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1861: The USS Jamestown burns the grounded Prize Bark Alvarado off the St. Mary River.

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The USS Jamestown was one of six large sailing sloops of war from the 1840's mounting eighteen 32-pounders and four 8" shell guns. She had a complete unarmed spar deck protecting her batteries. Her draught shows her to have been rather ornately decorated for her times. She was as large as the 36-gun frigates of the War-of-1812 era.

"Destruction of the bark Alvarado, off Pernandina, Ma., by the U. S. ship

Jamestown, August 5, 1861.

Report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. ship Jamestown.


Off Pernandina, August 6, 1861.

SIR: I have to report the destruction by fire of the American bark

Alrarado by the boats of this ship on the afternoon of the 5th instant.

The bark was chased ashore by this ship and abandoned by her crew

near the entrance of the St. Mary~s River.

The boats were sent under command of Lieutenants Flusser and

Phythian, with the marine officer, Mr. Houston, Assistant Surgeon

Cleborne, Midshipman Tyson, Acting Master Chisholm, and Boatswain


The orders were to get her afloat, if possible; if not, to burn her.

The latter alternative was forced upon them, as, while advancing

toward the bark, a number of pieces of artillery (three or four) opene

Page 57


a cross fire upon them, against which they steadily advanced, opposed

also by wind and tide, for about half a mile, when the bark was reached

and the United States ensign hoisted, without the loss of a man,

although the enemys guns were within less than a mile, and two of

them supposed to be rifled.

The vessel proved to be the bark Alvarado, of Boston, C-. C. Whiting,

master, bound from Cape Town to Boston, with a cargo of sheepskins,

goatskins, and buckskins, hides, and about 70 tons of iron; also wool.

She was a prize to the privateer Jefferson Davis, captured on the 20th

of July, in latitude 25~ 04 N., longitude 500 W.

Nothing was saved except the captains instruments and some letters,

papers, journals, etc.

I will send a more detailed account on the first opportunity.

The want of a pilot was very sensibly felt.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,




Comdg. Atlantic Blockading ~Squadron, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

Cargo of bark Alvarado.

454 bales of wool. 20 bales of buckskins.

58 bales of goatskins. 23~ hides.

290 bales of sheepskins. 70 tons of iron.

The above list was copied from her log book.



Additional report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. 8. ship Jamestown.


Off Fernandina, August 7, 1861.

SIR: In compliance with your order of the 13th ultimo, I left the

blockade of Savannah on the 3d and on Monday morning, the 5th, we

were off this place. As we were running in for the light a strange sail

was discovered inshore of us, standing along the land with a fair wind

toward the entrance of the port. This ship was closehauled on the

port tack, with all plain sail set, the wind light. As the vessels con-

verged, the stranger being close to the entrance of the channel and

this ship about 4 miles to the eastward, and a very little to leeward, he

suddenly ran his vessel upon the southeast side of the shoal making

out from the light-house point, lowered his boat, which was already

hanging over the side, and abandoned her with all hands. Immedi-

ately after she struck, people began to collect near by on the beach, to

the number of perhaps 200, and soon after we saw them dragging down

several pieces of artillery. At this time it became necessary for this

ship to tack in order to get to the southward of the shoal. After get-

tiiig to windward it was very doubtful if we could get the stranded

vessel within range of our guns, as the soundings are not laid down

inside of 7 fathoms, and having no pilot on board I did not feel justified

in running the ship much inside of that depth, knowing that the water

in some places in this vicinity shoals very suddenly. It was finally

determined to take a position as near as the safety of the ship woul

Page 58


admit, come to anchor, and send the boats to get her off or destroy

her. Had time allowed I could have sent a boat to take soundings, but

the tide was flood, the weather squally, with showers of rain, and the

chances were that if she were allowed to remain in her present position

for the night she would be lightened of part of her cargo and floated

around into the harbor by the people on shore, she being only about

five-eighths of a mile from thence, and nearly 3 miles from this ship.

We accordingly came to anchor and the boats were got out and placed

under the command of Second Lieutenant Flusser in the launch, armed

with the light 12-pounder howitzer. The other officers in the launch

were Lieutenant Houston, of marines, Assistant Surgeon Cleborne, and

Boatswain Long. The crew consisted of 17 men, armed with Sharps

rifles, muskets, and revolvers; also 8 marines. The third lieutenant,

Mr. Phythian, went in charge of the first cutter, with Acting Master

Chisholm, 16 men, and 5 marines, armed in the same manner. The

fourth cutter was placed in charge of Midshipman Tyson, with a crew

of 12 men, armed with muskets and revolvers. The party was furnished

with means for setting her on fire. Mr. Flussers orders were to go in

and reconnoiter the vessel and if abandoned, or if but a small force

was on board, to board her and if possible get her off, but otherwise to

burn her, and not to run the risk of being overpowered by enemies

from shore. The boats left the ship about 3 p. in.; the tide was strong

flood (and the bark had already begun to move in her bed) and swept

him up to the northward. When within half a mile of the wreck, the

artillery, which had been placed so as to direct a cross fire, opened upon

them, against which they steadily advanced for half an hour or more,

opposed also by wind and tide, when they leaped aboard the prize and

ran up the American ensign. At this time the firing ceased from the

shore, the ammunition having apparently given out, and was not

renewed until the boats left, when one or two shots were fired. The

firing was thought to have been from rifled pieces and was good in range

and line, but by skillful management and the mercy of Providence

neither boats nor crews were injured. The boarding party had scarcely

reached the bark before the smoke of a steamer was seen, and soon the

steamer appeared coming out with the evident intention of cutting off

the boats. I therefore made signal of recall, lifted our anchor, and ran

in near enough to the entrance of the harbor to bring the steamer

within range of our guns as she came out.

The smoke soon told that the bark was on fire, the boats left her, and

the steamer, after coming nearly within range, turned and went back.

The bark was completely destroyed, as nothing but her sterupost was

in sight the next morning. She proved to be the American bark Alva-

rado, of Boston, from Cape Towmi to Boston. Her log~ book shows that

she was captured in latitude 250 04 N., longitude 50~ W., by the priva-

teer Jefferson Davis, and that her cargo consisted of wool, sheepskins,

goatskins, buckskins, and hides, with about 70 tons of iron. A few

articles only, belonging to the captain, were saved, together with some

letters and papers, all of which, together with the log and private

journal of the captains wife, from which most of the information regard.

ing the capture, etc., is taken, are herewith forwarded.

I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,




Comdg. Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Efampton Roads, Virginia

Page 59


Report of Captain Yuell, C. S. Army.

FERNANDrNA, FLA., August [6], 1861.

SIR: On yesterday morning the town was thrown into commotion by

the report that two vessels were on the coast, one of which was fleeing

to secure an entrance over our bar, the other in pursuit to effect a cap-

ture. The whole of our people armed and proceeded to the beach,

about 2 miles from town. A company from the post at Fort Clinch,

with a 6-pounder, was also dispatched to the beach, which, in addition

to another 6-pounder from town, made the whole of our defensive and

offensive armament. When I arrived in view of the vessels, 1 found a

bark stranded at 1~ miles from shore, with her sails set and abandoned

by her crew, who had just landed, and in the offing was a large United

States man-of-war, which I have since learned was the Vincennes [James-

town]. The bark was one of the prizes of the Jeff. Davis, privateer, seek-

ing a harbor, and which she very nearly effected. After much maneu-

vering the man-of-war anchored, sent out her boats, which, finding

it in vain to try to save the vessel, set fire to her, and she is burned to

the waters edge. Our 6-pounders were unavailing, and I take occasion

to say that we have not a military company at this post capable

of service as artillerists. Few of our volunteers have ever seen any-

thing larger than a musket before coming to this station. The enemy

can at any moment land here and take possession without much hin-

drance from our defensive works. We are entirely at his mercy.

After setting fire to the vessel the man-of war left our shores and has

not since been seen till late to-day. I learn she was seen this after-

noon again in the offing. The name of the prize vessel is the Al-va-

rado, owned in Boston, commanded by U. C. Whiting. She left Cape

Town, Table Bay, in Africa, on Jane 3. Her cargo was wool, sheep

and goat skins, old copper and iron, and some crude medicines, and

was valued at $70,000. She was taken by the Jeff. Davis on July 21,

in latitude 250 30 and longitude 610. Cargo owned by Isaac Taylor, of

Boston, Mass. Captain Whiting and wife, with a negro steward, were

on board of the prize sent home by Captain Coxetter, of the Jeff.

Davis. Whiting and his wife have been landed on our shores with

no other apparel than that they had on. I had them sent to a board-

ing house, and shall communicate with the C. S. marshal, and put

them under his charge. The ladies with great philanthropy have

raised enough money to clothe their enemies. They will, therefore, be

provided for. The l)rize crew are all safe, and were glad to escape in

a boat from the stranded bark.

I have the honor to be very respectfully, your obedient servant,


Captain and Acting Commissary of AS~ubsistence.


Richmond, Va.

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Jamestown grabs another blockade-runner!


Off St. Johns [Fla.], August 31, 1861.
    SIR: The supp]y steamer Connecticut reached this latitude to-day and
delivered our rations of fresh beef and vegetables.
    Before speaking, but in sight of us, she fell in with an English
schooner and examined her papers, wliich Captain Woodhull informe

Page 153


me were somewbat suspicious, but that he had not done more than to
endorse the existence of the blockade on her log.
    As soon as we had received our supplies from the Connecticut, I made
sail for the schooner, she still standing inshore, although he said he
was bound for St. John, New Brunswick.
    When he found that he was not likely to escape us, he tacked ship
and stood across our bows. A gun from this ship brought him down to
us. On being boarded, the following facts were reported by the board-
ing officer, and on them, in connection with the fact that after being
warned off by the Connecticut, he still pursued a course which would
have taken him directly on to the blockaded coast of east Florida, [
concluded to detain him and send him to New York.

Statement of boarding officer, Acting Master William Ellery.

    SIR:    In obedience to your orders, I boarded the schooner Aigburtb. and on examin-
ing her hold found her cargo to consist of molasses in casks and tierces. On exam-
ining her papers I found, as I judge, an informality in them, and, coupled with this,
her name had been recently painted and the former partially or nearly obliterated.
    The captain (Gates) made me the following statement: The schooners name was
formerly the Charlotte Aan, of New Berne, N. C.; was sold to a Mr. Gravely, a resident
of Charleston, S. C., and an English citizen.
    The papers shown were provisional register, crew list, bill of lading, etc., the two
former purporting to be le~itiinate documents signed by Robert Bunch, esq.,
H.    B. M.s consul at Charleston, under date of July 2 or 5, 1861.
    The schooner passed out July 28 through Hatteras Inlet; saw a large steamer either
that or next day; was loaded with rice and bound for Matanzas; arrived there, dis-
charged, loaded, and sailed August 25, ostensibly for St. John, New Brunswick.
    I saw nothing in any of his papers verifying the transfer of the vessel from the
original to the present owner, which should have been mentioned on the provisional
    The captain had permission from his owners to stop at Nassau, New Providence, to
procure a permanent register, which he did not do. When boarded she was very
much out of her track if bound to the above port.

    I took the mate and two men on board this ship, leaving the captain
and two men on board the schooner.
    Prize Master Chishoim was placed in charge of her with nine men.
His instructions were to take her to New York, or, in
case of necessity,
Philadelphia, and report to the U. S. district attorney or commissioners,
and leave a copy of his instructions with the clerk of the court.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,

    Flag-Officer SILAS II. STRINGHAM,
Comdg. Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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And another:


Report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. ship James-
town, of the capture and destruction by that vessel of the schooner
Colonel Long.
At Sea, September 4, 1861.
    SIR: I overhauled the rebel schooner Colonel Long, of 14 tons burden,
belonging to Charleston, S. C., this day, and after taking her cargo out,
scuttled her

Page 167


    The circumstances of this case are as follows: On the 7th of August,
ultimo, the same schooner was boarded, and, on the plausible and piti-
able story of the master, I let him go. He then said he had no papers
except a fishing license; that he was from Savannah, and had run away
with his vessel with three or four men who left Savannah to avoid being
forced to serve in the rebel Army; that he was going to Key West to
fish for the Havana market. One of his men wanted to ship on board
this ship, and, being one man short, I caused him to take the oath and
shipped him. He is a very good man; has a family in Mystic, Conn.
An examination of the schooner showed her to be a regular fishing
smack of 14 tons, with little of anything on board; and the whole
appearance indicated poverty. I was even moved to give the man a
piece of pork.
    This day, being a little to the southward of Savannah, I fell in with
the same schooner. On boarding her I ascertained that he had not
been to Key West, but had been to Miami, near Cape Florida. The
vessel had on board a quantity of limes, part of a barrel of whisky,
a few bags of arrowroot, and a bag of sponges. The crew consisted of
the master and 7 men, 2 of whom left Charleston in the vessel, 3 had
shipped, 1 had entered for a passage, being a castaway English seaman,
belonging to the English ship , from Jamaica to Liverpool, but
wrecked on a key on the coast, this man being the sole survivor.
    The master of the schooner still said he had no papers, but acknowl-
edged that he was bound for Savannah; others said to Charleston.
    The fact of his having no papers, and with so large a crew, led to the
surmise that he had got these men for the use of privateers at Savan-
nah, etc.
    I determined, therefore, to destroy her, as she was outlawed and not
of value enough to ran the risk of a prize crew at this season of the
    After the order had been given to destroy her, one of her crew came
and informed me that her papers were concealed under the ceiling of
the cabin, and there they were found. They consist of a Confederate
coasting license for one year and a clearance from Charleston, with
receipts for bills of outfits, and one for a Confederate States flag, which
was found and is in my possession. No log and no shipping articles
were found.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servant,
    Flag-Officer S. H. STRINGHAM,
Comdg. Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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 Yet another:


Report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. ship James-
town, of the capture by that vessel of the sloop Havelock.

Lat. , Long. , December 15, 1861.
    SIR: On the 12th instant Commander Glisson, in the Mount Vernon,
arrived off Cape Fear, and communicated with me and at the same time
with the bark Amanda.
    After directing the Amanda to proceed to New Inlet, to ascertain
what vessel was blockading that entrance, he ran in to anchor near the
bar on the west side of the shoals.
    I stood out with this ship toward the end of the shoal. A heavy
gale came on, compelling me to heave the ship to. She drifted during
the gale, which lasted two days and a half, to the southward and west-
ward off Cape Itomain. This morning, while standing on our course
toward Cape Fear, overhauled and captured the sloop Havelock, with a
British register. The vessel was formerly the Noank, built in Connec-
ticut. She shipped her crew on the 6th of October in Charleston, S. C.,
and ran the blockade without any clearance. She is now cleared from
Matauzas for Philadelphia. The master remarked that he was starving

Page 477


and had to do something for a living. She has a cargo of cigars and
coffee, but had no manifest filled. When asked for it, he replied that
it was not necessary to fill it until within 3 leagues of the land.
    The Amanda is almost out of water and must be supplied to enable
her to go north. This ships allowance will be reduced so far as to com-
pel me to start on my return to Hampton Roads by the 25th, unless the
Mount Vernon can give the supply, in which case I can remain a few
days longer.
    I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    Flag-Officer L. N. 0-OLDSBOROUGH,
Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads.
    A clearance was afterwards found stowed away, signed by the col.
lector and naval officer. It is a regular Confederate States paper.
C.    GREEN.



"She had a roving commission, full of adventure!" Wrote the editors of 'The Photographic History of the Civil War: Volume III, The Navies," about the USS Jamestown.

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 But by January, 1862, she needed a refit. Afterwards she would head off to the East Indies:


Hampton Roads, January 5, 1862.
    SIR: I have respectfully to report that the supplies of water and
other articles having become exhausted, I have, in obedience to your
order, returned with the Jamestown to this place.
    I enclose requisitions for the articles needed to supply deficiencies in
the ships stores and outfits, also request for survey on the condition of
the rudder, upper half-ports, and stern.
    The ship has been considerably strained by carrying sail to gei~.off-
shore ou several occasions, and in rough weather makes about 22
inches of water in twenty-four hours.
    Both our bower anchors have been lost, one while getting underway
during the commencement of a southeast gale by the parting of a
cable, the other by the breaking of the shackle while lying at anchor
during a souwester off Wilmington. The latter was recovered after
the gale by sweeping for it.
I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
    Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGH,
Comdg. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads.


Her final orders:



Order from Secretary of the ~Yavy to Captain Green, U. S. Navy, com-
manding U. S. S. Jamestown, to proceed to the East Indies for the pro-
tection of American commerce.

NAVY DEPARTMENT, September 11, 1862.
    "SIR: As soon as the U. S. sioop of war Jamestown, under your com-
mand, is in all respects prepared for a cruise, you will proceed with her
to the East Indies via the Cape of Good Hope. On your way out you
will touch at Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo. At the latter place the
U. S. S. Pulaski will most probably be found. The Department designs
to dispose of this steamer either at public or private sale, as may be
most advantageous, unless upon an examination and survey of her by
a board of competent officers you shall be of opinion that she is in a
condition, or can be made so economically, for efficient service on the
coast of Brazil. If you deem it advisable to sell her, you will direct
her officers with such of her crew as enlisted in the United States to
return home by the first suitable conveyance. The remaining part of
the crew can be paid off and discharged.
    Your special object in the East Indies will be the protection of
American commerce in those waters from piratical cruisers or rebel pri-
vateers, and for the better accomplishment of this object the Depart-
ment will not restrict your cruising ground to any definite limits bat
leave the matter to your discretion. You will remain in the East Indies
and on the coast of China until receiving further orders from the
    1 transmit herewith for your guidance a copy of instructions to our
cruisers, issued by the Department on the 18th ultimo. You will keep
the Department advised of your movements. Any communications
that it may have for you will be directed to Macao.
I am, respectfully, your obedient servant,
[secretary of the Navy.]
    Captain CHARLES GREEN, U. S. Navy,
Commanding U. S. Sloop of War Jamestown, Philadelphia.

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Oh No! One more!


Capture of the British brig Intended.

Report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. ship Jamestown.

Off Wilmington, N. C., May 1, 1862.
    SIR: The British brig Intended was fallei in with this morning about
29 miles to the eastward of Federal Point light. She was steering
about N. by E. and did not haul on a wind until she found it was impos-
sible to get ahead of this ship. Her papers are in several respects
incomplete. I have therefore sent her to Philadelphia for adjudication,
nuder charge of Acting Master G. H. Avery, with Midshipman (I. A.
(Drall and eight men. There is a passenger on board the brig, but the
captain can give no account of him, and has no passenger list. Her
cargo is 1,000 bags of salt, some coffee, medicines, acids, etc. Her bills
of lading are incomplete, and she has no letter of instructions.
I have the honor to be, respectfully, your obedient servammt,
    Flag-Officer L. M. GOLDSBOROUGII,
Commanding. North Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Hampton Roads.

    The Intended is on the list of vessels expected to run the blockade

Page 297

Additional report of Commander Green, U. S. Navy, commanding U. S. ship Jamestown.

Off New Inlet, North Carolina, May 2, 1862.
    SIR:    The former report of the capture of the brig Intended being brief
and incomplete for want of time, the following is presented as more
fully explaining the circumstances: On the morning of the 1st instant
we discovered a brig standing across our bows, steering about north,
with all sail set, the wind being about southeast. This course would
take her about to Stump Inlet, one of the finest on this part of the
coast. We made sail, and when he found that we would cut him off he
hauled on the wind. We fired a gun, and after seeing that we still
gained on him he shortened sail. When we came up to him we found
his name to be the Intended, of London, which being on our list made
us the more suspicious. When the boarding officer got on board and
asked to see his papers, he first said, Am I not out of your jurisdiction 

and then produced some papers, after secreting some in his
bosom, and said that was all he had. Among them was only part of
the invoice, and he did not produce the remainder, but said he had no
more, so that either lie kept back part of his papers or he was not pro-
vided with tllem all. He had no letter of instructions and no letter to
his consignee, and he declined to inform us what the articles were
which were not on his manifest. He had, moreover, a passenger, of
whom he could give no account except that he was an American,
bound from Europe to Baltinmore, who had gone to Nassau instead of
coming direct to New York. This led me to suspect that he might be
either a pilot who had gone out for the purpose of bringing in vessels,
or the owner of the cargo, as he seemed to take a great interest in it.
The boarding officer brought the master on board this ship, where all his
answers were contradictory and evasive. He said he had had no sights
for three or four days, and the boarding officer had seeii his sights for
that day worked up on his slate. He had no log book. As soon as he
came on board, he asked if there were other vessels blockading here,
and while here he asked rwo or three persons the same questions. His
cargo was salt, coffee, tea, castor oil, and other oils, medicines, acids,
etc. These were on his manifest. What lie had besides I am not
aware. He said his longitude was 770 08 or 05, and the boarding
officer had seen it worked up on his slate 770 29. When asked if he
was steering the proper course for Baltimore, he replied that lie was,
and on being asked where he was, said lie did not know; he had been
knocking about here for two or three days, and yet lie said he had not
got a cast of the lead, though she was in 15 fathoms of water. This
~ passenger, after the prize crew were put on board, drew
up a protest and got the captain to sign it and sent it on board. it
is herewith enclosed.
I have the honor to be very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D. C.


Thirty miles from land, May 1, 1SG2.
    I do hereby protest against my illegal removal from on board
my vessel as above named by americanl crew and officers from the U. S

Page 298


ship Jamestown, Captain Green, on a legitimate voyage from Nassau,
New Providence, to the city of Baltimore, U. S. A., and I further pro-
test against the removal of my crew, all British subjects, and further
declare I am now and started on a voyage as above mentioned, and I
do solemnly protest against such treatment.

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  • 5 months later...

If I'm not mistaken this same Jamestown took part in the Irish potatoe famine relief and was later used to patrol the north pacific and Alaskan coast. Their exist old drawings of her taking on fresh water in Sitka AK and there is a bay named for her there. Bill now living in Idaho

Bill, in Idaho

Completed Mamoli Halifax and Billings Viking ship in 2015

Next  Model Shipways Syren

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