So What's A Nice Confederate Privateer Doing At Conway Landing, Anyway?

JPK Huson 1863

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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#1
PONTOON CONWAY CLOSER.JPG

It's a long way from the deck of pirate ship headed to St. Thomas, a crew in chains and captained by a woman to Conway Landing on the York River. It's what happens when you start poking around in Time. Crazy stuff flakes off. Why Ladies Tea? Hang on.

PONTOON CONWAY SNIP.JPG

Innocuous enough image of supply train, ships and pontoon bridge at Conway Landing, York River. LoC glass negative. Schooners and transport seem to be off loading supplies.

Claiming for this forum under pretty thin margins sure. It's this portion of the ship's story although only a portion- it's still very cool.

etta hero 1.JPG

I can't find her name- give me a day or two. The pirate schooner Retribution shot across headlines for awhile.

etta hero 2.JPG

Out of a colorful past attached to the schooner Retribution, this more than colorful story has to be one of the best.

Then there's this.
etta 1863 pineapples.JPG

Transpires in order to escape both capture and loss of revenue, in St. Thomas the ship underwent a change of name, from " Retribution " to " Etta ". I'm unclear how the information reached port authorities in N.Y., but Etta was seized, put up for auction and we see her in several mentions afterwards. Ship was designated ' unseaworthy ', something denounced in the press as a means by which to sell her cheaply.

Here's why the ship was wanted, and badly!
etta retribution 1863.JPG


By great good fortune we may download these gargantuan tifs from LoC. It's like zooming in on Time, you catch the best stuff. Confederate privateer Retribution/Etta was sold at auction, remained ' Etta ', sailed under a New York owner. No idea how she got there, some contract or other- here she is. After all the high drama in the most exotic career for a ship, now a supply ship ( it seems ) on the York River, 1864. Can find no duplicate names, ' Ella ', ' Etta Thomas ".

pontoon conway landing york river j ETTA.jpg

I know little of ship sizes and thought a 2 masted schooner too small but simply cannot find another registered ' Etta ' anywhere, this out of New York, where the auction was held ( seized in Newark ).

pontoon conway landing york river j leader men.jpg

Transport Leader, looks to be supply barrels visible inside the first doorway, men the second.

pontoon conway landing york river j TOWER.jpg

While we're here at Conway Landing, may as well look around- tifs let us see men in the signal tower.

pontoon conway landing york river j wagon on bridge.jpg

Sorry, it's a pontoon bridge. Had to catch the wagon on it. Love pontoon bridges.

pontoon conway landing york river j wagons.jpg

Supply wagons, although the guy in the boat distracts you from them. He and his suspenders are wonderful.

Still need to know who on earth was the wife handcuffing all those drunks, and taking over that ship.
 

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#8
View attachment 217095
It's a long way from the deck of pirate ship headed to St. Thomas, a crew in chains and captained by a woman to Conway Landing on the York River. It's what happens when you start poking around in Time. Crazy stuff flakes off. Why Ladies Tea? Hang on.

View attachment 217093
Innocuous enough image of supply train, ships and pontoon bridge at Conway Landing, York River. LoC glass negative. Schooners and transport seem to be off loading supplies.

Claiming for this forum under pretty thin margins sure. It's this portion of the ship's story although only a portion- it's still very cool.

View attachment 217089
I can't find her name- give me a day or two. The pirate schooner Retribution shot across headlines for awhile.

View attachment 217090
Out of a colorful past attached to the schooner Retribution, this more than colorful story has to be one of the best.

Then there's this. View attachment 217091
Transpires in order to escape both capture and loss of revenue, in St. Thomas the ship underwent a change of name, from " Retribution " to " Etta ". I'm unclear how the information reached port authorities in N.Y., but Etta was seized, put up for auction and we see her in several mentions afterwards. Ship was designated ' unseaworthy ', something denounced in the press as a means by which to sell her cheaply.

Here's why the ship was wanted, and badly!
View attachment 217092

By great good fortune we may download these gargantuan tifs from LoC. It's like zooming in on Time, you catch the best stuff. Confederate privateer Retribution/Etta was sold at auction, remained ' Etta ', sailed under a New York owner. No idea how she got there, some contract or other- here she is. After all the high drama in the most exotic career for a ship, now a supply ship ( it seems ) on the York River, 1864. Can find no duplicate names, ' Ella ', ' Etta Thomas ".

View attachment 217096
I know little of ship sizes and thought a 2 masted schooner too small but simply cannot find another registered ' Etta ' anywhere, this out of New York, where the auction was held ( seized in Newark ).

View attachment 217097
Transport Leader, looks to be supply barrels visible inside the first doorway, men the second.

View attachment 217098
While we're here at Conway Landing, may as well look around- tifs let us see men in the signal tower.

View attachment 217099
Sorry, it's a pontoon bridge. Had to catch the wagon on it. Love pontoon bridges.

View attachment 217100
Supply wagons, although the guy in the boat distracts you from them. He and his suspenders are wonderful.

Still need to know who on earth was the wife handcuffing all those drunks, and taking over that ship.
Why was she carrying cuffs in her trunk???
 

John Hartwell

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#9
The "A Heroine" account in the OP was reprinted in papers across the country. The New York World of Feb 7, 1863, gives some more detail of the retaking of the J. P. Ellicott, mentioning the Mate's wife being on board, but does not credit her with any agency in taking the vessel:
world.jpg
It may seem strange that Retribution's captain should have put a largely colored prize crew aboard the Ellicott, but he doubtless felt confident that two white officers should have no trouble controlling 4 or 5 blacks (they were not slaves, but free men hired in St. Thomas).

Reports of this incident vary in detail. The earliest reports have the E.P. Ellicott recaptured by her own crew. Later this is corrected by saying it was the prize crew. Still later the Mate's wife's heroism is related, "as this now seems to be true." The story was coming in gradually, as reported by other ships on arrival in US ports. At first none had the full story, but only hearsay.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#12
Beautiful pictures! I love the old sailing vessels due I guess to growing up as a Navy brat and fan of Horratio Hornblower!
Regards
David

You just gave me a jolt. Dad read Hornblower alllll his life, re-read them to tatters. I'm still finding copies of some paperback he stuffed somewhere to be handy if he needed something to read. He's why I got smitten by ships ( but am much, much worse at it ), made the trip to Portsmouth with Dad- HMS Victory was there. In the U.K., History is around very corner, you live in it, walk smack into it daily- coming from such a young country, seeing Nelson's flagship nearly did me in.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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#14
Annie, you're incredible. Yet another great story you've wrung out of LoC photos and newspaper reports!

Kind if undeserved! Have an idea an awful lot of these old treasures have stories. We take photos for a reason, you know? Sure sometimes it'll be because there's a splendid scene or somewhere we wish to remember. These were photographers documenting a war. You just know they did not go to all the effort lugging that camera to a spot, setting it up and getting something documented without some thought- and intent. Why that spot or group or ship?

Some people do crossword puzzles.
 



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