CSS Tuscaloosa

Detained by Her Britannic Majesty's Government

 

The following correspondence has been taken from Navy Official Records of the War of the Rebellion (or Northern Aggression)

 

H. B. M. S.] NARCISSUS,
Simon's Bay, December 26, 1863.

SIR: In consequence of the arrival of the Tuscaloosa (the vessel captured by the C. S. ship of war Alabama on the 21st June last), having again returned to this anchorage this evening, I called upon the officer in command to answer the enclosed questions, which, together with the replies, I forward for your Excellency's information.

As it appears that this vessel, the Tuscaloosa, late Federal ship Conrad, is an uncondemned prize, brought into British waters in violation of her Majesty's orders made for the purpose of maintaining her neutrality, I therefore consider that she ought to be detained, with the view of her being reclaimed by her original owners, in accordance with the opinion of the law officers of the Crown forwarded for my guidance, the copy of which I have already transmitted to you.

I have, etc.,

B. W. WALKER.

Sir P. [E.] WODEHOUSE.

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CLAREMONT [CARE OF GOOD HOPE],
December 27, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your Excellency's letter of yesterday's date, and to state that, after careful consideration of the instructions received by the last mail from her Majesty's Government, and of the view taken by them of our former proceedings with respect to the Tuscaloosa, I concur in your opinion that it will be proper to retain that vessel under her Majesty's control and jurisdiction until properly reclaimed by her original owners.

I have, etc.,

P. E. WODEHOUSE.

Rear-Admiral Sir B. [W.] WALKER.

[H. B. M. S.] NARCISSUS,
Simon's Bay, December 27, 1863.

SIR: As it appears that the Tuscaloosa, under your charge and command, is a vessel belonging to the Federal States of America, having been captured by the C. S. ship of war Alabama, and not having been adjudicated before any competent prize court, is still an uncondemned prize, which you have brought into this port in violation of her Britannic Majesty's orders for the maintenance of her neutrality, I have the honor to inform you that, in consequence, I am compelled to detain the so-called Tuscaloosa (late Conrad), with the view of her being restored to her original owners, and I request you will be so good as to transfer the charge of the vessel to the officer bearing this letter to you.

I am, etc.,

B. W. WALKER.

Lieutenant JOHN LOW, C. S. Navy, Bark Tuscaloosa.

 

[H. B. M. S.] NARCISSUS,
Simon's Bay, December 28, 1863.

 

SIR: I have the honor to inform your Excellency that, acting upon your concurrence in my opinion with reference to the instructions received from home by the last mail, I have detained the bark Tuscaloosa (late Conrad, of Philadelphia), because she is an uncondemned prize, taken by the C. S. ship of war Alabama and brought into British waters in violation of her Majesty's orders for maintaining her neutrality, and with the view to her being restored to her original owners.

I shall be ready to hand her over to the consul of the United States at Cape Town or to any person you may appoint to take charge of her.

I should add that Lieutenant Low has given up the Tuscaloosa (late Conrad) under protest, which he is about to make in writing, a copy of which shall be transmitted to your Excellency as soon as received.

I have, etc.,

B. W. WALKER.

Sir P. [E.] WODEHOUSE.

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C. S. BARK TUSCALOOSA,
Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, December 28, 1863.

SIR: I have the honor to enclose for your information copy of a letter which I have forwarded this day to his Excellency the governor of the colony on the subject of the seizure in this port of the C. S. ship Tuscaloosa.

I am, etc.,

JOHN LOW.

Rear-Admiral Sir B. [W.] WALKER, Baronet, K. C. B.,
Commander in Chief.

[Subenclosure.]

C. S. BARK TUSCALOOSA,
Simon's Bay, Cape of Good Hope, December 23, 1863.

SIR: As the officer in command of the C. S. ship Tuscaloosa, tender to the C. S. S. Alabama, I have to record my protest against the recent extraordinary measures which have been adopted toward me and the vessel under my command by the British authorities of this colony.

In August last the Tuscaloosa arrived in Simon's Bay. She was not only recognized in the character which she lawfully claimed and still claims to be, viz, a commissioned ship of war belonging to a belligerent power, but was allowed to remain in the harbor for the period of seven days, taking in supplies and effecting repairs with the full knowledge and sanction of the authorities. No intimation was given that she was regarded merely in the light of an ordinary prize or that she was considered to be violating the laws of neutrality; nor when she notoriously left for a cruise on active service was any intimation whatever conveyed that on her return to the port of a friendly power, where she had been received as a man-of-war, she would be regarded as a prize, as a violator of the Queen's proclamation of neutrality, and consequently liable to seizure.

 

Misled by the conduct of her Majesty's Government, I returned to Simon's Bay on the 26th instant, in very urgent want of repairs and supplies. To my surprise, I find the Tuscaloosa is now no longer considered as a man-of-war, and she has by your orders, as I learn, been seized for the purpose of being handed over to the person who claims her on behalf of her late owners. The character of the vessel, viz, that of a lawful commissioned man-of-war of the Confederate States of America, <nor2_712>has not been altered since her first arrival in Simon's Bay, and she, having been once fully recognized by the British authorities in command in this colony, and no notice or warning of change of opinion or of friendly feeling having been communicated by public notification or otherwise, I was entitled to expect to be again permitted to enter Simon's Bay without molestation.

In perfect good faith I returned to Simon's Bay for mere necessaries, and in all honor and good faith in return, I should, on change of opinion or policy on the part of the British authorities, have been desired to leave the port again. But by the course of proceedings taken, I have been (supposing the view now taken by your Excellency's Government to be correct) first misled and next entrapped.

My position and character of my ship will most certainly be vindicated by my Government. I am powerless to resist the affront offered to the Confederate States of America by your Excellency's conduct and proceedings. I demand, however, the release of my ship, and if this demand be not promptly complied with, I hereby formally protest against her seizure, especially under the very peculiar circumstances of the case.

I have, etc.,

JOHN LOW.

His Excellency SIR P. [E.] WODEHOUSE, K. C. B.,
Governor of the Colony of the Cape of Good Hope.

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COLONIAL OFFICE, Cape Town, December 29, 1863.

SIR: I am directed by the governor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday's date, protesting against the seizure of the Tuscaloosa, whose character you represent to be the same as when in August last, she was admitted into the port of Simon's Bay, and I am to acquaint you, in reply, that a full report was submitted to her Majesty's Government of all that took place on the first visit of the Tuscaloosa, and that the seizure has now been made in conformity with the opinion expressed by them on that report.

Your protest will of course be transmitted for their consideration.

I have, etc.,

RAWSON W. RAWSON,
Colonial Secretary.

Lieutenant LOW, C. S. Navy.

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[H. B. M. S.] NARCISSUS,
Simon's Bay, December 29, 1863.

 

SIR: Lieutenant Low, the officer belonging to the C. S. ship of war Alabama, late in charge of the bark called the Tuscaloosa (properly the Conrad, of Philadelphia), having sent me a copy of the protest which he has forwarded to your Excellency against the detention of that vessel, I think it right to enclose for your information the copy of my letter to Lieutenant Low explaining the circumstances under which the so-called Tuscaloosa is detained.

I have, etc.,

B. W. WALKER.

Sir P. [E.] WODEHOUSE.

N. B.--I beg to enclose a list of the officers and men on board the Conrad (late Tuscaloosa), as well as an inventory of stores, etc., on board, distinguishing those which are said to belong to the Alabama.

 

[Subenclosure.]

 

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List of Confederate officers and crew on board the bark Conrad, late Tuscaloosa.

 

Name. Rank or rating. Whence.
     
J. Low Lieutenant commanding  
     
W. H. Sinclair Master  
     
J. T. Metier [Minor?] Master's mate  
     
A. Marmilstein [?] do.  
     
Martin Molk Boatswain's mate [C. S. S.] Alabama, June 22, 1863
     
R. Owens do. Do.
     
H. Legris Quartermaster Do.
     
E. Jones do. Do.
     
T. Williams Ship's cook Do.
     
R. Williams A. B. [seaman] Do.
     
W. Jones do. Do.
     
W. Gibbs do. At sea, August 17, 1863.
     
R. Morrell do. Do.
     
A. Anderson Ordinary [seaman] Do.
     
H. Anderson do. Do.
     
S Roberts do. Do.
     
T. Allman Steward Talisman, June 21, 1863.
     
W. Renton A. B. [seaman] [C. S. S.] Alabama, June 21, 1868.
     
S. Brewer do. Do.
     
J Duggan do. Do.
     
J. Ross Ordinary [seaman] At sea, August 17, 1863.
     
C. Carew do. Do.
     
S. Robertson Carpenter's mate Do.
     
Ben Backstay Ordinary [seaman] Do.


List of stores and fittings belonging to the bark Conrad.

1 chronometer.

1 barometer.

2 sextants.

1 telescope.

2 timepieces.

1 Brazilian ensign.

1 American ensign.

1 longboat.

2 cutters.

1 bower anchor, 26 cwt.

1 kedge anchor, 6 cwt.

1 kedge anchor, 3 cwt.

2 chain cables, 85 fathoms.

1 box of charts.

Standing and running rigging, complete, but in very bad condition.

No spare stores of any description on board.

JOHN LOW,
Lieutenant, Commanding C. S. Bark Tuscaloosa.

W. R. KENNEDY,
Lieutenant, H. B. M. S. Narcissus.

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List of stores belonging to the Confederate sloops of war Alabama on board the Conrad.

1 chronometer.

3 sextants.

1 telescope.

1 code of signals and signal book.

1 Dutch ensign.

1 Confederate ensign.

22 rifles and bayonets.

2 12-pounder rifled brass guns.

1 12-pounder smoothbore brass gun.

2 barrels gunpowder (100 pounds each).

100 cartridges (1 pound each).

6 12-pounder rifle shot.

6 12-pounder round shot.

500 ball cartridges.

500 percussion caps.

12 revolver pistols.

300 ball cartridges for revolver pistols.

500 percussion caps for revolver pistols.

5 cutlasses.

8 water casks.

3 charts.

JOHN LOW,
Lieutenant, Commanding C. S. Bark Tuscaloosa.

W. R. KENNEDY,
Lieutenant, H. B. M. S. Narcissus.