Fort Fisher

Fort Fisher
Fort Fisher, NE Bastion. Frank Vizetelly (National Geographic)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

150 Years Ago: The CSS Shenandoah Spots a Mysterious Sail-- Part 2: Evading Yankee Ships

"The propeller had been lowered to impede her progress (the Shenandoah's), but the favoring night seemed to come on more slowly than I had ever before known it...  There was but one hope, and that was in a drag, two ends of a hawser made fast and the bite thrown overboard would retard in some degree her progress through the water...  When darkness closed between us we could not have been more than three miles distant.

"The Shenandoah's head was turned south and steam was ordered.  At nine o'clock while our sails were being furled the moon rose and the surface presented a little before by the Shenandoah being greatly diminished by that maneuver it would be difficult to find where she lay.

"The Cardiff coal makes a white vapor which could not be seen two hundred yards off, and now the engines were working and the steamer heading east, we had all the advantages to be expected.  It was the first time our ship had been under steam since crossing the line in the Pacific Ocean, indeed the fires were not lighted during a distance of over thirteen thousand miles.

"The Shenandoah was five hundred miles southeast of the Azores, and if there was an American cruiser in that locality on the 25th day of October, 1865, we were probably in sight of each other.  I have been told that the U.S. steamer Saranac, Captain Walke, was probably the vessel."

As he wrote elsewhere, Waddell again felt: "I believe the Divine will directed and protected that ship in all her adventures.

A Really Close Call.  --Old B-Runner

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