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that the twin screws worked satisfactorily. It appeared from the log that from Bordeaux to Cherbourg she averaged ten and a half knots per hour, from Cherbourg to Beachy Head, bearing north, ten knots, the weather being moderate and wind generally E.N.E., which was a head wind. After passing the South Foreland, the wind and sea increased, and the speed was eased to five knots, and afterwards it was regulated in accordance with the weather. The 'report' concluded with the statement that the ship had behaved well under all circumstances, ‘ especially during heavy squalls on the 5th and 6th of November, when sailing vessels were scudding under very short canvas.'
I mention the foregoing particulars because the performances of the ship were not so satisfactory when the Confederate naval officers got possession of her, her average speed then proving to be only eight and a half knots in good weather, and dropping to five and even four with moderate head sea. During the voyage to Copenhagen the engines were in charge of an inspecting engineer from the works of Messrs. Mazelin, where they were constructed, and the ship was probably also in the trim best suited to her size and peculiar design, although it appears from the · Rapport de Mer' that she was loaded to fifteen feet, which was one foot more than her calculated fighting trim. When she began her voyage as a Confederate ship, the engineers in charge were strangers to both the vessel and her engines. The only really trustworthy and loyal engineer was a young man of hardly sufficient experience for the position. They were, however, the best men who could be got at the time, and it is not surprising that a better class of artizans could not be induced to undertake a service in which the discomfort, exposure and danger were manifestly greatly in excess of the remuneration it was possible to offer. Besides this, the ordnance stores, fuel, and other supplies necessary for the adequate equipment of the ship for the long Atlantic voyage in the depth of winter over-weighted her, and reduced her to a condition in which she was not intended to be placed, except, perhaps, for a short run from one coast port to another, and then only under favourable conditions of weather.
The inspection made by Captain Tessier and the * Rapport de Mer' were independent accounts of the condition and performances of the ship, and although it was manifest that the alterations made after the forced sale had somewhat affected her character and efficiency, yet it was thought advisable to go on with the arrangements for getting her to sea as a Confederate ship. It was hoped that the mere knowledge of the fact that the Confederate Government had been able to get an ironclad vessel in Europe, and that she was actually en route for the American coast, would animate the spirits of the Southern people in the struggle, which was becoming more hopeless day by day, and there was also some expectation that exaggerated rumours of her power and efficiency would reach the United States, and that the arrangements it might be thought necessary to make in order to meet and defeat her attack, would cause some delay or confusion in the proposed operations against Wilmington and other ports on the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas.
Captain Thomas J. Page, an old and experienced officer, bred in the United States navy, who had been sent out from Richmond to command one of the so-called Birkenhead rams, was selected for the first place in the enterprise. He had kept himself so completely out of sight since his arrival in Europe, that it was felt to be almost
certain that he would not be known to any spy whom the United States officials might possibly employ to watch the ship ; besides which, he was
a man particularly well suited for secret service by reason of a marked constitutional tendency to silence and reserve when among strangers or newly made acquaintances. Captain Page was sent to Copenhagen to pick up such personal acquaintance with the ship as was possible, to supervise the local expenditure, and to take passage in her for the rendezvous.
Lieutenant R. R. Carter had returned to Europe after his successful voyages with the Coquette, mentioned in another chapter, and was on special service with me. This officer is justly entitled to some special notice. I was obliged to impose upon him many and various duties, often of a kind to give him hard work and much anxiety, with but little chance of gaining personal distinction. He was thoroughly well informed in every branch of naval education, and had, besides, an ingenious mind, with quick perceptions, and an admirable aptitude for applying with intelligence and vigour the means at hand to the end in view. These qualities fitted him to design as well as to execute, but he had a keen perception of the duty as well as sound policy of sticking close to the plan he was appointed to carry out, and was never drawn away from the course sketched out for him by the hope of making his own position more prominent, or the expectation of creating some striking effect.
Every naval enterprise undertaken by the Confederate Government in Europe depended for its success upon the fidelity of each of the several agents employed to the instructions and plans laid down by the director of the expedition. It was absolutely necessary for everyone to whom a part in the effort was allotted to conform strictly to the time and method of performing each detail, and in these respects Carter was the most scrupulously loyal man I ever knew. He seemed to merge his individuality for the time being into that of his immediate chief, to think with his mind, and to act with his impulse. Many well laid schemes in war have been frustrated, or their effects neutralized by forgetfulness on the part of subordinates, implicit obedience being as necessary in those who execute, as strategic skill is required by those who direct movements of any importance.
Failure in execution could never befall Carter's share in an enterprise except through what the French call force majeure, and when he set about his allotted part of an undertaking, the directing authority could turn his thoughts to other matters without harassing fear or doubt in regard to details. I detached Carter from special service with me, and he was sent to Niewe Diep to arrange for coaling the ram at that place, to look after other matters in connection with her, and finally to join her as first-lieutenant.
A very necessary initiatory arrangement with reference to the despatch of the ironclad from Copenhagen was to select a merchant of respectability at that place to transact the local business, and to engage a Danish crew for the proposed voyage to Bordeaux, so that all might be done in accordance with the laws of the country and the customs of the port. matter of some delicacy, as it was absolutely necessary to acquaint the agent to some extent, at least, with the ultimate movements of the ship, and to arrange with him a secret telegraphic code, in order that the preparation and departure of the supply tender from England might be regulated with due reference to the requirements of the vessel at Copenhagen. We were happy
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in finding a very suitable agent, who managed his part of the transaction with prudence and fidelity. I supplied him with a cypher code by which he was able to keep me well informed of the condition and movements of the ram, and I could send instructions and advice in regard to the tender.
At the time when this expedition was taken in hand, the 'financial condition of the Confederate Treasury in Europe was at a very low point, and there was great difficulty in providing the necessary cash for any unexpected purposes. Indeed, there appeared to be a startling deficiency of funds to meet actually existing contracts. The greater portion of the money which had accrued from the compulsory sale of some of our ships had been transferred to the general Treasury account, partly to pay interest on bonds, and partly to pay bills drawn by the War Office at Richmond in favour of the purchasing agents in Europe. In fact, the wants of the army had then become of paramount importance, and it was manifest that they would absorb the whole financial resources of the Government. To follow the usual practice of buying a tender, even though there might be promise of profitable employment for her afterwards, was out of the question. Happily there was in London a handy steamer built for blockade-running, and the owners had employed Lieutenant Hunter Davidson, of the Confederate navy, to take charge of her for a proposed voyage to Bermuda, en route for Wilmington.
Mr. W. G. Crenshaw, of Richmond, Virginia, had served in the Confederate army up to the close of the campaign which ended with the battle of Sharpsburg and the retreat of General Lee from Pennsylvania. He was a merchant of approved skill and experience, and