at night on board
another vessel of the enemy, instead of sleeping at a hotel, the better
to enable him to observe my movements, and communicate them to his ship.
And yet all this is permitted by the authorities!

I most respectfully but earnestly protest against this violation of my
rights. As I stated in my letter of yesterday, an act of reconnaissance
(and still more an act of reconnaissance for the purpose of giving
information by signal) is an act of war; and will France permit an act
of war to be committed against me in her own waters, and under the eye
of her authorities, civil and military?

In conclusion, I request that you will issue an order, requiring this
spy to depart to his ship, and that you will also take the proper steps
to prevent the schooner in which he stays from making any signals to the

I have the honor to be, &c., &c.,
(Signed) R. SEMMES.

M. Duchaxel,
Commander of H.I.M. Steamer, L'Acheron.

NOTE.--The Sumter went to sea from the port of St. Pierre on the evening
(8 o'clock) of the date of the preceding letter, and, as was predicted,
the light was burned on board the American schooner to signal her
departure to the Iroquois.


* * * * *

Muffled the windlass. Getting on board some water. Last night, between
eight and nine o'clock, the engineer being on shore, near the north end
of the town, saw two of the Iroquois' touts, and heard one of them say
to the other, "Harry, that's she--I see her:" in allusion, doubtless, to
the presence of this vessel. We were all very anxious as the night
approached as to the state of the weather; and lo! for the first time in
five or six days, we had a beautiful star-light night, without a speck
of cloud anywhere to be seen. The enemy continued plain in sight, and
our black smoke, as it issued from the stack, would have betrayed us at
a distance of five miles. We were therefore reluctantly compelled to
give up the attempt.

_Saturday, November 23rd._--Beautiful clear morning, with every
appearance of settled weather. Fine starlit nights and clear settled
days, though very pleasant to the lover of nature, are not quite such
weather as we require for running a blockade by a ship which keeps
herself in plain sight of us, and which has the heels of us. But we must
have patience, and bide our time. Several sail have come in and departed
during the last twenty-four hours. The enemy in the offing as usual.
Towards noon it began to cloud up, and we had some rain, and I had
strong hopes that we should have a cloudy, dark night. The moon would
not rise until seven minutes past eleven, and if we could be aided by a
few clouds we should have sufficient darkness; for be it known that in
these tropical climates, where almost every star is a moon, there is no
such thing as darkness when the firmament is clear. But my hopes began
to fade, with the day, for one cloud disappeared after another, as the
sun went down, until the night promised to be as serene and bright as
the last. Venus, too, looked double her usual size, and being three
hours bright at sunset, poured forth a flood of light, little less than
that of the moon in a northern latitude. Notwithstanding all these
discouragements, however, I resolved to attempt the run, and having made
all the necessary preparations silently, so as not to awaken the
suspicions of the townspeople, who were always on the alert, at about
five minutes before eight o'clock gun-fire, I directed the chain to be
slipped, and the fasts to the shore cut, and put her under steam. The
enemy being on my starboard bow, and apparently standing towards the
north point of the roadstead, I headed her for the south point, giving
her full steam. So much on the _qui vive_ were the townspeople, that we
had scarcely moved twenty yards when a shout rent the air, and there was
a confused murmur of voices, as if Babel had been let loose. As we
neared the French steamer of war, Acheron, signals were made to the
enemy by means of blue lights from one of the Yankee schooners in port:
perceiving which, and knowing that the signals were so arranged as to
designate our direction, after moving a few hundred yards further, I
doubled, and came back under cover of the land, while I stopped once or
twice to assure myself that the enemy was continuing his course in the
opposite direction, in obedience to his signals; when, as soon as the
engineer could do so (for he had to cool his bearings, and this was
truly an anxious moment for me), I gave her all steam, and stood for the
north end of the island. As we approached it, the Fates, which had
before seemed unpropitious to us, began to smile, and the rain-squall,
which had come up quite unexpectedly, began to envelope us in its
friendly folds, shutting in our dense clouds of black smoke, which were
really the worst tell-tales we had to dread. The first half-hour's run
was a very anxious one for us; but as we began to lose sight of the
lights of the town and to draw away from the land, we knew that the
enemy had been caught in his own trap, and that we had successfully
eluded him. I had warned the French authorities that their neutrality
would be disregarded, and that these signals would be made. The
commander of the Iroquois had been guilty of a shameful violation of
good faith towards the French naval officer, to whom he made a promise
that he would respect the neutrality of the port, by sending his pilot
on shore, and arranging these signals with the Yankee skippers. Yankee
faith and Punic faith seem to be on a par. Our ship made good speed,
though she was very deep, and by half-past eleven we made up with the
south end of Dominica. Here the wind fell, and we ran along the coast of
the island in a smooth sea, not more than four or five miles from the
land. The moon by this time being up, the bold and picturesque outlines
of this island, softened by the rains and wreathed in fleecy clouds,
presented a beautiful night-scene.

The sleeping town of Rousseau barely showed us the glimmer of a light,
and we passed but one coasting schooner. At 2 A.M., we were off the
north end of the island, but now heavy rain-squalls came up, and
rendered it so thick, that we were obliged to slow down, and even stop
the engine, it being too thick to run. The squall lighting up a little,
we endeavoured to feel our way in the dark; mistook the south for the
north end of Prince Rupert's Bay, and only discovered our mistake when
we had gotten fearfully near the shore, and had whitened our water!
Hauled her broad out, and again put her under very slow steam. The
weather now lighting up more, we put her under headway again, doubled
the island, and shaped our course E. by N. It was now 4:30 A.M., and I
went below and turned in. _Deo gratias._ Poor D., the quartermaster, I
had to depose him from his high office of night look-out this night. He
had been remarked for his keen vision by night; but on this occasion he
was so perturbed, that he saw a steamer bearing down upon him from every
direction--even magnifying small sloops into frigates. The evening of
this day was lovely, and I think I have never seen a more beautiful,
sedative, poetic, love-in-a-cottage landscape, than the valleys and
hills presented in which lies the town of St. Pierre. All these charms
were heightened by the presence of grim-visaged war. Our run took every
one by surprise--several of the officers had breakfast and dinner,
appointments for several days ahead. My crew seem to be highly delighted
at our success in "doing the Yankee;" but I am not sure that an old
boatswain's-mate, and a hard, weather-beaten quartermaster, who had
shaved their heads for a close fight, were not disappointed that it did
not come off.


_Again at sea--Two captures--The Montmorency--The Arcade--Eastward,
ho!--The Vigilant taken--News from home--Dirty weather--The
whale--Ebenezer Dodge--In irons--A cyclone--The gale rages
--Fire!--Christmas day--No luck--The clank of the pumps--Cadiz_.

Once more afloat on the open sea; and at 4 P.M. of Monday November 25th,
a promising commencement was made in the capture of the fine ship
Montmorency, of 1183 tons, laden with Welsh coal for the English Mail
Packet service. And, fortunately so for her, or she would have shared
the fate of the Golden Balance, the Daniel Trowbridge, and other "burnt
offerings" of the little Sumter. As it was, she paid a light toll in the
shape of small supplies of paint, cordage, &c., and entering into a
ransom bond for 20,000 dollars, to be paid to the Confederate States
Government at the end of the war, her captain and crew were paroled, and
she herself permitted to proceed on her voyage.

At 1.30 P.M., on the 26th November--writes Captain Semmes--showed first
the United States and then our own colours to an English schooner,
probably from the Bahamas to the Windward Islands, and at three captured
the United States schooner Arcade from Portland, Maine, to Port au
Prince, Guadaloupe, loaded with stores. The master and half-owner of the
schooner was Master of the barque Saxony at the time of the loss of the
Central America, and was instrumental in saving lives on that occasion,
for which a handsome telescope had been presented to him. I had the
pleasure of returning the glass to him, captured among the other effects
of his vessel.

Took the master and crew on board (a rough sea running), and set fire to
her. At 4.40 stood on our course. The blaze of the burning vessel still
in sight at 8 P.M. During the night the wind lulled and became variable.
Hauled down the fore and aft sails, and steered N.E. The prize had no
newspapers on board, but we learned from the master that the great naval
expedition which the enemy had been some time preparing had struck at
Beaufort, South Carolina, on Fort Royal Sound. No result known.

* * * * *

After five days of hard fighting with the strong N.E. trade, blowing for
the most part half a gale of wind, and with thick and dirty weather, the
enemy is at length overcome, the sky clears, and the Sumter's head is
turned towards Europe. And now for a time Yankee commerce was to have a
respite, its relentless little enemy directing its attention exclusively
towards maturing her voyage across the Atlantic. She had at this time
but sixty days' water for her own crew, in addition to whom there were
now the six prisoners taken from the schooner. The passage, too, would
have to be made for the most part under canvas, and would probably not
occupy less than fifty days. Of course, she had now but six or seven
days' supply of coal--a small reserve in case of emergency, and hardly
sufficient to enable her to cruise a few days on the other side, and, if
possible, not go quite "empty-handed" into port.

Still the days were not altogether uneventful, and before the week was
out, a fine prize ran, as it were, into her very arms. Of this capture
the journal gives the following account:--

_Tuesday, December 3rd_.--At 6.30 A.M. Sail, ho! a point on the
starboard bow. At 7.30 the sail, which was standing in nearly the
opposite direction from ourselves, approached us within a couple of
miles. We hoisted French colours, when she showed United States'. Took
in all the studding sails, hauled by the wind, tacked, and fired a
shotted gun. The stranger immediately hove to. Lowered a boat, and sent
a lieutenant on board of him. Stood on and tacked, and having brought
the stranger under my guns, I began to feel sure of him (our smoke stack
was down, and we could not have raised steam in less than two hours and
a half). He proved to be the ship Vigilant, of Bath, Maine, bound from
New York to the guano island of Sombrero, in ballast. Captured him. Took
from on board chronometer, charts, &c., and a nine pounder rifled gun,
with ammunition, &c. Set him on fire, and at 3 P.M. made sail. This was
a fine new ship, being only two years old, and worth about 40,000

Lat. 29.10 N., Long. 57.2-2 W. Steering E. by N. We received a large
supply of New York papers to the 21st November. We learned from these
papers that the San Jacinto was in search of us when she took Messrs.
Mason and Slidell from on board the Trent. The enemy has thus done us
the honour to send in pursuit of us the Powhattan, the Niagara, the
Iroquois, the Keystone State, and the San Jacinto.

* * * * *

Dirty weather now for several days, the little vessel rolling and
straining, and withal beginning to leak to an extent which caused no
small anxiety to those in command. Still, however, she was quite up to
mischief, and on the 8th December, the Ebenezer Dodge, twelve days from
New Bedford, bound to the Pacific on a whaling voyage, was added to the
fatal list. Forty-three prisoners were now on board, cooped up with the
crew in the narrow berth deck, when the weather forbade their appearance
on deck, and the little Sumter was beginning to feel herself

It became necessary to adopt precautions, and one-half the prisoners
were now kept constantly in single irons, taking it turn and turn about
to submit to the necessary but disagreeable infliction. The wind, too,
hung perseveringly in the east, and things were getting uncomfortable.
They were destined, as the following extracts will show, to be yet more

_Wednesday, December 11th._--As ugly-looking a morning as one could well
conceive. Thick, dark, gloomy weather, with the wind blowing fresh from
the east, and threatening a gale (bar. 29.70 and falling) and a steady
but moderate rain falling. Put the ship under short sail. Our large
number of prisoners renders the crew very uncomfortable during this bad
weather. At meridian, gale blowing, with thick, driving rain. Lat.
32 deg. 48' N., Long. 49 deg. 32' W.D.R. At 2 P.M., dense clouds hanging very low
all around the horizon in every direction. Wind about E.S.E., inclined
to haul to the southward. Bar. 29.59. The pall of clouds is not so dense
as at noon, and the rain comes only occasionally in squalls. The clouds
are rifted, and appear to be on the point of rapid motion. Wore ship to
the northward and eastward. The wind soon after backed to the northward
and eastward, and we had to run the ship off N.W. for a while. Towards
night, however, the wind went back to E., and blew very fiercely,
raising very heavy and irregular sea-squalls of rain. The lightning was
very vivid. It blew very heavily until about 1 A.M., when it abated for
more than two hours, blowing only in puffs, and then not very hard. Near
the centre of the cyclone, lowest barometer. A little past midnight a
quartermaster entered with the report that the starboard-bow port had
been stove in! It was then blowing furiously. I immediately despatched
the first lieutenant to barricade the port and stop out the water as
effectually as possible, in which he succeeded pretty well. This report
gave me considerable anxiety, as the ports in the gun-deck and the
uppermost works of the ship are her weak points at which the gale would
assault her with most effect. In the meantime the barometer has been
gradually settling, settling, settling--sometimes remaining stationary
for several hours and then going down as before. At 8 P.M. it was 29.53.
We had an awful night--no one able to sleep.

_Thursday, December 12th_.--Thick, gloomy weather, with the gale raging
as fiercely as ever. It blew very heavily all the morning. The barometer
continued to sink until it reached 29.32--at 6 A.M. its lowest point.
The wind has hauled to the south. We are evidently in a cyclone, having
taken it in its northern quarter, the gale travelling north. On the
starboard tack, its centre has passed to the west of us. Ordered the
donkey engine to be got ready for use last night, in case the ship
should make more water than the small bilge pumps could throw out.
Carried away the flying jibboom at 7.30 A.M.--saved the sail. As the
gale progressed the wind hauled to the south and west; and at 4 P.M.,
judging that the strength of the gale had passed us, I kept the ship on
her course, E. by S., which gave a quartering wind and sea; and although
the sea was heavy, and the wind yet blowing a gale, she made beautiful
weather of it, scudding as well as she had lain to. The wind blew fresh
all night, with a slowly rising barometer.

Escaped the "cyclone," a fresh danger threatened, and from the element
more feared by the sailor than either wind or water in their wildest
moods. It was about midnight of December the 14th that the watch on deck
were startled by the smell of fire, soon followed by the appearance of
smoke pouring out of the ventilator leading up from the berth deck. The
alarm was immediately given; hands turned up and sent to quarters, and a
strict investigation made. Fortunately no damage was done except to a
mattress and pea-jacket which were partly consumed; but the escape was a
narrow one, and the sentries on duty below no doubt considered
themselves well off, to escape with no other punishment for their
carelessness than a week's stoppage of their grog.

On went the Sumter with varying fortune, now running pleasant races with
some huge whale, that left a track upon the water almost as broad as her
own; now rolling and tumbling in a gale, with ports barricaded to keep
the water out, and donkey engine ringed to keep it under. And at last
the continued bad weather and consequent confinement to the crowded
lower deck, began to tell upon the health of the crew, and no less than
twelve were at one time upon the sick list. The little vessel herself,
too, was getting rapidly invalided. The leak increased terribly, and
fully half the day was taken up at the pumps. The Christmas-tide entries
in the Journal are as follows:--

_Tuesday, December 24th_.--An unpropitious Christmas-eve; the gale of
last night continuing, with rain and a densely overcast sky. The
barometer is rising, however, which is a portent that the gale will not
last long. I have abandoned the idea of attempting to run into Fayal.
These Azores seem to be so guarded by the Furies of the storm, that it
would appear to be a matter of great difficulty to reach them in the
winter season. We have thirty-eight days of water on board, allowing a
gallon to a man; but still I have put the officers and crew on the
allowance of three quarts per day. I will run for the Straits of
Gibraltar, which will carry me in the vicinity of Madeira, should I have
occasion to make a port sooner.

Weather breaking somewhat at noon, but still thickly overcast. No
observation. Lat. 37 deg. 31' N., Long. 31 deg. 71' W. by computation. It
freshened up from the N. at 2 P.M., and blew a gale of wind all night
from N.N.E. to N.N.W. Running off with the wind a little abaft the beam
very comfortably; but the two small pumps were kept going _nearly all
night_. They do little more than keep her free.

_Wednesday, December 25th_.--Christmas-day! Bringing with it, away here
in mid-ocean, all the kindly recollections of the season and home, and
church and friends. Alas! how great the contrast between these things
and our present condition. A leaky ship filled with prisoners of war,
striving to make a port through the almost constantly recurring gales of
the North Atlantic in mid-winter! Sick list--ten of the crew, and four
prisoners. Wind fresh from the N.W. We are making a good run these
twenty-four hours. Lat. 36'08 N., Long. 28-42 W. Weather cloudy, and
looking squally and ugly, with a falling barometer, it being at noon
29.70; 29.80 is the highest it has been since the last gale. A series of
gales commenced on the 19th inst. Altered our course from S.E. by E. to
S.E. to avoid the St. Mary's bank; a Captain Livingstone having
reported, about forty years ago, that he saw white waters hereabouts,
and no nation having thought it worth while to verify the report.
Thermometer 63 deg.. Heavy rain-squalls. The weather during the night was
dirty and squally, with lightning all around the horizon by turns, and
heavy rain.. Spliced the main-brace.

The 26th December brought the Sumter off Cape Flyaway, and once more she
was rapidly approaching the ordinary track of commerce.

_Monday, December 30th_.--Sail, ho! at daylight, and Sail, ho! in
succession during the whole day, until as many as thirty-five were
reported. There were as many as nine or ten in sight at one time, all
standing on the same course for the tide and wind. Got up steam and
began chasing at 8 A.M., and chased until 4 P.M. The first vessel we
overhauled was a Dutch barque, clipper-looking, on board which we sent a
boat; and we afterwards overhauled, and caused to show their papers,
fifteen others of the fleet, every one of which was European!--Viz.
Dutch (ships), 4; English (2 barques and 5 brigs), 7; French (1 ship and
1 brig), 2; Swedish (brig), 1; Prussian (barque), 1; Hamburg (brig), 1.
One of the results of the war is, that in this whole fleet, as far as we
could ascertain, there was not a single Yankee! So many ships at the
same time so far out at sea, is a sight not often seen. The weather was
very thick and rainy, and from the S. to E., a real dirty day; and in
such a state of weather, with so many ships running down our track, we
had serious apprehensions of collisions as the night set in. To guard
against which we set out masthead as well as side lights. At 4.30 P.M.,
let the steam go down and made sail. No observations. Lat. 35 deg. 39';
Long. 17 deg. 33' D.R.

We first showed the United States colours to all these vessels, and the
only one which saluted it was the Prussian. We afterwards showed our own
flag to a number of them, and they all, with one or two exceptions,
saluted it. The stream of vessels still continued after nightfall--two
having passed us showing lights, one ahead and the other astern. At 6.15
P.M., or about one hour after dark, the wind was blowing fresh from the
E., and they came down upon us with fearful rapidity.

_Friday, January 3rd_, 1862.--Ugly looking morning, with a falling
barometer. Several sail were reported from the masthead during the
morning watch. We shortened sail to permit one of them, which was
steering the same course with ourselves, to come up with us. She proved
to be a Spaniard. We then gave chase to another ahead of us, running
before the wind for the Strait of Gibraltar. We chased her some two
hours, when it began to blow a fierce gale from the west, which obliged
us to give over the chase and to haul up to prevent running to leeward
of our port, and to put the ship under short sail and steam. It blew
very fiercely until near sunset, and raised a heavy, short, abrupt sea,
in which the ship rolled more heavily than I had ever seen her before.
This shook our propeller so as to cause the ship to increase her
quantity of water considerably--so much so that the engineer reported
that under short steam he was just keeping her free with his
bilge-pumps, and that if anything happened to these, he feared the other
pumps would not be sufficient. Under these circumstances, I ran in for
the land, cutting short my cruise by a day or two, as Iliad still two or
three days' coal on board. We made the Cadiz Light in the mid-watch--(my
fine chronometers!)--a beautiful red flash, and soon after got
soundings. Ran in for the light under low steam, and at 7 A.M. we were
within four or five miles of it. The morning was wet and gloomy. Fired a
gun, and hoisted the jack for a pilot; and soon after, having received
one on board, we ran into the harbour and anchored. As we approached,
the scene was most beautiful, in spite of the day. The city of Cadiz is
a perfect picture as you approach it, with domes, and towers, and
minarets, and Moorish-looking houses, of a beautiful white stone. The
harbour was crowded with shipping--_very thinly_ sprinkled with Yankees,
who could get no freights--and a number of villages lay around the
margin of the bay, and were picturesquely half hidden in the slopes of
the surrounding mountains, all speaking of regenerate old Spain, and of
the populousness and thrift of her most famous province of Andalusia.
Visited by the health-officer, who informed us that unless we were
specially exempted, we should be quarantined for three days, for not
having a certificate of health from the Spanish Consul at Martinique. A
number of merchant ships hoisted their flags in honour of our arrival,
and one Yankee showed his in defiance.


_Cadiz harbour--Notice to quit--Local authorities--Wisdom--The Queen of
Spain--Docked--Under repair--Deserters--The honour of the flag--The
Neapolitan--The Investigator--Gibraltar--Official visits--Up the rock--A
legend--Neutrality again--Consular diplomacy--Blockaded--The
Tusoarora--Seven in pursuit._

During the stay of the Sumter at Cadiz, and her subsequent arrival at
Gibraltar, Captain Semmes made the entries in his Journal which will be
found in this chapter.

_Saturday, January 4th_.--Harbour of Cadiz--ancient Gades--with its
Moorish houses and feluccas, or latteen vessels. Some fine oranges
alongside--the product of this latitude, 36 deg. 32' N., about the same
parallel with Norfolk, Virginia. It is one hundred and eighty-eight days
to-day since we ran the blockade at New Orleans, and of this time we
have been one hundred and thirty-six days at sea. We are informed this
evening that the question of our being admitted to _pratique_ (and I
presume also the landing of our prisoners) has been referred to Madrid
by telegram.

_Sunday, January 5th_.--Sky partially overcast, with a cool north wind.
Thermometer 56 deg.. Early this morning the health officer came alongside,
and brought me the order from the Government to depart within
twenty-four hours, and a tender of such supplies as I might need in the
meantime. I replied as under:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz,
January 5, 1862.

SIR,--I have had the honour to receive, through the health officer of
the port, an order from the Government of Spain, directing me to proceed
to sea within twenty-four hours. I am greatly surprised at this
unfriendly order. Although my Government has not yet been favourably
recognised by Spain, it has been declared to be possessed of the rights
of belligerents in the war in which it is engaged; and it is the
practice of all civilized nations to extend the hospitality of their
ports to the belligerents of both parties alike--whether the
belligerents be _de facto_ or _de jure_. I am aware of the rules adopted
by Spain, in common with the other great powers, prohibiting belligerent
cruisers from bringing their prizes into her ports; but this rule I have
not violated. I have entered the harbour of Cadiz with my single ship,
and I demand only the hospitality to which I am entitled by the law of
nations--the Confederate States being one of the _de facto_ nations of
the earth, by Spain's own acknowledgment, as before stated. I am sorry
to be obliged to add, too, that my ship is in a crippled condition. She
is damaged in her hull, is leaking badly, is unseaworthy, and will
require to be docked and repaired before it will be possible for her to
proceed to sea. I am therefore constrained, by the force of
circumstances, most respectfully to decline obedience to the order which
I have received, until the necessary repairs can be made. Further, I
have on board forty-three prisoners, confined within a small space,
greatly to their discomfort, and simple humanity would seem to dictate,
that I should be permitted to hand them over to the care of their consul
on shore without unnecessary delay.

I have, &c. (Signed) R. SEMMES.

To his Excellency The Military Governor of the Port of Cadiz, Spain.

At 11.30, a boat with the Spanish flag anchored a short distance from
me, evidently a guard upon my movements. The Yankees have been at work,
no doubt, to bring all this about. The military governor is telegraphing
my reply back, and we shall see what the answer will be.

I was mistaken in the above. The order to proceed to sea was begotten in
the wise brains of the local authorities. My reply to it having been
telegraphed to Madrid, the authorities were overruled; and the Queen
despatched an order to permit me to land my prisoners, and to make such
repairs as I needed. So this business, which has troubled us a couple of
days, is at an end. This evening, just before dark, a Spanish
steam-frigate came down from the Navy Yard, and anchored near us.

_Monday, January 6th._--Last night I was aroused at 2.30 A.M., by a boat
from the shore, with a note from the military governor, requesting me to
delay proceeding to sea, that the _benevolent_ intentions of her
Majesty's Government in regard to me might be carried out. The "muddy
heads" on shore had received a despatch from Madrid, in reply to my
letter to them. Weather clear and bracing. Wind from the North.
Thermometer at noon 59. deg. The steam-frigate disappeared somehow during
the night. Protested, as under, against the presence of a health

C.S. Steamer "Sumter,"
Cadiz, January 6th, 1862.

SIR,--I have had the honour to receive your Excellency's note
of to-day, in which you inform me that the proceedings of the
local authorities of Cadiz, commanding me to proceed to sea
within twenty-four hours, have been overruled by the Government
at Madrid, and that the Queen had graciously permitted me
to land my prisoners, and to remain to put the necessary repairs
upon my ship. Do me the favour to communicate to her Majesty
my thanks for her prompt and friendly action in the premises.

In the meantime, allow me most respectfully to protest against
the presence of the guard-boat which has been placed in surveillance
upon my movements, as though I were an ordinary ship
of commerce. Compliance with the laws of quarantine should
be left with me as a matter of honour, and the presence of this
boat implies the suspicion that a ship of war of a friendly Power
could so far forget herself as to infringe the regulations of the
port--a suspicion as unworthy the health authorities of the port
of Cadiz as it is offensive to me.

I have the honour to be, &c. &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Senor Ignacio Mendez de Vigo,
Military Governor of the Port of Cadiz.

_Tuesday, January 7th_.--To-day I received a note from Senor
de Vigo, the military Governor, informing me that the Queen's
Government had consented to permit me to land my prisoners,
and to remain for repairs. He puts my remaining, however, on
the ground of necessity arising out of my crippled condition. Received
also a reply from the Yankee Consul to my note about the
prisoners: declined to receive it on account of its being improperly
addressed.[5] Landed all the prisoners. Received another
note from the Governor, requesting me to hurry my repairs, &c.
Sent to the Captain of the port on the subject. Referred by
him to Captain-General.

[Footnote 5:


C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz,
January 7, 1862.

Sir,--Your note of this morning having been sent off to me by a common
boatman, I could not learn the name of the writer without breaking
the envelope. Having done so, and ascertained it to be from yourself,
I decline to receive it, as being improperly addressed. My address
is as follows:--


Confederate States Navy,
Commanding C.S. Steamer Sumter.
E.S. Eggleston, U.S. Consul.]

_Wednesday, January 8th_.--Complained to the Civil Governor of the
Paymaster and Surgeon having been called alongside the guard-boat
(whilst coming on board in a shore boat). Despatched a Lieutenant to San
Fernando to see the Captain-General about docking the ship. He returned
at nightfall, with word that the Captain-General would reply in the

_Thursday, January 9th_.--Visited by Engineer of docks at San
Fernando, to learn the extent of the repairs which we shall require, and
to take the dimensions of the ship, to ascertain whether she can enter
the only dock that is empty. A fine, clear day, with a pleasant wind
from the N. Bar. 30'34., the highest that I have ever seen. No answer
from the Captain-General yet (noon), as to our being docked. Besides the
six ships which Mr. Welles says have been in pursuit of me--viz., the
Powhattan, the Niagara, the San Jacinto, the Iroquois, the Keystone
State, and the Richmond--the Ino and the Dacotah are also employed in
this fruitless business. We are fairly in the hands of the
circumlocution office. I suppose they are telegraphing Madrid. The
greatest excitement prevails all over Europe to learn the result of the
English demand for the Commissioners. The general impression is, that
the Yankees will give them up, and that there will be no war. The packet
from New York is expected in England to-day. In the meantime, Great
Britain is calling home her ships of war; the Mediterranean fleet
arrived at Gibraltar on January 2nd, and threw the commercial community
into the greatest consternation. Received final permission this evening
from the Captain-General to enter dock.

_Saturday, January 11th_.--Visited the shore. Cadiz full of life and
bustle. Met Mr. Oliver; he is from the East. He says Russia is laying
deep schemes for uniting the whole Sclavonic race under her rule; and
that the _cotton_ pressure is felt at Constantinople, up the Danube,
and, in short, all over Eastern Europe. Received permission from the
Governor to land the marine who was sentenced by court-martial to be
discharged. News of the great fire in Charleston. Rumour that the
Yankees have given up the Commissioners. Can scarcely credit it as yet.
Yankee-dom can hardly have fallen so low.

_Sunday, January 12th_.--Landed the discharged marine. The news that
Messrs. Mason and Slidell have been given up appears to be confirmed.
The subtle diplomacy, notifying the Yankee Government _unofficially_,
that the ultimatum would be withheld a short time, to allow them time to
give up the prisoners _voluntarily_, was resorted to! The Yankee Consul
here gave a dinner on the occasion! The Cadiz papers comment very
unfavourably upon this back-down, and insist that notwithstanding, it is
the duty of the great Powers to interpose and put an end to the war. In
the afternoon we got under way, and passing through the fleet of
shipping, went up to the dock at Caracca, some eight miles east of the
city. The harbor is perfect, the water deep, and the buildings
extensive. The pilot who took me up, says he is the man to run me out by
the enemy, when I am ready--that he was in New Orleans sixty years ago,
and remained a year in Louisiana, where he learned to speak the
language, which he has not yet entirely forgotten.

_Monday, January 13th_.--At about 10 o'clock the dockyard people came on
board of us, and at 10.30 we were safely docked, and at noon the dock
pumped dry. We suffered very little damage from running ashore at
Maranham. We indented a small place under the forefoot, and knocked off
only a small portion of our false keel instead of the whole of it, as we
supposed. We are now knocking away bulk-heads, and removing magazine and
shell room to get at the shaft. At 1 P.M. called officially upon the
Naval-Commandant, and returned him my thanks for the handsome manner in
which he had docked my ship. I spoke of the back-down of the Yankees,
which he asserted would make them lose caste in Europe. The great fire
at Charleston was alluded to by him, whereupon I remarked that Europe
could see from this incident--(the work of incendiarism prompted and
paid for, no doubt, by the enemy)--the barbarous nature of the war waged
upon us, and told him we were in fact fighting the battles of Spain as
well as our own; for if the barbarians of the North succeeded in
overcoming the South (which, however, I pronounced an impossibility),
and destroying our slave property, in their wild fanaticism and
increasing madness, they would next make war on Cuba and Porto Rico. He
replied that this war could not continue much longer; there were people
and territory enough in North America to make two great governments, and
Europe would, no doubt united, soon interpose. I was treated with great
civility and kindness.

_Tuesday, January 14th_.--* * * Had an interview to-day with the
Naval-Commandant, who explained to me the orders he had received from
the Government in relation to my ship, which were to put upon her only
the _indispensable_ repairs, without essential alterations. I expressed
myself satisfied with this; told him I knew the solicitude of his
Government to avoid complication; and, that so far as depended upon me,
he might rely upon it that I would permit nothing to be done which might
involve it in any way. Proceeding with the necessary repairs. Some
thousand workmen, many of them convicts, are employed in this yard. They
have in dock, receiving her copper, a heavy steam frigate constructed
here, and another still larger on the stocks. Immense quantities of
timber are in the docks, and though the water is salt it is not attacked
by the worm, the ebb and flow of the tide preventing it. Timber which
has been forty years in these docks is perfectly sound. Five of my
seamen deserted yesterday--all foreigners, I am glad to say. The
Commandant has promised to put the police on the scent, but I have no
expectation I shall get them.

_Wednesday, January 15th_.--Having had the plank replaced in the bilge,
and re-coppered and overhauled the propeller, we were let out of dock at
1 P.M. These repairs were done with a very bad grace by the Spanish
officials, who seemed in a great hurry to get rid of us, lest the affair
of our being docked should compromise them! This I suppose was due to
official timidity, not to any want of good feeling, as the Commandant of
the yard expressed to me his regret at not being able to put me in
complete repair; personally offering to render me any service in his
power. Our engine not being ready for use, the Captain-General sent a
small steamer to tow me to Cadiz, where we anchored at about 4 P.M.
Whilst lying in the dock, a stampede took place amongst my crew, nine of
them having deserted. Two were brought back; the rest escaped. Some of
these men had behaved themselves very well, but none of them, of course,
had any attachment to the flag, not being natives, or, indeed, citizens
at all, and, sailor-like, they had got tired, and wanted a change. Some,
no doubt, shrank from the arduous and perilous duties of the service in
which they had engaged. They took refuge with the Yankee Consul, and it
was useless to ask to have them given up. The enemy is certainly good
at burning cities by means of negro incendiaries, and at enticing away
our seamen. Another lad ran away from a boat this evening. Have directed
no boat should leave the ship without an officer, and that the officer
be armed, and ordered to shoot any men who attempt to desert.

_Thursday, January 16th_.--Called my crew aft and had a talk with them
about the bad conduct of their shipmates who had deserted. Told them I
did not believe I had another man on board capable of so base an act;
that men who could run under such circumstances would run from their
guns; and that I did not want such, &c., &c.; and ended by telling them
that when funds arrived they should be permitted to go on liberty. * * *
At 9 P.M., the aide-de-camp of the Military Governor came on board,
bringing a pilot with him, with a peremptory order for me to go to sea.
I replied as under:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Cadiz, Jan. 16, 1862.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform you that whilst my ship was in the
dock at Caracca eight of my seamen deserted, and I am informed that they
are sheltered and protected by the United States Consul. I respectfully
request that you will cause these men to be delivered to me, and to
disembarrass this demand of any difficulty that may seem to attend it,
permit me to make the following observations:--[6]

* * * * *

3. It has been, and is, the uniform custom of all nations to arrest and
hand over to their proper officers, deserters from ships of war; and
this without stopping to inquire as to the nationality of the deserter.

[Footnote 6: The paragraphs omitted, contain merely a recapitulation of
the claim of the Confederate States to full belligerent rights.]

4. If this is the practice in peace, how much more necessary does such a
practice become in war; since, otherwise, the operations of war--remote,
it is true--but still the operations of war, would be tolerated in a
neutral territory.

5. Without a violation of neutrality, an enemy's consul in a neutral
territory, cannot be permitted to entice any seamen from a ship of the
opposite belligerents, or to shelter or protect the same; for, if he is
permitted to do this, then his domicile becomes an enemy's camp in a
neutral territory.

6. With reference to the question in hand, I respectfully submit that
the only facts which your Excellency can take cognizance of, are, that
these deserters entered the waters of Spain under my flag, and that they
formed a part of my crew. The inquiry cannot pass a step beyond, and
Spain cannot undertake to inquire, as between the United States Consul
and myself, to which of us the deserters in question more properly
belong. Such a course would be tantamount to an interposition between
two belligerents, and it would be destructive of the essential rights of
ships of war in foreign ports, as well in peace as in war.

7. I am inclined to admit that if a Spanish subject serving under my
flag should escape to the shore, and should satisfy the authorities that
he was held by me by force, and either without contract, or in violation
of contract, that he might be set at liberty, but such is not the
present case. The nationality of the deserters not being Spanish, Spain
cannot, as I said before, inquire into it. To conclude, the case which I
present is simply this:--Several of my crew, serving on board my ship
under voluntary contracts, have deserted, and taken refuge in the
consulate of the United States. To deprive me of the power, with the
assistance of the police, to recapture these men, would convert the
consulate into a camp, and the consul would be permitted to exercise the
right of a belligerent on neutral territories.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Exmo. Sr. Don J. Mendez de Vigo,
Military Governor, Cadiz.

_Friday, January 17th._--Before I had turned out this morning the
Governor's aid again came on board, stating the order was made
peremptory, that I should go to sea in six hours, or I should be forced.
I called in person on the Governor, a not over bright official, and
endeavoured to make him understand how I was situated, but it seemed
impossible. He promised, however, to send a despatch to Madrid, to the
effect that I had no coals, and was awaiting funds to procure the same;
but, he added, if he received no despatch in the six hours he should
require me to depart. I returned on board, and gave the necessary orders
to get ready for sea. At 4 P.M., whilst I was weighing my anchor, the
General's aide came alongside, and said to me that the Madrid Government
had consented to let me remain twenty-four hours, that a despatch was
being written to me on the subject, to which the Governor desired that I
would reply in writing. I told the officer that, if his Government had
politely acceded to my request, permitting me to remain until my funds
arrived, I could have appreciated it; but that being restricted to
forty-eight hours, I declined to avail myself of the privilege, and
should go to sea; and that the General need not trouble himself to read
me the written despatch, as I had no other reply to make. I got under
way in a few minutes afterwards, and as I was passing out a boat was
seen pulling in great haste towards me, one of the crew holding up a
letter in his hand. I did not stop to receive it; I felt too indignant
at the manner in which I had been treated to be very civil. We passed
outside of the harbour a little before sunset, and held on to the light
until midnight, when we steamed for the Strait of Gibraltar.

_Saturday, January 18th._--* * * * We entered the Strait of Gibraltar at
about 5 A.M., passing the Tarifa Light, and with the bold shores of both
Africa and Europe in plain sight, in the bright moonlight--bright,
notwithstanding the passing clouds. We made the Gibraltar light about
daybreak, and saw at the same time a number of sail. We gave chase to
two that _looked_ American, which they proved to be, and which we
captured. The first was the barque Neapolitan, of Kingston,
Massachusetts, from Messina to Boston, laden with fruit and fifty tons
of _sulphur_. The whole cargo was stated by the master, in his
depositions, to belong to the Baring Bros., consigned to their agents in
Boston--a falsehood, no doubt. Without stopping to look into the _bona
fides_ of this claim of neutral ownership, it was enough that the
sulphur was contraband, and that the fruit belonged to the same owner; I
destroyed both ship and cargo. No papers as to the latter were produced.
The second vessel was also a barque, the Investigator, of Searsport,
Maine. She being laden with iron ore, the property of neutrals
(Englishmen), I released her on a ransom bond; she was bound to Newport,
Wales. One fourth of the vessel was owned in South Carolina, and the
share of the South Carolina owner was omitted from the ransom
bond--amount of bond being less one-fourth fifteen thousand dollars.
Having burned the Neapolitan, I steamed in for Gibraltar at 2.30 P.M.
Passed under Europa point at about dusk, and stood in, and anchored in
the bay at about 7.30 P.M. Boarded in a few minutes by a boat from an
English frigate, with an offer of service. Sent a boat alongside the
health ship.

_Sunday, January 19th_.--We found early this morning we had _pratique_.
A number of English officers and citizens came on board. At 10 I called
on board the frigate that had sent the boat on board of us last night,
but was informed that the Captain (who was absent) was not the
commanding officer present, and that the latter lived on shore. At 2
P.M. I landed at the arsenal and called upon the commanding naval
officer, who received me very politely. I asked the loan of an anchor,
having but one, and the Captain promised to supply me with one if there
should be no objection on the part of the law officers of the Crown!
Walked from the Captain's little oasis--scooped out as it were from the
surface of the Rock, with a nice garden-plot and trees, shrubbery,
&c.--down into the town, and called on Lieutenant-General Sir W.J.
Codrington, K.C.B., the Governor, an agreeable type of an English
gentleman of about fifty to fifty-five years of age. The Governor
tendered me the facilities of the market, &c., and in the course of
conversation said he should object to my making Gibraltar a _station_,
at which to be at anchor for the purpose of sallying out into the Strait
and seizing my prey. I told him that this had been settled as contrary
to law by his own distinguished judge, Sir William Scott, sixty years
ago, and that he might rely upon my taking no step whatever violative of
the neutrality of England, so long as I remained in her ports, &c. The
garrison is about seven thousand strong, and it being Sunday, the
parade-ground and streets were thronged with gay uniforms. Spain, with
her hereditary jealousy and imperiousness of character, is very formal
and strict about intercourse with the Rock. The Duke of Beaufort visited
us to-day.

_Monday, January 20th_.--Very fresh, threatening a gale. Ship reported
as having dragged her anchor. Ordered steam to be got up and the berth
shifted. Ran in nearer to the eastern shore into four fathom water and
where it was smoother.

_Tuesday, January 21st_.--The westerly wind is bringing a fleet of ships
into the bay. To-day Colonel Freemantle came on board to return my visit
on the part of the Governor, and to read to me, by the latter's
direction, a memorandum of the conversation which had passed between us
on Sunday. The points noted were--first, that we had agreed that I
should receive all necessary facilities for the repair (from private
sources) and supply of my ship, contraband of war excepted; and,
secondly, that I would not make Gibraltar a station at which to lie at
anchor, and sally out upon my enemy. I assented to the correctness of
the Governor's memorandum. The first Lieutenant and Paymaster ashore
making arrangements for the purchase of an anchor and chain. The house
of Peacock and Co. refused to supply us, because it would offend their
Yankee customers. They made arrangements with another party. The town of
Gibraltar, from the fact that the houses are built on the side of the
Rock, and stand one above the other, presents the beautiful spectacle
every night of a city illuminated. Colonel Freemantle politely requested
me to visit the various batteries, &c.

_Wednesday, January 22nd_,--Wind still from westward. Received on board
an anchor and chain. Received a letter from Captain Warden, on a point
of international law, to which I assented--to wit, that vessels should
have twenty-four hours' start.

_Thursday, January 23rd_.--Visited by Captain Warden, the Senior Naval
Officer. Received a letter from Hon. Mr. Yancey, who does not believe
that the blockade will be raised for three months. Ordered a survey upon
the ship.

_Friday, January 24th_.--Invited to dine with the 100th, a Canadian
regiment. Some of the officers went. Captain Palmer has been relieved by
De Camp.

_Saturday, January 25th_.--We hear a rumour that the Nashville has been
sold. Ships constantly arriving and departing.

_Sunday, January 26th_.--A charming, balmy day, resembling April in
Alabama. At 10, went on shore to the Catholic church; arrived as the
military Mass ended: many Catholics in the army. Small church, with
groined arches--remnant of Spanish times. After church took a delightful
stroll into the country, just above the Alameda. It is a labyrinth of
agave and flowers and shrubbery, among which the path zigzags up the
mountain-side; geraniums, and jonquils, and mignonette, and lilies are
wild. One is only surprised, after looking at the apparently barren face
of the rock, to find so much sweetness of Mother Earth. I clambered up a
couple of hundred feet, and from that height the bay, the coasts of
Spain, and sleeping Africa, robed in the azure hue of distance, and the
numerous sail, some under way, and others lying like so many cock-boats,
as seen from the height, at their anchors--the latteen craft speaking of
the far East, &c. Statue of General Elliot. A number of fine-looking
Moors in the streets, picturesque in their loose dresses and snowy
turbans. Gibraltar is, indeed, a city of the world, where one sees every
variety of costume, and hears all tongues. Spanish is the predominant
language among the commercial classes. Major-General Sir John Inglis
(the hero of Lucknow), of the English army, Governor of Corfu, having
arrived on his way to the Ionian Islands, visited us to-day to see our
ship, which he was kind enough to say had become "quite distinguished."

_Monday, January 27th_.--A general exodus of the shipping this morning
out of the Straits, within which they had been detained some ten days by
a head wind. The English mail steamer from Southampton arrived. Received
from her a _Times_ of the 20th, from which we learn that England had
protested against the barbarity of blocking up the harbour of
Charleston, by sinking a stone fleet. We feel some anxiety for the
safety of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, they having embarked on board the
English gunboat Rinaldo, at Princetown, on the 2nd instant, and not
having been heard of on the 10th, although bound to Halifax. A heavy
gale blew on the eve of their embarkation.

_Tuesday, January 28th._--Preparing the ship for sea, surveying
machinery, and impatiently awaiting news from London.

_Wednesday, January 29th._--Visited the shore, and went to the Military
Library and Reading Room, where I found the principal London journals.
Reported that the English Government will consult Parliament about
recognising us. Took a long stroll to the east end of the
Rock--exceedingly broken and picturesque. Came upon a Moorish
burying-ground, looking out upon Africa. Some of the marble slabs had
become almost disintegrated by the weather, so old were they. What a
history of human affections, hopes, aspirations, tribulations, and
disappointments lay buried here! New works, adding additional strength
to this renowned fortress, are still going on. * * * *

_Thursday, January 30th._--* * * * Visited, in company with Colonel
Freemantle, the famous fortifications, passing through the
galleries--three tiers, one above the other--in the north end of the
Rock. These are huge tunnels, extending from a third to half a mile,
with embrasures from space to space for cannon--the solid Rock forming
the casemates. From these galleries we emerged out on a narrow footway
cut in the rock, and stood perpendicularly over the sea breaking at our
feet, and had a fine view of the N.E. face of the Rock rising in a
magnificent mass some 1500 feet. From this point a tower, called the
Queen of Spain's Chair, was pointed out to me--on the height opposite,
to the northward. The legend connected with which is, that during one of
the sieges of 1752, the Queen of Spain came to this eminence to witness
the assault and capture of the place, and vowed she would not descend
therefrom until the flag of Spain should wave from the Rock. The assault
failed, and the Queen in performance of her vow refused to descend,
until the Governor of Gibraltar, hearing of the determination of her
Majesty, sent her word that he would at a given hour hoist the Spanish
ensign that she might descend. This was done, and the Queen was rescued
from her predicament without breaking her word.

Having finished our inspection of the Rock, we went through the town,
and passed out on to the neutral ground, from which I returned after a
four hours' ride completely broken down. On the south end, under a
perpendicular wall of rock, that in summer breaks the sun from an early
hour in the afternoon, is the Governor's summer residence, to which he
resorts for protection against the heat. We met his Excellency and lady,
who had come out to look at their summer home, &c. Colonel Freemantle
told me that the Spanish Consul, whom he pointed out as we passed the
Alameda, had stated that I was a Spaniard, or at least that my father
was--a native of Catalonia--that I spoke Catalan as well as English, and
that my name was a common one in that province.

_Saturday, February 1st._--Witnessed a review of about five thousand
troops in the Alameda. Drums draped with black, and the ornaments of the
officers covered with black crape in respect to the memory of the Prince

_Sunday, February 2nd._--Received letters from N----, informing me, that
as my ship was unseaworthy, Mr. Yancey had determined to send me the new
one built at Liverpool, if I desired it.

_Wednesday, February 5th._--A United States merchant ship came in and
anchored. Ready for sea. Mr. Joyce came on board, and went afterwards
with the Engineer on shore to look at some coal. Mr. Joyce sent word
that he could not purchase any, there being a combination against us.
Sent the First Lieutenant to the Governor to represent the facts to him,
and to ask for a supply from the public stores. He replied he had no
coal under his control, that it belonged to the naval officer, but that
he did not think it could be supplied. Expressed his astonishment at the
combination of the merchants. Sent a number of men on shore on liberty.

_Friday, February 7th._--Liberty-men staying over their time. Two of
them have deserted and gone over to the U.S. Consul. One of them has
been badly beaten by the rest of the men. Eleven of them came on board
later. Visited by a Spanish Lieutenant, who had been directed by the
Spanish Naval Commander at Algeciras to see me and state that the U.S.
Consul had complained to the Spanish government that I had violated the
neutrality of Spain by capturing the barque Neapolitan within a mile and
a half of Ceutra, on the Morocco coast, and that the Government had
given the Admiral orders to see that both belligerents in the war should
respect Spanish neutrality. I stated to him in reply that any question
which the capture might present was a matter between our two
Governments, and that I did not recognise the right of the Spanish
Admiral to inquire into the matter. To this the Lieutenant assented. I
then said that I would take the pleasure of showing him, however, for
the information of the Admiral, that the truth had not been represented
to his Government by the United States Consul. I then called my clerk,
and showed him the deposition of the Master of the captured vessel, in
which it was stated that the capture was made within five miles of
Gibraltar! The officer seemed equally astonished and pleased, and
expressed his satisfaction.

_Saturday, February 8th_.--Early this morning the British frigate
Warrior came in, and anchored near us. Sent a Lieutenant on board to
make the usual complimentary call. Awaiting the arrival of a vessel with
coal, consigned to Mr. Joyce, who promises to supply us. My coxswain ran
off to-day, and I was pulled off by a drunken crew.

_Sunday, February 9th._--Did not go to church, but remained on board to
be present at muster. Eleven of my vagabonds still on shore. Some of
these, we learn, have gone to the United States Consul, and claimed his
protection. This official has been seducing them off by an emissary.
Wrote to the Governor charging this on the Consul, and wrote also to
Captain Warden, asking to be supplied with coal from the Government

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
Feb. 10, 1862.

Sir,--I have the honour to state for the information of his Excellency
the Governor of Gibraltar, that I am informed and believe that the
United States Consul, at this place, has, by means of his emissaries,
tampered with, and seduced from their allegiance, several of the crew of
my ship who have visited the shore on liberty. The impropriety and
illegality of such conduct is so manifest that I take it for granted his
Excellency will interpose his authority for my protection. Great
Britain, having proclaimed a strict neutrality in the war now pending
between the United States and Confederate States, is under the
obligation, I respectfully suggest, not only to abstain herself, from
any un-neutral conduct, but to see that all persons whatsoever within
her dominions so abstain. No act of war, proximate or remote, should be
tolerated in her waters by the one belligerent against the other, or by
any citizen or resident against either belligerent. His Excellency will
doubtless concur with me in the justice and propriety of the rule thus
stated. To apply this rule to the present case. Being prompted by
motives of humanity to send my crew on shore, in small detachments, for
exercise and recreation, after a long confinement on shipboard, my
enemy, the United States Consul, sends his agents among them, and by
specious pretences persuades them to desert their ship, and take refuge
under his Consular flag. This Has been done in the case of the following
seamen:--Everett Salmon, John G. Jenkins, Thomas F. Kenny, and perhaps
others. Here is an act of war perpetrated against me in neutral
territory, and the consular residence, or office, has become _quoad hoc_
a hostile camp. And this conduct is the more objectionable in that the
nationality of most of these men is not American. His Excellency, as a
soldier, knows that no crime is regarded with greater detestation in the
present civilized age of the world, than the one here described. As
between contending armies in the field, an offender caught in the
perpetration of such an act, would be subjected to instant death; and
this, not only because the act is an act of war, but because it is a
dishonourable act of war. And can an enemy make use of neutral territory
to do that, which would subject him to an ignominious death, if he were
without such territory, and within reach of the opposite belligerent?
When my men come within his Excellency's jurisdiction I lose all control
over them, and must rely upon his comity to regain possession of them.
If they leave me of their own freewill, in the absence of the
recognition of my Government, and of treaty stipulation, perhaps I have
no remedy. But when I permit them to go on shore, and enter the
jurisdiction of a neutral and friendly power, I do so with the just
expectation that they will receive the shelter and protection of the
neutral flag; and that they will not be permitted to be run off by my
enemy; and to wheedle and entice a sailor from his ship, and that too
when, perhaps, he is half drunk, is little better than kidnapping him.
In the present case, the violation of the neutral jurisdiction is as
complete as if the Consul had seized my men by force; for he has
accomplished the same object; to wit, weakening his enemy by
stratagem--a stratagem practised by one belligerent against another. If
this act had been committed by a military or naval officer of the enemy,
transiently within the limits of Gibraltar, every one would have been
surprised at it, and would have exclaimed against it as a flagrant
violation of the law of nations. And is the offence of less magnitude
when committed by a Consul, who is peculiarly favored by the law of
nations, as an officer of peace, and one whose pursuits lie wholly in
the walks of commerce? Mr. Sprague, the United States consul, is a
gentleman whom I have heard favourably spoken of, and it is barely
possible I may do him injustice in imputing to him the conduct
described, but the evidence came to me in a very satisfactory shape, and
I shall be ready to produce it if the allegation be denied. Should the
proof be made out to his Excellency's satisfaction, I shall deem it my
duty to request that the Consul be suspended from his functions, and
that the question of withdrawing his Exequatur be referred to the
British Government.

I have, &c., &c.,
(Signed) R. SEMMES.

To Capt. J. Freeling, Col. Sec.

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar.
Feb. 10th.

Sir,--I have the honour to inform you that I have made every effort to
procure a supply of coal, without success. The British and other
merchants of Gibraltar, instigated I learn by the United States Consul,
have entered into the un-neutral combination of declining to furnish the
Sumter with coal on any terms. Under these circumstances, I trust the
Government of her Majesty will find no difficulty in supplying me. By
the recent letter of Earl Russell (31st January, 1862), it is not
inconsistent with neutrality for a belligerent to supply himself with
coal in a British port. In other words, this article has been
pronounced, like provisions, innoxious; and this being the case, it can
make no difference whether it be supplied by the Government or an
individual (the Government being reimbursed the expense), and this even
though the market were open to me. Much more, then, may the Government
supply me with an innocent article, the market not being open to me.
Suppose I had come into port destitute of provisions, and the same
illegal combination had shut me out from the market, would the British
Government permit my crew to starve? Or, suppose I had been a sail ship,
and had come in dismasted, and the dockyard was the only place where I
could be refitted, would you have denied me a mast? and if you would not
deny me a mast, on what principle will you deny me coal, both articles
being declared by your Government innoxious? The true criterion is, not
whether the Government, or an individual may supply the article, but
whether the article itself be noxious or innoxious. The Government may
not supply me with powder--why? Not because I may have recourse to the
market, but because the article is noxious. A case in point occurred
when I was in Cadiz recently. My ship was admitted into a Government
dock, and there repaired; firstly, because the repairs were innocent,
and, secondly, because there were no private docks in Cadiz. So here,
the article is innocent, and there is none in the market (accessible to
me); why then may not the Government supply me?

In conclusion, I respectfully request that you will supply me with 150
tons of coal, for which I will pay the cash; or if you prefer it, I will
deposit the money with an agent, who can have no difficulty, I suppose,
in purchasing the same amount of the material from some one of the
hulks, and returning it to her Majesty's dockyard.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

Captain E. Warden, Senior Naval Officer,

_Monday, February 10th_.--* * * * Received a visit
from Captain Cochrane, of the Warrior, son of the late Earl
of Dundonald, notorious in the war of 1812, and distinguished
in the South American service. Wrote the following

C.S. Steamer Sumter,
Bay of Gibraltar, Feb. 10, 1862.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform you that I have this day
caused to be paid to the Spanish Consul at this port the amount
of the bill contracted by this ship under my command while in
the dock at Caracca.

I have, &c.,

(Signed) R. SEMMES.

To the Captain of the Port, Cadiz.

_Tuesday, February 11th._--* * * * Five men in confinement! The
d----seems to have got into my crew. I shall have to tighten the reins a

_Wednesday, February 12th_.--* * * * Called on the Governor to have a
talk with him on the subject of my deserters. He took the ground that in
the absence of treaty stipulations he could not deliver a fugitive
unwilling to be returned. Whilst I was with him the Tuscarora was
announced by the telegraph. This ship came in and anchored near us about
12 noon, disguised with her mainyards down, so as to resemble a merchant
steamer. I saw Captain Warden on shore also. He informed me that the
question of my being coaled by the dockyards had been referred by
telegraph to London.

_Thursday, February 13th._--Blowing a levanter. In the morning a barque
dragged foul of the Tuscarora, and carried away her (the barque's)
foreyards. Later in the day the Tuscarora shifted her berth over to the
Spanish shore, near San Roque. Several vessels took shelter in the
harbour from the gale. Among them a French line-of-battle ship, and a
Spanish side-wheel man-of-war. Shut up in my little cabin by the wet
weather, I have time to brood gloomily over home and the war, and the
prospects of our dear South.

_Friday, February 14th._ * * *--At noon the Tuscarora got under way, and
stood over to Algeciras.

_Saturday, February 15th_.--Anniversary of the day of my resignation
from the navy of the United States; and what an eventful year it has
been! The Northern States have been making a frantic and barbarous war
upon thirteen states and nine millions of people; in face, too, of
Madison's words: "If there be a principle that ought not to be
questioned in the United States, it is that every nation has the right
to abolish an old Government and establish a new one. This principle is
not only recorded in every public archive, written in every American
heart, and sealed with the blood of a host of American martyrs, but it
is _the only lawful tenure_ by which the United States hold their
existence as a nation." And then what flood-gates of private misery have
been raised by this war--overwhelming families without number in utter
ruin and desolation.

Reduced my worthless sergeant to the ranks, and promoted a corporal in
his stead. The British Parliament met on the 6th, and we have in the
papers to-day the address to the Queen, and the speeches of the Earl of
Derby and Lord Palmerston. From the general tone of all these papers we
shall not be acknowledged at present. They say the quarrel is no
business of theirs, and we must fight it out. Astute Great Britain! she
sees that we are able to fight it out, and thus her darling object will
be accomplished without the expenditure of blood or money.

_Sunday, February 16th_.--* * * * Visited by the Captain of the Scylla

_Monday, February 17th._--* * * * Visited the Warrior. The Governor
and suite and a number of naval and other officers, civilians, and
ladies visited her by appointment at the same time. The Warrior is a
marvel of modern naval architecture, and for a first experiment may be
pronounced a success. She is a monstrous, impregnable floating fortress,
and will work a revolution in shipbuilding. Wooden ships, as
battle-ships, must go out of use. With this single ship I could destroy
the entire Yankee fleet blockading our coast, and this is the best
illustration I can give for the necessity of this revolution in
shipbuilding. The British Government has declined to supply me with coal
from the dockyard, and I must make arrangements to get it from Cadiz.
The London, ship-of-the-line steamer, arrived.

_Tuesday, February 18th_.--* * * * The Southampton mail steamer arrived,
bringing news from London to the 12th. The news of the defeat and death
of General Zollicoffer is confirmed.

_Wednesday, February 19th._--Called on Captain Warden, and had a
conversation with him on the subject of our blockade by the Tuscarora.
Called his attention to the prevention of signals, the Tuscarora
communicating with Gibraltar by boats. Gave notice if the Tuscarora came
in I should claim precedence of departure, &c. The Warrior went to sea.
Judging from the tone of the English journals there is no prospect of
our immediate recognition. Sent to Cadiz-for coal.

_Thursday, February 21st._--* * * * The newspapers state that there are
seven Yankee ships in pursuit of us--four steamers and three sail-ships.
Three of the steamers were at Teneriffe on the 11th of January. A report
has reached us that our Paymaster and ex-Consul Tunstall are prisoners
in Tangier! Received a letter from Captain Warden, informing me that the
Governor had prohibited all vessels in the harbour from making signals,
and had prohibited the Tuscarora from communicating with the harbour by
boats so long as she remained in Spanish waters, &c.

_Saturday, February 22nd_.--The report is confirmed of the illegal
imprisonment in Tangier of Paymaster Myers and Mr. Tunstall.


_The Tangier difficulty--Loyalty of United States Consuls--A daring
act--Imprisonment of the two Confederates--Captain Semmes' appeal--No
results--An armed force from the Ino--Threatened rescue--Neutrality
again--Foreign Office intelligence--The Harvest Home--Garnered._

The imprisonment of the two gentlemen alluded to at the conclusion of
the last chapter, is an episode in the history of the Sumter which
demands something more than mere passing notice. When the news of the
occurrence reached England it excited a considerable amount of
attention, as not only did the case exhibit some curious phases of the
working of the law of "strict neutrality," but it also afforded a very
excellent idea of the marvellous loyalty of one of the United States
Consuls. Reference has been previously made to the zealous conduct of
the consular officials of the North.

It has been shown that at Maranham, Cayenne, Paramaribo, Cadiz, and
Gibraltar, the respective Yankee Consuls acted upon the broad principle
that every Confederate was the natural enemy of the United States, and a
rebel to boot. Not content with simply holding this opinion, the task
these gentlemen set themselves was, to indoctrinate the Governments of
the several countries in which they were located with the same views of
the case. In some cases they succeeded so far as to cause considerable
vexation to Captain Semmes; and if they failed to convince the
authorities, that the Sumter was a piratical craft, they at least
succeeded in occasionally entailing needless delays in obtaining those
necessary supplies, which as an officer in the service of a country
recognised as a belligerent, the commander of the Sumter had a right to

The Tangier Consul, however, went far beyond his brethren, for he not
only demanded, but succeeded in effecting the arrest and imprisonment of
an officer and a citizen of the Confederate States. These gentlemen, Mr.
Myers, the Paymaster of the Sumter, and Mr. Tunstall, a private Southern
gentleman, had been despatched by Captain Semmes from Gibraltar to
Cadiz, in search of coal. The vessel in which they embarked touched at
Tangier, and the two Americans landed for the purpose of inspecting the
curious old Moorish city. No sooner were they on shore than the United
States Consul hastened to the authorities, denounced his enemies, and
demanded their arrest, alleging that it was authorized by treaty
stipulation with the United States. After vainly imploring advice from
the representatives of the Christian Powers, the sorely perplexed
authorities complied with this demand, and the two Confederates were
seized, heavily ironed, and kept prisoners in the Consul's house. At the
very first opportunity they communicated with Captain Semmes, and he
with his usual promptitude at once despatched the following letter to
the Governor of Gibraltar:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
February 22nd, 1862.

Sir,--I have the honour to ask the good offices of His Excellency the
Governor of Gibraltar in a matter purely my own. On Wednesday last, I
despatched from this port, in a French passage-steamer for Cadiz, on
business connected with this ship, my Paymaster, Mr. Henry Myers, and
Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a citizen of the Confederate States, and ex-United
States Consul at Cadiz. The steamer having stopped on her way at
Tangier, and these gentlemen having gone on shore for a walk during her
temporary delay there, they were seized by the authorities, at the
instigation of the United States Consul, and imprisoned. A note from
Paymaster Myers informs me they are both heavily ironed, and otherwise
treated in a barbarous manner.

I learn further that the pretence upon which the unlawful proceeding
was had, is, that it is authorized by treaty stipulation with the United
States. Unfortunately I have not a copy of this treaty in my possession;
but I presume it provides in the usual form, for the extradition of
criminals, and nothing more. I need not say to his Excellency that
treaties of this description are never applied to political
offenders--which I presume is the only category in which the United
States Consul pretends to place these two gentlemen. An occurrence of
this kind could not have happened, of course, in a civilized community.
The political ignorance of the Moorish Government has been shamefully
practised upon by the unscrupulous Consul. I understand that the British
Government has a diplomatic agent resident at Tangier, and a word from
that gentleman would no doubt set the matter right, and insure the
release of the unfortunate prisoners. And it is to interest this
gentleman in this humane task that I address myself to his Excellency.
May I not ask the favour of his Excellency, under the peculiar
circumstances of the case, to address Mr. Hay a note on the subject,
explaining to him the facts, and requesting his interposition? If any
official scruples present themselves, the thing might be done in his
character as a private gentleman. The Moorish Government would not
hesitate a moment, if it understood correctly the facts and principles
of the case; to wit, that the principal powers of Europe have recognised
the Confederate States as belligerents, in their war against the United
States, and that, consequently, the act of making war against these
States by the citizens of the Confederate States, is not an offence,
political or otherwise, of which a neutral can take cognizance; and even
if it were the former, no extradition treaty is ever meant to apply to
such a case.

I have the honour, &c. &c.

(Signed) R. SEMMES.
Capt. S. Freeling, Col. Sec.

This letter was unattended with success, the maintenance of strict
neutrality being a barrier in the way of any interference on the part of
the British authorities at Gibraltar. Accordingly, Captain Semmes penned
the subjoined formal protest, and despatched it to the Governor of

C.S. Steamer of war Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
February 23rd, 1862.

His Excellency the Governor of Tangier, Morocco:

I have the honour to inform your Excellency that intelligence has
reached me of the imprisonment by the Moorish Government at Tangier, of
Mr. Henry Myers, the Paymaster of this ship, and Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a
citizen of the Confederate States, and late United States Consul at
Cadiz. I learn further, that these gentlemen are heavily ironed, and
otherwise treated with inhumanity. I am utterly at a loss to conceive on
what ground this illegal imprisonment can have taken place; though I
learn that the United States Consul demanded it, under some claim of
extradition treaty stipulation. A word or two will suffice to set this
matter right. It must, of course, be known to your Excellency, that the
Confederate States have been acknowledged by the principal powers of
Europe, as belligerents in the war in which they are engaged with the
United States; and that, consequently, the Paymaster of this ship, in
any act of war in which he may have participated, can have been guilty
of no offence, political or otherwise, of which any neutral power can
take cognizance. Indeed, as before stated, the neutral powers of Europe
have expressly recognised the right of the Confederate States to make
war against the United States. No extradition treaty therefore can apply
to Paymaster Myers. Mr. Tunstall not being in the military or naval
service of the Confederate States, can no more be brought within the
terms of any such treaty than Paymaster Myers. I have, therefore,
respectfully to demand, in the name of my Government, and in accordance
with the laws and practice of nations, that these two citizens of the
Confederate States be set at liberty.

I have the honour, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. Semmes.

Determined to leave no stone unturned, the Commander of the Sumter
sought to interest the British Charge d'Affaires in the fate of the two
prisoners, as will be seen by the annexed letter:--

C.S. Steamer Sumter, Bay of Gibraltar,
February 23rd, 1864.

Sir,--May I ask of you the favour to act unofficially for me in a matter
of humanity, by handing to the proper officer the enclosed
communication, demanding the release from imprisonment in Tangier of the
Paymaster of this ship, and of Mr. T.T. Tunstall, a citizen of the
Confederate States. The Moorish authorities have evidently been imposed
upon by false representations as to the character and status of these
gentlemen. I hear that the United States Consul demanded their
imprisonment under some extradition treaty. The absurdity of such a
claim will of course be apparent to you. We are recognised belligerents;
our acts of war are legal therefore, so far as all neutrals are
concerned, and it cannot be pretended that any officer of this ship can
have committed any offence in any act of war in which he may have
participated against the United States, which Morocco can take
cognizance of, or bring under the terms of any extradition treaty.

I have the honour to be, &c., &c.

(Signed) R. Semmes.

John Hay Drummond Hay, C.B.,
H.M. Charge d'Affaires, Tangier, Marocco.

On the 24th Mr. Hay replied, and the following extract from his
communication will best explain the grounds he assumed:--"You," he
writes, "must be aware that Her Britannic Majesty's Government have
decided on observing a strict neutrality in the present conflict between
the Northern and Southern States; it is therefore incumbent on Her
Majesty's officers to avoid anything like undue interference in any
questions affecting the interests of either party which do not concern
the British government; and though I do not refuse to accede to your
request to deliver the letter to the Moorish authorities, I think it my
duty to signify distinctly to the latter my intention to abstain from
expressing an opinion regarding the course to be pursued by Morocco on
the subject matter of your letter."

To this despatch Captain Semmes forthwith replied, and his letter is
remarkable for the able manner in which the question of neutrality is
dealt with. After thoroughly reviewing the transaction, he sums up as

"Upon further inquiry I learn that my first supposition that the two
gentlemen in question had been arrested under some claim of extradition
(unfortunately I have not a copy of the treaty between Morocco and the
United States) was not exactly correct. It seems that they were arrested
by Moorish soldiers upon the requisition of the United States Consul,
who claimed to exercise jurisdiction over them as citizens of the United
States, under a provision of a treaty common between what are called the
non-civilized and the civilized nations. This state of facts does not
alter in any degree the reasoning applicable to the case. If Morocco
adopts the _status_ given the Confederate States by Europe, she must
remain neutral between the two belligerents, not undertaking to judge of
the nationality of the citizens of either of the belligerents, or to
decide any other question growing out of the war which does not concern
her own interests. She has no right, therefore, to adjudge a citizen of
the Confederate States to be a citizen of the United States, and not
having this right herself she cannot transfer it by treaty to the United
States Consul."

The communication, however, produced no effect; and, meanwhile, another
step was taken at Tangier. The United States frigate Ino no sooner
learnt the news of the capture made by the Consul than it ran over to
Tangier, sent a boat on shore with armed men, and carried off the
prisoners. This proceeding was not, however, allowed to be performed
quite so quietly as the Yankees could have wished. The Christian
population, exasperated at the arrest, turned out in force, and fears
were entertained that even the forty men from the Ino would not be able
to secure the safety of their prize. But here the neutral powers were of
assistance: their representatives, with Mr. Drummond Hay at their head,
came to the aid of the captors, calmed the mob, and thus averting the
threatened rescue, enabled the United States to carry off the two
Confederates on board the Ino.

Captain Semmes, finding he could do nothing with the authorities at
Tangier, communicated with Mr. Mason, the Confederate commissioner in
London, and that gentleman made strong representations at the Foreign
Office, with what results the following statements of facts will show.

It was on the 28th of February that the captives were finally carried
off from neutral territory, by an armed force from an enemy's ship. On
the 8th of March, Mr. Mason was informed by the Under-Secretary, that
the British Government was under the impression that they had been
released from confinement. On the 6th of March, just two days before Mr.
Mason received this intelligence, the Ino, which had run back to Cadiz,
transferred the two unfortunate prisoners to the Yankee merchant ship,
Harvest Home, which carried them away to a prison in the United States.

Such was the history of the Tangier difficulty--a question which, at the
time, created considerable stir in Europe, and which is likely to leave
a lasting impression upon the Southern mind.


"_The poor old Sumter"--The vessel laid up--What the Sumter
did--Official report--A narrow escape--Movements of Captain
Semmes--Useful missions--Appointment to the Alabama_.

Meanwhile the search for coal had been continued by the Sumter and at
length a promise of a supply had been obtained. It so happened, however,
that this supply, so long sought and so hardly won, would after all
never be required.

The little Sumter's days as a cruiser were numbered. By no means a new
boat when first converted by Captain Semmes into a vessel of war, the
hard work and rough usage she had experienced in her seven months at
sea, had been too much for her already enfeebled constitution, and she
was now little better than a wreck. At last she fairly broke down
altogether, was surveyed by a board of her officers, pronounced
unseaworthy, and on the 24th of February Captain Semmes makes the
following entry in his journal:--

"And so the poor old Sumter is to be laid up. Well! we have done the
country some service, having cost the United States at least a million
of dollars, one way or another!"

And so she unquestionably bad. Eighteen vessels captured; seven burned,
with all their cargo on board; and two released on heavy ransom bonds,
represent in themselves no inconsiderable amount of damage. Add to this
the amount really expended in pursuit of her; the enormously increased
rates of insurance; the heavy losses from reluctance to entrust goods in
United States bottoms, or to send ships themselves to sea under the
United States colours, and we have an aggregate of loss that a million
of dollars can hardly cover.

Her career was now over; but she was ere long to find a successor under
the same command, beside whose exploits her own were to sink almost into
insignificance. The events of the few months that elapsed between the
final abandonment of the Sumter and the Alabama's start on her
adventurous career, may best be gathered from Captain Semmes' own
official report to the Secretary of the Navy at Richmond.

Nassau, New Providence, June 15 to 20, 1862.

SIR,--I have the honour to inform you of my arrival at this place, on
the 8th instant, in twenty days, from London. I found here Lieutenants
Maffit and Sinclair, and received from the former your letter of May
29th, enclosing a copy of your despatch to me of May 2d. As you might
conclude from the fact of my being here, the original of the latter
communication had not reached me; nor, indeed, had any communication
whatever from the department. As you anticipated, it became necessary
for me to abandon the Sumter, in consequence of my being hemmed in by
the enemy in a place where it was impossible to put the necessary
repairs upon her-to make her fit to take the sea. For some days after my
arrival at Gibraltar, I had hopes of being able to reach another English
or a French port, where I might find the requisite facilities for
repair, and I patched my boilers, and otherwise prepared my ship for
departure. In consequence of a combination of the coal merchants against
me, however, I was prevented from coaling; and, in the meantime, the
enemy's steamers, Tuscarora and Kearsarge, and the sailing sloop Ino,
too, arrived and blockaded me. Notwithstanding the arrival of these
vessels, I should have made an effort to go to sea, but for the timely
discovery of further defects in my boilers, which took place under the
following circumstances:--An English steamer, having arrived from
Liverpool with an extra quantity of coal on board, offered to supply me.
I got steam up to go alongside of her for the purpose, when, with a very
low pressure, my boilers gave way in so serious a manner as to
extinguish the fires in one of the furnaces. I was obliged, of course,
to "blow off;" and upon a re-examination of the boilers, by a board of
survey, it was ascertained that they had been destroyed to such an
extent as to render them entirely untrustworthy. It was found, indeed,
to be necessary either to supply the ship with new boilers or to lift
the old ones out of her, and renew entirely the arches and other

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