Marauders of the Sea, Confederate Merchant Raiders During the American Civil War
CSS Chickamauga. 1864. Captain John Wilkinson.
On the 26th. of October, the ship made for the open sea, she also grounded on the bar, backed herself free, tried once more, and eventually cleared the obstruction, and made it out into the open sea.
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Mark L. Potter, and the barks, Emily L.Hall, and Albion Lincoln, the ship Shooting Star. The prisoners were sent to Albion Lincoln, and the others burned, instead of proceeding to Fort Monroe as ordered, Lincoln's Captain sailed into New York and raised the alarm.
By the 4th. of November, Secretary Welles learned he had a new Raider on his hands, but did not know to what extent, but he telegraphed Rear Admiral Porter:
Of course we know that Olustee was actually Tallahassee, operating under her new name. By the next day, Porter had issued orders to find the Raiders to nine Union warships.
Wilkinson kept busy, he captured and scuttled schooners, Goodspeed,and Otter Rock, bonded and released the bark Speedwell.
When Porter's ships were out seeking Chickamauga, she was down off Bermuda seeking to recoal, Britain was being difficult enforcing the neutrality laws, to stay longer, Wilkinson sabotaged his condenser, only to find 65 men deserted, the Governor declined helping to recover them, leaving the Captain desperately short of man power aboard his ship.
On the 15th. of November, Wilkinson left Bermuda setting course for home at Wilmington, he arrived off this port on the 18th.and anchored in fog under the protection of Fort Fisher, awaiting for the next high water to clear the bar.
Before he could gain the safety of the harbour, four blockading Union ships, USS Clematis, USS Wilderness, USS Cherokee and USS Kansas all opened fire, the Fort returned the fire, and Chickamauga herself got into the act, but not a single shell from either side ever found a target.
Wilkinson rushed at the bar, cleared it without difficulty, and steamed up the Cape Fear River to safety.
In three weeks Chickamauga had taken only seven ships, Olustee four, it had been Tallahassee who was responsible for capturing most of the 55 prizes taken by the Confederate Raiders over 1864.
How did these ships end their days? When the Feds stormed Fort Fisher, it was Chickamauga who took part in this final battle, she then had to retreat up river back to Wilmington, where her crew burned her.
Olustree had another name change to Chamelon, to resume duties as a blockade runner, Wilkinson took her to sea running food from Bermuda to bring succour to
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Lee's starving armies. On his return, both Charleston and Wilmington gone, with Union troops in control, he went off to sea, sailing to Liverpool.
On his arrival there, Lee surrendered, the British Government seized his ship, and gave it to the United States, they in turn, sold the vessel to Japan.
John Wood managed to escape from the South, settled in Halifax, to become one of its leading citizens. With his old friend John Wilkinson, he established a partnership in a merchant commissioning house.
They continued to flaunt their Confederate leanings by flying a Confederate Flag over the premises of Wood and Company.