After the Civil War, Joseph Fry was involved in several business adventures, some meeting with success and others were failures. In 1873, he was offered command of the Virginius by General Quesada, an agent of the Cuban Revolution going on against Spain.
The Virginius was originally named the Virgin, built in Scotland in 1864 as a blockade-runner. It made several successful trips between Havana and Mobile before being shut up in Mobile Harbor by the Union fleet after it ran past Fort Morgan. The Confederates used her as a dispatch and transport ship for the remainder of the war.
After the surrender, it became a Revenue Service cutter, but proved unsatisfactory because of its great consumption of coal so it was sold at auction.