Confederate States Steamer
*The first cruiser built overseas in England.
Sailed unarmed as the "Oreto" from Liverpool on 22 March 1862 and arrived at Nassau, Bahamas. Was impounded for several months until released by the courts. Here Capt. Maffitt took charge after blockade running from Wilmington, NC.
*Commissioned 17 August 1862 off the Island of Green Cay, Bahamas. Sailed to Cardenas and Havana, Cuba before making the famous run into Mobile Bay, Alabama on 4 September 1862. Spent several months being rebuilt from the damage inflicted by the bombardment (read story) on the run in and escaped again on 16 January 1863. After capturing numerous ships (the Jacob Bell was the largest at 1.5 million dollars value) and stopping in the harbor of St. Georges, Bermuda, she ran into the harbor at Brest, France.
Capt. Maffitt requested to be relieved
due to health and Capt. Barney took charge to repair the ship.
When ready to sail, Capt. Morris took command until his unfortunate arrival in the Bay of Bahia, Brazil.
Ship was illegally captured by the USN in the neutral harbor of Bahia, Brazil 7 October 1864.
Towed to Hampton Roads, Virginia by USN and purposely sunk in harbor to keep her from getting to sea again (don't believe what you might have read about being "accidentally" hit by an Army transport ship). All a gross
injustice and violation of International Law by the US Navy and produced a huge international incident (read story below).
Some of her remains and relics may be seen at Nauticus, Hampton Roads Naval Museum in Norfolk, Virginia.
She is easily distinguished by her twin smoke stacks (funnels)
and rakish (slanted) masts.
John N. Maffitt (read
his journal and log from Nassau to Mobile Bay, Alabama)
(added 3 August 2000)
(Log & Journal - first cruise from Mobile Bay, Alabama to Brest, France) (added 4 August 2000)
Capt. Joseph N.Barney (was responsible for the ship's rebuilding in Brest, France)
Capt. Charles M.Morris (read some of the log book of his cruise)
(read the illegal capture reports---hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
She captured the largest prize of ANY
the Jacob Bell, valued between 1.5 and 2 Million dollars in
She also captured the Second Largest prize, the Oneida, valued between 760 thousand and 1 million dollars.
She received and exchanged the ONLY foreign salute to the Confederacy at St. Georges, Bermuda.
She and her tenders captured MORE ships for the amount of time at sea than the CSS Alabama and tenders.
She has MORE of her crew buried overseas than any other ship.
She is the ONLY cruiser whose hull remains in the Confederacy.
MUCH MORE TO COME, please check back
Roy Rawlinson of the website "When Liverpool
Dixie" has on his site a very good article on the CSS FLORIDA.
Here is a link to it: http://www.csa-dixie.com/Liverpool_Dixie/florida.htm Use your 'back' button to return here.
In the meantime, read these books on the CSS
Sea Devil of the Confederacy by Boykin (1959)
The CSS FLORIDA, Her Building and Operations by Owsley (1965 and 1987)
Gray Raiders of the Sea by Hearn (1992)
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