Extracts from the journal(*) of Lieutenant
John N. Maffitt, C. S. Navy, commanding the C. S. S. Florida,
January 13-April 30, 1863.
January 13, .--Made a reconnoissance down to the bar. On our return the pilot grounded me off City Point. The Morgan and Gaines came to my assistance, and we had to take coal, guns, etc., out.
[January] 15.--Got off, and that night made an ineffectual effort to get out; everybody disappointed.
[January] 16.--Blowing with avidity from the westward; rain at night; had up steam, but the pilot said it was too dark to see Lighthouse Island; in fact, nothing could be distinguished 20 yards. At 2 I was called; the stars were out, but a light mist covered the Surface of the water. Got underway; the wind puffy from the W. N. W. At 2:40 passed a gunboat anchored just inside the bar, then a second one, but when abreast of the third a flame from the coal dust caused our discovery, and the ocean was lit up by the lights from the nine blockading vessels. Made sail and put on steam, and then commenced a most animated chase.
Our passing unseen by the first Federal gunboats is hard to account for. My idea is that during the severity of the storm, then expecting us, a very anxious lookout had been kept, and that when the weather moderated all were exhausted and at the same time, from the clearness of the stars, concluded that if we had not already escaped no attempt would be made that morning. Moreover, the N. W. wind was very chilly, and the lookouts, no doubt, in a feeling of security, were comfortable under the lee of the bulwarks. I believe that had it not been for our soft coal we would have passed clear, without any knowledge on the part of the enemy.
The chase was a very determined one, but the Florida, under sail and steam, was too fast for the Federals. Just before day, when all hands were breathing with more freedom, a large sail was discovered right ahead and close aboard. It was a steam sloop of war, under topsails, and looked like the Brooklyn. We sheered slightly from her, and again went to quarters. For some fifteen minutes we were under all her starboard guns, and a broadside would have sunk us. The only evidence she gave of seeing us was by showing a light over the starboard gangway, and continued gracefully on without further notice, taking us, I presume, for one of their own gunboats that are so numerous in this locality.
A large armed ship was seen to the eastward and a fast gunboat on the starboard beam. Our friends from the bar continued after us in hot haste. At 5 p.m. the [R. R.] Cuyler (in consequence of our reduction of sail to fish the sprung main topsail yard and letting down steam) came to within 3 miles of us. Set more canvas and increased our revolutions of the engine, which speedily left the Federal out of sight. Night coming on, changed our course more to the westward, and at daylight there was nothing in sight but a foaming sea and black clouds.
The Florida ran, under a pressure, 14½ knots. She is very wet, but rides the sea like a pilot boat. Now everyone is in fine spirits, and the cruise commences in reality.
January 19.--Captured the brig Estelle; cargo and vessel worth $130,000. She is, or was, on her first trip from Santa Cruz, Cuba, to Boston. The officers and crew seemed astonished and much gratified with the courtesy exhibited to them. All signed paroles, so made no confinements. Stood in toward Bahia Honda, and ran the coast down for Havana to get coal and clothing, for our men were nearly nude. At 7:20 p.m. on the 20th of January entered the harbor of Havana. We were hailed and ordered not to pass the guard boat, but not understanding until the next day the new law of the port, I proceeded on and came to near the admiralty. After waiting an hour I went on shore and called upon Major Helm.
Havana, [January] 21.--Made the amende to the captain of the port for entering at night; not aware of the new regulation. Went to coal yard and commenced taking in Cardiff coal, selected by Mr. Quinn, engineer. The excitement in Havana on our arrival was intense; crowds were on the wharf, and a very strong Southern feeling was exhibited. As the American consul had sent an express to Key West, we knew that a Federal fleet would be around this port in twelve hours, so it was important to be off at once. Could not get ready in time, but went to the upper buoy near the guard ship and remained all night.
[January] 22.--As day dawned left the harbor. Destroyed this day two Yankee vessels, the bark Windward and brig Corris Ann. At night went in and anchored under Cardenas light to right some valves. On entering got too close to P. [Cay Piedras] and lightly touched on the reef that makes out from the island; examined propeller and were soon off again, standing to the northward.
[January] 23.--Found the Havana coal defective, though admirable in appearance. Could make but 3 knots with it. As the Federals were in sight and could accumulate in overpowering force, ran over Salt Cay Bank to the eastward, as it was evident that with such fuel we could not perform our duty.
[January] 25.--Ran through, as we presumed, Queens Channel, and shaped our course to clear Green Cay, slowing down to 3 and 2 miles the hour, that we should not arrive at the banks until dawn. About 4 a.m. I fancied that the motion was peculiar, went on deck, had the lead hove, and to my surprise was in 4 fathoms. Let go the anchor and awaited daylight. When we could see, found that the current had swept about N. E., and we had, with singular fortune, passed through a narrow channel. Ran out line of soundings, and at 4 p.m. were all right in the Tongue of the Ocean. Steered for Nassau.
January 26.--At 2 a.m. made Nassau light. At break of day were abreast of it, and when the buoy could be seen I ran in and crossed the bar. The pilot joined as I was just inside. Anchored and was soon informed by my friend Lieutenant Williams that a port law recently made had also been infringed here. Went with Lieutenant Williams to the governor's, sent au explanation, and asked permission to coal, which was given under the twenty, four hour rule. Breakfasted with Lafitte's family and Heyliger, our agent. At 11 went on board and received the visits of the officers of the West India regiment and other friends.
On shore the demonstration was most friendly and congratulatory. Nassau is decidedly a Confederate stronghold. Some twelve vessels with cargoes and several steamers for the South were in port. Among the commanders I met Lieutenant Wilkinson, of the Navy, who commanded the Girard, and was about making his second trip.
[January] 27.--Finished coaling at 10 a.m. Twenty-six men (our hard cases) deserted. Obtained several good ones. At 12 were outside and hove to, in hopes of filling up our crew; at night ran down to Green Cay to restow hold and put the vessel in serviceable condition, which could not well be done at sea.
The weather stormy. After all things were put to rights and the vessel repainted, we made an attempt to pass through Queens Channel, but the mist and breakers obliterated the fairway, so stood back.
On the following day [February 1, 1863] made a course to the [Queens] Channel. When near it saw a Federal steamer, presumed to be the Santiago de Cuba, of ten guns. As our cruise had but just commenced, and its object was the destruction of commerce, I did not think it my duty to seek an engagement and run the risk of injury to my engine, so kept away. The Federal out-steamed us, and had she wished a battle nothing was more easy than for her to have come up, but it seems her engine was always deranged as she commenced getting within range. We learned afterwards that it was the Sonoma, of four [guns], and deeply regretted that we did not engage her.
On the morning of the [2d of February] we cleared Abaco, and the Federal was nearly hull down. His game was evidently to follow until he fell in with other Federal cruisers, and then jointly to attack. Stood to the northward, with the view of giving the coast of New England a small appreciation of war troubles, but a gale off Cape Hatteras did us much injury and our coal was low, for the Florida, unfortunately, stows but nine days' full steaming coal. Had to run to the southward and eastward to get out of the circle of the gale. It was a cyclone of considerable power. The Florida behaved well, though exceedingly wet. It was evident now that I would have to enter a West India port for coal, etc. Deeply did I regret my inability to make the anticipated visit.
February 5.--A misty night. At 8 p.m. made a steamer on our starboard beam; she changed her course toward us, and seemed very fast. In an exceedingly short space of time she ran close to us. We saw that she was very large and lengthy. Held a small light over the side. After rounding to on our starboard quarter she started quite rapidly to the southward, in the direction of St. Thomas. I am convinced that it was the Vanderbilt,(*) and we deceived her by a small light, mistaking us for some West India trader. To have been rammed by this immense steamer would have closed our career, and all were rejoiced to see her leave us.
February 12.--At 10 a.m. saw a large sail on our port beam; gave chase, and at 4 p.m. made a prize of the ship Jacob Bell, of New York. Her tonnage was about 1,300, and she is esteemed one of the most splendid vessels out of New York that trades with China. (image of ladle)
A message came that the captain had ladies on board, and that his wife was on the eve of confinement. Sent Dr. Garretson on board to investigate, and to say that the ladies must leave the ship, as I was determined to burn her. The ladies came, and with tons of baggage. I surrendered the cabin. The party consisted of Mrs. Frisbee (captain's wife), Mrs. Williams, whose husband is a custom-house officer at Swatow, China; a lad, Louis Frisbee, and another, Charlie ----, son of a missionary from Rhode Island, now stationed at Swatow. The passengers and crew amounted to forty-three persons. The Jacob Bell had a cargo of choice tea, camphor, chowchow, etc., valued at $2,000,000 or more.
Took such articles as we required, and on the 13th [February] set her on fire.
Mrs. Frisbee was a very quiet, kind hearted lady; Mrs. Williams, I fancy, something of a tartar; she and Captain Frisbee were not on terms. They remained in possession of my cabin for five days, when I put the entire party on board the Danish brig Morning Star, bound to St. Thomas. It' they speak unkindly, such a thing as gratitude is a stranger to their abolition hearts.
February 25 .--Arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados Island. As usual, we attracted considerable attention and curiosity. The negroes, en masse, all very demonstrative in their language of welcome.
What a contrast to the last time I visited this place, in the Macedonian frigate, in 1841. Then, the stars and stripes floated over my head and the Union seemed as firm as the Rock of Ages. Abolitionism was considered treasonable, and the North and the South were as one, for nullification had died a natural death and harmony guided the national associations. Now, the Confederate flag, till this day a total stranger to Barbados, floated from our gaff, and the Florida became the first herald of nationality the inhabitants had realized.
Called upon Governor Walker; found him quite a pleasant gentleman, though much troubled with a nervous disease of the system. He seemed in doubt as to the power he had of Permitting me to coal, but I represented that we had been in a severe blow that had done us much injury and our fuel had been expended in steaming out of it. At his request I addressed him a communication to that effect and he granted my application. Dined with him at 7 p.m., a regular official dinner, where some twenty guests, nearly all military, were assembled.
The vessel was visited by nearly all the army officers, and I found them more than warmly Southern in sentiment. The gallantry of our troops was a theme that engrossed all their enthusiasm, and our generals, particularly Lee and Stonewall Jackson, received many high professional compliments. McClellan they regarded as an able general, but too fond of the spade. Appointed Mr. Robert Gordon, of the firm of Gavan & Co., Confederate agent, for I found it absolutely necessary to have a business friend on shore to attend to such interests as a Confederate vessel might have at stake. Mr. Gordon is a warm Southern friend, a man of wealth and influence; besides, he has independence and candor in regard to the struggle, and in him we have a warm and devoted friend.
Two American vessels in ballast were about to sail. The governor required that I should not depart until they had been out twenty-four hours, which gave more time for coaling.
February 26 .--Quite a number of gentlemen came off at dusk to call. All were full of zeal in their Confederate sentiment. Did the host to a late hour, and was not benefited thereby, for my piloting was not perfect, and I fouled one of the merchant vessels, parting our starboard main brace and lifting our second cutter from the fall hooks. Recovered the boat and proceeded out, steaming due east.
Ran to the southward, but could make no casting, so determined to make latitude 35° and longitude 30° for the N. E. trade.
February 28 .--White fell overboard; he could not swim, so the poor fellow was drowned.
March 6.--At 9 a.m. ran alongside of the Boston ship Star of Peace. She was about 1,000 tons, loaded with saltpeter for the Federal Army, and other cargo besides. Took on board Captain Hinckley and crew; burned the ship. When she was on fire exercised our guns upon her; distance, 850 yards; made some good shots, but the roll was so great our accuracy was not up to our expectations. At 9:30 p.m., when some 20 miles from her, the saltpeter ignited, and a more beautiful panorama was never witnessed on the ocean. Although some 20 miles from her, the flames were so high and so brilliant that the focal rays illumined our sails and the ship did not appear more than 5 miles distant.
March 12 .--This day captured the schooner Aldebaran, from New York to Maranham, Brazil. Her cargo was flour, provisions, clocks, etc. Burned her. Captain Hand seemed to think it hard that so true Southern Democrats as his father and himself had been should have their vessel burned. Found him quite a clever little fellow, modest and polite. Both he and Captain H. expressed great opposition to the war, which they denounced as a battle for the negro and not for the Union.
[March 18.]--Fell in with an English brig bound to Greenock, Scotland. Took captain, mates, and three men. We furnished water and provisions, as the captain feared he might be on short allowance.
[March 25.]--Overhauled an Austrian bark bound to New York with coal for Mr. Cunard of the Royal Mail Steam Line. Doubted the propriety of passing her, but at length gave him all the benefits of the doubt. He took a few of our prisoners; furnished provisions and water.
March 28.--This day, captured the Boston bark Lapwing, bound to Batavia, loaded with provisions, lumber, furniture, and coal. The captain was terribly excited, not dreaming of a Confederate man-of-war in his locality. Sent Lieutenant Averett on board, with fifteen men, two howitzers, Acting Midshipman Bryan, Midshipman Dyke, and Dr. Grafton. Trust she will prove useful.
March 30.--At 8:45 p.m. captured M. J. Colcord, bark, from New York, bound to Cape Town, loaded with assorted cargo; took crew on board; left captain and wife. Unfortunately, lost Lieutenant Averett this night. He must have had a bad lookout, for we saw him up to 11: 30 p.m. Fired rocket and had two lights up.
April 1.--At 10 a.m. boarded Danish brig Christian, bound to Santa Cruz, from Dublin; put all our prisoners on board, furnished liberal allowance of provisions, and then wrecked and burned the M. J. Colcord. Steamed to the southward, with the hope of overhauling Mr. Averett; no use.
April 12.--To this date, in the trades, have frequently chased, but the vessels all proved to be neutrals. At 11:40 a.m. made St. Paul's Islets, a cluster of rocks protruding from the bosom of the Atlantic in shapes most fantastic. Latitude 55´ 30´´ N., longitude 29° 22´ W. At 2:20, within nine-tenths of a mile of them, sent a boat with Lieutenant Stone to obtain sights to correct our chronometer; boat could not land in consequence of the heavy sea that broke all round them. Fish, sharks, and birds (boobies) swarmed around these jagged and dangerous rocks. No reef surrounds the islets.
April 13.--Calm, with one heavy shower of rain, which was taken advantage of to scrub hammocks and wash clothes. Nothing of Mr. Averett. What a misfortune. The swell is to-day without regularity, and the barometer fluctuates from 29.90 to 30.30.
April 14.--At 10:50 a.m. made a sail to the southward and eastward; presumed it might be Mr. Averett. Got up steam and ran down for the sail. At 3 p.m. had the satisfaction of hailing the Oreto [Lapwing]; a most fortunate meeting, for both had drifted some 30 miles away from the rendezvous. The southeast current is very powerful in our position of latitude 10´ S. and longitude 29° 16´ W. At 5 p.m. commenced coaling and continued through the night. A more perfect Godsend we could not have had at the present moment, particularly as our bunkers were nearly empty. Found all on board in good health and living like lords on Yankee plunder. Mr. Averett was unhappy that he had not captured a prize. His vessel leaks and does not hold a good wind: will have to burn her when we expend her coal. Very few vessels are to be seen. Revoked all Mr. Averett's former orders and directed him to meet me at Fernando [de] Noronha May 4, when I will take all his coal, and have, I trust, captured one for further use.
April 15.--Latitude 7´ N., longitude 28° 54´ W. Current today evidently to the northward and eastward, as we have been hove to coaling all the livelong day. 'Tis calm and very hot; coal coming on board quite well, considering we have to boat it. Blackfish in numerous schools all around us. Midshipman Sinclair sent on board in place of Midshipman Dyke; this latter young gentleman not troubled with professional zeal, though his natural ability is excellent. Hope to finish coaling by 12 to-night, surely by daylight, when I shall steam to the westward in this calm belt. I have always observed that coaling is demoralizing to a ship's company; the dirt and temporary abnegation of the usual formality of a man-of-war produces a general laxity that can not be avoided unless the officers are experienced in proper discipline and naval jurisprudence. Unfortunately, the young officers of this vessel lack that training, and though they place a different estimate upon their ability and performance of duty, yet I have good reason to regret their want of vim and early training that would no doubt have made them more observant, careful, and military. They would in battle fight well, but do not seem fully to appreciate the training that is necessary for the purpose of being formidable when the trial comes.
April 17.--Hove to all night with banked fires. At daylight made out several sail; they all proved to be neutrals. At 10:20 a.m. captured ship Commonwealth, of New York, bound to San Francisco. Her cargo consisted of the greatest variety of merchandise. The Federal Government had in tobacco and provisions $60,000 worth on board; the ship and cargo valued at $370,000. Captain McClennol I found to be a most gentlemanly person, and the cool and quiet manner he exhibited under the peculiar annoyance of his position quite won my respect. Hot, very hot. Papers up to the 19th March; no particular news contained in them. The Yankees print lies with ease, and endorse the most absurd statements in regard to the South.
This morning Captain McC., by his Masonic sign, won over a French captain, who took him and ten others as passengers.
[April 23.]---Captured bark Henrietta, of Baltimore.
[April 24.]--Captured the ship Oneida, of New Bedford, from China, loaded with tea, etc. Her value was not far from $1,000,000. Captain Potter was rather an odd fish, and seemed to think that the rings on his finger were also seized by the Confederates. I told him we had the example, but followed it not.
Captain Brown, of the bark Henrietta, is a regular down Easter, full of Biblical lore on slavery, and yet strong on the constitutional rights of the South. Mrs. Flories [Flora?] and daughter (13 years old), with son of 7, and infant, became my guests. Mrs. F. married a Southerner, and it was quite amusing to hear her Milesian Southern sentiments.
April 27.--Made the peak of Fernando [de] Noronha, which loomed up heavenward like a giant cloud. This island is a penal colony of Brazil, and is generally sighted by all vessels bound north or south for chronometric corrections.
[April] 28.--At 1 a.m. was startled by the fire bell; found the coal in port bunker had fired by spontaneous combustion; soon extinguished the same. Fell in with Lapwing; left her, with orders to come in to the ----. She had captured and bonded the Kate Dyer for $40,000; she had a neutral cargo of guano.
[April] 29.--At Fernando.
[April] 30.--Prisoners sent on shore. Liberty given.
[Remainder of journal not found.]
Abstract log(*) of the C. S. S. Florida, Lieutenant J. N. Maffitt, C. S. Navy, January 16 to May 31, 1863.
List of officers of C. S. S. Florida when she left Mobile, Ala., January 16, 1863.
Names. Rank. Residence.
J. N. Maffitt, Lieutenant commanding --------------------North Carolina.
S. W. Averett, Second lieutenant and executive officer ---Virginia.
J. L. Hoole, Second lieutenant ---------------------------Alabama.
C. W. Read, do -----------------------------------------Mississippi.
S. G. Stone, do ------------------------------------------Alabama.
F. Garretson, Passed assistant surgeon -------------------Virginia.
Jos. D. Grafton do ---------------------------------------Arkansas.
J. J. Lynch, Assistant paymaster --------------------------North Carolina.
J. Spidell, First assistant engineer (acting chief) ------------Alabama.
R. S. Floyd, Midshipman ---------------------------------Georgia.
G. D. Bryan, do ------------------------------------------South Carolina.
G. T Sinclair, do ------------------------------------------Virginia.
J. H. Dyke, do --------------------------------------------Florida.
C. W. Quinn, Second assistant engineer -------------------South Carolina.
W. H. Jackson, do ----------------------------------------Maryland.
E. H. Brown, Third assistant engineer ----------------------Virginia.
T. T. Hunter, Jr Master's mate -----------------------------Maryland.
Lionel Vogel, Captain's clerk ------------------------------South Carolina.
W. H. Wilson, Paymaster's clerk ---------------------------District of Columbia.
January 16, 1863.--At 2 a.m. got underway
and stood for the bar. At 3 we passed the enemy's fleet anchored off that
place. When about 300 yards ahead of them we were discovered, and two vessels
seen in chase. At daylight we saw chase about 12 miles astern, having run
her hull down. At dark, chase barely visible.
January 17.--At sea. Off the coast of Mexico. Latitude 25° 4´ N., longitude 86° 23´ W.
January 18.--Standing toward Cuba. Latitude 23° 9´ N., longitude 85° 50´ W.
January 19.--At daylight two sail in sight, one on the lee bow, the other on weather. Latitude 23° 50´ N., longitude 84° 14´ W. At 2 p.m. bore down on the sail astern. When about 3 miles distant hoisted the gridiron; the stranger hoisted the same. Called all hands to quarters, and when about 500 yards astern rounded up under his quarter and fired a shot across his bow. He immediately heaved to and hauled down his colors. The gig, with Lieutenant Hoole and Midshipman Floyd, followed by launch, with Lieutenant Stone and Midshipman Bryan, were sent aboard. She proved to be the brig Estelle, of New York, bound from Santa Cruz to Boston, with a cargo of sugar, molasses, and honey. Having stripped her of everything we needed, she was set on fire a little before dark, and we again stood on our course, having on board her officers and crew (eight men).
January 20.--Rainy and squally until 9 a.m., when we made the west end of the island of Cuba. Changed our course and ran along the land to the eastward. At 3:30 p.m. passed a small steam towboat. A steamer reported on the port bow. Called all hands to quarters, thinking that she was a Yankee. Proved to be a Spanish gunboat. Morro Castle in sight. Came to anchor in Havana at 7 p.m.
January 21, 1863.--At anchor in Havana Harbor. Coaled ship and took aboard provisions and clothing for the crew. Many persons visited the ship. We were enthusiastically welcomed at Havana.
January 22.--At 6 a.m. stood out to sea. The coal we had taken proved to be worthless and the crew commenced throwing it overboard. At 1 p.m. we captured and burned the brig Windward, of New York, bound from Matanzas, Cuba, to Portland, Me., with a cargo of sugar. At 4 p.m. boarded the brig Corris Ann, of Philadelphia, and from that place with a valuable cargo for Cardenas. Owing to mismanagement the vessel was burned too near the land and drifted into the harbor of Cardenas. Our engines giving out, we put into port at 7 p.m., where we remained until 9 p.m. repairing them. At 9 we got underway and stood to sea.
January 23.--Latitude 22° 45´ N., longitude 80° 10' W.
January 24.--Latitude 22° 55´ N., longitude 76° 39´ W.
January 25.--At daylight found ourselves on the banks and among the rocks and shoals, Bahama. At 4 p.m. got underway and stood for deep water, which we reached at 4:30. Stood to the northward and westward.
January 26.--Came to anchor in the harbor of Nassau. At 11 a.m. commenced coaling ship. Received many visitors aboard. Took aboard stores and clothing. Twenty-six of the ship's company deserted, but only two were of much service. Six good seamen came on board and were shipped.
January 27.--At 11 a.m. steamed out of the harbor; stood off and on the harbor until dark, when we took our departure and stood to the southward and eastward.
January 28.--Running down the Tongue of the Ocean.
January 29.--Latitude 23° 56´ N., longitude 77° 4´ W. At 9:30 came to anchor on the banks about 8 miles from Green Cay.
January 30.--At 2:30 made a sail to the northward. Called all hands, up anchor, and hove into 20 fathoms, ready to slip and run. The sail proved to be a small sloop. When within 6 miles she put about on the other tack (port). Painted the smokestacks cream color.
January 31.--Latitude 23° 35´ N:, longitude 76° 55´ W.
February 1.--At 4:30 a.m. got underway and stood to the southward. At 8 a steamer reported on our starboard bow, bearing down upon us. Made her out to be a side-wheel Yankee man-of, war. Called all hands to quarters and cleared ship for action. At 8:30 went about, the Yankee in chase, and steam having gone down, gained on us for some time, but on setting all sail, and steam rising, we commenced dropping him slowly until dark, when he came up to within 3 miles of us, but did not molest us. During the day shifted two after broadside guns to the stern ports, so as to bring them to bear on the chase astern; unshipped the wheel and took the dingey inboard.
February 2.--At daylight chase still in sight on lee quarter. Set all sail and continued to drop him until 12:30, when he was not to be seen. Latitude 26° 24´ N., longitude 75° 40´ W. At 2 p.m. chase in sight on weather quarter. Set studding sails below and aloft on foremast and changed our course to get rid of the Yankee.
February 3.--At daylight chase not in sight. Latitude 29° 2´ N., longitude 74° 6´ W.
February 4.--Latitude 29° 50´ N., longitude 75° 5´ W.
February 5.--Latitude 31° 32´ N., longitude 74° W.
February 6.--Latitude 33° 33´ N., longitude 72° 20´ W. Owing to the very heavy weather we were obliged to pass unmolested a Yankee schooner and ship.
February 7.--Latitude 32° N., longitude 71° 20´ W.
February 8.--Latitude 30° 52´ N., longitude 70° 40´ W. At 5 p.m stood for a sail. At 5:45 came up to her and hoisted the English ensign; she hoisted the Prussian; stood again on our course.
February 9.--Latitude 28° 38´ N., longitude 69° 18´ W. At 6 p.m. hauled fires and lowered the after smokestack preparatory to setting the mainsail.
February 10.--At 8:30 hove to a fore-and-aft schooner. She hoisted the English ensign and saluted us. Stood on our course. Latitude 26° 53´ N., longitude 67° 50´ W.
February 11.--Latitude 25° 51 N., longitude 66° 36´ W.
February 12.--At 8:30 a.m. made a sail on lee beam; lowered the fan, got up steam, and stood in chase. At 4:45 p.m., when about 2 miles from the chase, hoisted the Yankee colors and fired a shot from forward pivot to heave her to. She hoisted the Yankee colors. Hailed her and ordered her to haul down, which she immediately did. She proved to be the Yankee ship Jacob Bell, of New York, from Foo-Chow, China, bound to New York, laden with 1,380 tons of tea, 10,000 boxes of firecrackers, matting, camphor, and cassia. Cutter with Lieutenant Hoole and Midshipman Floyd and ten men took charge of her. Brought forty-one prisoners aboard, among whom were two ladies. At dark lost sight of the prize; hove to and waited for her to come up; hailed and ordered her to keep company during the night.
February 13.--At 6:30 a.m. made a sail two points on the lee bow. Called away all boats and sent them to the prize ship Jacob Bell to bring stores and baggage from her. Latitude 25° 3´ N., longitude 67° W. At 2 p.m. set fire to her and stood to the northward and westward in chase of another sail. Went to quarters and spoke the chase. Found her to be the French brig Leonce Lacoste, bound from Martinique to Havre.
February 14.--Latitude 25° 10´ N., longitude 65° 14´ W.
February 15.--At 5:30 a.m. made a sail on the weather bow standing to the northward and westward. Made all sail in chase, and chased her the whole day until night, when she escaped us. Latitude 24° 43´ N., longitude 63° 45´ W.
February 16.--Latitude 23° 50´ N., longitude 63° 40´ W.
February 17.--Latitude 21° 33´ N., longitude 63° 15´ W. At 1 p.m. a sail was reported on the port beam bearing down on us. When about 4 miles off we hoisted the English ensign, which was answered by her hoisting the Danish flag. She proved to be the bark Morning Star, from New York, bound to St. Thomas. Lowered the first cutter and sent Midshipman Floyd to board her. Lowered the second cutter and gig and transferred all the prisoners and their baggage aboard her.
February 18.--Latitude 19° 31´ N., longitude 62° 50' W.
February 19.--Latitude 20° 31´ N., longitude 62° 28´ W.
February 20.--Latitude 18° 37´ N., longitude 61° 51´ W.
February 21.--Latitude 18° 2´ N., longitude 61° 17´ W. At 11 a.m. made a bark on our weather beam running before the wind; started in chase, hoisted English colors; she did the same; stood on our course.
February 22.--Latitude 16° 42´ N., longitude 60° 48´ W.
February 23.--Latitude 15° 8´ N., longitude 59° 38´ W.
February 24.--At 5:30 a.m. sighted the island of Barbados; ran along the island to the town of Bridgetown, where we came to anchor at 10. All the officers were quarantined on account of the twenty-six men deserting in Nassau.
February 25.--At 5 p.m. finished coaling ship. At 7 got underway and bulled among the shipping in the harbor. Carried away our starboard main brace and second cutter, the ship being at the time in charge of the captain. Stood out to sea.
February 26.--Latitude 12° 55´ N., longitude 58° 34´ W. Ten men who had come on board in Bridgetown shipped.
February 27.--At 5:30 a.m. Isaac White, seaman, in the attempt to unshackle the cable from our weather anchor, was swept overboard; all efforts to save him were unavailing. Latitude 10° 8´ N., longitude 57° W.
February 28.--Latitude 9° 24´ N., longitude 55° 19´ W.
March 1.--Latitude 7° 7´ N., longitude 54° 1´ W.
March 2.--Latitude 8° 24´ N., longitude 54° 12´ W.
March 3.--Latitude 8° 29´ N., longitude 54° 10' W.
March 4.--Latitude 10° 29´ N., longitude 54° 16´ W. Ran this day 137 miles.
March 5.--Latitude 13° 6´ N., longitude 54° 19´ W.
March 6.--Latitude 15° 13´ N., longitude 54° 39´ W. At daylight discovered sail to windward about 7 miles. At 7:30 lowered propeller, got up steam, and started in chase. When about 4 miles from her, called all hands to quarters and cast loose the weather broadside guns and pivots; fired a shot across her bow, after which she immediately hove to. Sent Lieutenant Hoole and Midshipman Bryan to board her. She proved to be the Yankee ship Star of Peace, of Boston, bound from Calcutta to Boston, with a cargo mostly of saltpeter, with cow and goat skins. Having taken off her officers, who were paroled, and her men, who were put in single irons, we set fire to her at 4 p.m., having the gratification of knowing that besides being a Yankee she contained contraband of war. At 4:15 p.m. beat to quarters and fired twenty-two rounds at the burning prize, six of which struck her. Made all sail and stood to the northward. At 9 p.m., the saltpeter igniting, the fire was really beautiful; the sea lit up for 30 miles around.
March 7.--Latitude 16° 55´ N., longitude 54° 53´ W.
March 8.--Latitude 19° 36´ N., longitude 54° 50´ W.
March 9.--Latitude 21° 40´ N., longitude 54° 55´ W. At 3:30 p.m. made a small sail off the weather bow. At 4:30 went about and stood for her; hoisted the Yankee colors, which the stranger returned by hoisting the French. Sent a boat on board. Proved to be a French fishing schooner.
March 10.--Latitude 23° 35´ N., longitude 54° 38´ W. At 5:10 discovered a sail on lee bow and made all sail in chase, but owing to a heavy rain squall we lost her.
March 11.--Latitude 25° 55´ N., longitude 54° 10´ W. Since the capture of the Star of Peace no grumbling has been heard among our men, as particular care was taken to divide the mess stores equally.
March 12.--Latitude 28° 20´ N., longitude 52° 51´ W.
March 13.--Latitude 29° 18´ N., longitude 51° 4´ W. At 8:30 a.m. made a sail on the lee bow, squared away for her and made all sail in chase. At 11:45 fired a blank charge, after which the stranger came to. At 12 sent a boat aboard of him in charge of Lieutenant Averett; proved to be an Englishman. Made a schooner to the northward standing for us. Hoisted the English ensign, which was returned by the stranger hoisting the Yankee flag. Lieutenant Averett boarded her and took possession. After having transferred her officers, crew, and all the stores that we wished, we set her on fire at 10:30 p.m. She was the Aldebaran, of New York, bound from that port to Maranham, with a cargo of provisions and Yankee "fixins."
March 14.--Latitude 29° 36´ N., longitude 48° 45´ W.
March 15.--Latitude 29° 18´ N., longitude 44° 48´ W.
March 16.--Latitude 38° 18´ N., longitude 42° 10´ W.
March 17.--Latitude 31° 54´ N., longitude 42° 10´ W.
March 18.--Latitude 33° 21´ N., longitude 39° 20' W. At 3:30 a.m. a bark passed to leeward of us. At daylight made two sail, one on the lee beam, the other on weather bow. Proved to be the English brig Runnymede, from Pernambuco, bound to Grennock [Greenock]. She took eleven (officers and men) of the prisoners. At 11:30 made another sail on weather bow. Stood in chase. At 7:30 spoke the stranger; boarded him; proved to be the English ship Larra Mara, from Ragoon [Rangoon], bound to Liverpool. Stood on our course.
March 19.--Latitude 34° 43´ N., longitude 37° 15´ W. At 8:30 two-sail in sight, one ahead, the other on starboard bow. Made all sail and steam in chase. When within 4 miles of them hoisted the Yankee colors, which was returned by both of them hoisting the English. At 11 tacked the ship and gave up the chase.
March 20.--Latitude 35° 35´ N., longitude 35° 2´ W.
March 21.--Latitude 35° 57´ N., longitude 32° 42´ W. Shipped two of the prisoners of the Star of Peace.
March 22.--Latitude 36° 46´ N., longitude 29° 40´ W.
March 23.--Latitude 36° 22´ N., longitude 29° 23´ W. Made a sail on weather bow; chased her all day. It becoming calm in the evening, lowered a boat and sent after the sail, about 6 miles off. At 7 the boat returned, having lost her in the dark.
March 24.--Latitude 34° 50' N., longitude 29° 10' W.
March 25.--Latitude 34° 30' N., longitude 29° 40´ W. Boarded the Austrian bark A. R., for New York, laden with coal consigned to E. Cunard. Put three prisoners aboard of her and stood on our course.
March 26.--Latitude 32° 28´ N., longitude 31° 45´ W.
March 27.--Latitude 31° 15´ N., longitude 33° 20´ W.
March 28.--Latitude 31° N., longitude 33° 35´ W. At 8:30 sighted a sail on the lee bow, about 7 miles off. Got up steam and stood in chase. At 11:30 overhauled and boarded her. She proved to be the Yankee bark Lapwing, from Boston, bound to Batavia. As the greater part of her cargo consisted of coal, Lieutenant S. W. Averett, with Lieutenant C. W. Read, Passed Assistant Surgeon J. D. Grafton, Acting Midshipman J. H. Dyke, and fifteen men took charge of her. Transferred a 12-pounder howitzer with ammunition to the bark, which was named Oreto. Filled away in the afternoon, bark keeping company.
March 29.--Latitude 31° N., longitude 31° 54´ W. At daylight the Oreto [Lapwing] was about 6 miles to leeward. Hove to and waited for her to come up. The sea being smooth and very little wind, commenced coaling ship; took aboard 10 tons. Acting Master G. D. Bryan was ordered aboard the Oreto [Lapwing]. Lieutenant Read was ordered back to the Florida.(*) There is a hiatus in this log book of the Florida from March 30 to May 2, inclusive, for the reason that Acting Master G. D. Bryan, who kept this log book, was transferred to the Oreto (Lapwing) on March 29.
Abstract log of the C. S. bark Oreto (Lapwing) tender to the C. S. S. Florida, Lieutenant S. W. Averett, C. S. Navy, commanding, March 30 to May 3, 1863.
March 30.--Latitude 29° 43´ N., longitude 31° 40' W. At 4 p.m. a sail discovered right ahead. Signaled to the Florida, made all sail, and stood in chase. At 6 the Florida passed us, heading for the stranger. At dark neither of them were to be seen.
March 31.--Latitude 27° 6´ N., longitude 32° 51´ W. At 3 p.m. hailed an Austrian brig and asked to be reported.
April 1.--Latitude 24° 19´ N., longitude --. At 11 p.m. boarded an English brig.
April 2.--Latitude 21° 6´ N., longitude 32° 23´ W.
April 3.--Latitude 17° 29´ N., longitude 32° 25´ W.
April 4.--Latitude 14° 3´ N., longitude 32° 21´ W. April 5.--Latitude 11° 6´ N., longitude -- W.
April 6.--Latitude 8° 19´ N., longitude 31° 18´ W. At 10:30 made a sail on weather bow; tacked ship and tried to overhaul her; she was too far to windward. At 11:30 tacked ship and stood on our course.
April 7.--Latitude 5° 27´ N., longitude 29° 59´ W.
April 8.--Latitude 2° 22´ N., longitude 29° 36´ W. Crew employed making "quaker guns."
April 9.--Latitude 43´ N., longitude 29° 26´ W.
April 10.--Latitude 10´ S., longitude 29° 9´ W. Crossed the line at 1 p.m.
April 11.--Latitude 3´ S., longitude 29° 29´ W. Sails in sight all around; chased one of them, who, on coming up, showed the Spanish colors.
April 12.--Latitude 20´ S., longitude 29° 31´ W. Chased a brig, who showed English colors.
April 13.--Latitude 3´ S., longitude 29° 23´ W.
April 14.--Latitude 19´ S., longitude 29° 7´ W. At noon made the smoke of a steamer. Proved to be the Florida, who lowered boats and commenced coaling immediately.
April 15.--Latitude 3´ S., longitude 28° 54´ W. Still coaling the Florida. Here we were told that she had captured the bark [M. J.] Colcord, of New York. Acting Midshipman J. H. Dyke was ordered aboard the Florida and Midshipman G. T. Sinclair ordered aboard this vessel in his place.
April 16.--Latitude 6´ S., longitude 28° 59´ W. Continued coaling the Florida until 1:30 p.m., when we set sail on our course to the southward.
April 17.--Latitude 18´ S., longitude 29° 13´ W.
April 18.--Latitude 54´ S., longitude 29° 35´ W.
April 19.--Latitude 54´ S., longitude 29° 37´ W.
April 20.--Latitude 1° 13´ S., longitude 30° 11´ W. At 6 a.m. made a sail on lee bow, standing S.W. She showed the French flag. At 6:30 made a ship to leeward; stood in chase. She proved to be the Yankee ship Kate Dyer, seventy-two days from Callao, bound to Antwerp with a neutral cargo of guano. Brought the captain on board and bonded him for $40,000.
April 21.--Latitude 1° 29´ S., longitude 38° 34´ W.
April 22.--Latitude 2° 27´ S., longitude 30° 33´ W. Overhauled a topsail schooner, which showed the Spanish ensign.
April 23.--Latitude 3° 10´ S., longitude 31° 16´ W. Passed a sail showing Spanish colors; answered with the Yankee flag.
April 24.--Latitude 4° 45´ S, longitude 32° 34´ W. At 6 a.m. sighted Fernando de Noronha, bearing N. by W., distant 20 miles. Passed three sail standing to the northward, to one of which we gave our latitude and longitude by signal.
April 25.--Latitude 3° 36´ S., longitude 32° 6´ W.
April 26.--Latitude 3° 25´ S., longitude 32° 25´ W.
April 27.--Latitude 2° 47´ S., longitude 32° 25´ W.
April 28.--Latitude 2° 58´ S., longitude 32° 48´ W. At 2:30 p.m. made a steamer to windward. At 4:15 she came up and proved to be the Florida. We lowered a boat and communicated. Learned that she had captured the ship Commonwealth, from New York to San Francisco, with an assorted cargo; the bark Henrietta, from Baltimore to Rio [de] Janeiro, with assorted cargo; also the ship Oneida, from Shanghai, bound to New York with a cargo of tea.
April 29.--Latitude 3° 23´ S., longitude [32° 47´ W].
April 30.--Made smoke of a steamer on starboard beam. She proved to be a Brazilian mail boat. At 4 sent a boat with two officers and seven men to board a bark to leeward.
May 1.--At 8:40 a.m. boat returned and reported the vessel to be the English bark Agrippina, with a cargo of coal for the C. S. S. Alabama.
May 2.--Latitude 3° 50' S., longitude 32° 46´ W.
May 3.--Off Fernando de Noronha. At 9 a.m. the Florida came up with us. Got ready to be taken in tow. At 12:15 in tow of the Florida, heading for the island. Coaling the Florida. Lieutenant Averett, Dr. Grafton, and Acting Master G. D. Bryan were ordered back to the Florida. Acting Master R. S. Floyd took charge of the Lapwing.
Logbook returns to CSS FLORIDA
May 4.--Received coal from the bark until 6 p.m., when we cast off from her and stood to sea.
May 5.--Communicated with the Lapwing at 1 p.m. Spoke a Brazilian bark at 5:30 p.m.
May 6.--At 2:30 a.m. spoke the Lapwing. At 8:20 spoke a Spanish brig. At 9:45 hailed the Yankee brig Clarence, from Rio to Baltimore, with a cargo of coffee, and made her a prize. Chased a bark to windward, which proved to be the Lapwing. Returned to the Clarence. Lieutenant C. W. Read, Second Assistant Engineer E. H. Brown, and twenty men were sent aboard to take charge. Made land ahead. Put one howitzer and equipments, also small arms, aboard of the brig. Second Lieutenant C. W. Read took command of her with sealed orders. At 6 p.m. parted company with the brig and stood to the southward and westward under steam and all sail
Maffitt's appointment to Commander:
CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA,
Navy Department, Richmond, May 6, 1863.
SIR: You are hereby informed that the President has appointed you, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, a commander in the Navy of the Confederate States, to rank from the 29th day of April, 1863, "for gallant and meritorious conduct in command of the steam sloop Florida in running the blockade in and out of the port of Mobile against an overwhelming force of the enemy and under his fire, and since in actively cruising against and destroying the enemy's commerce."
Should you accept the appointment, you will notify this Department thereof.
S. R. MALLORY,
Secretary of the Navy.
To: Commander JOHN N. MAFFITT, C. S. Navy,
Commanding Steam Sloop Florida.
Registered No. 28. The lowest number takes rank.
May 7.--Running down the Brazilian coast.
At 4:30 exchanged colors with the English bark Hindoo, of Liverpool At
6:45 boarded the English brig Amelia, from St. John, New Brunswick, to
Pernambuco. Spoke English bark Clara, from Pernambuco to Liverpool. At
11 made Pernambuco light.
May 8.--Came to anchor in harbor of Pernambuco.
May 12.--At 2 p.m. got underway and steamed out of the harbor of Pernambuco. Lay to near the French mail steamer and boarded her for news.
May 13.--At 3:30 p.m. took as prize the ship Crown Point, thirty-four days from New York, bound to San Francisco with an assorted cargo. Took from her the stores we needed, and at 11:30 set her on fire.
May 15.--At 10 a.m. made Cape St. [San] Roque, bearing W. by S., distant 15 miles.
May 16.--At 3 p.m. made Rocas Shoals and came to anchor at 4, beacon on the shoal bearing S. E., distant 1 mile.
May 18.--The body of John Johnson, seaman, was sent ashore to be buried, accompanied by most of the officers and men.
May 20.--At 4 p.m. a sail reported to the eastward. Got underway and stood for her. At 4:20 tower on Rocas bore S. W., distant 2 miles. At 6 overhauled the sail. Proved to be a Danish brig. She took ten of our prisoners. At 8 steamed slowly to the eastward.
May 21.--At 12:30 p.m. sighted the Rocas and stood for it and came to anchor.
May 29.--At 5:30 p.m. some of the officers went ashore in the third cutter. At 5:45 discovered a signal made by the party ashore; also that the boat had been upset. Dispatched the gig to their assistance. Gig returned, unable to land. Brought off William Sharkey, one of the capsized boat's crew. At 8 sent Lieutenant Stone ashore in second cutter. On landing he found all safe except Passed Assistant Surgeon Joseph D. Grafton, who, while in the breakers, generously relinquished his means of safety (an oar) to one of the men, who appealed to him as unable to swim.
May 30.--Sent dingey ashore with orders for the Oreto [Lapwing]. Enclosed orders in a bottle and nailed a signal on the beacon staff as a guide. At 4 p.m. got underway and stood to the westward.
May 31.--At sea.
[Remainder of this log book not found.]
Letter from Lieutenant Maffitt, C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Florida, to Hon. John C. S. commissioner at Paris, regarding necessary repairs to that vessel.
C. S. S. FLORIDA,
English Channel, August 18, 1863.
SIR: I am under the necessity of entering a friendly harbor for the purpose of making important repairs on both engines an hull of this vessel.
Having coaled on the 26th ultimo in an English port, I can not, by the Queen's proclamation of neutrality, again enter one of her harbors until the 26th of October next. It thus renders it obligatory to enter a French port, and I have selected Brest as the most favorable in all respects for the vital repairs that are required on this steamer.
My chief engineer thinks that eighteen days will complete all that is necessary, and I respectfully request your interest in obtaining time, as well as facilities, in the harbor of Brest.
The Florida has thus far been put to her fullest capacity, and that, too, without opportunity for such necessary repairs as are constantly required on board of a steamer.
Lieutenant S. W. Averett, of this vessel, will present this and more fully state the absolute necessity that exists for immediate repairs.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
[J. N. MAFFITT,]
Commanding C. S. S. Florida.
To: Hon. J. SLIDELL,
C. S. Commissioner, Paris.
Letter from Commander Maffitt C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Florida, to the admiral commanding at Brest, France, requesting permission to dock his vessel.
C. S. S. FLORIDA,
Brest, August , 1863.
SIR: In consequence of serious injury to the engine and hull of this vessel, I am under the necessity of entering the harbor of Brest and soliciting facility for repairing the defects that prevent my remaining at sea.
The condition of this steamer's valves and shaft renders it necessary that she should be docked, and I have to request the courtesy of the French Government in my present emergency.
I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
[J. N. MAFFITT,
To: ADMIRAL COMMANDING THE STATION AT BREST.
Report of Commander Maffitt, C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Florida, of cruise and captures by that vessel from July to September, 1863.
BREST, FRANCE, September --, 1863.
SIR: On the [27th July] I sailed from the island of Bermuda, and on the [22d August], in latitude ----, longitude ----, captured the packet ship [Southern Rights], loaded with 400 emigrants and bound to the city of New York. As I had no means of disposing of her passengers I bonded her for $40,000. For the last two months the engineers of this vessel have constantly been reporting to me the necessity or proceeding to some port for the purpose of having the machinery overhauled and repaired. The shaft is out of line, the delivery valves in bad condition, and other defects existing which determined me to proceed to this port for the purpose of remedying the various defects that were reported.
On the I entered the English Channel, and the night [of August 17] landed the executive officer at Cork to proceed to Paris and communicate to Mr. Slidell, that he might make application to the French Government for our admittance into the national dock at Brest.
On the [21st August], in latitude ----, longitude ----, captured the ship Anglo Saxon, with a cargo of coal, bound to New York. Received on board the officers and crew, and burned the vessel.
On the afternoon of the [23d August] arrived in this harbor. We were placed in quarantine until[24th August].
On ---- I called upon the admiral commanding and was received by him with the greatest courtesy, He informed me that he was daily in anticipation of receiving instructions to dock the Florida. I regret to inform the Department that in consequence of impaired health I shall be under the necessity of applying for a detachment from this vessel.
Respectfully, your obedient servant,
[J. N. MAFFITT,
To: Hon. SECRETARY OF NAVY.
Letter from Commander Maury, C. S. Navy, to Commander Maffitt, C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Florida, in response to request from the latter to be relieved from duty on account of sickness.
HOTEL DE L'AMIRAUTÉ, RUE NEUVE ST. AUGUSTIN,
Paris, September 9, 1863.
SIR: I have received your letter of the 5th instant, enclosing the surgeon's certificate with regard to your health, and asking to be relieved from the command of the Florida on that score.
I am grieved to learn that your health has given away under the severe trial it has undergone in the Florida, and I am sure our countrymen will also learn with regret that they have to lose, even for a time, the services of an officer who has done so much to spread the fame of their flag over the seas. Let us hope that your health may be speedily restored.
An officer will be sent as early as practicable to relieve you. In the meantime I would be glad to know your wishes as to the length of your leave to remain in Europe, or as to orders for returning home.
M. F. MAURY,
Commander, C. S. Navy.
To: Commander J. N. MAFFITT,
Rue des Provinces.
Letter from Commander Maury, C. S. Navy, to Commander Maffitt, C. S. Navy, commanding C. S. S. Florida, detaching him from the command of that vessel.
PARIS, September 11, 1863.
(Received September 17.)
SIR: Commander J. N. Barney has been ordered to relieve you. He will deliver this communication to you, upon the [receipt of] which you will turn over the command of the Florida to him. Consider yourself detached from her, and as soon as the state of your health will allow, you will repair to the Confederate States and report yourself to the Secretary of the Navy.
Be pleased to confer freely with Commander Barney as to your unexecuted plans; give him copies of all the orders and instructions of the Navy Department relating to the cruising of the Florida or the service upon which you have been engaged in her. Also make him acquainted, if you please, with the condition of the vessel and the arrangements for her repairs, etc.
To: Commander J. N. MAFFITT,
C. S. S. Florida, Brest.
Reported June 8, 1864.
S. R. MALLORY,
Petition from petty officers and seamen of the C. S. S. Florida to Commander Maffitt C. S. Navy, requesting to be transferred with him from that vessel.
BREST, September 16, 1863.
SIR: We having heard that you are about to leave us to take command of another Confederate States vessel, and having received so much kindness and consideration from you, most respectfully desire to be transferred to the vessel you are to command.
Hoping, sir, that you will not consider our writing to you any breach of discipline, but as a desire to be again under your command, sir, we are,
Very respectfully, your most obedient servants,
THOS. F. BROWN,
To: Captain MAFFITT.
Return to the CSS FLORIDA