The Blockade Runner "Arrieto" and Captain Semmes' Speech Aboard the "Ariel"

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
Finally had a chance to post this info from Julia LeGrand's journal written January 15th, 1863 that you may be interested in

Starts on bottom of pg 83 with:

"Mrs. Blinks conversed with a gentleman who:

Blockade runner and Semmes Julia LeGrand.jpg
 
Last edited:

Story

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 5, 2011
Location
SE PA
Not to be Mr Picky but the way I read that, Arrieto was a privateer that ran the blockade at Mobile. Never saw that name before - @AndyHall ?
 

AndyHall

Colonel
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
At first pass, I've got nothing at all on ARRIETO, either as a privateer or as a civilian blockade runner.

Julia Le Grand's diary entry is for January 15, 1863, so presumably "lately ran the blockade at Mobile" means sometime in late 1862 or the first two weeks of 1863, but nothing shows up in searches in online newspaper archives during the 1861-65 period, which seems unlikely for a privateer, that would make for exciting news copy -- patriotic derring-do, and all that.

Full passage:

January 15th [1863]. It stormed all night. I lay awake and thought of the poor, poor soldiers. I thought, too, much of the fall of Ft. Donelson, where the flag of the Confederacy went down in storm and blood. How sadly I recall my feeling of horror the night an ''extra'' made known to us that tragic event l How much blood shed since I Lincoln calls the slaughter of Fredericksburg an accident-some new road to Richmond is to be proposed, bis troops are not to go into winter quarters. This will keep our poor Southern boys also exposed, and now, even in this latitude, the cold wind is singing its melancholy song, both by night and day. God help them all, and the poor anxious women who are watching.

Mrs. Blinks conversed with a gentleman who had spoken with four different ship owners at the North; each had lost a vessel at nearly the same time, and each loser reported himself to have been robbed by the Alabama, Captain Semmes. He and others think that we have several privateers out; the Arrieto lately ran the blockade at Mobile. I have just read the captures of the Ariel by the Alabama, and the speech of Captain Semmes to the frightened crew. "We are gentlemen, not pirates," and "We gentlemen of the Alabama harm no one," are speeches which especially took my fancy. In answer to a voice which cried, ''You nearly sunk our ship just now with your shot,'' he said, "That is our duty; we war upon the sea." He is no pirate, he claims, but carries a Confederate State's commission. He is a gallant fellow, and I am glad he comes from Maryland. These Southern soldiers often stir a vein of poetry in my heart which I had thought belonged exclusively to the knights of old. I remember when Bradley Johnson rode into Fredericktown, Maryland, he cried out to the timid, ''We come to harm no one; we are friends, we are not robbers, but Southern gentlemen." The Northern people have not shown their boasted civilization in the progress of this war. Robbery, house-burning, and every species of depredation has marked the course of the Northern armies. Our soldiers at least respect woman, but even in this town helpless females have been driven from their houses without their personal effects, and insulted in the grossest manner. I hear that our Louisiana boys often go into a fight with cries of "New Orleans and Butler."

Negroes are starving in the streets, though the Federals have taxed all citizens here who have had anything to do with the war for the support of the poor. They boast of feeding our poor, but the city furnishes the means; they do not contribute a penny themselves, but sell their provisions at the highest rate. Butler boasted to the last of having fed this starving city.
 

Belle Montgomery

2nd Lieutenant
Joined
Oct 25, 2017
Location
44022
At first pass, I've got nothing at all on ARRIETO, either as a privateer or as a civilian blockade runner.

Julia Le Grand's diary entry is for January 15, 1863, so presumably "lately ran the blockade at Mobile" means sometime in late 1862 or the first two weeks of 1863, but nothing shows up in searches in online newspaper archives during the 1861-65 period, which seems unlikely for a privateer, that would make for exciting news copy -- patriotic derring-do, and all that.

Full passage:
That's why I lifted it from her journal and posted it. I knew someone with naval expertise would be interested. She speaks often of military strategies with some being uncertain. I still find it fascinating to hear "perceptions" from these women who bothered to document their daily life while living through the war. Many speak of receiving supplies from blockade runners or smugglers or having to make do.
Lots of parallels to today because some blamed the Yankees for "suppressing" news from them and inflating their victories even in small skirmishes and have "opinions" regarding other women they know courting and/or marrying a Yankee. 😲
 
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AndyHall

Colonel
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
No, it's a very useful source. No disagreement there.

It's very common for ships' name (as well as persons') to be misquoted/misspelled. This specific thing, I can't find corroboration of.
 

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