The Blockade of Brazos River; CAPTURE OF BLOCKADE-RUNNERS

USS ALASKA

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The Blockade of Brazos River; CAPTURE OF BLOCKADE-RUNNERS
April 3, 1864, Page 3 The New York Times Archives

A correspondent of the New-Bedford Standard (" H.D.E.") gives the following spirited account of the capture of blockade-runners in Brazos River by the United States steamer Penobscot:

"The Brazos River, about forty miles from Galveston, is a fine river when once inside, but with a shoal bar. We have lately made it the scene of one of the most successful exploits in destroying and capturing blockade-runners. The Penobscot, relieved from the Galveston station in the latter part of last month, was ordered to watch the entrance to this river. On our arrival there we saw several schooners inside, protected by a strong battery; but, though we kept vigilant watch night after night, we could discover nothing running. But at last our patience was rewarded. On the 28th of February, in the early gray of morning, two vessels were discovered endeavoring to get in. We were quickly in chase. The first one we drove on shore and she soon became a hopeless wreck. The other one was further off and became our prize. She was a fine schooner, loaded with powder, arms, medicine, &c. I think her Captain was a down East Yankee, though, of course, claiming to be a 'British subject.' A more miserable, dirty-looking set than her crew I think I never saw. It wouldn't be worth the sacrifice of a good rope to hang them. Well, we put a prize crew on board and took possession. That night came on a 'norther' -- a fresh gale, with rain and fog. The next day the storm still continued, and we lay hid in a dense fog. At noon it suddenly cleared, when, to our surprise, we discovered a fleet of eight vessels underway and coming over the Brazos Bar. At the same time they discovered us. But four of them had come too far to go back. The men had just gone to dinner, but they came tumbling up the hatchway, and the capstan ran around as it never went before. We were quickly underway, and the chase began. In less time than I can write it, we were at the river bar, and two schooners with full loads of cotton, driven on the sands and dashed by the breakers, became shattered wrecks. The long guns of the rebel batteries poured forth a storm of fire. Rifle shells whistled above the gale, and round shot came plunging from wave to wave. But the Penobscot has a charm that never deserts her. Hurling defiance, our 11-inch thunders back. We watch the huge shell as it flies through the air, and almost feel like kissing the old gun as we see its missile burst in the fort. The 'Parrott' sends its compliments, too. But we cannot stop to fight, and so while the rebels chafe with impotent rage, we speed on for the doomed vessels. A shell brings the nearest one to, and while a prize crew takes charge of her we steer for the other, the only remaining one that got outside. The tenth shell stops her, and we soon have her in tow. We let them lie off the river with us that night for the rebs to look at, and the next day all three prizes started for New-Orleans. They are all tied up here now. Ensign MILLER (a New-Bedford boy) and your correspondent had the pleasure of bringing them down. They are all fine vessels. One had a cargo of powder, arms, &c., another had 100 bales of cotton worth about $40,090, and $13,000 in Confederate notes, and the other had a cargo of 140 bales of cotton, worth about $60,000, $3,000 in gold coin, and about $40,000 in gold watches, diamonds, &c. On the whole quite a good day's work for one gunboat. The rebel captains have already condemned their vessels by written depositions, and they don't steal half here as they do in New-York."

https://www.nytimes.com/1864/04/03/archives/the-blockade-of-brazos-river-capture-of-blockaderunners.html

Given some other threads discussing this, I found the bold, italic, underlined portion interesting. In spring of '64 and quite the haul of luxury items. Question though - the article seems to imply that the vessels were coming OUT of the Confederacy. Unless they were trying to make it to another Southern port, why would anyone be exporting '...gold watches, diamonds...' from the Confederacy?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
 

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DaveBrt

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The Blockade of Brazos River; CAPTURE OF BLOCKADE-RUNNERS
April 3, 1864, Page 3 The New York Times Archives

A correspondent of the New-Bedford Standard (" H.D.E.") gives the following spirited account of the capture of blockade-runners in Brazos River by the United States steamer Penobscot:

"The Brazos River, about forty miles from Galveston, is a fine river when once inside, but with a shoal bar. We have lately made it the scene of one of the most successful exploits in destroying and capturing blockade-runners. The Penobscot, relieved from the Galveston station in the latter part of last month, was ordered to watch the entrance to this river. On our arrival there we saw several schooners inside, protected by a strong battery; but, though we kept vigilant watch night after night, we could discover nothing running. But at last our patience was rewarded. On the 28th of February, in the early gray of morning, two vessels were discovered endeavoring to get in. We were quickly in chase. The first one we drove on shore and she soon became a hopeless wreck. The other one was further off and became our prize. She was a fine schooner, loaded with powder, arms, medicine, &c. I think her Captain was a down East Yankee, though, of course, claiming to be a 'British subject.' A more miserable, dirty-looking set than her crew I think I never saw. It wouldn't be worth the sacrifice of a good rope to hang them. Well, we put a prize crew on board and took possession. That night came on a 'norther' -- a fresh gale, with rain and fog. The next day the storm still continued, and we lay hid in a dense fog. At noon it suddenly cleared, when, to our surprise, we discovered a fleet of eight vessels underway and coming over the Brazos Bar. At the same time they discovered us. But four of them had come too far to go back. The men had just gone to dinner, but they came tumbling up the hatchway, and the capstan ran around as it never went before. We were quickly underway, and the chase began. In less time than I can write it, we were at the river bar, and two schooners with full loads of cotton, driven on the sands and dashed by the breakers, became shattered wrecks. The long guns of the rebel batteries poured forth a storm of fire. Rifle shells whistled above the gale, and round shot came plunging from wave to wave. But the Penobscot has a charm that never deserts her. Hurling defiance, our 11-inch thunders back. We watch the huge shell as it flies through the air, and almost feel like kissing the old gun as we see its missile burst in the fort. The 'Parrott' sends its compliments, too. But we cannot stop to fight, and so while the rebels chafe with impotent rage, we speed on for the doomed vessels. A shell brings the nearest one to, and while a prize crew takes charge of her we steer for the other, the only remaining one that got outside. The tenth shell stops her, and we soon have her in tow. We let them lie off the river with us that night for the rebs to look at, and the next day all three prizes started for New-Orleans. They are all tied up here now. Ensign MILLER (a New-Bedford boy) and your correspondent had the pleasure of bringing them down. They are all fine vessels. One had a cargo of powder, arms, &c., another had 100 bales of cotton worth about $40,090, and $13,000 in Confederate notes, and the other had a cargo of 140 bales of cotton, worth about $60,000, $3,000 in gold coin, and about $40,000 in gold watches, diamonds, &c. On the whole quite a good day's work for one gunboat. The rebel captains have already condemned their vessels by written depositions, and they don't steal half here as they do in New-York."

https://www.nytimes.com/1864/04/03/archives/the-blockade-of-brazos-river-capture-of-blockaderunners.html

Given some other threads discussing this, I found the bold, italic, underlined portion interesting. In spring of '64 and quite the haul of luxury items. Question though - the article seems to imply that the vessels were coming OUT of the Confederacy. Unless they were trying to make it to another Southern port, why would anyone be exporting '...gold watches, diamonds...' from the Confederacy?

Cheers,
USS ALASKA
There were probably merchants in Havana and Mexico who refused to accept Confederate money. Private importers had to use the only currency they had (gold and watches, not everyone owned bales of cotton) that the merchants would accept.
 


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