Sun Oct 30 1864|
LCDR James Parker, USS Maumee telegrams SECNAV from New Bedford, MA, "The Maumee arrived here at 11 a. m. to-day. Am coaling, and leave for Halifax to-morrow afternoon unless otherwise ordered by Department. Have heard nothing of the Tallahassee. Was somewhat hurt by the gale of Friday; machinery all right."
LCDR Joseph E DeHaven, USN, telegrams SECNAV "I report my arrival here to enquire about the Tallahassee. No news thus far of her. I proceed immediately to Halifax. No delay here."
CDR Daniel B Ridgely, USS Shenandoah, writes SECNAV from Key West "I have the honor to report that I took in a supply of coal at Tampa Bay and left that port on the 6th instant.
I cruised in the Gulf Stream, from the Bahamas to the Florida shore, down the Providence Channels, and around Abaco.
On the 21st instant, at 8 a. m., the east end of Abaco bearing S. 60 miles, we discovered a blockade runner, a large paddle-wheel steamer, painted white, with two smokestacks, distant about 12 miles. We chased her all day, and at dark we had shortened the distance to within 4 four or 5 miles.
I regret to say she escaped in the darkness.
I arrived here on the 26th instant, and shall take in a supply of coal, and will cruise in the same vicinity on my way back to report to the commanding officer of the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron for duty."
LT H Brown, USS Dumbarton writes CAPT B F Sands, Western Bar Division, Wilmington, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, from 32° 56' N 78° 22' W "I have the honor to report that last night at 6:30 p. m., Bald Head light bearing IN. E. ¾ E., Bug light N. ¾ E., saw the flash of a gun and heard the report, bearing N. by W.; immediately after a rocket was fired from the same bearing in a S. S. W. direction.
We immediately started ahead under full speed, steering west. After standing a few minutes in this direction we saw a long, low, schooner-rigged propeller, with two smokestacks, standing across our bow. As the passengers and crew of the blockade runner Lady Sterling, captured the previous night, gave information that the pirate Tallahassee was coming out this night, I immediately took her to be that notorious craft, as she answered in every way to her description, and opened upon her with our forecastle pivot, and fired a rocket in a S. S. W. direction. This made the runner turn to the westward. I immediately fired a rocket in that direction. The runner now turned his head right for the bar again, but I altered our course so as to intercept him. Becoming aware of this, he turned right around and stood out again.
All this time the runner was not over a thousand yards distant. We were firing at him with our forecastle pivot, indicating to the fleet every fresh direction he was taking by throwing rockets, as I was very anxious that he should be cut off by some of the outside blockaders.
After he was turned offshore and was going out one of the blockaders to the westward began to fire at him, and at about 7 o'clock the U. S. S. Maratanza came up on the port beam and began to fire; but she, however, was soon lost sight of astern. At this time we were steering S. ½ W. directly after the runner, firing our pivot and rockets. We passed close by the coal schooner lying at the day station, and I believe the Vicksburg fired a shot at us as we passed, mistaking us, no doubt, for the runner, as we were making black smoke, burning pine wood, and throwing pork on the fires; but, to my great chagrin, I found we were slowly but gradually losing distance. This I attribute entirely to the foul state of this ships bottom. I have not the least doubt but that this vessel is in every respect as fast as either of the blockade runners we have chased this last week. They, no doubt, are clean and well prepared for running, while this vessel is very foul. I have had the bottom scraped and scrubbed as far as we could reach, but that was no farther than the length of a boat hook, that being the longest staff of any kind on board this vessel. I attempted to get some in Beaufort the last time I was there coaling, but was unable to obtain it, nor could I get a piece of yellow pine on board to make some of.
At 8 o'clock she was plainly in sight about 1 mile off. She made a great deal of white water with her propeller, more than I have ever seen any vessel make before; this is no doubt owing to her having two propellers. At 9 o'clock I myself had lost sight of her, though several of the officers and men still thought they could see her until 11:30, when everyone agreed that she was indeed out of sight; but as I was firmly convinced in my own mind that the runner was the Tallahassee, and I have no doubt when she arrives in the neutral ports of Nassau and Bermuda, and having discharged her cotton, she will again make her appearance, fully manned and equipped for the purpose of destroying our commerce. With these considerations I judged it my duty to keep up the chase as long as there was a possibility of catching her. Hence I ordered the chase to be kept up all night, altering the course to S. by E., as the last we saw of her she was thought to have inclined a little to the eastward.
At daylight we found ourselves in latitude and longitude , but there was no appearance of any vessel of any kind within our circle of vision. At 6: 06 a. m. I gave orders for the ship to be turned back to the blockading station, and directed the engineers to make all possible speed, so as to be back again before dark."
William Dixon, steamer Gem, writes FO William W Hunter,CSN, SOPA Savannah, " I desire to inform you that I shall leave here in command of a side-wheel steamer, the Gem, on or about the 3d of November, bonud for your port, and will come in at one or the other inlets, most likely through Freeborn's Creek [Cut]. I have written to Colonel E. C. Anderson in reference to the matter. You will please call on him and see if he has received my letters in regard to the steamers coming, that you may consult together to render me all the assistance that I may require. He has a copy of the signals I shall use."
RADM David Glasgow Farragut, West Gulf Blockading Squadron, writes CDR J F Armstrong, Pensacola Navy Yard, "If the enclosed general order of Commodore Smith's is still in force, you will cause it to be rescinded and issue the following:
That hereafter any person found bringing into the naval reserve or selling therein spirituous liquors, strong wines, bitters, or any intoxicating drink, will be punished by the closing of his store, the confiscation of his stock, and by being sent off the naval reserve or out of the district, as the nature of the offense may demand.
The provost-marshal will be ordered to enforce this order."
MGEN George H Thomas, USA telegrams CO, Gunboats, off Bridgeport, AL "Please impress upon the minds of the officers commanding gunboats the great necessity of their patrolling the river at night, as well as in the day. It is in the night small parties cross the river, who sometimes give considerable trouble."