Friday, January 31, 2014
Intelligence on Blockade-Running: Bribes?
JANUARY 29TH, 1864: //// Lt. Cmdr. James C. Chaplin of the USS Dai Ching reported intelligence from the master of the blockade-runner George Chisholm, captured in November: "...vessels running out of Nassau, freighted with contraband goods for Southern ports...always skirt along the soundings and take the open sea through the North East Providence Channel by Egg and Royal Islands, steering from thence about N.N.W. course toward Wilmington or ports adjacent on the Carolina coast, while those bound to Mobile run down the east side of Cuba through Crooked Island Passage, sweeping outside in a considerable circle to avoid United States cruisers in the vicinity. //// The vessels heading to the coast of the Carolinas take their point of departure from a newly erected light-house in the neighborhood of Man of War Cay. //// They are provided with the best of instruments and charts, and, if the master is ignorant of the channels and inlets of our coast, a good pilot. //// They are also in pOssession of the necessary funds (in specie) to bribe, if possible, captors for their release. Such an offer was made to myself...of some 800 (pounds). //// The master of a sailing vessel, before leaving port, receives $1,000 (in coin), and, if successful, $5,000 on his return; those commanding steamers $5,000 on leaving and $15,000 in a successful return to the same port." //// No Wonder It Is So Hard to Catch a Runner. --Old B-Runner