MARCH 24TH. 1865: The heavily armed Confederate ironclad Stonewall, Captain T.J. Page puts to sea from Ferrol, Spain, after two previous attempts had failed because of foul weather. Page cleared the harbor at mid-morning and attempted to bring on an engagement with the wooden frigate USS Niagara and sloop-of-war USS Sacramento, under Commodore T. T. Craven.
The Sacramento was commanded by Captain Henry Walke, who had gained fame as captain of the Eads ironclad gunboat USS Carondolet in the Mississippi Campaign. Craven had kept his ships at anchor at nearby Coruna, Spain, and refused to accept the Stonewall's challenge.
Page wrote to Commander Bulloch in Liverpool: "To suppose that these two heavily-armed men-of-war were afraid of the Stonewall is to me incredible...."